Thomas Amarillo Slim Preston

Thomas Amarillo Slim Preston

Thomas Amarillo Slim Preston

Thomas Amarillo Slim Preston poker player profile. Get latest information, winnings and gallery.


Thomas Amarillo Slim Preston
United States
GPI Rank
WPT Wins
Total Live Earnings


Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston was an American poker player who won the 1972 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

He went on to win three other bracelets in three different decades, the last of which came in 1990. Following his success, he appeared on national television including the The Tonight Show, Good Morning America and 60 Minutes.

In 1992, Preston was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, recognising his WSOP success and attempts to change the image of poker.

Preston passed away in April 2012, aged 83.

Related: Remembering "Amarillo Slim" Preston (1928-2012)


Preston was born in Johnson, Arkansas in December, 1928. After his parents moved to Turkey, Texas when he was a child, they subsequently divorced. His mother returned to Johnson, while his father relocated to Amarillo.

In his obituary, the Guardian quoted Preston as saying that this move was a good thing, "because Amarillo Slim sounds a heck of a lot better than Turkey Tom or Arkansas Austin.

At 17, Preston joined the US navy and upon returning to Texas, teamed up with Texas road gamblers Doyle Brunson and Brian "Sailor" Roberts. The trio are often credited with introducing Texas Hold'em to casinos in Las Vegas, and were all present at the inaugural WSOP in 1970.

1972 WSOP Main Event

Preston is best known for winning the 1972 WSOP Main Event, the first year the tournament came with a buy-in of $10,000 (approx. $64,000 in 2021). The tournament in May 1972 attracted eight players, with Preston defeating Walter "Puggy" Pearson heads-up.

In June the same year, Preston made the first of ten appearances on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. The following year, the WSOP was covered by CBS and over 7,000 newspaper articles were written about it. Many credit Preston in helping boost the prestige and appeal of the WSOP in its early years.

Amarillo Slim's Super Bowl of Poker

Considered at the time to be the second most prestigious poker tournament outside of the WSOP Main Event, Preston hosted Amarillo Slim's Super Bowl of Poker from 1979 to 1991. Check out Part I and Part II of our look back at the tournament.

Here is a list of the winners from 1979-1991.

YearWinnerPayout (USD)
1979George Huber$150,000
1980Gabe Kaplan$190,000
1981Junior Whited$130,000
1982Ed Stevens$195,000
1983Hans Lund$275,000
1984Stu Ungar$275,000
1985Mickey Appleman$205,000
1986Billy T. Walters$175,000
1987Jack Keller$220,000
1988Stu Ungar$210,000
1989Stu Ungar$205,000
1990T. J. Cloutier$240,000
1991Jack Keller$52,250

Preston vs. Ivey

By 2000, Preston had won four WSOP bracelets in total. He very nearly had a fifth were it not for a certain Phil Ivey. Ivey would go on to win 10 bracelets of his own, but his first came after defeating Preston heads-up in Event #14: $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha. Preston still banked $97,500, the second-highest cash of his career.

Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston WSOP Bracelets

YearEventPayout (USD)
1972Event #5: $10,000 NLHE WSOP Main Event$80,000
1974Event #5: $1,000 NLHE$11,100
1985Event #8: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha$85,000
1990Event #11: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha$142,000

WSOP Main Event Winners 1970-79

197954Hal FowlerUnited States$270,000
197842Bobby BaldwinUnited States$210,000
197734Doyle BrunsonUnited States$340,000
197622Doyle BrunsonUnited States$220,000
197521Brian RobertsUnited States$210,000
197416Johnny MossUnited States$160,000
197313Walter PearsonUnited States$130,000
19728Thomas PrestonUnited States$80,000
19716Johnny MossUnited States$30,000
19707Johnny MossUnited StatesN/A

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