Soapy Smith - One of the First Poker Cheaters

Jefferson Randolph Smith II who is also known as Soapy Smith was a very famous con artists in his time. He was also a gangster as well as an operator of saloon and gambling house. He is known as a crime boss of the Old West. The best scam of his life was the soap sell racket that stays even in his death. He was traveling as well as operating his business in different parts of United States especially in the Western part. He is very famous because he organized huge criminal operations in Creede, Colorado, Denver, Alaska and Skagway from the year 1879 up to 1898. He passed away because of shootout that happened in Juneau Wharf.

Becoming a Star

The popularity of Soapy Smith started in 1889 when he assaulted John Arkins who was an editor in Denver. John was working for Rocky Mountain News. The company where John worked declared a war against Soapy and his gang. They were publishing articles to give warning to people about bunco gang all over the United States. The popularity of Smith increased until the time he died. There was a story released in July of 1898 all throughout America that a brave man had sacrificed in order to stop a vicious con man from victimizing Skagway and to free the place from crime.

Soapy Smith in Fiction

There was a book published in 1907 about Soapy Smith and it was written by an aspiring politician named Chris Shea. There are photographs taken by professional photographers of Skagway. The booked was entitled “The Soapy Smith Tragedy”. This is the very first book that was able to publish all about Smith.

In 1950’s Soapy Smith was viewed as Robin Hood who was helping orphans, widows, and poor people. Smith became an instant hero during that time because of these stories. He had been also viewed as a loyal friend who stands by his men no matter what happened. He was also been connected to popular men like Ed Big Ed Burns and Texas Jack Vermillion. They liked playing poker games to cheat and win huge amount of money in every game. Because of his ability to lure players using his acting ability, he turned tables to their side and take away the pot.

How We Remember Soapy Smith

He also was an owner of Tivoli Club which was a gambling hall as well as saloon that was located at southeast corner of Market. At the entrance you will see a sign “caveat emptor” which is a Latin word that means let the buyer beware. He also owned other fraudulent businesses like lottery shops, diamond auctions, selling of fake watches and selling of stocks for nonexistent businesses. All of these are fake businesses.

He is known now as the very first poker cheater in the gambling history that uses his ability to win huge amount of money out of poker. Today, many poker players are using their ability to bluff other players in order to win the game. Unfortunately, many poker players are now aware of this kind of scam.

Poker Quotations

You have to learn what kind of hand this guy shows down, what that one's moves, watch the veins in his neck, watch his eyes, the way he sweats.
Johnny Moss (1975)

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