Lottery Jackpot, a BILLION Dollar Baby

A Billion dollar jackpot? No, you are not seeing things, and yes, the current USA Powerball Jackpot has sky rocketed to a humungous 1,400,000,000.00! Creating a new world jackpot record.

This is a world first, the first ever Billion dollar lottery jackpot.

How did this incredible lottery jackpot amount happen? Well, in October 2015 the USA Powerball changed its lottery jackpot format. It increased the total numbers to pick from 59 to 69 (of which you need to choose 5 numbers) and the Powerball ball choice was reduced from 35 to 26 numbers (you pick one number) to choose from.

This new format now gives players a one in 24.8 % chance of winning a prize. The new and improved game was designed to create more rollovers and even bigger jackpot which can roll over to 1 Billion Dollars and of course, this is exactly what it has done.

How do I win the USA Powerball lottery jackpot and a Billion Dollars?
If you choose all 6 numbers correctly you win the jackpot!

The Billion dollar lottery jackpot has created a frenzy of ticket purchasing globally (both in the USA and through global online ticketing agencies ) which keeps it growing bigger and bigger by the day, actually never mind by the day, by the hour. From the time of writing this article to the jackpot draw it could increase again.

The jackpot draw is taking place on the 13th January 2016. The number 13 (the date of the draw) being, in itself, lucky for some.

The USA Powerball has made history a couple of times before. It has the highest jackpot prize in the world that has ever been won by a single ticket holder! It also is the lottery that has paid out the highest jackpot in the world to just one person.

The biggest jackpot that has been won on the USA Powerball was a mind blowing $590,500,000.00 which was won by one very lucky ticket holder on the 18th May 2013.
The second largest jackpot ever won on the USA Powerball was a fabulous $580,000,000.00 which was won by two separate ticket holders on the 28th November 2012.

So, to get yourself in on the action for a chance to win this life altering sum of money you need to get yourself a ticket. Join in on this nail-biting game which gives you a chance, for the first time in both human and lottery jackpot history, to win a Billion Dollars.

A small outlay of a few dollars could make all the difference in the World, and it will, for one very, very lucky person!

Extra long current estimate

 

Bat Masterson, Gambler & Gunfighter

William “Bat” Masterson (1851-1921)

“I have been connected nearly all the time in the gambling business and have experienced the vicissitudes which have always characterised the business. Some days… plenty, and more days … nothing.”

Bat Masterson
Bat Masterson

Bat Masterson was born in Iberville, Quebec, Canada. Bat is arguably the most famous lawman of the Wild West. Buffalo hunter, politician, and a sheriff at 23 during which time he ran the Lone Star gambling concession, US Marshal and became later in life a writer. He was an avid gambler, fisherman, and later a sports editor and columnist.

Bat had a wide and well-earned reputation as a top gun and one that was so widely spread that men usually gave into him without forcing him to draw his guns. Bat in his youth  was a person who seemingly loved being in trouble or hovering on the edge of it. Bat belonged to a clan of lawmen, this being himself and his two brothers and they we’re as loyal to each other as the three musketeers! They committed themselves wholeheartedly to taming one of the wildest towns of the Wild West “Dodge City

One of five brothers, they were the offspring of a Kansas Rancher who eventually settled on a prairie farm near Wichita in 1871. Bat Masterson baptised Bartholomew but used the name William Barclay Masterson . The two youngest of the brothers George and Tom would never have any particular claim to fame. Ed,(Edward John Masterson) the older brother eventually became the marshal of Dodge City, Bartholomew (William Barclay) the second eldest “Bat” for short served as the sheriff of Ford County and Jim (James Patrick) the third brother followed Ed as Dodge’s Marshall. Of the three brothers “Bat” was regarded as the leader and the maker of “big plans”.

BUFFALO HUNTING, INDIAN FIGHTING AND SCOUTING

In 1872 at the age of 19, Bat talked Ed and Jim into leaving the farm life behind and an adventure in Buffalo hunting in the wilds of South West Kansas. Ed and Jim would return to the farm occasionally but Bat never returned. Bat followed the Buffalo herds from Kansa down to Indian Territory and into the Texas panhandle, meeting up with adventure that was enough to satisfy the most adventurous of farm boys. At a tiny town called Adobe Walls, which consisted of a total of two stores, a blacksmith and a saloon, he had his first taste of Indian fighting. For 5 days, 35 hunters held off an attack of 500 Kiowa Comanche, Cheyenne and Southern Apache warriors who were creating chaos in the region. Later he rode as a scout for Colonel Nelson Miles during an army campaign, once again in the Texas panhandle area against the same tribes.

BAT’S FIRST GUNFIGHT

In 1876, Bat has his first gunfight at Sweetwater, Texas. The details of the gunfight have never been completely unwound, but what is certain is that Bat took a girl called Molly Brennan from an US army sergeant called Melvin King. When King found Bat and Molly together at a saloon, King opened fire on Bat. Molly threw herself in front of Bat to protect him and the bullet went straight through her, killing her instantly and lodged itself in Bat’s pelvis. As Bat fell and with the sergeant cocking his pistol for another shot, Bat fired back. King died in the army camp the following day. Bat suffered a slight but permanent limp from this gunfight and started carrying a cane. At first this was because he needed it but later used one for effect alone.

DODGE CITY

Bat arrived at Dodge City in 1877 to “settle down”. Handsome with black hair and blue eyes and a well-built body he became something of a dandy and
High Noon Casino was at the leading forefront of frontier fashion.

On arriving in Dodge he wore a south-western sombrero that had a rattle snake band a bright red silk neck chief and a Mexican sash around his middle. Burnished silver plated six shooters in silver studded holsters and a pair of gold mounted spurs. An observer on Front Street jokingly said that all the finery would give Bat the edge in a gunfight by blinding his opponent with all the bling.

Bat had however returned to Dodge not bent on gun fighting but intent on doing business, which was gambling. Ed and Jim were already well established there and Jim was the co-owner of a saloon cum dance hall that was well reviewed by the Dodge City Times and Ed has just been appointed the assistant Marshall of Dodge City.

