Legendary Poker Character Howard “Tahoe” Andrew Dies at 86

  • Tahoe played in every World Series of Poker Main Event from 1974 to 2018
  • Fellow poker players universally regarded him as uncommonly enthusiastic and kind
  • He won WSOP bracelets on consecutive days in 1976
White rose with candles in the background
One of the most beloved live poker characters of the last six decades, Andrew “Tahoe” Andrew, passed away Wednesday at the age of 86. Tahoe won WSOP bracelets on back-to-back days in 1976. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Live poker’s mainstay

Howard “Tahoe” Andrew, one of poker’s elder statesmen, passed away Wednesday at the age of 86. While not a household name to casual poker fans, Tahoe was a fixture in the poker world for longer than many of us have been alive.

played in every World Series of Poker Main Event from 1974 through 2018

A consummate gentleman known to provide great laughs at the table, Tahoe holds one poker record that will not be broken for a very long time. He played in every World Series of Poker Main Event from 1974 through 2018, cashing many times and topping out with an eighth-place finish in 1984 for $26,400.

That 45-year streak means that Tahoe played in almost every WSOP Main Event in history. The first was in 1970, when Johnny Moss was voted the champion out of just seven players. Tahoe’s first Main Event had just 16 competitors; his last had 7,874. Doyle Brunson might have been able to top it, retiring from the WSOP in 2018, but he and other players boycotted the WSOP from 1999 to 2002 because of a tiff with the Binion family.

A math major and industrial engineer, the 1978 WSOP Media Guide called Tahoe “one of the World Series of Poker’s most formidable non-pros” and a man with a “daredevil reputation.”

Nothing but love

The poker community has paid its public respects to Tahoe this week. ESPN WSOP commentator Lon McEachern said: “Played with him so many times and always a wonderful demeanor and caretaker of a great deal of poker history while making it himself. I will miss you Tahoe.”

Poker reporter Dan Ross lovingly recalled the time recently when Tahoe had him go get milkshakes for the final table because they needed the fuel:

Speaking to Tahoe’s longevity, Todd Brunson tweeted: “Tahoe was an old timer when I was underage, sneaking around, playing poker. Always a true Gentleman.”

Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson, “The First Lady of Poker,” called Tahoe an “asset to the poker industry,” adding: “I enjoyed competing against you over the years. I enjoyed traveling the world with you on many cruises. I am proud to call you my friend and I will miss you.”

And then there was Jeff Walsh, who tweeted a story about a time he had pocket Kings against Tahoe at Bay 101 and Tahoe made a show of it:

To a person, everyone who has said something publicly about Tahoe has said he brought a light to the poker table that was unmatched. His love for the game and its people was apparent every time he bellied up to the felt.

Back-to-back WSOP bracelets

Tahoe earned $1.5m in his live tournament career, which is not all that much compared to players nowadays, especially considering his career started in the mid-1970’s, but keep in mind that massive prize pools are only a recent phenomenon. Fascinatingly, his first two recorded cashes were his two World Series of Poker bracelet wins in 1976, which also came on back-to-back days.

Howard Andrew’s largest cash was $250,000, when he finished second to Jim Doman in the 1987 Grand Prix of Poker $10,000 Main Event. It was his only six-figure payday. He won a $200 No-Limit Hold’em event at Amarillo Slim’s Superbowl of Poker – once the second-most prestigious poker festival after the WSOP – that same year for $86,400.

Later in his career, Tahoe was a frequent player on the WSOP Circuit. He won a ring at the 2008 WSOP Circuit Grand Casino Tunica and his final cash came in an event at the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley stop just before the pandemic last year.

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