Poker Alice – One Tough Bird

schoolmaster

According to her own account, Alice Ivers was born in Devonshire, England, on February 17, 1851, to a conservative schoolmaster and his family. While she was still a young girl, the family migrated to Virginia where she attended an upscale boarding school for young women until the family moved again following the silver rush to Leadville, Colorado. As an attractive, refined young woman who was well educated (especially in mathematics) Alice caught the eye of most eligible bachelors. But it was Frank Duffield, a mining engineer that won her hand in marriage.

After they were married, Alice and Frank settled in Lake City in 1875. Frank was a passionate card player and spent a lot of his spare time in one of the many gambling halls. The blue eyed brunette usually accompanied him rather than stay home alone. It did not take long for Alice to learn she had a good head for counting cards and figuring odds. At first, she simply watched the players. Before long, she was joining the games and becoming an expert poker and faro player. When Duffield died in a mining explosion, Alice took to the tables, where she earned the name “Poker Alice slot online malaysia.”

After getting her start in Lake City, Alice started a tour of the other mining towns of Colorado, dealing faro or poker in Alamosa, Central City, Georgetown, and then on to Leadville during its heyday in the late 1870s. It was while she was dealing faro that a gambler named Marion Speer watched her clean out a noted gambler named Jack Hardesty:

“It was the damnedest faro game I ever saw. The game seesawed back and forth with Alice always picking up the edge; a few times it terminated only long enough for the player to eat a sandwich and wash it down with a boiler maker.”

In the early ’80s, Poker Alice sashayed into Silver City, New Mexico, and promptly broke the bank at a faro table in less than four hours. Using her $ 6,000 winnings, she headed for New York for a weeklong spending spree buying the best in the latest fashions, dining in the best restraints, attending the theater, and generally indulging herself. When the money played out he she returned to the Kansas cattle towns and then on to the Oklahoma Territory where she ran her games in Guthrie. She worked in the Blue Bell Saloon, Bill Tilghman’s Turf Exchange, and the Reaves Brothers Casino.

In 1891, Poker Alice moved her operations to Arizona dealing cards at the Midway, the El Moro, and the Blue Goose in Clifton. Then when the silver miners flocked to Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, she pulled up stakes and headed to Creede. There she worked a faro table six days a week (she never worked on Sunday) at Ford’s Exchange, a saloon and dancehall. The owner, Bob Ford, was none other than the man who had wasted Jesse James in 1882. A few weeks after Poker Alice went to work for Ford, Edward O’Kelley entered Ford’s tent saloon on June 8, 1892, with a 10- shotgun gauge. According to witnesses, Ford’s back was turned. O’Kelley said, “Hello, Bob.” As Ford turned to see who it was, O’Kelley emptied both barrels into his midsection, killing Ford instantly. So much for the “dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard.”

After the luster of the silver boom wore off in Creede, Poker Alice drifted up to Deadwood, which was still producing plenty of gold for the gambling dens working the miners. She worked as a table dealer at a saloon owned by a wealthy gambler known as “Bedrock Tom.” Another dealer working there was Warren G. Tubbs, a house painter by trade but dealer by necessity. For whatever the reason the two struck up a friendship that eventually evolved into a true romance. Poker Alice proved her affection by drilling a drunken miner who was trying to gut Warren with a long bladed knife. The miner had the dealer backed against a wall and was going for the fatal plunge when his paramour’s.38 blew a gaping hole in his knife arm. A few weeks later Warren proposed marriage and a new life as a chicken farmer.

Poker Alice accepted his offer and after a church wedding, the newlyweds bought a nearby chicken farm and settled in to raise a family. Over the course of the next three decades, they raised chickens and had seven children (four boys and three girls). Despite the responsibility of running a farm and raising children, Alice still managed to slip out for some poker action a few nights every week. During this time she was reputed to have been able to make as much as $ 6,000 gambling on a good night – a small fortune at the time. Alice later said time spent on her ranch was some of the happiest days of her life and she did not miss gambling, but liked the peace and quiet of the ranch.

While her children were growing up, Alice tried to keep them away from the gambling houses and at one point, she and Warren decided to homestead a ranch northeast of Sturgis on the Moreau River. The move came shortly after Warren contracted tuberculosis and Alice planned to nurse him back to health.