Bat being Bat, he was in trouble shortly after his arrival and found himself on the wrong side of the law. It all started when Marshall Larry Deger, a huge man who weighed around 300 pounds, was marching a small lowlife called Bobby Gill off to jail for disturbing the peace. Bobby took his time and was walking so slowly that the sheriff saw fit to speed him up by giving him a good few kicks in the rear end. Bat got involved by grabbing the Marshall around the neck, (one or two whiskeys too many? we wonder) which gave the prisoner a chance to escape. The Marshall then tousled with Bat and called for the bystanders to help and get Bat’s gun. With the assistance of a dozen or so men they managed to disarm Bat. Deger then hit Bat with a pistol until he was bleeding form the head and shoved him in jail.  The Dodge times recounted in an article every inch of the way was closely contested, but the city dungeon was reached at last, and in he went. If he had got hold of a gun before going in, there would have been a general killing”.

That same afternoon Ed, Bats brother, performed his first act as assistant Marshall and arrested Bobby Gill and threw him in Jail next to Bat. The following day in court, Bobby got off with a $5 fine and a ticket out of town, but Bat being the brother of a law man had to pay $25 plus costs. He developed a long and abiding dislike for the Marshall Larry Deger as a result.

SHERRIF OF FORD COUNTY

Quick to make his mark, Bats fame and daring spread quickly assisted by the Dodge Times and while his brother Ed became the Marshall of Dodge City, Bat became the sheriff of Ford County. Bat quickly cleaned up his act and discarding his sombrero and sash started to wear a black tailored suit and a black bowler hat. Bat was described by Eddie Foy as “A trim good-looking young man with a pleasant face and carefully barbered moustache, well-tailored clothes, hat at a rakish tilt and two big silver-mounted, ivory-handled pistols in a heavy belt.”

Two weeks after assuming office, Bat proved the confidence that the people had given in appointing him and the creation of the legend as a lawman was entrenched. At a place called Kingsley in Edwards County about 35 miles from Dodge City six bandits tried to rob a train, unsuccessful in this, they fled into the countryside. Two separate operations were set up one by the Marshall of Edwards County and the other by Fort Dodge who sent out troops. Bat did not join either of these parties and instead set up his own operations and by anticipating the bandits movements he took his posse in a driving blizzard to Crooked Creek, about 55 miles from Dodge where they hid in an abandoned camp. Two of the outlaws approached seeking shelter and Bat send one of his men out as a decoy to invite them into camp. As they were brushing the snow off their coats Bat arrested them and turned them over to Edward County. Back in pursuit of the other 4 bandits, Bat took his posse 80 miles south of the neck and into Indian Territory. This hunt was not successful but a month later two of the outlaws arrived in Dodge City hoping for news of the position of the Sheriff’s posse. One of these men was spotted at a dance hall. Bat called for his brothers and took out the bandits without a gunfight. The fifth bandit managed to escape the law for over six months and the sixth was never captured. Bats triumph however was complete.

The smart young lawman became a familiar sight as he patrolled and took his buggy around his area, an enormous area which covered 100 miles from east to west and 75 miles from North to South. Outlaws and horse rustlers started to give the area that Bat covered wide berth.

Ed Masterson
Ed Masterson, Bats older brother.

In April 1878, Bats brother Ed was killed while trying to disarm two drunken cowboys. The town mourned Ed Masterton’s death and every business in town closed down and the windows draped in black cloth.

TRAVELS

After leaving Dodge and over the next forty years, Bat travelled extensively flitting from boom town to boom town, returning to Dodge when his brother Jim needed him, this was in particular for one incident where his brother’s life  , he travelled what he called “a thousand miles” to get back to Jim and come to his aid.

In Colorado he turned up as a gambler in the town of Leadville, in Trinidad as the town Marshall and in Creede he combined both of the above. As Creede’s Marshall he kept such a tight rein that a newspaper reporter wrote “all the toughs and thugs fear him as they do not other dozen men in camp. Let an incident riot start and all that is necessary to quell it is “There comes Masterson”.” As the manager of the gambling house he walked around his own premises in a lavender corduroy suit.

As the years passed and took their toll on Bats reflexes, speed and eyesight he knew he could not live on his reputation alone and so he left the lawman and gunfighters life. In one year in Denver he managed a saloon that had a variety show and it is reputed he married one of the performers, Emma Moulton, and although concrete evidence has never been found that they did marry, their relationship endured until the death of Bat. He also turned to promoting prize fights, he lost his bank roll on bad bets and started to drink heavily.

LATER YEARS

Bat eventually arrived in New York, earning his living as a sports writer. Bat Masterson by now a national celebrity had left his lawman and gun slinging days for good and when he was offered appointment by President Theodore Roosevelt as the US Marshall for Oklahoma, Bat said no to the president in this sad but touching letter. “I am not the man for the job. Oklahoma is still woolly, and if I were Marshall some youngster would try to put me out because of my reputation. I would be bait for grown up kids who had fed on dime novels. I would have to kill or be killed. No sense to that. I have taken my guns off, and I don’t ever want to put them on again.”

Bat passed away from a heart attack while sitting at his desk in New York City on the 25th October 1921.

Bat Masterson is buried at Woodlawn cemetery, Bronx, New York and his epitaph reads “He was loved by everybody.”
High Noon Casino

Ice and Fire Sport

Ice and Fire Sport and the Medieval Age

With the popularity of Ice and Fire or “Game of Thrones” as it is popularly known on TV, a fantasy series based in the land of Westeros.  An interesting mix of medieval, Viking, fantasy and more which can be related back to a few different eras that we can compare to life as we once knew it on planet Earth.  Wondering just what the guys wore during battle and during their sports, how they were made, and the costs of it all got me to do a little digging.

Jousting was the main sport and other games that were prestigious were hunting, fighting, hawking or sword play and this all happened during the medieval age on our planet and so to this era we go.

COST OF GEARING UP FOR SPORT

Mock battles and sports were the great sport of early medieval times and these

English: Rüstkammer, Dresden - plate armour. F...
English: Rüstkammer, Dresden – plate armour. France, before 1588 Deutsch: Französische Plattenrüstung, Dresden Rüstkammer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

were fist fought by knights wearing boiled leather or a quilted gambeson underneath a mail shirt (hauberk).

At this time a mail shirt made of 25,000 rings was the equivalent of the entire income of a good sized village! This of course was way beyond the financial means of an ordinary man in the street. In addition a sword was required and these took nearly 200 man hours of labour to produce in the early 1100’s.  Lances were also the thing of the day and eventually had a specially fitted holster, for want of a better word, which was built into a saddle to house it.  All of the above where then placed on top of a horse which at that time would have cost around a £100, which when the average yearly income was around £40, cost a pretty whack (let’s compare it to the equivalent of purchasing a Ferrari today). The horse being such a huge investment was protected by chain mail itself and had its own set of armour.

