There are many legendary four-time WSOP bracelet winners. They include Main Event winners like Amarillo Slim, Bobby Baldwin, Huck Seed and Joe Cada and poker legends such as Eli Elezra, Max Pescatori and Brian Rast.
However, many players will not have even heard of Poker Hall of Famer Bill Boyd, who was so good at Five Card Stud, the event stopped being included in the World Series of Poker.
Boyd was born in McNeil, Arkansas on January 27, 1906. As a teenager, he began travelling across America by train. During his trip, he once walked into a Montana saloon with just $13. Hours later, he walked out with $1,300.
Following a stint in the National Guard, Boyd began running cardrooms in San Francisco and by 1946, Boyd became manager of the Golden Nugget cardroom.
Boyd at the WSOP
The World Series of Poker began in 1970, with Johnny Moss being voted best all-around player. But there were several other categories including Best All-Around Hold’em Player and Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Champion.
Boyd was voted “most respected poker player” by his peers, and returned to the WSOP the following year, by which point the event now consisted of four preliminary events along with the Main Event.
One of these events was $1,000 Limit Five Card Stud, won by Boyd for $10,000 after defeating a field of 10 players. He backed this up the following year by defeating an unknown player heads-up for $20,000.
In 1973, the $10,000 buy-in Limit Five Card Stud event garnered one entry – Bill Boyd. He “won” the event for $10,000 and a third WSOP bracelet, potentially the only one-player WSOP bracelet event in history.
In 1974, the buy-in for the Five Card Stud event was reduced to $5,000 and attracted eight entries. Boyd won that event for $40,000, the largest cash of his career.
Five Card Stud never appeared on the WSOP schedule again, allegedly because Boyd couldn’t be beaten. Poker legend Amarillo Slim once said, “I’d rather catch frost on my winter peaches than play stud with Bill Boyd.”
|1971||$1,000 Limit Five Card Stud||10||Bill Boyd||$10,000|
|1972||$10,000 Limit Five Card Stud||2||Bill Boyd||$20,000|
|1973||$10,000 Limit Five Card Stud||1||Bill Boyd||$10,000|
|1974||$5,000 Limit Five Card Stud||8||Bill Boyd||$80,000|
His Place in History
“I’d rather have a gambler’s word than a preacher’s note.” —Bill Boyd
Boyd is one of only four players to have won bracelets in four consecutive years (Doyle Brunson 1976-79 and Loren Klein 2016-19).
Away from the tables, he managed the Golden Nugget cardroom from the day it opened in 1946 until its closing in 1988. He was dealt the ceremonial first hand at both the Golden Nugget in 1946 and the Mirage in 1989.
He was elected to the Poker Hall of Fame in 1981 and retired from poker in 1982
Boyd died in Las Vegas on November 21, 1997 at the age of 91 after complications from a stroke.