Poker Alice

poker-alice-blog“I would rather play poker with five or six ‘experts’ than eat.” That’s what Alice Ivers Tubbs said. She was better know as Poker Alice, the most famous female poker player in the old west. Alice was born in England in 1851, but her family came to the United states when she was a girl, and she was educated in the East before her family moved to Colorado. There she met her first husband, who liked to gamble, and rather than sit home alone, she went with him to the saloons. She was a quick study, and soon she was sitting in games, both as a player and a dealer. She not only stood out as a woman, but as a beautiful, fashionably dressed woman (who smoked cigars.) After the was widowed, she supported herself by her card skills, traveling from one mining camp to another. In Silver City, New Mexico, she broke the bank at the Gold Dust Gambling House, and afterwards went to New York to buy more wonderful dresses. Obviously, she was a woman whose priorities were in line. She went to Deadwood, South Dakota around 1890 where she met the man who’d be her second husband. They had seven children and homesteaded, until he died and she went back to gambling to support her family. She hired a man to run the homestead and eventually married him, but was widowed a third time. She then opened her own place—expanding services to include “soiled doves”–and never looked back. She claimed to have won more than $250,000 in her lifetime, which would be $5 or 6 million in today’s money. She often told the men around the table, “Praise the Lord and place your bets. I’ll take your money with no regrets.” She died in South Dakota on Feb. 27, 1930. She said in all the years she played poker, she never once cheated.

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