MEDIEVAL GEAR ITSELF

In early medieval times open faced helmets were used and these later evolved into a closed steel helmet that was tied at the back with laces.  So to be able to identify the jousters, heraldry was added to the outfit so the sportsman could be identified.  In later times they were replaced by smaller head gear which sported visors.

One weakness of chain mail is that it did not stop a lance and when lanced or wounded the mail could get caught in the wounds and cause complications. Then from around 1286 plated armour began to be worn underneath the chain mail as a solution.

The 13th Century saw further improvements in the horses armour, steel gloves (gauntlets) and rounded shields made of a combination of wood and steel to better deflect blows.

As jousting developed more rules were brought in and the choices of weapons were restricted and the shield became the target for your opponent.  The “vamplate” was developed on lances (a protective plate around the handhold of the lance to protect the hand.) The lances were now made from Applewood or Ash (wood) and had blunt tips, which were made for sport instead of war.  Saddles were made higher and offered leg protection. Plate covered leather was replaced with full plate armour and badges replaced surcoats.

MAEDIVAL IRON FASHION

Supplies of Iron grew rapidly in the 14th Century due to bellows being used with water generated power, allowing for the generation of much higher heat temperatures. Swords as a result became stiffer and sharper and armour got lighter and stronger and more able to withstand impacts. Which reminds me of Jaimes sword, beautifully crafted and given to him as a gift from his father, Tywin Lannister in the epic Ice and Fire fantasy novels.

There were two main centres for armour in the day and they were Milan and Augsburg. In Milan they specialised in smoother armour suited to repelling lances and swords. In Augsburg a more rippled finished armour was produced and this armour was intended to deflect arrows and bolts.

As production increased it became possible to rent a suit of armour or even purchase a second hand one.

By the mid-15th C a highly sought after “white Armour” was being produced. This armour had a weight of just 36kg, and when wearing this baby there was no question of not being able to rise again when knocked to the ground.

HAWKING AND HUNTING – MEDIEVAL STYLE

Wealthy knights imported valuable birds and had fine and expensive hawking gloves made from the leather of a particular kind of sheep, the Mouflon. The best of these skins came from Cordoba, Spain, and in England makers of these gloves took the name of “Cordwainers”.  Hawks were so valuable that from 1360 that the theft of a hawk was punishable by death.

OTHER MEDIEVAL SPORTS

Interestingly other sports described that were enjoyed by knights were shooting with bows and arrows, rock throwing, hurling the lance, dice (gambling?) and a huge variety of other games.

MEDIEVAL WINTER ICE SPORTS

Although there is not much recorded history about the various other winter sports one “William FItstephen” recorded sledging way back in 1175, sliding and curling on ice skates made of bone. Skates such as these have since been found in the London sewers. In Finland skis over 2 meters in length have been found dating back to 2000BC and a sledge dating back to 6500BC.

SPORT SHOES – MEDIEVAL

Well, if you have ever seen any pictures of shoes from the middle ages you will know that they had extremely long toes and these even curled upward! Not great for playing or participating in any kind of sport. These shoes became known as Cracow’s (in the UK) and Poulaines (in France) and reached such ridiculous lengths that laws was brought in to limit the length. Cracow’s had no heel and the toes reached up to 60cm in length can you imagine playing a game of football in a pair of these?

It is unlikely that ordinary people had special clothing for playing sport.  Even after the advent of the spinning wheel in the 14th C, clothing was hard to come by.  It was not often that people (commoners) had more than one set of clothing. The same goes for shoes and the custom of sons inheriting footwear from their fathers is reinforced by the sayings “Following in his father’s footsteps” and “filling his boots” all exist from these days.

Clothing for medieval commoners was plain and very simple stuff. The peasant or commoner wore a tight tunic that was short and belted with rope or leather. He might also wear short pants or trousers made of wool and a felt hat (this is the only type of hat he was allowed to wear).

FOOTBALL – MEDIEVAL

The famous game of ball lived in those days and the ball was made from a cow or pigs bladder and stuffed with sad, straw or chalk and roughly stitched together. A pigs head would often suffice too!

In the 16thC a shoemaker presented the Drapers Company with a new ball which was worth three shillings and four pence for their Shrove Tuesday match, which at the price in the day suggests a top quality item.

It is clear that sport over the years has certainly had its costs and also the gear.

Looking at the cost of jousting and the safety developments in jousting way back then,  I could not help but compare how it reminded me of the huge costs, safety rules and adjustments that have been made in the modern sport of F1 racing sport over the last years, often a trail of Ice and Fire Sport itself and which is also the most expensive sport in the world today!

It is clear that nothing has changed over the centuries and that man will always strive to create both gear and clothing that will give him the edge in his preferred sport.

It all boils down to the same thing , the World of Ice and Fire Sport and the Medieval Ages all required huge sums of money to make things happen. Fantasy or reality, sport and exciting sport adventures in the history of mankind on Earth or in Westeros!


Formula One Grand Prix History

Formula One’s Grand Prix history (briefly known previously as Formula A), Grand Prix History can trace its roots back to the earliest days of motor racing, with the first Grand Prix’s being held from 1906 and its emergence from the up-beat European racing scene in-between WW1 and WW2.

English: "The famous French automobilist ...
English: “The famous French automobilist [Sisz] in his racing machine, after winning the grand prize for the contest over the Sarthe Circuit.” The contest referred to is the 1906 French Grand Prix. Sisz is on the left in the photo, and his riding mechanic M. Martaud is on the right. The car would not appear to be his race winning Renault. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In History 1906 was to be the year of the first Grand Prix. This was a two day event covering 12 laps of a 65 mile triangular course near Le Mans in the sparsely populated Sarthe region (departement). To avoid having to slow down through towns, a temporary wooden road was laid past the village of St Calais along which the drivers could speed at 90mph. In place of the old nation versus nation scenario, this was a maker versus maker race, a 1000kg limit was retained as a part of the emerging rules of racing and only the driver and the mechanic were allowed to make repairs. Detachable wheels were disallowed so damaged tyres had to be slashed off and depots were set up close to the spectator stands so that all could view the crews fetching oil, fuel and water for engines that had up to an 18 liter capacity. This the first grand prix was run over 770 miles. At the last minute it was decided the race would be run in an anti-clockwise direction in grand old roman style. It was won by Ferenc Szisz in a 13 liter Renault in blazing heat with an average speed of 63mph.

