Buss Had Passion for Poker

Professional poker player Jean-Robert Bellande was in Las Vegas on Monday night, mourning the man he calls "mentor."

By Beverly White
|  Monday, Feb 18, 2013  |  Updated 11:27 PM PDT
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Dr. Jerry Buss definitely had a passion for basketball, but he also had a passion for the game of poker. He was a regular at card casinos in and around the LA area. NBC 4's Beverly White reports

Dr. Jerry Buss definitely had a passion for basketball, but he also had a passion for the game of poker. He was a regular at card casinos in and around the LA area. NBC 4's Beverly White reports

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Gamblers try their luck 24-7 at The Hustler Casino in Gardena.

Here, managers recall the late Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss as a regular player and friend.

"He would bring his so-called posse, they'd all start playing poker, jump in a tournament,” said tournament director Craig Kaufman. “Everybody would have a good time."

Patee McQuire, marketing director, said Buss “brought a lot of fun into our lives.”

He was a great friend to Larry Flynt, the Hustler owner.

“He will be greatly missed."

Legend has it Buss played poker and made friends wherever he went.

Professional poker player Jean-Robert Bellande (pictured with Buss at the right) was in Las Vegas on Monday night, mourning the man he calls "mentor."

"I used to go hang out with him at his box at The Forum, remember him giving me words of encouragement,” Bellande said. “He saw I was an ambitious young man."

Kaufman continued: "I had the fortune to know him for 30 years. I'd see him, he'd say come on down! He'd give me a ticket. Sit in his suite at the Staples Center."

McQuire said: "He had lots of friends. He made everybody think they were his best friend. That's the kind of man that he was."

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