Jack Treetop Straus

Jack Treetop Straus

Jack Treetop Straus

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Jack Treetop Straus poker player profile. Get latest information, winnings and gallery.


Jack Treetop Straus
United States
GPI Rank
WPT Wins
total poker live earnings


Jack “Treetop” Straus was an American poker player who won the 1982 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

Nicknamed “Treetop” as a result of him being 6'6", Straus died of an aortic aneurysm on August 17, 1988 while playing high-stakes poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.

Later that year, Straus was posthumously inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988. He holds the dubious honour of being one of three Poker Hall of Famers to die whilst playing cards, joining Tom Abdo and Wild Bill Hickok.


Straus was born in Travis, Texas in on June 16, 1930. He attended Texas A&M before embarking on a career as a Texas road gambler, traveling across Texas and Oklahoma to play in the biggest games around.

“I think Texans just got a lot more guts has a lot to do with it, most other folks just dont take the heat when you start playin real poker. In Texas you grow up playin poker, its a Texas game.” Jack “Treetop” Straus

He played in his first WSOP Main Event in 1971, the first year the tournament adopted its usual freezeout format. He final-tabled the Main Event in 1972 and 1973, finishing fifth and third respectively.

In 1973, he won his first bracelet in the $3,000 Deuce to Seven Draw event.

1982 WSOP Main Event

1982 was the first time the WSOP Main Event surpassed 100 entries. Straus was the first player to take away more than half a million dollars, earning $520,000 for his win.

He defeated Dewey Tomko heads-up.

“A Chip and a Chair”

In one of poker’s most famous stories, during the 1982 WSOP Main Event Straus lost a pot and was left with one chip left. According to legend, Straus pushed all in, got called and lost the pot. Thinking he was eliminated from the tounrmanet, he got to his feet only to discover a single chip under a napkin.

“If they had wanted you to hold onto money they would have made it with handles on.” Jack “Treetop” Straus

Because he did not declare himself all-in when pushing in his chips, Straus was not eliminated. He would recover to win the tournament, spawning the poker phrase: “All you need is a chip and a chair.”

Jack Straus WSOP Bracelets

Year Event Payout (USD)
1973 Event #4: $3,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw $16,500
1982 Event #14: $10,000 NLHE WSOP Main Event $520,000

WSOP Main Event Winners 1973-82

1982 104 Jack Straus United States $520,000
1981 75 Stu Ungar United States $375,000
1980 73 Stu Ungar United States $385,000
1979 54 Hal Fowler United States $270,000
1978 42 Bobby Baldwin United States $210,000
1977 34 Doyle Brunson United States $340,000
1976 22 Doyle Brunson United States $220,000
1975 21 Brian Roberts United States $210,000
1974 16 Johnny Moss United States $160,000
1973 13 Walter Pearson United States $130,000