Poker Alice – The First Great Female Poker Player


Poker was a popular pastime in the Wild West, and Hollywood pays homage to many films in this sport that revolve around poker or feature it in one of its scenes. What Hollywood doesn’t say is that all the poker players were men. Sure, it was a macho society where gambling was almost a “man’s job,” but there were a few women ahead of their time who actually played it professionally.

One of the most famous female poker players of the 1880s was Poker Alice. She was a smart, independent, and colorful woman who would rather let stereotypes keep her from meeting men on the table as equals — something denied to most frontier women. Despite this prejudice, many of the “tough” men who outplayed Poker Alice asked her if she could join a game, about $ 225,000 in her sixty-year career situs judi qq online.

Poker Alice was born in England in 1851. Her real name was Alice Ivers. When she was three years old, her parents decided to migrate to America and it was there that she found poker.

Alice’s father was a schoolmaster, and her mother raised her to be the “prim” and “proper” lady. She studied in a seminary of fashionable women, and when she was 20 years old, she did the “respectable” thing and married a wealthy and educated mining engineer, Frank Duffield.

Duffield was an avid poker player, and Alice dutifully accompanied him on his games. She learned to play. Then, the couple moved to Leadville (the largest and most lawless mining town in Colorado). Tragically, her husband was killed in a mining accident, and she had no way of returning home and no job to support herself. So she put her mind to gambling skills, and became known for her not only Colorado but her delicate beauty but also her incredible poker skills. She defied all stereotypes by wearing a gorgeously feminine dress while wearing a cigar, and though she was bluffing at a master and could outwit (and outskirts) the best of them, she decided to gamble on Sundays. Alice’s motto was, “Praise the Lord and place your bets. I’ll take your money with no regrets.”

Alice’s fame spread from Colorado across the country, and America was the “beautiful lady gambler” of talk with a buzz. Gambling halls scrambled to invite her to play at their salons, knowing people would be able to flock, meet or even play against her.

Alice’s reputation was well deserved. In Gold City, New Mexico, she set the record at the Gold Dust Gambling House winning $ 6,000 in one evening.

Bob Ford (the killer of Jesse James) hired her to work as a dealer in his tent saloon. Alice happily returned to a quieter life, marrying another dealer, W. G. Tubbs. Unfortunately, he died of pneumonia in the middle of a blizzard, and she drove 50 miles for her body in harsh weather conditions just to give him a decent burial.

Alice went back to gambling, and opened a roadhouse called “Poker’s Palace.” She was already 70 years old, but she was still sprightly, even shooting a self-defense in a Calvary trooper. “At my age I suppose I should be knitting,” she’d say, “But I would rather eat than five or six ‘experts’ with a play poker.”

Poker Alice was a legend. She died in 1930 at the age of 80.

Paul Graham is a poker enthusiast, a writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant. You can visit his blog and sign up for free blog updates by email, along with game winning tips, tested poker strategies, the latest poker news, free poker tools, additional resources, and a whole lot more!

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