The Old West Petticoat Dealer "Madame Mustache"

Eleanore Dumont, known as “Madame Mustache in the frontier gambling saloons, was truly one of the historical phenomenons of that era. As a young petticoat dealer, she became a “super star” dealing twenty-one on the gambler’s gypsy circuit that roamed throughout the West.

There is debate about Dumont’s birthplace; some say that she was a French born immigrant named Simone Jules while others say she was born in New Orleans around 1829. What is known is that a Madame Simone Jules rolled into San Francisco’s Bella Union Saloon and Gambling Hall in the spring of 1850, took over a roulette table, and created a major sensation. Forty-niners, hungry for a mere glimpse of a beautiful woman were staggered by the young Frenchwoman with creamy alabaster skin, shinning black eyes, a flirtatious smile, and long dark tresses that fell to her shoulders. Within a few days men were standing in line to lose their gold dust to the demure mademoiselle that on very close inspection showed a thin line of downy hair on her upper lip.

The Bella union was packed night and day with players eager to see or play against the marvelous Madame Jules. Not to be outdone the other gambling halls quickly imported French women to preside over their roulette wheels. Over the next few years, women croupiers or dealers became the headliners for most of the gambling operations throughout Portsmouth Square. Then as suddenly as she had appeared Madame Jules disappeared from the scene and her name was not mentioned again in any records or newspaper reports.

Several years later in 1854, a stagecoach rolled onto the dusty streets of Nevada City, California, and a well-rounded young woman emerged. Dressed in fine Parisian clothes and expensive jewels, the whole city was set on its ear by the mysterious raven-haired French woman that descended from the coach. She was small and dainty, with doe-like eyes, a mane of curly dark hair, and just a slight hint of diaphanous down on her upper lip. She said her name was Madame Eleanore Dumont and offered nothing about her past – an inscrutable woman of mystery.

Satisfied with her transformation to Madame Dumont the gambling vixen rented a place in the center of town and hung up a sign naming her establishment, the “Vingt-Et-Un” (French for “twenty-one”). Citizens all over town received invitations to visit Broad Street and enjoy a game with Madame Dumont. Though there were over a dozen gambling halls in Nevada City, the Vingt-Et-Un was the undisputed queen of the sporting crowd. Twenty-one was Dumont’s game of choice and she was a master at the game, sweetly expressing regret as she raked in her winnings. When she closed up her table, she would order bottles of champagne to treat the losers, leading most miners to say that they “would rather lose to the Madame than win from somebody else.”

Miners and townsfolk flocked to the establishment, drawn both by the attraction of winning money and the charisma and wit of the French hostess. Decorum was strictly enforced, customers could not engage in brawling or using vulgar language; strangely enough, the rough crowd of miners found it impossible to resist the polite requests of the tantalizing owner. In a very short time, she moved her operation to larger quarters where she added faro, chuck-a-luck, roulette tables, and a staff of dealers. She called her new gambling hall the Dumont Palace and hired a Nevada City gambler named Dave Tobin to be her manager-partner.

Then over the next two years, the money rolled in on a daily basis, so much so that Tobin, who had moved in with Dumont at the National Hotel, wanted to take control of the operation. When he tried to make his move Dumont flew into a rage – just because they shared a bed did not make him the boss of the outfit. She gave him an ultimatum; if he did not like the arrangement then “get the hell out.” He certainly did not like the setup so after a final settlement he slipped out of Nevada City and headed back east.

When the gold in Nevada City eventually ran dry, Eleanore sold her operation and began a tour of the other mining camps of northern California. She opened her game in the Yuba River settlements of Bullard’s Bar, Downieville, and Sierra City; then moved on to mining camps on the Feather River and later the Klamath. In 1857 she dealt twenty-one in George Foster’s City Hotel in Columbia for more than a year before she moved on to Virginia City where she managed a swanky joint that boasted furnishings valued at over $30,000. It was during these series of California mining camps that she added the “extras” to her table operations – a visit to her boudoir requiring a “room charge.”

