Wild Bill Hickok. The very name conjures up images of dusty trails and pearl-handled revolvers and long blond locks and card games and why a cheater should never sit with his back to the door. Often confused with that other famous Bill, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok was a lawman and a gambler and a rambler and I guess he always will be. Hickok had all the attributes required for a Wild West legend and then some some. Unlike Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok had courage to go along with his good looks and skill with a gun. (In fact, Earp didn’t even possess that, really; Wyatt Earp’s only real talent with a revolver lay in sneaking up behind his victims and cowardly cold-cocking them.) By contrast, Wild Bill’s long yellow locks, penetrating eyes and heroism as an Army scout are not dependent upon highly fictional Hollywood recreations of factual events in the way that pitiful Wyatt Earp was.
Wild Bill also holds a place in gambling legend; when you bet on a poker hand made up of two Aces and two Eights, what you’ve got there pardner is what is known as the Dead Man’s Hand. Why? Because that is final deck that Wild Bill ever played; the hand he was holding when a young man named Jack McCall sauntered into the saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota where Wild Bill sat playing cards. Wild Bill Hickok normally made a habit verging on obsession of never sitting anywhere where his vision couldn’t take in a panoramic view of everything in sight. There was a good reason for that and a bad result the one time he lapsed. Jack McCall calmly walked up behind Wild Bill and shot him point blank in the back of the head not terribly long after America had celebrated her first 100 years of existence. Such was Wild Bill’s ferocious reputation that McCall’s explanation for his Earp-level cowardice was confined to these immortal words: “I didn’t want to commit suicide.” Even aged and slowed down by alcohol, one didn’t willingly do anything that might cause one to come to face to face with the barrel of Wild Bill Hickok’s pistol. One might well assume that Wild Bill Hickok was a legendary gambler because he really knew how to play cards, right? He also knows how to effectively master playing dominoqq. These games are considered to be one of the best online.
Once again the facts serve to sneak up behind history and shoot it at point blank. In fact, Wild Bill was not even close to be a master of the art of poker. Even though Wild Bill supported himself as a gambler in between marshalling gigs, his success was far more dependent on cheating than on any intrinsic ability such as being able to bluff or knowing the laws of statistical probability. In fact, Wild Bill Hickok almost never walked away from a poker game with his winnings intact unless he had managed to somehow cheat. But there was something else that contributed to Wild Bill’s amazing ability to make a living as a gambler with poor skills. The number of men with the intestinal fortitude to face down Wild Bill when he refused to pay up after losing was shockingly low. Wild Bill survived as a gambler not just by cheating, but by not having to shell out when he did lose.
Wild Bill must have been some sight to play a game with. Easily ticked off and given to an almost manic need to throw himself body and soul into a poker game, legends about Wild Bill poker playing became almost mythic as time passed. Perhaps the most iconic story about Wild Bill Hickok’s unique approach making a living a gambler took place one night when he was playing in Iowa. At the time, Bill was a scout in the army and poker was the method of choice for making time pass. Hickok started losing and losing big and his notorious temper finally drove a stake into his heart; his blood pumping along with adrenaline, Wild Bill began to raise the stakes on one particular hand. The money was enormous and it was a cinch that whoever won the hand would walk away, content to stay temporarily liquid. Bill’s primary opponent in the game showed three jacks, to which Wild Bill countered with a full house constructed of Aces over Sixes and threw the cards triumphantly down onto the poker table. There was only one problem: Wild Bill Hickok had said he had a full house, but the cards on the table revealed that Bill had actually held only two Aces, not three. Even worse, he’d been holding only one six and not two. what Bill was really holding, McDonald erupted in a fit of anger, telling Wild Bill that he only saw two aces and one six. When his poker opponent dared to suggest that Wild Bill had perhaps been somewhat less than totally forthcoming, Wild Bill reached for his revolver with one hand and a great big shiny knife with his other and said, “Here’s my other six, and here’s my one-spot!”
The method by which Wild Bill Hickok’s Iowa poker victim reacted was in the form of four words that the long-haired lover of Calamity Jane must have heard countless times during his life. “Take the pot, Bill.”