Colorado's Gambling Gal

  Alice Ivers, the poker faced, cigar chomping, lady gambler began her career in Lake City Saloons. Born in England in 1851, she attended a select girl’s academy before marrying mining engineer Frank Duffield in the 1880s. The blond, well-educated and reverent young woman lacked all of the qualifications of a professional gambler, but was fascinated by games of chance. She was immediately attracted by the Lake City night life and activity at the poker tables. After Frank was killed in a mine explosion, Alice briefly taught school in Lake City, then turned to the green covered felt for her livelihood. Her reputation as “Poker Alice” was well on its way.

  One memorable evening in Silver City, New Mexico, Alice “broke the bank.” When the gold dust settled, Alice had over $5000 in her purse and was on her way to New York to shop. Her English accent helped her separate men from their money and was a welcomed, well-paid dealer at any gaming house. During her career, she shot two men, one fatally, and later opened an establishment where a man could gamble and find female companionship when he tired of cards. Although leading a colorful life, Alice would not deal cards on Sunday. Rather, she would call the girls together and in her faint English accent, teach them Sunday school lessons. Such was the life of Poker Alice.

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