Her first husband, Frank Duffield, taught her the game. He was a Leadville, Colorado mining engineer who died only a few years after they were married, (wasn't too good at setting a dynamite charge) but Alice went on to fame
throughout the west. She dealt poker at one time for Bob Ford at his tent saloon in Creede, Colorado, but mostly roamed the country, a "player" celebrated enough to earn that cool and colorful nickname. She was an attraction wherever she went, drawing crowds just to watch her play. Saloon owners liked that, as well as her reputation as a "proper lady" who wouldn't play poker on Sundays. She dressed beautifully, always packed a .38, and often had a cigar in her mouth.
Alice figured she won $250,000 or so over the course of her career, (roughly 3 million dollars in today's money) but -- not surprisingly -- it didn't end well. In 1913, at a saloon and house of prostitution she owned in Meade, South Dakota, some soldiers began to wreck the place over the "Never on Sunday" rule. She shot two troopers, wounding one seriously. No jail time, but her saloon was shut down. In 1928 she was arrested for bootlegging, but was pardoned by the governor "on account of age." From then on, a slow and steady spiral down.
Alice spent her last years in Sturgis, South Dakota, died (broke) after gall bladder surgery in 1930, and is buried there. Not much is known about Mr. Huckert -- husband number three -- except that he died in 1913.
Full disclosure: My interest in her stems chiefly from that splashy moniker, Poker Alice. So full of the time and place... the sound of cards being shuffled and a handful of chips thrown across the table; the smell of brandy in a glass and the warm feel of a Colt in a shoulder holster... (Probably no coincidence that I called one of the characters in Widowmaker Faro Jenny...)
ridiculous they changed Alice's last name, had her come from a wealthy Boston family, win a bordello in a poker game, and marry a bounty hunter... (And Elizabeth Taylor?) The studio suits must have -- like me -- simply liked the name.
It showed up on the Westerns channel this week, and of course I watched it. Trust me, you have better things to do.