Lady Gamblers – Part 1: Poker Alice

women-gamblers-in-the-old-west Image source: TrueWest magazine Poker Alice or Alice Ivers was by far one of the most interesting lady gamblers who led quite an eventful and interesting life. She has been described as ‘a force to reckon with’, one of the ‘first women to gain a reputation as a serious poker player’, and always carried a 38 revolver with her. Born in 1853 in Devonshire England, Poker Alice later moved to Colorado, USA with her family. READ: Check out some hot heroines at the online casino She was introduced to the gambling world at the age of 20, after she married Frank Duffield, a mining engineer. She accompanied him to gambling halls in Leadville and observed how the game was played. She soon joined him at the gambling table and became proficient in the game. Duffield was unfortunately killed in a mining accident leaving her with no means of financial support. She turned to gambling – poker in particular to make ends meet and also doubled up as a dealer. Alice-poker-gambling Image Courtesy of Titanbet Her gambling career saw her travel to New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Her first major win was in New Mexico where she played all night and won a huge amount of money, forcing the dealer to close the game.

One of her famous quote: “At my age I suppose I should be knitting. But I would rather player poker with five or six ‘experts’ than eat.” – Poker Alice

Her next stop was in Deadwood, South Dakota. Wearing a typical poker face, Alice bagged a $6,000 win in just one night. Whilst in Deadwood, she met her second husband, Warren G. Tubbs – a painter who supported his gambling habit by selling his paintings. Though he was often unlucky when he played with Alice and were considered adversaries, Alice didn’t hesitate to come to his rescue when a drunken miner almost stabbed Tubbs with a knife. She pulled out her 38 revolver and shot him in the arm. poker-Alice-lady-gambler This action prompted them to move out of Deadwood, to a much quieter area in Sturgis. They planned to stay away from gambling and raise their 7 children. Just when she thought she has settled, her husband was diagnosed with tuberculosis (acquired due to painting), and later died of pneumonia in 1910.  It was rumored that Alice had to sell her wedding ring to pay for the burial expenses but went to a gambling parlor afterwards to earn money and bought her ring back. Her next stop was Rapid City and then Sturgis where she got engaged and married her third husband George Huckert – a man she had hired to take care of her ranch. Since she could not raise money to pay his wages, Alice ended up marrying Huckert – figuring it would be cheaper to do so than to pay him.  Sadly, the marriage was short-lived after he unfortunately died leaving her broke and widowed again three years after her second husband's died. She went back to gambling and opened a poker establishment called ‘Poker Palace’. One evening a drunk soldier caused chaos in the saloon and Alice pulled her 38 revolver and shot the man dead. She was arrested, spent some time in jail but was later acquitted. As she grew old, Alice signature dressing was an old skirt, a man’s shirt, a hat and a cigar in her mouth. She lived well into her seventies, and died on February 27, 1930. What a life!


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