Bobby Hoff went from being a promising athlete to being hooked on poker and drugs. Despite his abuse of drugs he has become known as a professional blackjack and poker player. After finishing his studies at the University of Texas, where he was on an athletics scholarship, Hoff went to Las Vegas to learn poker. He worked as a dealer and used his earnings to bet with. Moving the greens as a golf player had been traded for the more quiet action by the table.
Hoff read the book Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp and this lead to him getting interested in blackjack. He was soon to learn that he had a talent for this game but he also had a tendency of drinking a bit too much and this equation many times gave the outcome of his winnings going down the drain. With a group of players he played blackjack on a regular basis for about 5 years. When he found himself banned from most blackjack tables in Las Vegas he returned to the game of poker.
In the 1979 World Series of Poker his heads-up match with the amateur Hal Fowler increased the attendance in general to the series. The game was considered a true David and Goliath match. Through this event people realized that anyone could win and it was worthwhile not only for the professionals to play in the series.
When he befriended Sailor Roberts his drinking problem was coupled with taking cocaine. Hoff is said to have taken two lines of cocaine before every big game and to quench his thirst he would drink cognac. Despite his growing addiction Bobby Hoff made a name for himself as a skilled player. His addiction grew to the proportions where he was actually injecting the cocaine and he contracted Hepatitis.
Bobby Hoff has had his greatest success during the late 90s perhaps as a result of getting off the chemical addiction and sticking to the cards. He carries the nickname "the Wizard" and he claims that this is because he makes mountains of chips disappear.
Bobby Hoff is still an active player and as late as in July, 2007, he placed 23rd in the Bellagio Cup III. This won him $30,985 which is a nice winning considering his rank. In 2006 he placed better in the Turkey Shoot/Ho Ho Hold'em but placing 8th meant a much smaller prize sum namely $2,150. In April the same year a 53rd place in the Five-Star World Poker Classic – WPT Championship Season 4 scored him the impressive amount $43,935. Having said all of this, it is quite clear that Bobby Hoff is a player to count on. We will most likely see him in many upcoming tournaments and he will certainly present his fellow players with good competition.
David Hackman - News Reporter