The poker world recently lost one of its best gentlemen in Robert (Lee) Mougous. Two of Lee’s longtime friends, Lee Markholt and Mark Gregorich, reflect on their experiences with him.
I am proud to say that Lee was my dearest friend in the poker community. Although we both reside in Washington State, I first met Lee in the early 90s in Lake Tahoe at the Superstars of Poker event. Our first meeting was not exactly friendly, however. On the gambling list, we both went by “Lee M”. Naturally, we had a fight over which of us was the highest on the board. As a result of this disagreement, we quickly developed a friendship, but from that point on he insisted that I go by “Lee MM” on the board.
If you’ve been lucky enough to be Lee’s friend, you also know he was overly generous. He was always there to help you with words of encouragement, or a loan if you were in a crisis. Lee was also known for his memorable table slogans. “AMAZING,” he would exclaim happily, whenever anything even slightly out of the ordinary happened. And he liked to playfully refer to myself and others as a “model”, while making sure to call himself “big model”.
Lee wasn’t a full-time professional poker player, but I don’t know anyone with a greater passion for the game. He had a good day job, but probably earned almost as much of his seriousness in part-time poker. . Although he preferred cash games and rarely participated in tournaments, he had a good track record in World Series of Poker, mainly in Omaha, his favorite game. He won several wins, including a third place finish in a $ 1,500 Omaha event.
Over the years, Lee has made regular trips to Las Vegas in his spare time. He generally did well, but when things got bad he often didn’t sleep the entire three or four day trip. He wouldn’t even take a break to eat, by the way. Lee HATED to stop getting stuck, and somehow he usually found a way to turn the tide.
But ultimately, Lee was a family man, and his face lit up when he spoke of them so endearingly and often. Lee is survived by his beloved wife Carol, daughter Linda and sons Robert Lee Jr. and Joseph, as well as his grandchildren, great grandchildren and countless friends. As for me, and I’m sure many others, the poker community won’t be the same without Lee. Rest in peace my dear friend.
– Lee Markholt
Lee was my first poker mentor. I met him when I was 18 and just starting out in the public arcades in Olympia, Washington. He immediately struck up a friendship, and despite my inexperience I quickly realized that he was the cream of the crop in games.
He’s always been over-generous, which means he’s allowed me to choose his brain over anything poker or life. He actually taught me how to play Omaha eight or better. When we would play together, every time I did a bad game, he would give me the expression “fat model” and later explain what I had done wrong.
Over the years we’ve played a million hands together, first in Washington, then in Las Vegas. In the 90s in Vegas, we were playing $ 20- $ 40 Limit Holdem at the Mirage. I still remember him berating me for a hand that was too sloppy and poorly played like it was yesterday.
Lee always went out of his way to look out for me and help me be successful. We played poker together for four decades, and it probably would have been five if there had been a WSOP in 2020 because we were both fans of the Omaha / 8 game at $ 75- $ 150 at the Rio every summer.
Lee was a big-hearted person who was truly one of a kind. I can’t think of anyone who has influenced my poker success and career more than him. Rest in peace.
* Photos courtesy of PokerNews and the Mougous family