Friday, 9 December 2016

The Poker Alice Story

the poker alice

There are many famous people in the history of gambling but not too many of them are women. The Poker Alice is probably the most legendary exception of this rule. Here is the story of this amazing woman who took the “men’s world” of poker.

Poker Alice, originally named as Alice Ivers Tubbs, was born in England in 1851. When she was small, her family moved to the USA where she was attending the private school for women.

She knew nothing about gambling until her 20 when she met and married a mining engineer Frank Duffield who was a skilled poker player (not the video poker but the real one). Together they were attending the poker halls where Alice was just standing near her husband. But after a short time, she learned the rules of the game and started playing by herself, showing the great skills and talent. At first, it was just a hobby. But then, Frank died in the accident and gambling become the main source of income for Alice, now a widow.

With her decent education, Alice could become a teacher, but the gambling world was much more appealing to her. She started earning for a living both as a gambler and a dealer and her unique beauty was attracting all the gamblers in the mining camp to the casino. Soon she was already traveling from one camp to another and everywhere she went, the crowds were gathering in the casinos to meet the famous Poker Alice and try to win at poker playing with her.

For you to have the complete portrait of Poker Alice in your head, here are some facts about her appearance and behavior. Alice was quite a short woman with large blue eyes and long brown hair. She was wearing fancy dresses and at the same time smoking large cigars which was very unusual for women at that time. She was never playing on Sunday because of her religious beliefs and always carrying a revolver. 

The Alice’s gambling trips were always lucrative. She was asked out of the casino in New Mexico when she won big, then she won $6000 in South Dakota and this is where she also met her second husband, Warren G. Tubbs. Their romantic relationships started when she sent a bullet to the hand of a drunk miner who was trying to attack Tubbs.

The new family moved to the ranch on the Moreau river where they have 7 kids. In 1910, Tubbs died of tuberculosis so Alice had to earn a living again. She hired a man to take care of her house and moved to the nearest city to play poker again. This man, George Huckert, proposed to Alice but only for her to become a widow at the third time — Huckert died in 1913. Looks like Alice was very lucky at cards but so unlucky in love.

A few years later, the Poker Alice opened her own saloon where people could play gambling games, drink liquor and enjoy the company of women. One day the drunk man started helling around in the saloon so Alice shot him to death. It was the first but not the last time when she was arrested but always pardoned by the trial or the government.

Alice was playing poker until the last days of her life. She died at the age of 79 after the operation. People say the Poker Alice won more than $250000, always played the fair game and never cheated. In 1987 Poker Alice movie was directed Arthur Allan Seidelman and starring Elizabeth Taylor.

poker alice - elizabeth taylor

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