Sam Grizzle is dead, and poker won’t be quite the same without him.
Mike Matusow was one of the first to break the news tweeting that he “just got a text that Sam Grizzle had a massive brain hemorrhage last night and is in critical condition at the hospital here in Vegas!”
I just got a text that Sam Grizzle had a massive brain hemorrhage last night and is in critical condition at hospital here in Vegas! No matter your feelings on Sam I ask everyone to pray for him as he’s been a huge part of poker history over the years! Ty all! #pray4Sam
— Mike Matusow (@themouthmatusow) October 19, 2020
Soon more concrete news came from the family when Grizzle’s daughter tweeted at Doyle and Negreanu to say her “dad had a major stroke yesterday and hes on life support with no responses. Dr’s are saying hes not going to make it another day, its devastating and i think the poker community should know”
@TexDolly @RealKidPoker hello this is alexa, sam grizzle’s daughter..
my dad had a major stroke yesterday and hes on life support with no responses. Dr’s are saying hes not going to make it another day, its devastating and i think the poker community should know
— lexie grizzle (@lilslitha2) October 19, 2020
Grizzle was one of poker’s great love-to-hate-him villains like Tony G or the young Phil Hellmuth. Someone who was known for insulting other players with enough wit that few resented him for it.
In fact, many wore his insults as a badge of honor.
Grizzle’s role in the poker community is best exemplified by his digital wake. When the news broke on Twitter the response wasn’t somber. Instead, the poker world launched into a mass exchange of funny Sam Grizzle tales. A touching tribute to an old school character and an incorrigible rogue.
Melissa Burr tweeted about the time “he looked [her] ex dead in the face and said YOU WISH YOU PLAYED LIKE YOUR GIRL. always liked him after that, regardless of any stories I ever heard.”
In 2012 he looked my ex dead in the face and said YOU WISH YOU PLAYED LIKE YOUR GIRL.
always liked him after that, regardless of any stories I ever heard.
— Melissa Burr (@burrrrrberry) October 20, 2020
This was in reply to another player tweeting about the time at the 2008 WSOP when they “were eating at sports deli watching Celtics/lakers on break. Sam Grizzle walks up n takes a chicken wing off [their] plate and eats it. Tells [them] “no one will ever believe you “and walks off.””
Grizzle’s most famous moment was, of course, his loud-mouthed back and forth with Phil Hellmuth at the 2003 WSOP. And later the footage of Hellmuth leaving a Vegas building sporting a black eye that Grizzle supposedly gave him.
Around then he became informally known as Phil’s nemesis. Though they rarely found themselves up against each other again.
TwoPlusTwo also set about remembering his storied past. One anecdote tells of him swapping 5% with “Eskimo” Clark in a casino bathroom. Another player overhearing tells Eskimo that Grizzle had just busted the tourney. Eskimo said that it was okay as he’d never even bought in.
Perhaps the most succinct farewell to the great man came from Todd Brunson who tweeted two words. “GG Grizz.”
Too right. GG from us all.
A legend of the game. I loved Mike Sexton talking about Sam Grizzle in "Life's a Gamble"…. get that book! When he referred to himself as "the barber" it was great. When he had the hot hand no one could beat him.
— James McCue (@jamestmccue) October 19, 2020
Featured image source: Twitter