December 31, 2011

Big mit: A Soapy Smith rigged poker game story from 1894.

"Big mit" in action

Big mit/big hand:  A crooked poker game set up by the Soap Gang. 

Looking through the thousands of xerox copies made from rolls of microfilmed newspapers I came across the following in the Denver Rocky Mountain News March 28, 1894.
LOOKING AFTER HIS PELT.
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L. A. Varner claims to have won $360 in a gambling house over the Niagara saloon at Seventeenth and Market streets, and when he asked the proprietor to cash his chips he refused. Jeff Smith says that Varner has cost $4,000 in the last week and he doesn't propose to leave any shorn lambs around unprotected during the cold spell.
——————
What does this exactly mean?

The facts:
Interesting that the newspaper calls the Tivoli saloon, the Niagara saloon. Was there a name change? Did Soapy sell the saloon part of his business (again) and/or put "new management" in control of it? Was the sale real or just on paper as in other "sales." The upstairs gambling house, unnamed, is under Soapy's proprietorship.

The $360 won by Varner is the equivalent of winning $11,051.66 today. Soapy states that Varner "cost $4,000 in the last week...," the equivalent of $122,796.23 today.

It's the last statement statement made by Soapy that has me stumped.
Jeff Smith says that Varner has cost $4,000 in the last week and he doesn't propose to leave any shorn lambs around unprotected during the cold spell.

PLEASE, any suggestions as to the meaning?



Sources:
Rocky Mountain News
Tom's Inflation Calculator



ADDITIONAL NEWS!

Keith Cobb, professional magician and big fan of Soapy Smith wrote me to let me know that plans are going forward with the first annual Soapy Smith wake in Chicago set for July 2012. This event will mark the third official Soapy Smith event set for July to coincide with the families annual wake. Keith is such a big fan of Soapy's that he traveled from Chicago to Hollywood just for the Soapy Smith Night event held annually at the Magic Castle. We here at the Soapy Smith Preservation Trust are very proud of Keith's accomplishments in his personal business ventures as well as his honoring Soapy in such a grand way. If you have not done so yet I think some encouragement and thanks are due him! — J.S.    













Big mit:  pages 87, 197, 248, 483, 505.



Jeff Smith









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