Brooklands was opened in 1907 as a response to the ban on road racing in Britain and the 20 mph speed limit. Brooklands was a purpose built course constructed on swampy forest grounds outside Weybridge. It took 700 men, 9 months to construct and cost 150,000 pounds. It was laid out on the model of a horse racing track and with horse racing rules put in place. It was a 2.75 mile course and had a 30 meter wide banked track that reached 8 meters in height. Brooklands was more of a speed track than an endurance track.  In 1907 Captain

Edge set out to break the 24-hour distance record at Brooklands. Medical opinion was divided and betting as to whether he would have a heart attack or go mad in the attempt. Edge ringed the course with lanterns and clocked up 1,581 miles. A French equivalent of Brooklands were roads like Arpajon near Paris, where a stretch of dirt highway was wet down to test cars at speeds of well over 100 mph.

The 1907 Grand Prix was run outside of Dieppe in France, it was run over the period of a day, the circuit was 47 miles long and was 10 laps long. Speeds of over 100 mph were seen here. It was won by Fiat.

In 1908 the Grand Prix was again run over the Dieppe course. The depots were put in front of the pits and sunk into the ground so as not to disturb anybody’s views. Mercedes won. Fed up by being outclassed by foreigners, 17 companies decided to abandon Grand Prix racing in a boycott that lasted until 1911.

By 1911 the US had developed the Indianapolis circuit where 300,000 people watched the first 200 lap race.

 

Grand Prix racing resumed in 1912, the year which marked the coming of the age of the petrol motor and the production of the first completely modern engine. This engine was the creation of Ernest Henry a Swiss engineer working for Peugeot. Henry devised the first multi-valve engine with four per cylinder. Enlarged from three cylinder to seven for racing in Grand Prix’s, Henry won the 1912 French Grand Prix, beating monsters nearly twice their size. Henry was so far ahead of the game that it would be 1983 before standard production cars such as corolla and civic caught up

Henry being more pre occupied with reliability rather than speed and probably never realised just how good his engine was, other manufacturers caught on quickly and the three liter, fast revving Sunbeams managed to finish third, fourth and fifth overall. Fiat developed a new push rod system and the Hispano Suiza developed the supercharger which pushed more air into the engine. At the same time the American Cadillac developed the electric starter motor which eliminated the need for a car to be started by two people.

With a continued trend to shorter circuits and increased laps the 1913 Grand Prix took place near Amiens with a 29 lap and 19 mile circuit. The race was run clockwise, with the stands being on the outside and the pits on the inside which were serviced by a loop road and tunnel for safety of access. As the racing formula became more complex, cars now had to comply with a fuel limit and a maximum weight of 800 kilos. Henrys engines won at both Amiens and Indianapolis and were back in the following years boasting streamlining and four wheel brake systems.

In the last year of racing pre WW1 the Grand Prix moved to Lyon, where the circuit boasted Le Piege de la Mort (the death trap). The latest rules were an engine size limit of 4,5 liters. Mercedes used a simplified, faster revving version of Henrys car which was supercharged to reach 116 mph. Mercedes also introduced team tactics into the sport, sacrificing a car to wear down George Boillots Peugeot.

The effects of WW1 on European motor manufacturers were a huge expansion in production capacity as well as improvements in metallurgy and design as rival engineers such as Mercedes and Rolls-Royce developed lighter, faster revving, supercharged, multi cylinder engines for use in planes. For the USA the 1914-1918 war had been the 1917-1918 war, and while the French, British and Germans were fighting, American motorsport had developed in its own way, they developed a 3–cubic inch capacity formula and improved on the French designed cars which had won the 1914 Indy 500.

The first post-war race, the 1919 Targa Florio was typically demanding and was won by George Baillots brother Andre, who cried, “cest pour le France” and collapsed after the rigors of the race in which he had shot off the wolf infested, rutted mountain tracks at least six times.

Normal Grand Prix racing resumed in 1921 with a three liter maximum capacity and an 800 kilogram minimum weight. This era was dominated by the US Dusenbergs and their “straight eight” engines. They triumphed is a series of European races including the Big one, The Le Mans Grand Prix. (the 24 hour race did not start until 1923).

Plans for a Formula One drivers’ championship were discussed in the late 1930s but were shelved again with the beginning of World War 2.

The WW2 ended on the 15th August 1945 and motor racing returned the following month with a Coupe des Prisonniers held in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. with much of Europe in ruins motor racing was not a high priority. Most cars had not raced in years. Two years later there were still only four Grand Prix, the Swiss, Belgian, Italian and the French, but by this time the FIA had re adopted the 1941 planned formula; 4,5 liters maximum or 1,5 liters supercharged. This formula was intended to encourage as many cars to take to the track as possible, big or small.

While the supercharged Alfas dominated Europe the Argentinians, not as affected by the WW had specialised in its own epic race of a thousand miles called the turismo carretaria. The greatest popular star in these grueling races was 1940 champion Juan Fangio, legendary for his cool head. In 1948 the Argentinian government backed Fangio to compete in Europe in which Fangios own co-driver died in a crash. The following year armed with a Maserati, Fangio took on and won in front of 300.000 fans .

In Europe, the huge new motor racing presence was Ferrari, who had begun making its own cars after Alfa shifted to voiturette racing in 1938.

Enzo Ferraris team made their first car in 1940, but were banned from using his name, so the 8 cylinder 1,500cc motor was called the Tipo 815. Three years later they moved their production to Maranello near Ferraris hometown of Modena, this site was bombed the following year. By 1947 a 1,5 liter V12 Ferrari had appeared. Followed the following year by a supercharged version. 1948 is the year which also marked the year in which Michelin introduced radial tyres and Dunlop created the new lighter tubeless tyres.

In 1947 the decision was made to launch the drivers’ championship. It took until 1950 for the details to be hammered out and in May 1950 the first world championship race was held at Silverstone – in England, where concrete filled oil cans where decked with flowers. The result was a one-two-three victory for the gas guzzling 1,5 miles per gallon Alfas.

The first F1 race had taken place a month earlier in Pau.

Only seven of the twenty odd Formula One races that season counted towards the title but the championship was up and running.

The exciting world of F1 racing had begun.


 

 

 

 

 

The Gambler – Kenny Rogers

The song “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

was one of my fathers Kenny Rogers - The Gamblerfavourite songs, as it is mine and for many others. The words are poignant, powerful and the song is soulful.  A huge hit for Kenny Rogers back in 1978 .. this song is an evergreen.

Here are the Lyrics to this Beautiful Song.

