Gambling Queens of the Wild West

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In the popular imagination, gambling is generally associated with men, by default. Historically, casinos were considered to be male establishments. But over time, the situation changed, and more and more women appeared in the sphere of entertainment: in poker, roulette, and just sports bets. So, men got serious rivals in institutions of this type — the fair sex!

Each time period probably had its famous lady players; however, we’re going to pause here and linger a while in the good old Wild West period. So when you think about poker rooms back then, you probably imagine a group of untidy men, whiskey next to them, shots, screams, funny noise, and the like.

However, female gambling was also there! This, of course, was not a common occurrence, but some ladies managed to become as famous as male players.

Poker Alice

Alice Ivers was born in the English city of Devonshire on February 17, 1851. A few years later, a silver rush began in America, and Alice and her parents moved to Colorado, closer to the booming mines. There Alice met her future husband, who was a mining engineer. Soon they moved to the city of Leadville, where Alice’s husband was offered work in the mines. Having settled in a new place, Alice realized that life in this city was far from ideal. She was quite surprised when she found out that her husband loved to play poker, and sometimes did it completely recklessly. In order to somehow find a way to discourage him from playing, Alice visited saloons with him and soon became addicted to poker. Her husband was her main teacher: he helped her learn all the combinations and the rules of this game.

Until the 1880s, Alice played poker solely for pleasure: but then, during an explosion at the mine, the husband died, and the young woman was left almost without a livelihood. She got a job as a casino dealer, and her skill at poker increased every day. Few believed that this beautiful lady with excellent manners could not only play a game like this, but also shoot a pistol at undesirable rivals perfectly; but this was actually the case! Alice gambled all over the West: from New Mexico and Arizona to Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and South Dakota.


In one of her poker games, Alice won a brothel. She wanted to turn it into a poker house, but her attempts were ultimately unsuccessful. In 1914, an accident occurred when Alice shot into the air to establish discipline in a brothel, and a bullet ricocheted into one of the visitors and killed him. After a series of trials, Alice pleaded not guilty. The court considered her actions as permissible self-defense; in addition, the defendant was about 80 years old, and the judge received a good bribe from her.

Poker Alice attracted many male players to the table: and thanks to her ridiculous facial expression (poker face), she had an advantage that often led her to win up to $6,000 in one night! Three husbands, a revolver, and her own salon — this is how this female poker player was remembered eventually.

Kitty Leroy

Kitty Leroy was born in America and was known since the age of fourteen, when she started throwing knives and shooting from a gun. From time to time, she worked as a dancer in pubs, and became famous among the people as a hot girl of the Wild West. Card games were easy for her, and soon this hobby became a real profession, which was highly paid and in-demand among fans.

Her ambitions prompted Kitty to open her own casino: and she not only managed the establishment but also worked as a dancer, dealt cards, and played with visitors at the same table. Kitty and her employees dressed exclusively in colorful costumes, which was remembered by the guests.

The death of fatal beauty was as bright and passionate as her life. Kitty’s fifth husband, in a fit of jealousy caused by a heated family quarrel, shot her and then himself!

Lotti Deno

Carlotta J. Tompkins, born on April 21, 1844, in Warsaw, a Kentucky town. She was fortunate to be born into the family of a wealthy planter, and she was also a successful player. The father of Lottie, as the girl was called in the family circle, always took his daughter with him, going on business negotiations or gambling. And although Lottie was educated in the best Episcopal school at the convent, she literally grew up in casinos and racecourses, both American and European; thanks to the wealth of her dad, which allowed them to travel around the world, and was fond of poker.

Then the Civil War began, the father did not return from the front, and the family was left without a livelihood. Then Carlotta changed her name to Lottie Deno and went with the adventurer Johnny Golden to conquer the world. The couple traveled from city to city, but after a while, they parted.

Then Lottie went to Texas, where her talent was noticed by casino owner Frank Thurmond. He offered the young gambler a position as the croupier, and she agreed. But Miss Deno could not stay in one place for a long time, she persuaded Frank, with whom she had already begun a romantic relationship, to sell the casino and go on a trip. After many adventures and escapes from the police, they got married. By that time, Lottie and Frank had made a huge fortune on cards, so they bought a luxurious house and began to live a calm peaceful life. The famous gambler became a loving mother and the keeper of the hearth.

Eleanor Dumont: Madame Mustache

Madame Dumont appeared from nowhere. Until now, no one knows when and where she was born and what she did, before one day in the morning of 1854 she left the postal stagecoach in Nevada. It appeared that the beautiful stranger spoke five languages ​​and had musical talent … And Madame actually had a rare gift, especially for a woman – she played cards very well!


The whole city soon found out about this: a week after her arrival, the Frenchwoman, introducing herself as Eleanor Dumont, rented a small corner in one of the gambling houses and invited everyone to play for money at her table. The players were sticking to her table like flies to honey: a woman playing cards was a really exotic sight in the Wild West of the second half of the 19th century! In addition, Madame was a witty, friendly, and seductive interlocutor with sophisticated manners. It took quite a bit of time for her to successfully open her own Broad Street gambling house.

Unlike all other houses, in the Dumont house, it was not allowed to be rude, to quarrel, or to engage in fights. Sitting at the table, you had to take off your hats. Madame favored fresh clothes, did not like dirty shoes and unkempt hair. Like a true Frenchwoman, she offered free champagne to all the players; and before the game, she considered it her duty to pay attention to everyone who came to her game. Madame Dumont not only knew how to win, but also how to lose: she parted with the lost money with a smile.

Unfortunately, the years play a cruel joke with Madame. The chic fragile Frenchwoman turned into a full woman with bags under her eyes and … a thick black hair under her nose. People began to call her Madame Mustache behind her back; and under this name, she entered the history of gambling.

Madame spent the last years of her life in Body, California, which today is known as a tourist ghost town. They say that a few hours before her death, Madame played her favorite game – twenty-one – and won a couple of hundred dollars, and then she left the city with a bottle of potent poison. Why? Well that will remain a mystery to us, as well as how old she was … However, women prefer not to talk about such things.


Nowadays, almost every woman can relax and play games whenever she wants. Women play no less and no worse than men, making them truly formidable competition for their male counterparts!

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