I get many requests for stories about the “old days”. Mostly they want me to recount the robberies I went through in my poker career. I was robbed at gunpoint five times so I’ll give an account in each new blog.
I was twenty four years old in 1957 and had just turned pro. I was doing all my playing in Fort Worth, Texas on a street called Exchange Avenue. Exchange was the street leading into the stock yards in Fort Worth and was the most unbelievably violent place you could imagine. I played there for three years before I started travelling around south looking for games. I personally saw five people killed on that street before I left and heard of many more deaths. This particular night we were playing in a lowball game in the back room of a pool hall. The door leading into the room was suddenly knocked down and four uniformed policemen charged in with drawn guns. We tried to protect ourselves against getting robbed and we had a man with a shotgun sitting on a high platform behind the game. But when he saw the uniformed policemen, he understandably dropped his weapon. We were used to being arrested, taken down to the police station and paying a fine for gambling, then being released. It was part of the risk of illegal poker but when these guys started taking our money from the table and searching us for more, we realized those “policemen” were really robbers. My best friend at the time was Sailor Roberts who had a terrible temper when he got mad, which wasn’t very often. Sailor started cursing them and refused to give them his money. We tried to restrain him but one of the thieves got to him and hit him with a pistol, knocking out one of his front teeth. That was the end of anyone trying to save money. The robbers left and we never heard anymore about them. On Exchange Avenue those type of things never got reported to the real police. We accepted it as part of the price of our lifestyle. It looks like the cash games in Vegas are really starting to come around. Although the stakes are much lower than before Black Friday, there are mid-range games every day with more and more players participating. If there wasn’t so many new games like Badeucy and Badacey that most folks have never played, we would pick up lots of tourists who love to play poker but don’t like the ultra-high stake games. But that’s one thing that doesn’t change, poker creates different types of games that require different strategies and broader knowledge. I’ve got to leave and go to the casino and play now. I’m averaging 9-10 hours 7 days a week. Kinda hard on me at my age but as my Dad used to tell me, “you gotta make hay while the sun shines”.
May the flop be with you!