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Vegas gangster threatened my life


Doyle Brunson was the recipient of a charged death threat from infamous Vegas mobster Tony “The Ant” Spilotro, and lived to tell the tale.

The 88-year-old Brunson, who had a legendary career as a professional poker player spanning more than five decades, was featured by Joe Levin in Texas Monthly as the World Series of Poker heads into its main event in July .

The story goes that Brunson’s connection to Benny Binion, who along with his son Jack founded the World Series of Poker at their downtown Las Vegas casino in 1970, helped him stave off the threat.

Benny Binion was a mob boss in Brunson’s native Texas before creating a new life as a casino owner in Vegas.

Spilotro, who inspired Joe Pesci’s Nicky Santoro character in Martin Scorcese’s “Casino” and was believed to be responsible for more than 20 murders, has reportedly sought a 25% cut of Brunson’s poker winnings.

Why, Brunson wanted to know, was Spilotro entitled to it?

Doyle Brunson reportedly received a death threat from mobster Tony “the Ant” Spilotro for 25% of his poker winnings.
WireImage via Getty Images

“If you don’t like it, I’m going to stick twelve ice picks in your big gut,” Spilotro reportedly told Brunson.

“You can’t kill everyone,” Brunson allegedly told the mobster eventually.

Spilotro replied, “I won’t have to kill everyone. Just the first.

Vegas gangster threatened my life
Anthony Spilotro inspired Joe Pesci’s character, Nicky Santoro, in “Casino”.
Bettmann Archives via Getty Images

Brunson’s profile describes a man who cheated death but whose success at the poker table was due to a combination of a supernatural ability to read people, plus a brain that was able to tabulate card odds through intense rehearsal before it became fashionable to use computers to do this.

Brunson was the World Series of Poker champion in 1976 and 1977, winning the final hand of both tournaments from the starting hand of 2-10.

New York Post

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