On a warm summer’s evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere, I met up with a gambler; we were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a starin’ out the window at the darkness ‘Til boredom overtook



us, and he began to speak.
He said, “Son, I’ve made my life out of readin’ people’s faces, And knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don’t mind my sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I’ll give you some advice.”
So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression. He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Now ev’ry gambler knows the secret to survivin’ Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
‘Cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser, and the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”
So when he’d finished speakin’, he turned back towards the window, Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even. But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, know when to run. You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, know when to run. You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.



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First lady of Blackjack – Madame Moustache

“Madame Moustache” Eleanor Dumont (also called Eleonore

Madame Moustache - First Lady of Blackjack
Madame Moustache – First Lady of Blackjack

Alphonsine Dumant), has carved her path into notoriety and the history books as a famous gambler of the Old West. Madame Moustache is one of the first known professional blackjack players in America, for thirty years this plucky lady blazed her trail throughout the American West.

San Francisco 1849 – The beginnings of the First Lady of Blackjack

Mysterious in her origin, it is rumoured that she came from France because of her accent and others say New Orleans may have been her place of birth. It is estimated that she was born around 1829. Whatever the truth of her beginnings she turned up in San Francisco in 1849.

Here, she was known as Simone Jules, a petite and pretty French woman in her early twenties. It was here that she quickly established herself as a gambler; she worked as a card dealer at a hotel there called “The Bella Union” where she favoured the game of “Vingt-et-Un. (the forerunner to blackjack). She became known for her ability to handle stress at the card tables and her professionalism. When she was suspected of cardsharping, she left town, but not without making a fair amount of money first.

Nevada City, California 1854 – Her own Business

In 1854, elegantly dressed and wearing fine jewellery Eleanor stepped off a stage-coach in Nevada City, California. She booked in and registered at the local Fepps hotel as Eleanor Dumont. To the curiosity of many, she opened up a sophisticated gambling parlour called the “Vingt-et-Un” (French for 21) on Broad Street.

In her parlour she served champagne instead of whisky, permitted only clean and well dressed and well-behaved men into her establishment and forbade swearing in her presence. This Saloon soon became “the” place to be!  Eleanor was beautiful, witty and charming as well as appealingly foreign, and most importantly, she dealt the cards like a true professional.  No women were allowed in her establishment, other than herself.

Men rushed in from miles around for the privilege of watching a woman dealer in action, which was a real rarity at the time. She kept very much to herself and is not known to have had any relationships during this period in time. She rolled her own cigarettes and drank champagne, she flirted with, yet kept the men that frequented her parlour at a discreet distance, touting herself as a lady.

Europa CasinoVingt-et-Un the forerunner of Blackjack

Dumont’s favoured game, vingt-et-un (French for 21), which was a novelty at the time, and was much like modern blackjack as we know it today with the following differences:

  • Aces were only counted as 11 and didn’t have the option of also being a 1
  • Two aces were also a vingt-et-un (even though they add up to 22)
  • Wagering didn’t take place until after the cards had all been dealt
  • The dealer was the only player who was allowed to double
  • There were slightly different pay outs for card combinations
  • One of the different pay outs was a 10-to-1 for an ace of spades and either of the black jacks.  This high pay out eventually led to the game commonly being called blackjack later even after this pay out was removed.

Her place became so popular, that Dumont took on a partner, David Tobin, a professional gambler from New York, and they opened an even larger place called the “Dumont Palace”.  They added the much more popular games of Faro and Chuck-a-luck and this, her second venture was as equally successful as the first.

Two years after her arrival in Nevada City, she started to develop a pronounced moustache, later earning her the unfortunate nickname of “Madame Moustache.”

Columbia, California 1857 – Murder

The gold eventually ran out in Nevada, but she followed the new strikes and headed to Columbia, California, and in 1857 she set up a table in a hotel there.

Through her success, Dumont had been able to amass a small fortune and she decided that she wanted to leave her profession.

Although she knew little about animals and ranching, she bought a ranch in Carson City, Nevada.  It is here, alone and out of her depth, she soon took a fancy to a handsome cattle man named Jack McKnight in whom she trustingly signed her property over to him for him to manage.  Sadly, Jack McKnight was a con man and in less than a month he had disappeared, selling her ranch and leaving her with all the debt.

Dumont tracked him down and killed him with two blasts from a shotgun.  Although she would later admit to the crime, at the time of the shooting, there was not enough evidence to charge her with his murder.

Pioche, Nevada, in the 1860s – Gambling and Prostitution

Needing money, she returned to gambling again and in 1861, set up her table in Pioche, Nevada.  Unfortunately, her youth had begun to fade and she started to put on some weight, losing her hour-glass figure.  In her youth, she used her fine manners and flirtatious chastity to lure men to gamble, but as time wore on, and women in camps became less of a novelty, the coarseness of the lifestyle began to become more evident as she began to openly smoke, drink whisky, and became more tolerant of the crude manners of the miners.

In 1864 Madame Dumont was known to have been in Bannock, where she became friends with the 15 year old Martha Canary “Calamity Jane” and introduced her to the “fine art” of prostitution.

After leaving Bannock, she and her girls apparently spent a hectic summer following after the construction camps of the Union Pacific Railroad, and then turned up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where miners were mining the Black Hills Gold.

Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1876 – The Mining  Rush Trail

At a certain point, she had added prostitution to her repertoire and then acted as a real “Madame.”  At first offering herself, and later hiring girls to work in her houses. As the money and mining dried up she would move on to the next mining town. As she followed the money she drifted through many Montana mining towns like Bannock, Fort Benton, and Helena.  She was found in Silver City and Salmon, Idaho, and Corinne, Utah.  Silver strikes brought her back to Nevada where she found herself in Virginia City.  Eventually, she would be found in Deadwood, South Dakota, and then Tombstone, Arizona.

In 1877, a Deadwood reporter said of her:  “A character who attracts the attention of all strangers is ‘Mme. Mustache,’ a plump little French lady, perhaps forty years of age, but splendidly preserved. She derives her name, which is the only one she is known by, from a dainty strip of black hair upon her upper lip.  She deals her own game, and is quite popular with the boys, who treat her with marked respect.  She has bright black eyes and a musical voice, and there is something attractive about her as she looks up with a little smile and says, ‘You will play, M’sieur?’” He continued by saying, “No one knows her history. She is said to be very rich.”

In Tombstone, she was known to drum up business by dressing her

Madame Moustache Brothel Advert
Madame Moustache Brothel Advert

girls in finery and driving a fancy carriage up and down the streets, smoking a cigar, to the cheers of onlookers.

