June 4, 2024

Remembering Esther Rossi: A Tribute to a Poker Trailblazer

Key Takeaways:

  • Esther Rossi, a respected poker player from the pre-Moneymaker era, passed away on April 1 from cancer.
  • Rossi was known for her strong performances at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), with 13 cashes totaling over $200,000.
  • Beyond her poker skills, Rossi had a deep love for the game of stud poker, contributing significantly to the poker community.

Esther Rossi's passing has left a void in the poker community, a sentiment deeply felt among those who gathered in Las Vegas last Saturday to celebrate her life. Rossi's name may not ring a bell for the newer generation of poker enthusiasts, but for those who have been around, her legacy is unmistakable.

Remembering Esther Rossi: A Tribute to a Poker Trailblazer

A Storied Career in Poker

Rossi's journey in poker is nothing short of inspirational. With her first notable achievement being a runner-up finish in the 1998 $500 Ladies Limit 7-Card Stud event at the WSOP, she quickly made her mark. Her career earnings, as recorded by The Hendon Mob, stand impressively at $339,000 in live tournament cashes. Rossi's relationship with poker was deeply intertwined with her personal life, notably through her connection with David "Chip" Reese, a legend in his own right and a three-time WSOP bracelet winner.

Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, Rossi was introduced to the world of cards by her father, Armando “Spare” Rossi. Her move to Las Vegas in 1987 was the beginning of a poker career that would span over two decades, predominantly in the variant of 7-Card Stud. Rossi's passion for stud was unparalleled, even relocating to Los Angeles at one point to pursue the game she loved as it dwindled in popularity in Vegas.

A Passion for Stud Poker

Rossi's contributions to stud poker, particularly through her successful runs in WSOP events, have been significant. With ten of her 13 WSOP cashes in stud or stud hi-lo events, and two others in H.O.R.S.E. or Razz, Rossi's skill and dedication to the game were undeniable. Her love for stud poker was encapsulated in her lamentation over its declining presence, describing it as "one of the best games that there is."

Legacy and Condolences

The poker world has indeed lost a remarkable player and an even more incredible person. Rossi's journey from watching a friend play poker in Vegas to becoming a formidable force at the tables is a testament to her talent, determination, and love for the game. As we extend our condolences to Rossi's friends and family, we also celebrate her life and contributions to poker. Esther Rossi's legacy as a trailblazer in poker, especially in the realm of stud, will undoubtedly live on.

(First reported by: PokerNews, 2023)

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