Rumorati: Bill Smith Legal Skirmish over Banner Image?

by , Jun 14, 2009 | 2:07 pm

Bill Smith: Finding a pic of the 1985 main event champ has proved near impossible without Google image search.

We love spreading rumors based on limited information and wild speculation here at Pokerati … but sometimes we can’t help ourselves from setting the record straight …

Padraig Parkinson was on the Poker Show earlier today ( telling a story about the disappearance of Bill Smith’s picture from the Amazon Room. The rumor supposedly was that lawyers for the deceased 1985 main event winner’s estate wanted Harrah’s to pay a bunch of money for the right to put up his image.


The “real story” is that Harrah’s simply can’t find any pictures of Bill Smith ’85. He’s not alive, of course, and has no known living relatives, according to WSOP officials who have tried to find them. In fact, they would love to locate a picture of him so they can have a banner of him for the historical record next year and beyond. In fact, they’re so eager to find said image, that the WSOP has partnered with Pokerati to offer a reward for any assistance.

So if you can find such a picture — any picture! — you will get a Pokerati T-shirt and $30 worth of food comps in the Poker Kitchen.


Smith, who died in 1997, was originally from Dallas and spent his last years playing private games around Texas.

UPDATE: We found one. Blow up and pay up, WSOP!
RE-UPDATE: WSOP says no dice, they need higher “quality”. Pfft, whatever.

14 Comments to “Rumorati: Bill Smith Legal Skirmish over Banner Image?”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Are you sure that’s him? Remember Harrah’s used the Internet to find the Finnish national anthem, and you know how well that turned out.

  2. Seth

    Ummm, we need one that can blow up to banner size…meaning high res! Mathers, get ready for the Greek Anthem in a few minutes. We got it from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, so we know it’s ahhh, forget it!

  3. DanM

    Crap. I had big plans for those food coupons!

  4. DanM

    He really does look like what you’d expect a poker champion circa 1985 to look like.

  5. Ed

    Dan will NEVER understand how images work. He usually wants to take a 10px by 10px icon and turn it into the Mona Lisa.

  6. DanM

    hey, they just said they wanted ANY picture. i figure there’s gotta be some fancy laser computer equipment that can repixelate for a not-too-distorted high-res image.

  7. Ed

    only on CSI or other related tv shows/movies.

  8. Poker Shrink

    There is a very good hi-res photo of Mr. Smith hanging on a wall down at Binion’s.

  9. C Wolford

    Good Grief, this is an urban legend, right???? the estate???? of Bill????? Bill did not spend his last years playing in Tx, he was in Vegas. I know of several nice pictures of Bill, but there has to be more to this….. He certainly didn’t have any estate lawyers, wonder why they haven’t contacted his wife?

  10. Card Chucker

    Am I to assume that they can’t use the cardplayer image?

  11. DanM

    Well we got that part right — about the estate thing — Carolyn! But thanks for setting us straight on his final years. 🙂

    Do you by chance have his wife’s phone number? (You don’t have to give it out publicly, of course.)

  12. DanM

    C’mon, CC, CardPlayer certainly wouldn’t play hardball on that. (they’re not evil!) Even I can tell that’s a newspaper scan that definitely wouldn’t blow up a gajillion percent well.

  13. Card Chucker

    It might be a newspaper scan but the resolution is better than yours (har har)

  14. Johnny Hughes

    Bill Smith was a close friend, and one of my earliest poker mentors. He was the best player possible, without books, etc. We both could beat all the games, except the Odessa game with Johnny Moss. I wrote a long article about him on 2 plus 2. His cousin is cop in New Mexico. He wrote me. Bill was from Roswell, New Mexico. He lived in Lubbock a long time because this was a poker center. He was at three final tables.

    Bill was a bad drunk after a while. It ruined his game. He didn’t like T.J., and warned folks not to loan T.J. shit. They ended up heads up in the main event, and Bill won, saying loudly, “The man couldn’t beat two threes!” They had been rivals around Dallas. Bill played a lot of stake money. The Mule had him staked in the main event. The Las Vegas laws said someone was asking questions and said he was Bill’s nephew. They chartered a jet and flew to Lubbock with the $700,000 in a paper sack. Bill was broke in a few months. The Mule had his for life. Being West Texans, they didn’t pay any taxes because Uncle Sam never paid anything when they lost.