As the same miners worked the same camps she frequented, her reputation began to precede her as an attractive, but aging moustached good-natured French lady, fair, strong, and savvy with the cards.

Tales, such as her holding off and getting the better of multiple robbers at once, refusing landing and entry to a steamboat at gunpoint that were reputed to be carrying the dreaded smallpox on board, and her generosity and kindness in offering hospitality to those down on their luck, or her friendship with Calamity Jane, followed her wherever she lived.

After spending some time in Eureka, she finally ended up in Bodie along with the forty surviving miners who had panned for gold at Sutters Mill in California and who all decided to gather in Bodie for a reunion.

Bodie, California, 1878 – The beginning of the end.

Bodie, California,was to be her final and fateful stop in 1878.  Her luck

Bodie, California. Madame Moustaches resting place.
Bodie, California. Madame Moustaches resting place.

had run out, and about a year and a half after her arrival here, she borrowed $300 from a friend to open a table.  Within a few hours, she had lost it all.  Without a word, she left the table, walked a mile out of town and committed suicide by drinking a bottle of red wine laced with morphine.  Her body was discovered the next day, on September 8, 1879, her head resting on a rock and with a note explaining that she was “tired of life.”

The Bodie Morning News reported her death on September 9:

“A Suicide — Yesterday morning a sheep-herder, while in pursuit of his avocation, discovered the dead body of a woman lying about one hundred yards from the Bridgeport road, a mile from town.  Her head rested on a stone, and the appearance of the body indicated that death was the result of natural causes.  Ex-officio Coroner Justice Peterson was at once notified, and he dispatched a wagon in charge of H.Ward [of the Pioneer Furniture Store] to that place, who brought the body to the undertaking rooms.  Deceased was named Eleanore Dumont, and was recognized as the woman who had been engaged in dealing a twenty-one game in the Magnolia saloon.  Her death evidently occurred from an overdose of morphine, an empty bottle having the peculiar smell of that drug, being found beside the body. . . .  The history connected with the unfortunate suicide is but a repetition of that of many others who have followed the life of a female gambler, with the exception perhaps that the subject of this item bore a character for virtue possessed by few in her line.  To the goodhearted women of the town must we accord praise for their accustomed kindness in doing all in their power to prepare the unfortunate woman’s body for burial.”

Miners lamented her passing and one such penned the following epitaph:

“Poor Madame Moustache!  Her life was as square a game as was ever dealt. The world played against her with all sorts of combinations, but she generally beat it. The turn was called on her at last for a few paltry hundred; she missed the turn, none of the old boys were there to cover the bet for her, and she passed in her checks, game to the last.  Poor Madame Moustache.” 

Local residents raised enough money for her funeral, and it is said to be the largest that the town had ever held. Although she is buried in the cemetery in Bodie, California which is now a ghost town, the exact spot of her grave has been lost with time.


High Noon Casino

The Middle Ages and Money In Sport

The Middle Ages and Money in Sport

Back in the days of old when knights were both hard-headed and practical

In medieval Britain the biggest money spinner was the tournament.

A knight on his horse
A knight on his horse

This could be viewed as the most professional sport of all times as it was entirely focussed on collecting booty and ransoms.

With the set up costs of a knight’s kit which was armour, arms and a horse costing more than a knight’s yearly income. A tournament could make or break you.

Later as the price of armour and horses went as high as £100, the risk of losing everything in a tournament became too great and ransoms and formal prizes of cash and plate replaced straightforward booty.

One of the Churches many objections to the sport was that it encouraged the sin of greed.

Money to be made in tournaments

Sports Betting today

Making money was formalised by Richard the Lionheart in Britain who in 1194 was making money in a big way from the sport. The Kings sources of income included ten marks from the five licensed grounds each time they held a tournament. In addition there were entry fees which were graded ranging from 20 marks for an Earl down to 2 marks for a landless knight. On top of this were fines for any non-payment and fees for pardons for any fouls in the field.

Sponsorship and funding

Just like sponsorship today, tournament teams were funded for the prestige they brought to their sponsors.  Keeping and maintaining a team of some 200 knights in the field was a hugely expensive business and was limited to nobility and kings with plenty of cash to burn.

Young Henry the eldest son of Henry II, was famous for his spending on tournaments, he met the daily bills and ransoms of a small army of knights, plus their squires, heralds and other personage. At the peak of his spending it was costing him £200 a day, which was, in those days, the equivalent of a good annual income of a nobleman.

As well as wages and prizes, expenses could also include transfer fees for star performing knights. When William the Marshall an English knight moved to the team of William of Flanders, he moved for a huge fee of one quarter of the rents of the port of St Omer!

Such big spending must have been great for the traders of the areas providing that the tournaments competitors didn’t trash the town, which they managed to do to Boston in 1288.

Profit Sharing and Alliances

The knights who competed in these early tournaments often used professional strategies that had more to do with making money and winning than honour and nobility. In 1170 William the Marshall entered into a profit sharing deal with Roger de Jouy in which they agreed to spilt the 103 ransoms they earned over the year.

Cost Cutting tactics

Cost cutting tactics were done by reducing the amount of the ransom you demanded to encourage a defeated knight to surrender to you as opposed to anther rival. You could have alternatively allow a captured knight to go out and fight again to earn his ransom fee.  In addition to ransoms there were formal prizes on offer for the best performance.

Political Appointments

There were valuable political appointments to be had for the most successful fighters, and William   went about as far as any man could, becoming the regent of England after King Johns death.

Horses – A Knights Mount

After a successful tournament there would be money to spend and the Friday horse market at Smithfield outside the City of London became the place to sell off captured horses, or to eye and try out a replacement or upgrade of your existing mount.
It is here that one of the first recorded races for money happened. King Richard challenged three knights to race over three miles for a purse of gold.

The new sport of Jousting

Jousting - a sport of the middle ages
Jousting – a sport of the middle ages



Even without the expense of maintaining a large unofficial army, Edward III was spending a £100 a week. One of the big incentives would have been the huge prizes on offer and there are references to diamonds being handed out to the winners of Jousts.

Gambling and Betting in Medieval times.

In the Middle Ages betting was extremely popular, especially after the Crusaders had returned from the Holy Land, and where, like the Homeric Greeks at the siege of Troy, they had kept themselves occupied during the long campaign with gambling and gaming.

