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James Garner Dead at 86

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Los Angeles Police reported today that actor James Garner was found dead from natural causes in his  Los Angeles home Saturday evening. 

When I was growing up I knew one for-sure fact about poker, 'Don't play with Maverick because you  would not win'. Years later when I first saw the remake of the “Maverick” movie with James Garner as  the father of the next poker playing Maverick I thought it was a parody of the early WSOP. 

Poker greats from all over the globe gathered to trade chips,lies and bluffs while determining who  could do it the best. While photographing the 2006 WSOP Main Event at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas  I was thrilled to see Maverick himself sitting at one of the tables with a few stacks of chips playing in  the greatest poker game of them all. 

James Garner was no longer the dashing young man but he was definitely the older version. He was  most kind and easy going that day. No, he didn't win and was eliminated that day. I did win and I  wasn't even playing. Getting to meet James “Maverick” Garner sitting at a poker table was quite a  thrill and for a few moments I was again a kid in Texas watching the great Maverick take them all. 

Thanks for the entertaining memories Mr. Garner. R.I.P.

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