Dumont left for the gold strikes in Idaho and Montana in the early 1860s and by the end of her tour, she was approaching her thirtieth birthday. The passing years had not been kind to her; the long nights of cards and debauchery began to take its toll, and her once-legendary appearance slowly started to fade. Looking jaded and spent, she lost her hour-glass figure and what was years before only a faint hint of fuzz on her upper lip, had begun to darken – earning her the sobriquet-Madame Mustache.

At Bannack, she teamed up with man by the name of McHarney in a two-story gambling saloon that featured upstairs cribs for quick trysts with the young dancehall girls that worked the saloon below. They had the operation up and going for only a short time before her partner was shot to pieces in a gun battle with another gambler named MacFarlane. What to do? Never missing a beat Dumont had the bloody corpse dragged away, fresh sawdust scattered on the floor, and the saloon swung back into action as if nothing had ever happened. Then she hustled down to the jail to post a one thousand dollar bail for MacFarlane, who in less than an hour after the killing agreed to be her new partner. Yes sir, the Frenchwoman never missed an enterprising opportunity.

Coming out of Bannack, Dumont headed to Fort Benton, a hustling-bustling supply point for the Montana goldfields. Here she duplicated her previous operation that featured booze, beauties, and betting. However, the luster was gone from her earlier emporiums where elegance and decorum was paramount. She was reduced to operating in a low-rent dive. Steamboat captain, Louis Rosche described Dumont’s gambling saloon:

“The inside of the gambling house was worse looking even than the outside. The bar and the gaming rooms were housed in one big downstairs room. A rickety set of stairs led up to a second-floor balcony where I saw doors leading to about a dozen smaller rooms. The place was foggy with smoke and smelled of sweating, unwashed bodies and cheap whiskey. The floor was filthy… Faintly from one of the upstairs rooms I could hear the gibberish of a drunken man and the high, shrill laughter of a woman who was quite sober.”

Dumont bounced from one location to another until she decided it was time to retire from the gambling life so she bought a cattle ranch in California and for a short time tried to make a go of it in honest work. Quickly realizing she had no idea how to run a ranch she hooked up with a smooth-talking man named Jack McKnight who claimed to be a savvy cattle buyer. Handsome and well-dressed, McKnight promised her he could take care of everything and they tied the knot. With the ink barely dry on their marriage certificate McKnight did just that – he took everything she had and absconded.

Forced to return to the only thing she knew how to do Dumont hit the mining camps and eventually landed in Deadwood in the fall of 1876. She dealt twenty-one in various saloons and was observed by John F. Finerty, a journalist for the Chicago Times. In an article, he wrote: “She had a once-handsome face, which crime had hardened into an expression of cruelty. Her eyes glittered like that of a rattlesnake and she raked in the gold dust or chips with hands whose long white fingers, sharp at the ends, reminded me of a harp’s talons.”

Reduced to barely eking by as a dealer in low-class gambling dens, Dumont finally drifted into Bodie, California, in 1879. By this point, she was usually drinking heavily and finding it much harder to compete against professional sharps that sat at her twenty-one table. On the night of September 7, at the Magnolia saloon, she borrowed $300 to bank her table against two blacklegs. Try as she might she just did not have it in her; she was 49, penniless, befuddled by a whiskey soaked brain, and finally as she turned the last card she was completely out of luck. Gathering all the dignity she could muster she pushed her chair away from the table and stood up, “Gentlemen, the game is yours.”

The next morning they found her dead lying beside an empty bottle of morphine. Among the personal items found on her body was a letter that she had written. Along with directions for the disposition of her effects, the letter stated, “she was tired of life.” The Sacramento Union summed up her entire life with these few lines: “Bodie: September 8. A woman named Eleanore Dumont was found dead today about one mile out of town, having committed suicide. She was well-known throughout the mining camps.”