In response to the violence and trouble that betting could cause, Richard I legislated to limit the stakes and restrict gambling to nobles. This was the beginning of 800 years allowing the wealthy to have their fun  while the working class were restricted.
In the following century the Council of Worcester tried to stop the clergy from gambling and further laws were introduced by Richard II in 1388.

Ancient Sport as a business, how was it done?

Ancient Sport as a Business.

Ancient Sport, Business, Money and Betting 

Since time began there have always been ways of making money out of sport, and most of these have

English: Commemorative stamp of Greece, The Fi...
English: Commemorative stamp of Greece, The First Olympic Games (1896), 2 lepta. Русский: Марка Греции. Первые Олимпийские игры, 1896, 2 лепты (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

been around since the very earliest times.

For organisers of games and contests there is money to be made from the selling of food, drink and souvenirs to the assembled fans or selling others the rights to do so.

For the Athletes there is appearance money, wages, prizes, sponsorship, transfer fees and bribes.

Coaches, agents, managers and sport doctors all make a living from the athletes.

Judges and officials can earn an income from wages, gifts and bribes and of course everybody hopes to profit further by betting on the results.

Betting has always been the most common way to make money from sport and various games and has been around since the earliest years in recorded history.

For Ancient Egyptians it all began when Mercury gambled with the moon and won an extra 5 days to add to the then existing 360 day calendar. In addition Egyptians gambled on board games like senat and tau as well as he more familiar games (to us) which were dice and draughts.

For Ancient Eurasians whose sporting history dates back to about 4500 BC and started amongst the nomadic tribesmen of Eurasia (who it is believed were the first to have first domesticated the horse) and to have also started racing them.

Ancient Indians played dice and bet on chariot racing.

In Arabia, which did not have chariots, horses were tethered far from a water hole in the baking heat and a lengthy distance from the nearest water hole and bets were laid on which horse would arrive first when they were eventually released.

Mesoamericans bet on ball games and Eskimos, Greeks, Africans and Romans all played various versions of roulette using various shields or wheels.

As the bible shows Hebrews were fond of drawing lots.

What about ancient prizes? Even before the Greeks, Egyptians competed for valuable items and Mycenaean’s won brides, yes, even princesses, in foot races!

Greeks Homer, revered as the greatest of Greek Epic Poets and who lived around 8 BC, listed prizes of valuable metal kettles and tripods, horses, oxen, mules and yes, more brides.

Let’s take a deeper look at ancient Greek Sport and how it was funded and money was made.

Ancient Greek Sport

An artist's impression of ancient Olympia
An artist’s impression of ancient Olympia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of today’s big sporting money-makers were already in place at the ancient Olympic Games.

The main source of business funding for the games were sponsors, who were called “angonothytes”, who paid for prizes and the games costs and were rewarded with great power and prestige as a result.

A major uncertainty about the ancient Olympics is whether gate money was charged, although this seems very possible as Greeks charged entrance fees for their theatre. Even if this did not happen there was lots of money to be made from the soothsayers, merchants, artisans and food and drink sellers who arrived at Olympia to sell the 45,000 spectators their goods.

Historian Lance Rancier reckons that there was a thriving sex industry to, which might go a long way to explain why married women were so unwelcome. To substantiate this claim, first century writer Dio Chrysostom tells us that there were prostitutes at other games.

As for the athletes they needed money to pay for coaches, doctors and the use of a gymnasium during long periods of training.

 There are references by writers of the time such as Philostratos to athletes being deeply in debt to their trainers who were to manipulate them to fix results. The late arrival of one Olympian contestant was blamed on a travel hold up but was later found to be him having to wait to collect his winnings from an earlier game.

In the more capital intensive sports such as chariot racing, horses and drivers had to be paid for and the richest men and women of Greece entered the sport for the name of fame and glory. Plutarch says that the 5th Century Princess Kyniska of Sparta entered and won the chariot races simply to prove that big money always triumphed. To compete with such wealth some city states clubbed together to fund entries, such as when the Public chariot of the Argives won in 472 BC.

The Olympics were and still are unusual in the fact that they do not offer cash prizes or appearance money, but there were plenty of perks to be had for winners, including a seat in the Olympic banquet and dining hall known as the Prytaneion. In addition most competitors on returning victorious could expect a handsome pay-out from their home city. These cash free ‘sacred’ games depended on the cities willingness to cough up. In Athens the ruler Solon famously offered 500 drachmae, which was the equivalent of 500 sheep or 10 times the average annual wage for an Olympic win and only 100 at the Isthmian games. Other benefits included personal prestige, statues built and Odes written in your honour, lucrative political appointments, free meals and theatre tickets. (In 1896 when the Greek runner Spyridion Louis won the marathon at the first ever modern Olympics, he was showered with gifts which included shoes, wine, free meals, shaves and a property.) In any case, once a prestigious Olympic victory title was in the bag, there would be plenty of appearance money from other games wanting to attract the big winner’s names. There is record of a whopping 30,000 drachmae, 100 times a soldier’s annual salary being paid to an Olympian champion to attend a local contest.

At most non-sacred games prizes were on offer in the form of silver that slaves dug out of the ground or in olive oil, which was as good as silver as it was traded all over the Mediterranean. A typical prize of 40-50 large jars of olive oil would be enough to buy you a new home virtually anywhere. From about 566 BC the Panathenaic games paid out a full 100 jars. How much oil or silver you won depended on which event you had won. Records from the city of Aphrodisias show that the big wins were from the dangerous sports with 2,000 denarii going to wrestling winners and 3,000 denarii for Pankration (a blend of boxing and wrestling but with hardly any rules).

As for tracks events it was then as it is now for sprinting and worth 1,250 denarii. The worst paying sports were Pentathlon and a race in armour offering 500 denarii each.

Hoplitodromos (armoured race); on the right so...
Hoplitodromos (armoured race); on the right some tripods as winning prizes. Side A of an Attic black-figure neck-amphora, ca. 550 BC. From Vulci. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another source of income for athletes was transfer fees; although we don’t know how much they were we know they existed. In the 5th century BC Heiron or Syracreuse lured Astylos of Kroton, three time winner of the stade (the race, known as the stade, was about 192 metres (210 yards) long) to compete for him while the Cretans hired athletes and Ephesus returned the favour by acquiring a Cretan long distance runner.

Bribes were another source of income. In 388 BC one Eupolis of Thessaly was accused of bribing three rivals in the boxing, including the ex-champion Phormion, and in 332 BC the Athenian Kallipos was caught bribing his opponent in the pentathlon. Quite how extensive bribing was in throughout this era we will never know.

