Poker has a long and illustrious history of notable events and characters that have shaped the game and, in some cases, history. Poker has its own personality: it’s huge, proud, and undoubtedly thrilling, which makes it more than just a game; it’s a revolution.

Here are a few of these instances, as well as the poker legends whose tenacity and charm helped to reshape the game.

Hand of a Deceased Person

The most famous poker player of all time is James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. Hickok was an American frontiersman, marksman, and law enforcement official who was born on May 27th, 1837. He spent the most of his time at saloons, where he sat in the corner to keep an opponent from approaching from behind.

Hickok was shot from behind while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, now known as South Dakota, on August 2nd, 1876. The hand he was holding at the time was “Dead Man’s Hand,” which consisted of a pair of eights and a pair of aces.

Poker’s Grand Old Man

At the age of ten, Johnny Moss played his first game of poker. He was introduced to poker by a gang of cheats and swindlers who taught him the ins and outs of the game, including bottom dealing and card marking.

Moss began his poker career by flying around the country looking for action. He put his childhood expertise to good use by avoiding trickery and scouting locations for peeping. Moss, supported by Benny Binion, took part in the world’s longest poker marathon in 1949, winning a total of $4 million dollars from Nick “the Greek” Dandalos after 5 months of tough combat.

Icons like Binion and Moss are credited for propelling poker’s popularity to new heights, and their passion for the game led to the establishment of The World Series of Poker. Moss won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets throughout his career, in 1970, 1971, and 1974.

Because of his longevity and exceptional poker skills, Moss was dubbed the “Grand Old Man” of Poker. He was admitted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979, and the opening hand Ace-Ten has been dubbed “Johnny Moss” in his honor since his death in 1997.

As a Respectable Profession, Poker

Doyle Brunson was the first to see that poker may be a viable career option. Brunson grew up in a tiny town and tried his hand at selling office supplies until he found he could earn more money in one pot than he could in a week.

Brunson honed his skills by playing poker alone in the 1950s. He’d deal one hand and then try to predict what the other players may do next. He developed into an extremely aggressive poker player, and much of his success stemmed from his understanding of poker players’ psychology.

Brunson was also the first to point out that in no-limit poker, little pairs are actually important, and that novice players would not invest until they had a strong beginning hand. Brunson’s expertise and talent helped him win the World Series of Poker in 1976 and 1977, and the beginning hand 10 – 2 has been dubbed “Doyle Brunson” in his honor ever since.

These individuals, with their zest for life and love of poker, contributed to the development of the game we know today. There were only rough guys, a pack of cards, and a dusty bar in the days before the World Series, the Poker Hall of Fame, and Online Poker. They were playing for their pride and occasionally their lives.