While oftentimes regarded as quite funny at the poker table—due, largely, to his thick southern drawl—and is able to make others laugh, Sam Grizzle has a reputation for being an addictive gambler, a deadbeat dad, and, well, an asshole.
Trying to find a Sam Grizzle biography online is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. He hails from either North or South Carolina and is in his 60’s or 70’s. We do know that he calls Las Vegas home. That figures, right? And he has been playing poker since 1989.
Grizzle likes to frequent high-stakes cash games and prestigious tournaments. At the present time, Grizzle has 11 first-place finishes, 90 final tables, and 122 in-the-money finishes, accounting for an impressive $1.19 million in total poker tournament winnings. These include one World Poker Tour (WPT) cash for a little more than $46,000 and 17 World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes totaling nearly $185,000.
I heard it through the Grizzle-vine
If you visit any forums on sites such as TwoPlusTwo and PocketFives, for example, you will read many, many, many firsthand accounts of Grizzle being mean, unstable, rude, dishonest, and one of the biggest donkeys around. Even fellow poker pro and perennial sweetheart Jennifer Harman asserts that Grizzle tops her “most hated” list.
Others, however, think he is quite funny. One veteran TwoPlusTwo poster, Montezuma21, calls Grizzle “funnier than a barrel full of Gabe Kaplans” especially when he gets “under a player’s skin so badly that the player goes on tilt.”
It probably comes as no surprise that Grizzle was mentioned in Westword’s piece entitled “The 20 Worst Fathers in History.” In the article, Todd Brunson tells a tale wherein Grizzle was $20,000 in debt, was facing eviction, and had a newborn son. Grizzle allegedly begged Brunson for a loan to play poker so he could pay his bills. Grizzle hit a hot streak and won $50,000; but, alas, the degenerate dad got drunk, returned to the table, and subsequently lost everything 12 hours later.
Others relate their own personal experiences with Grizzle which invariably end with him making—and then losing—large amounts of money.
Sounds like a pattern.
Sam Grizzle on Poker After Dark
Grizzle was on Season 3 of Poker After Dark that was filmed at Southpoint Casino in Las Vegas. He appeared in Week 3—appropriately entitled “Hecklers”—playing alongside Mike Matusow, Gavin Smith, Jean-Robert Bellande, Phil Hellmuth, and Shawn Sheikhan. These episodes aired 14-19 January 2008.
Forward to 1:22 to see Grizzle getting his two cents worth in a disagreement between Bellande and Hellmuth.
You can catch Poker After Dark full episodes from this series exclusively on PokerGo, provided you have a subscription.
Grizzle and the Poker Brat
Grizzle and Hellmuth certainly have some history; however, their love-fest started way before Poker After Dark.
Here’s some contentious yet humorous video of Grizzle and Hellmuth at the 2003 WSOP Main Event. However, Hellmuth must feel some sort of redemption having knocked out—as Lon McEachern calls Grizzle—his arch-nemesis.
With time, Grizzle’s temper seems to have worsened, and, in 2008, he allegedly punched Hellmuth in the face following an argument. Here’s a very quick look at Hellmuth’s busted nose and black eye.
If you dare, you can catch a small glimpse into Grizzle’s mind by following him on Twitter (where he states he is a “professional vulture”). Perhaps a bit self-deprecating, but based on others’ accounts of him, his assessment is probably quite true.
Do you have any interesting Sam Grizzle stories to tell? Please do so below.
Until next time.
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Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.