Backhanders to judges happened as well, in its later years assured wins at the Isthmian games were said to be yours for the sum of 3,000 denarii, although the most undisguised bribery happened in the Olympic Games themselves. In AD 67 the Emperor Nero, known as a hard man to refuse bribe the Olympic judges with 250,000 denarii, worth tens of millions of pounds today, to postpone the games and allow him to compete in a special ten horse chariot race. Nero was judged to have won even though he crashed and did not even finish the race!

There are not many direct mentions of betting on results perhaps because it was so common. Six times Olympic champion Milo of Croton was fond of a bet (especially on his own capabilities for alcohol consumption). The writer Nonnus refers to frequent betting and professional fouls in chariot racing around AD 400.

Hmmmm, it has been interesting to see that most of the money making concepts we have today were already in full swing all these eons ago.

 

Famous Gamblers – Poker Alice (1851-1930)

Poker AlicePoker Alice (1851-1930)

The images created of gamblers and gambling during the days of the Wild West by Hollywood and the silver screen is a very romantic one and many gun smoking, gamblers and cowboy legends have been immortalised on screen. One of the most famous gamblers of its time just happened to be a woman … Poker Alice!

The most famous female gambler of the Wild West was Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert known simply as Poker Alice. In the untamed days of the American west, Poker Alice was the queen amongst gamblers. Her gambling career spanned two centuries. She was a key figure of the 1880s and 1890s in which Poker Alice forged both her name and reputation.

Poker Alice, female, a gambler with a British accent and more often than not having a cigar protruding from between her lips. Poker Alice could hold her own in poker against any male opponent and was astute enough never to drink while playing.

Poker Alice had a fine fashion sensePoker Alice had principles and religiously observed the practise of not gambling on a Sunday, she vehemently protected this belief and even went as far as to shoot anyone who violated this religious law.

Poker Alice The Early years

Poker Alice was born on the 17th February 1851, in Devonshire, England and spent her early youth there until her parents immigrated to the USA when she was 12 years old. She was sent to a boarding school in Virginia and was educated and raised to be a genteel young lady. While in her late teens, her family moved to Leadville, a city in the Colorado Territory.

It was in Leadville that Alice transformed herself into the fearless, gun wielding, cigar smoking, professional gambler she became.

It is here she met her first husband Frank Duffield. Frank Duffield was a mining engineer who played poker in his spare time. After just a few years of marriage, Duffield was killed in an accident while resetting a dynamite charge in a Leadville mine. Alice was left in a tough financial position after Frank’s death and 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. Alice made a name for herself by winning money from poker games. By the time she was given the name “Poker Alice,” she was drawingPoker Alice playing

                   Poker Alice in action

in large crowds to watch her play poker and men were constantly challenging her to play. During this time Alice is reputed to have been able to make as much as $6,000 gambling on a good night — a huge amount of money back then.

Alice used her good looks to distract men at the poker table. Winning large sums of money she would spend most of it on the latest fashions. She always had the newest dresses, and even into her 50’s was considered a very attractive woman. She was also very good at counting cards and figuring odds, which helped her at the table when playing poker.

Alice was known to always carry a gun with her, preferably her .38.

Alice met her next husband around 1890 when she was a dealer in Bedrock Tom’s saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. When a drunken miner tried to attack her fellow dealer Warren G. Tubbs with a knife, Alice threatened him with her .38. A romance blossomed and they married soon afterwards. They had 4 sons and 3 daughters.

While her children were growing up, Alice tried to keep them away from the gambling houses and at one point she and Tubbs decided to buy a homestead a ranch northeast of Sturgis on the Moreau River. When Tubbs passed away in 1910 from pneumonia, it is reputed that Alice was forced to pawn her wedding ring to pay for his funeral. This led her straight back to the gaming tables.

After Tubbs died, Alice hired George Huckert to take care of the homestead while she went back to Sturgis to earn some money. Huckert proposed to her several times until she famously said: “I owed him so much in back wages; I figured it would be cheaper to marry him than pay him off, so I did.” His back wages were about $1,008. The marriage was short. Huckert died in 1913.

POKER ALICEPoker’s Palace and Infamy

It was around 1910 that Alice bought an old house on Bear Butte Creek near the Fort Meade Army Post, South Dakota and opened the Saloon. Apparently the house was small and needed extra rooms and “fresh girls” to perk up the business, so Alice went to a bank for a $2,000 loan.

This is how the story is reported, in words spoken by Alice herself: “I went to the bank for a $2,000 loan to build on an addition and go to Kansas City to recruit some fresh girls. When I told the banker I’d repay the loan in two years, he scratched his head for a minute then let me have the money. In less than a year I was back in his office paying off the loan. He asked how I was able to come up with the money so fast. I took a couple chews on the end of my cigar and told him, `Well it’s this way. I knew the Grand Army of the Republic had an encampment here in Sturgis. And I knew that the state Elks convention would be here too. But I plumb forgot about all those Methodist preachers coming to town for a conference’.”

“Poker’s Palace,” as she named it, offered gambling and liquor downstairs, and prostitution upstairs. The saloon was always closed on Sundays because of her religious beliefs.

However, in 1913, some drunken soldiers disobeyed Poker Alice’s “no work on Sunday” policy and started to get unruly and destructive. Poker Alice used her gun to try and gain order. The shots ended up killing one of the soldiers and injuring another, resulting in Alice’s arrest, along with six of her prostitutes. At the trial, she claimed self-defence and was acquitted. Her Saloon, however, was shut down.

While in her sixties,  Alice was arrested several times after the

Poker Alice in her later years
Poker Alice in her later years

“Poker’s Palace” incident for being a madam, a gambler, a bootlegger, as well as for drunkenness. She would comply with the law and pay her fines but kept her business.

In 1928, she was again arrested and sentenced for bootlegging and her repeated offenses of conducting a brothel. Despite this sentence to prison, Alice now 75 years old escaped incarceration as she was pardoned by then Governor William J. Bulow of South Dakota because of her old age.

Poker Alice’s fame, or notoriety, followed her beyond her waning Poker Alice's Graveyears. She died on February 27, 1930 in a Rapid City hospital after a gall bladder operation and is buried at St. Aloysius Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Her “house” stood vacant for many years and it was scheduled for demolition until a Sturgis businessman bought it and had it moved to its present location on Junction Avenue in Sturgis where it is now a bed and breakfast inn and a popular tourist destination for poker enthusiasts worldwide.

 

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