Many people would say that luck has always been on the side of Andy Amatrudo. It’s helped him excel as a poker player since he was a young boy. It’s also helped him live a long and healthy life, 103 years to be exact.
Andy has played seven-card stud since he was a third grader growing up in South Philadelphia.
“Ever since I was eight or nine years old I used to play on the steps, for cards, marbles and cigarettes,” said Andy.
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When he wasn’t playing poker, Andy spent time caring for his six younger brothers and sisters.
“He was a hair dresser and with his tips he used to buy us our Christmas presents,” said his brother Raymond. “And we never forgot that.”
On Tuesday, Andy celebrated his 103rd birthday on the poker floor of the Trump Taj Mahal where he’s a familiar face.
“The Taj Mahal to me is my second home,” said Andy. “I’ve lived next door and I’m here every day, seven days a week.”
“I was scared because he’s been playing for a long time and he’s a very good player too,” said Mark Fast. “When he raises he’s got the goods.”
“If he’s missing they’ll call him up and they’ll call us and say ‘hey, where’s Andy?’” said Tom Gitto, director of the Taj Mahal Poker Operations. “Everybody starts looking for that red flag on his scooter to come scooting in the room.”
Andy became emotional while speaking during his birthday celebration at the casino.
“I want to thank my relatives,” said Andy, on the verge of tears. “I’m very proud of them all.”
Amazingly, the 103-year-old does not take any medication.
“I say my prayers every day to God to keep me healthy,” said Andy. “That’s my secret.”
But aside from prayer, Andy gives credit to one more thing.
“I get charged up when I play cards, it keeps me going,” said Andy. “I love to play poker!”