Last week, the poker world said goodbye to David Goldberg, a beloved member of the community. The WSOP bracelet winner and long-standing fixture of the Atlantic City poker scene was 74, passing away from complications due to COVID.
Goldberg was born on June 18, 1949 in Atlantic City, seemingly destined to be a gambler. When he was just 13, his grandmother gave him money for books, which he instead bet at the horse track. As the story goes, he then shared his winnings with his grandmother.
“My brother was a relentless optimist,” said David’s brother Howard. “‘100 to 1 is better than 100 to none.’ I must have heard that line a million times. That gambling spirit and optimism propelled him through life. When it came to having a good time, David was all in.”
The NYU graduate started out by helping to expand his father’s company before taking on a new venture, acquiring a local commercial laundry and founding Atlantic City Linen Supply, which would ultimately become one of the largest on the east coast and service most of the casinos in the region.
“He took risks… often,” Howard also said. “He was friends with everyone, and I do mean everyone. I liked books, he preferred bookies. But none of that mattered because David bridged all gaps. When you were in my brother’s orbit, you felt closer to him than anyone on Earth.”
When he wasn’t running his business or tending to his wife Andi and son Larry, you could find David at the poker table. Goldberg was a longtime regular in Atlantic City cardrooms well before the poker boom and after, and made several final tables at the U.S. Poker Championship, which was then held at the Taj Mahal.
“Everyone loved David, and he would always help anyone that was down on their luck. Not just the poker community, he helped people in every aspect of life,” explained his good friend Guy Cicconi. “David had a unique depth and understanding of what you were going through, and was the nicest, most loyal, and genuine a person one could ever meet.”
One such player that Goldberg impacted was none other than 10-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey, who was just starting his poker career.
“David was just a terrific and generous person, and I knew him well during my time coming up the ranks in Atlantic City,” said Ivey. “David even co-signed my first car loan when I was 19 years old. He will be greatly missed by anyone that ever knew him.”
In recent years, Goldberg had been splitting his time between New Jersey and Florida while making trips to Las Vegas for poker. Although he had come close to WSOP gold before at a final table back in 1999, he broke through in 2021, winning the WSOP Online $1,000 pot-limit Omaha tournament.
*Photo credits: WSOP – Melissa Haereiti, PokerGO – Antonio Abrego
*Special thanks to Guy Cicconi for his assistance.