Poker Alice is a legendary figure in gambling. She represented one person’s struggle against a fate intent on grinding you down. She was a woman in a time when being a woman meant you either had to toughen up or lie down and accept your fate. Alice chose to fight back, using the skill she was born with, being a deadly Poker player.
Alice managed to rise up each time life knocked her down, stronger and more resilient than before. With her trademark cigar in her mouth, Alice certainly will be a figure long remembered.
Coming Into The World
Alice Ivers was born in 1951 in England originally but her family moved to the New World, searching for their fortune. They ended up in Virginia where Alice attended a boarding school, as her parents wanted her to be refined and well mannered. When Alice was a teen, the family packed up and headed to Colorado, or at least what was to become Colorado.
It was in Leadville, Colorado that the first steps of fate were taken by Alice. She met and fell in love with a mining engineer named Frank Duffield. Frank was not just a smart and educated man, but also a Poker fan. The couple would sit and play together and they noticed that Alice seemed to have a natural knack for the game. Unfortunately the couple’s happiness would be short-lived. Frank was tragically killed in an accident when he went to reset a failed dynamite charge in a local mine.
After her husband’s death, Alice would start really living her life. She made a killing at the Silver City Poker tables and she was known for her skills as much as she was known for her lavish lifestyle and unique dresses that she would wear to games. She was soon quite a local celebrity.
Her Second Husband
In 1890, fate would step in again and pair up Alice with her next husband, Warren G Tubbs. At this stage Alice was working as a dealer in Deadwood South Dakota and one night, a drunken miner started getting rowdy in the establishment where she was working. Tubbs was her co-worker and also a dealer in the saloon. The miner lunged at Tubbs with a knife, taking exception to a bad hand he was dealt.
Alice soon sorted the character out by pulling her .38 out, probably while still chomping on her cigar. We don’t know if there was chemistry between Tubbs and Ivers before, but after this heroic incident the two were soon married.
This second marriage is where Alice had her only children. The couple had four sons and three daughters. The family decided they are done with the seedy world of Poker in their town and moved to Sturgis. Tubbs still remained a dealer in the area and he also took up house painting. In 1910, Tubbs met his end battling a bout of Pneumonia during a particularly harsh blizzard.
Alice took a wagon 50 miles to get her husband buried in his hometown. To pay for the funeral, she had to pawn her wedding ring. She remarried for a final time in 1913 to George Huckert. Apparently she owed him $1000 and it seemed much cheaper to marry him, than to pay him.
Her Poker Career
It was the death of her first husband that pushed Alice to take on Poker seriously. She became so well known that she would draw crowds when she played, yet she still kept to her values, including never playing Poker on a Sunday.
She is said to have won more than $250 000 in her lifetime, no small fortune by those days’ standards! She could count cards and was a master of the odds, which is probably why the only things she carried consistently were her .38 revolver and her trademark cigars.
Alice eventually opened up the Poker Palace, a combination gambling house and bordello. She was arrested multiple times but always managed to get out of confinement. She passed away in 1930 after a failed gall bladder removal operation.