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Can O History - Poker Alice

Illustration for article titled Can O History - Poker Alice
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I was watching Ellery Queen last night and Gilbert Gottfried just made a David Wayne reference playing the Mad Hatter on Batman. David Wayne was also in a 1987 TV movie called Poker Alice, starring Elizabeth Taylor, that was his last credit. Poker Alice was a professional poker player in the Old West. This is how I find my topics.


After the death of her first husband, Alice started to play poker seriously. Alice was in a tough financial position. After failing in a few different jobs including teaching, she turned to poker to support herself financially. Alice would make money by gambling and working as a dealer. Ivers made a name for herself by winning money from poker games. By the time Ivers was given the name “Poker Alice,” she was drawing in large crowds to watch her play and men were constantly challenging her to play. Saloon owners liked that Ivers was a respectable woman who kept to her values. These values included her refusal to play poker on Sundays.

As her reputation grew, so did the amount of money she was making. Some nights she would even make $6,000, an incredibly large sum of money at the time. Alice claimed that she won $250,000, which would now be worth more than three million dollars.

Ivers used her good looks to distract men at the poker table. She always had the newest dresses, and even in her 50s was considered a very attractive woman. She was also very good at counting cards and figuring odds, which helped her at the table.

Alice was known always to have carried a gun with her, preferably her .38, and frequently smoked cigars.


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