Dr. Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and a fixture at WSOP events, succumbed to cancer and passed away at the age of 80.
A long-time player at high-stakes cash games and tournaments, Buss was very well-liked within the poker community. Many players found him to be exceedingly humble and down-to-earth despite his celebrity status. At the news of his passing, many well-known pros took to Twitter to offer their condolences to the Buss family and remarked how much of a pleasure it was to be seated at the same table as him.
Buss cashed in dozens of tournaments over the years. His best showing in a WSOP event was a third place finish in a $2,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud tourney in 1991 for $33,250. His most recent WSOP cash occured in June, 2011 when Buss finished 25th and won $6,214 in a $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event. Buss managed to win a handful of titles in non-WSOP events, such as a $200 H.O.R.S.E. tourney in 2010 in San Diego and $200 No-Limit Hold’em in Los Angeles in 2005. The latter event carried a first place prize of $33,820.
The WSOP is considering honoring Buss by naming a Seven-Card Stud event after him or possibly awarding a trophy enshrined with his name, according to TMZ. There is, however, no timetable as to when this might occur.
Buss was born in Utah and raised in Wyoming. He earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Southern California by the age of 24. Buss taught chemistry at USC and began investing in real estate in order to continue teaching. In 1979, he purchased the L.A. Lakers and enjoyed 10 NBA World Championships while owner of the club.
An official statement released by the WSOP called Buss
a class act whose kindness and intelligence always stood out at the poker table.