Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Renowned Poker Columnist and Social Advocate George Epstein Dies at 95

Miracle Mile resident, renowned poker columnist, and social advocate George Epstein has passed away at the age of 95.


George Epstein
November 9, 1926-March 29, 2022

Miracle Mile resident and popular poker columnist George “The Engineer” Epstein passed away on March 29 at the age of 95.

Born in Boston, Mass., Epstein attended Boston Latin School, University of Mass. at Amherst, and MIT, where he studied chemistry. He proudly served in the US Navy during World War II. In 1951, he married Irene. They moved to Los Angeles where they had a loving 45-year marriage. George had a successful career as an aerospace engineer specializing in composites.  After retiring, he began his “second career” — poker. He studied, wrote three books, taught classes, played regularly at local casinos, wrote countless articles, and was in the Senior Poker Hall of Fame.

Epstein’s columns were regularly featured in publications both locally and internationally. He authored three popular poker books, and was enshrined in the Senior Poker Hall of Fame. Among the publications that have featured his columns are Cardplayer Lifestyle, Poker Player Newspaper, and Gaming Today, as well the local Larchmont Chronicle newspaper.

Active until his death, Epstein organized poker tournaments for seniors at local casinos and senior centers in Los Angeles. He taught poker basics and strategy at universities, community centers and the Veterans Administration. He is widely known as the person who coined the term “Esther Bluff,” which he attributed to his granddaughter who he said taught him the trick of bluffing with absolute conviction.

His byline included the nom de plume “The Engineer,” owing to his earlier career as a leading aerospace engineer, from which he retired at age 65. Author of numerous texts and a widely read Plastics and Adhesives newsletter, George remained active in that industry, as well. He was a philanthropist and proudly spearheaded the Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of his late wife.

Epstein was also a community activist. He led a team of civil engineers in devising a proposed solution to street paving designed to significantly reduce the number of potholes on Los Angeles streets. He was a staunch supporter of Israel and an outspoken advocate for a just peace in the middle east.

“George was a longtime regular, enlightened contributor to the Letters To Editor of local neighborhood circulations and was a fair observer of events in our community,” wrote Toby Horn, neighbor and friend in a email to the Buzz. “His passing and contributions should be acknowledged.”

Epstein was a devoted husband to his wife Irene (deceased),  supportive father to David (deceased) and Sue (Stan Goldin, founder of Whimsic Alley), and adoring grandfather to Dani and Esther. He is survived by his daughter, Sue, and his two granddaughters, Dani and Esther, to whom he was devoted to the end. He will live on in our hearts.

Services will be held at Hillside Memorial Park on Friday, April 1 at noon.  The family advised that donations may be made  in lieu of flowers.

“George would be honored if you sent a contribution to SAMPE Los Angeles Chapter addressed to: The Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o SAMPE Los Angeles Chapter, Dr. Clement Hiel, 767 Channel St., San Pedro, CA 90731,” wrote Sue Epstein in an email to the Buzz.

The Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship awards were initiated in 1996 shortly after the death of his wife, Irene Epstein, to honor her volunteer efforts to assist financially needy, academically deserving graduating high school seniors to attend college to study engineering, science, mathematics or medicine. The scholarships are given annually at Fairfax High School and GALA (Girls Academic Leadership Academy).


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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