Wild Bill Hickok – Famous Gamblers

Wild Bill Hickok - Famous Gamblers

Imagine Wild Bill (James Butler) Hickok in his prime – a commanding figure with a stern expressive face, brown hair hanging down on his shoulders, a droopy eyebrows, a ruddy face, and tan skin – the image has stayed to be one of the most recognizable faces in the history of American gambling. Whether at a poker table or in some other casino, this gambler was known for his wit and his characteristic dry humor – attributes that also made him many victims along the way.

Hickok was born in Virginia in 1837. His father owned a bank but died when Bill was still a student. In order to help with the bank, Hickok joined a traveling traveling carnival, which gave him the opportunity to see all the different sides of the country. He took the stage as a sideshow act and ended up leaving the carnival when his playing costs were too high.

After he left, he tried to find work as a dealer in local poker rooms, but he had no success. Discovering his love for gambling, he decided to devote the rest of his life to it. He quit his job in San Francisco and soon became a professional gambler. He worked as a gambler before the First World War and died broke in 1920 at the age of 64.

The stage was set for the next career of Hickok when he was introduced to the game of blackjack by a traveling toy salesman named William Mciphanna. Mciphanna was a known gambler who had started in the early 1920s in Atlanta, Georgia. Hickok became fascinated with the game and began taking notes on the professional poker players he met on the road. Hickok took over writing the hand histories for the professional players and continued to do so up to his death. These hand histories were the main basis of his legendary Wild West stories that invented the legends of such characters as Duey Jackson, Wild Bill Hickok, and Wild Bill Hickock. Web ufaslot

Another legendary figure tied into the history of gambling and the history of blackjack is the Irish born, Las Vegas based, insurance salesman,Billy Baxter. Baxter was the first insurance agent in the history of Las Vegas. He hired hundreds of young men to work as his agents until his death in 1987.

These men and women risked their lives to make a good living and were superb bridge players. Baxter developed a technique of playing that was totally different from anything ever played before. In his technique, players were dealt three cards instead of two and they had to decide which of those cards they would hold and which they would discard. This technique became the foundation of the “roulette strategem”.

Before playing professionally, Baxter was a known card shark and had to disguise himself to avoid being recognized. He began playing the pots at Bobby’s Room. Hands that contained five cards or more, were not to be played. As the cards were dealt, if there were something that looked suspicious, players were to bluff by abused cards. His bluffing was legendary and he became an instant hit at the tables.

Not everyone was a Baxter fan. When he discovered a cheater he decided to expose him. Baxter had the unmistakable Boom Budd personalized t-shirt on his whiteboard. That is the only Astros logo I have ever seen on a t-shirt.

During the World Series of Poker in the 1970s one of the cards falling waserbite 007. It was the middle of the night and Baxter was driving to his car. He was driving with Frank Wolverton and sat behind Wolverton’s car. When the cards were dealt, Baxter pulled out a martini and began to drink. When he had another drink, he accidentally spilled the crush. It was crushing and knocked the top of the container. When the dealer announced what had happened, Wolverton picked up a two hundred dollar chip on theeriway and shouted, “He’s our shooter tonight!”

B Baxter vs. Frank Wolverton in a poker game full of Ungans.

vey won and went to the hotel. Baxter II was fired!

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