Walter Puggy Pearson

Walter Puggy Pearson

Walter Puggy Pearson

Walter Puggy Pearson poker player profile. Get latest information, winnings and gallery.


Walter Puggy Pearson
United States
GPI Rank
WPT Wins
Total Live Earnings


Walter "Puggy" Pearson was an American poker player who won the 1973 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

He was one of the first participants in the WSOP in 1970, winning his first bracelet in 1971. Pearson won four WSOP bracelets in total, winning three in 1973 alone including his Main Event win.

He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1987. Pearson died following a heart attack in April 2006, aged 77.


Pearson was born in Kentucky on January 29, 1929. His nickname "Puggy" came from a childhood accident to his nose. After dropping out of school, he joined the navy aged just 16. He served three tours in the US navy, while simultaneously honing his skills as a pool hustler and card shark.

The concept of a freezeout tournament is credited to Pearson, with poker games prior to then predominantly cash games.

In his 2002 book 'The Championship Table', Pearson described himself as a "roving gambler."

"I ramble all around. Wherever I meet with a deck of cards, I'll lay my money down. I've gambled all over Texas, I've gambled up in Maine. And now I'm going to do it all over again."

He famously owned a 38-foot tour bus with the following motto emblazoned on the side: "I'll play any man from any land any game that he can name for any amount that I can count." And following that, in much smaller letters, "providing I like it."

1973 WSOP Main Event

After finishing as the runner-up in 1971 and 1972, Pearson finally got his WSOP Main Event win in 1973. He defeated Johnny Moss heads-up to deny Moss a third WSOP title (following his wins in 1970 and 1971). A field of 13 players generated a prize pool of $130,000, with Pearson taking home the entire amount in this winner-takes-all format.

In 1973, Pearson won three WSOP bracelets, a feat achieved by only five other players: Ted Forrest (1993), Phil Hellmuth (1993), Phil Ivey (2002), Jeff Lisandro (2009) and George Danzer (2014).

YearEventPayout (USD)
1971Event #1: $4,000 Limit Seven Card Stud$10,000
1973Event #1: $4,000 Limit Seven Card Stud$28,000
1973Event #6: $1,000 No Limit Hold'em$17,000
1973Event #7: $10,000 NLHE WSOP Main Event$130,000

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