From Bingo Supplies to Bingo Programs – How to Run a Successful Bingo Fundraiser Part 3

If you’ve read our first article “From-Bingo-Supplies-to-Bingo-Programs—How-to-Run-a-Successful-Bingo-Fundraiser-Part-1”, you should have checked out the licensing requirements for bingos in your state and determined a rough idea of how many bingo players will be attendance. If you’ve read the 2nd article, “From-Bingo-Supplies-to-Bingo-Programs—How-to-Run-a-Successful-Bingo-Fundraiser-Part-2” you’ve built your bingo program and picked your bingo prize payouts.

Now let’s look at the revenue generators or the bingo products you’ll sell at your bingo.

Bingo Books & Admission

Many bingos will sell an admission package to each bingo player when they arrive. This package usually sells for around $20 and includes entry to the event, a bingo book with bingo sheets for each game in the bingo program, and perhaps an added bonus such as a free dauber or an extra bingo sheet for a jackpot game.

If you have early bird games (a handful of games before your main bingo program), you should sell bingo books for them for around $3-$5. Additionally, extra bingo books should be sold (usually for $5-$15 each) at a discount to the admission price. Finally, it’s a good idea to sell extra single bingo sheets for the larger prize (jackpot) games.

If you choose not to have an admission package, you can simply sell bingo books for a set price once the bingo players have entered.

Raffles

Raffles are a great way to earn additional funds during your bingo event. During the night, have a friendly person walk around selling with a smile. If possible, it’s a good idea to advertise and presell the raffle tickets beforehand.

You can have 50/50 raffles (where 50% of the proceeds go to the prize), or raffle off one or more prizes. Your prizes should be good quality and have obvious value. Don’t be cheap!

Be careful, raffles, like bingos, can also fall under state regulation. Be sure you find out your state’s policy on raffles beforehand.

Pulltabs

Like raffle tickets, pulltabs (charity tickets) are a great way to increase sales and revenues during a bingo. A pulltab is a similar to a scratch off lottery ticket, but instead it has a number of “windows” that are peeled open to reveal a possible prize. Each box of pulltabs contains a set amount of prizes (usually around 75% of the take). Therefore, each box (once sold) is guaranteed a certain profit.

Pulltabs come in a variety of games and styles. If you decide to sell pulltabs, make sure you know how each game is played beforehand.

Be warned! Pulltabs are even more heavily regulated than bingos. Be sure that they are legal in your state. And, if they are legal, make sure that you are properly licensed to sell them.

Bingo Supplies

Bingo supplies, especially bingo paper, can be a little confusing. If you are unfamiliar with bingo, ordering the proper bingo books can be difficult. We recommend you read “How to Order Bingo Paper” on the Wholesale Bingo Supplies website for a quick overview and for some idea what bingo paper cuts and sizes that bingo paper comes in.

Make sure you order your bingo supplies in advance to give yourself some time. You’ll likely need the following, bingo books, additional bingo sheets for jackpot games, bingo daubers (markers for the players), and raffle tickets and pulltabs (if legal in your area). If you’re unsure of what bingo supplies you need, visit Wholesale Bingo Supplies

If you plan on hosting bingos on a regular basis, you might even consider purchasing an advanced bingo console and bingo equipment. But, this can get pricey. For an annual bingo, it’s best to find bingo equipment you can borrow. Also, you can get by purchasing a low-cost, quality, bingo cage.

Bingo Callers

If at all possible, find an experienced bingo caller. You don’t want some novice person calling bingo who has trouble handling the equipment (dropping bingo balls in the middle of a game can be a disaster) or lacks confidence in front of people. If you can’t find an experienced caller, then find someone who is comfortable with crowds and have them practice with the equipment ahead of time. Go over your bingo program step-by-step.

Whether experienced or not, you want your bingo callers to call numbers at a regular pace. We recommend that bingo numbers be called about every 20 seconds for commercial bingo hall environments where seasoned bingo players play. However, this speed should be adjusted to fit your crowd and the number of bingo faces in play. Hopefully, your bingo equipment will have a timer which will alert your caller when to call. However, if no timer is available, use a watch or clock as best you can to call at a regular pace.

