Founding Tiltboy Member & WSOP Bracelet Winner Perry Friedman Passes Away at Age 55
Perry Friedman, one of the most colorful characters during the Poker Boom, passed away Sunday night at the age of 55. Friedman was known as an aggressive jester at the table, often sporting multi-colored hairstyles, chattering nonstop, and generally being the life of the party.
Born May 15, 1968, in Brooklyn, New York, Friedman was a well-known World Series of Poker (WSOP) grinder and bracelet winner, as well as a founding member of theTiltboys alongside Phil Gordon and Dave Diceboy Lambert.
Friedman graduated from Long Islands Sachem High School in 1986 and then attended Stanford University where he was a member of the cycling team. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical and Computational Science in the Fall of 1990 and his Masters in Computer Science in 1991. He went on to work for IBM before returning to the Bay Area and getting a job with Oracle. He would eventually start a company called Pickem Sports, which was acquired by Internet Sports Network before collapsing when the Internet bubble burst.
In 2003, he was the first employee hired at Tiltware, the software company used by Full Tilt Poker in the rapidly expanding online poker market.
Details on Friedmans passing werent immediately known, but the news was shared on social media and subsequently verified by Perrys brother, Rob Friedman, and good friend Gordon.
Back in 2002, Perry became a WSOP gold bracelet winner when he took down Event #3: $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo for $176,860. He also had three third-place finishes in WSOP tournament, most recently in 2017 in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship for $104,416. All told, Perry had $1,055,953 in WSOP earnings, which accounted for nearly all his documented cashes dating back to 2000 totaling $1,135,178 according to the Hendon Mob.
Friedmans last tournament cash came at last years WSOP when he finished 132nd in Event #66: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for $2,634.
As for the Tiltboys, they were billed as "the guys from Animal House with high SAT scores. They are a bunch of buddies who went to Stanford together and began a weekly poker game that led to weekend trips to Las Vegas and, for a few of them, to a life of playing poker professionally.
In 2005, the crew released a book titled Tales from the Tiltboys that was described as:
"'Swingers'-meets-'Rounders.' Read these true tales of gambling, friendship, and Wednesday night poker. These anecdotes are a testament to just how amusing a life devoted to excess and debauchery can be."
A Perry Friedman Story
Upon hearing of his passing, Chris Hanel shared a story on his X account, @ChrisHanel, that captured the sort of jokester that Perry was.
I haven't seen him ages but I can still hear his joking and laughng from 3 offices down the hall. I have to share a story about how he got one over on me on my first day on the job. When I got hired at Full Tilt, I was the first Poker Expert - I was on the support team specifically for investigating cheating and collusion. I was excited about this job title for exactly ten minutes.
Why is that? Well, because just about *everyone* in the office played poker, and then you had people like Perry, Howard Lederer, and Chris Ferguson, who were in the office just about every day. Having "Poker Expert" as a title was putting a giant target on your back.
So, after spending my first day training, I was immediately invited to play in the weekly office poker game, and my boss, with a huge grin on his face, says to the table, "This is Chris, he's our Poker Expert." Groans and laughs from around the table. Oh god, here we go. I sat next to Perry, and immediately hit it off. He was inquisitive, smart, quicker than anyone with a joke, and having a great time. I knew he was one of the Tiltboys and trying not to fanboy a bit. But slowly, over time, I began to relax.
However, I was playing well, and the 'poker expert' jabs continued to come, and I felt like I needed to show off a bit. Perry and another person were talking about weird words, like words with three double letters, etc. And a random fact pinged in my head.
"You know, Perry..." I said, a little too confidently, "The only common word in the English language that uses all five vowels once is 'sequoia'."
Perry's eyes LIT UP. I should have seen this as a warning.
"I don't believe you. I think you're wrong," Perry said. Me, not wanting to back down, stood firm. "No, it's true! Only common word!"
Perry went for the kill. "I'll bet you 10 bucks you're wrong."
Me, not thinking: "Deal."
Perry, with his hands raised in the air: "SEQUOIAS!"
The table roared with cheers and laughter. I turned beet red and handed over my ten bucks, but not before sharing a laugh with Perry.
This would be far from the last money I lost to that man, but it never felt like a loss.
RIP, sir. Save us all a seat at the game.
PokerNews offers its condolence to the friends and family of Perry Friedman.