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> The "Sports"



 The Men and Women of the "Sporting Fraternity" were all skilled players, meaning they could work  wonders with cards or dice. Many times they were referred to as "Artists" because of the magic they  could perform. Does that mean all professional gamblers were cheaters? No, but they had to know  how to work the cards in order to overcome someone who was cheating.

 A professional gambler could not stake his future on Lady Luck. He had to learn every move a crooked  gambler could and would use in order to survive. When he sat down at a table with fellow professional  gamblers each would make their best moves in order to come out on top. It was not only customary, it  was necessary.

Old West Gambling,Frontier Gambling,Old West

 Men like Mason Long , J. H. Green and Kid Canfield, who were  "accomplished" gamblers in their time, but eventually found a new calling  and exposed the shady side of gambling in books they authored.

Long's book titled; The Life of Mason Long, the Converted Gambler was first published in 1878. Green wrote two books; The Reformed Gambler and the Secret Band of Brothers. Canfield's book titled, The Reformed Confidence Man and Gambler was published in 1911.

Female gamblers presented a whole different problem for the cowboy who chose to chase lady luck. Remember those guys aged from 17 to 21 years old on average and had spent the last three months or more pushing cattle out of Texas to the rail heads in Kansas.

Old West Gambling,Frontier Gambling,Old West

 Those boys didn't have a chance of winning as you can plainly see.

 In fact, in the book, " The Diary of a Forty-Niner, edited by Chauncy L.  Canfield",  a young man in California spent $150.00 for new clothes and  traveled over 100 miles to see a French woman who was dealing cards. The  sound of her voice was so exciting that he later wrote in his diary: "She's  got a voice like music and just her speaking to me in that way put me all in  a flutter."