Dr. Jerry Buss had more than a handful of achievements that he could be very proud of, but he will be remembered for two of his passions. The Los Angeles Lakers owner loved basketball just as much as he enjoyed playing poker; although some might suspect that his affinity for Texas hold ’em was his real catalyst. After all, he chose to join a WSOP event at the Rio a couple of years ago, instead of watching his beloved Lakers playing NBA finals!
Buss spent a lot of time playing poker in Vegas and California, and the World Series of Poker was always one of his favorite events. This explains why WSOP officials and players alike expressed their sadness for Dr. Buss’ demise and praises him for his attitude at the poker tables. Despite the fact that his real estate investments made him his riches, Jerry remained the same grounded and respectful player regardless of whom he competed against.
The poker community was just as sympathetic and since Jerry Buss played both private home games and large tournaments, there are plenty of poker players who knew and respected him. Whether he competed in prominent shows such as “High Stakes Poker” or “Poker After Dark”, or played against friends and acquaintances in home games, Dr. Buss remained just as friendly and modest.
Professional poker players were among the first to express their regret for Jerry’s passing, with Erik Seidel describing him as a “true friend to many poker players. Big hearted guy.” Joe Tall and Melissa Hayden made similar considerations for the former Lakers owner, while WSOP’s Nolan Dalla thanked him for playing at the World Series of Poker for all these years, and for making the competition better.
He chose to compete in lower buy-in tournaments but didn’t miss many WSOP main events and cashed in four times while making it to the final table 22 years ago. The World Series of Poker’s statement is a concise tribute for a man that the organisation regarded as a true gentleman and a role model for many poker players. He’s being described as a gifted poker player and a competitive spirit who never allowed short term profits come before proper Texas hold’em etiquette at the poker table.
Many of those who played alongside him were inspired by his professional yet courteous attitude and enjoyed every second of interaction. The family requested that any donations made by those who knew and loved Dr. Jerry Buss to be directed towards the Lakers Youth Foundation, or any other charity preferred by the donor instead of flowers.