Cash vs Baskets or Other Prizes

It doesn’t make a lot of difference if you give away cash or prizes or a mixture of both at your bingo fundraiser. The important thing is to make sure that whatever you give, you are giving something with value.

Make your bingo prizes worth the effort for your bingo players. If you give bingo baskets, fill them with quality products. If you give cash, make sure you give away some big jackpots. When your bingo players win a bingo, they want win something and they want to win something good.

Bingo Concessions

Your bingo event will usually last from 3-5 hours, with the actual bingo program taking about 3 hours to play. Therefore, it is important to have refreshments and food available if possible. Bingo players are not robots. They will get hungry and thirsty.

Make sure that the food you serve is good quality and keep your prices reasonable. We believe it’s smart business to have your bingo concession be a draw for your bingo event and not a profit center. Let your bingo games make the money while your concession keeps them well-nourished and happy.

A bingo fundraiser requires planning. You’ll need to assemble a team of volunteers, find a qualified bingo caller, acquire prize donations, locate a site, advertise, and more. Make sure you give yourself at least a month or two to prepare.

Good luck and happy fundraising! If you follow our advice, we’re sure your next bingo fundraiser will be a success.

On Online Casinos and Online Card Games

Poker is a card game. It uses playing cards and it’s now very popular among men and women the world over. Poker requires not just skill and talent but it also requires enough determination for players to win.

Before, people used to buy poker books to serve as their guide so that they would understand the game better. The competitive industry, on the other hand, has forced people to consider more than just reading regular books about poker, but it also required them to take part into online games (when actual gaming is not possible) to learn all the strategies that are required of poker players.

There are a lot of ways on how you can gamble and this is true even in other parts of the world. Different casinos now offer a wide selection to accommodate both casual and professional visitors. These people go to casinos to play, relax and have a good time, and hopefully, earn huge sums of money while doing so. There are also poker rooms begin set up that have are actually “no deposit poker rooms.” Here, you are given the chance to test the room without having to stake out anything. You might find it difficult to find the right medium but if you are good enough with poker, you know that you can always join different poker rooms so that you can receive multiple bonuses if that’s what you want. You will notice that there are a lot of casinos where there are no enough tables to accommodate lower limit players (which can be disappointing if you are new to game).

Other than poker, blackjack is another game that can give you a huge payout, if you are lucky, although most people would still prefer to play poker in online sites than spend too much money in online casinos. They are convenient for most people because they are easily accessible and you don’t have to dress up just to play. You also don’t have to rush because online poker games have a lot of tables for low limit players.

Here are other games in the casino world that you might be interested in playing. These are also available online for your convenience.

There are also video poker games where poker is machine based. Your right strategy and skill is still required to win. If you play it right, you can have a one hundred percent return of investment.

Slot machines are also found in casinos and they are also available online. Slots are characterized by quick, easy and fun gambling experiences that also offer a huge payout every once in a while.

Craps one is another game in the casino world that has stayed for years. It is also a favourite gambling game and it is also made available online. Current craps game is actually a continuation of craps’ long standing tradition with gamblers dating as far back as ancient Rome.

You don’t have to be in the casino to enjoy the actual games. You just have to be online.

La Tules – Monte Queen of Santa Fe

Born around 1800, Maria Gertrudis Barceló’s childhood years are still being debated among historical scholars but her subsequent marriage to Don Manuel Antonio Sisneros on June 23, 1823, is recorded in the registers at Tomé, a small village about 30 miles south of Albuquerque. Though married to Sisneros, a member of a prominent family, she maintained her maiden name. She preferred the attribution of Doña Barceló. As she gained popularity as a gambler, the locals began calling her “La Tules” a nickname that translates into “the reed,” referring to her diminutive thin frame.

After moving to Santa Fe, she lost two sons in infancy and adopted a daughter in 1826. During this time, La Tules decided to turn her gift for dealing cards and reading men into a career as a courtesan, Monte dealer, madam, and an expert mule trader. She knew exactly how to capitalize on the insatiable gambling habits of the traders who traveled from Missouri on the newly opened Santa Fe Trail. Working in a public gambling hall, she used her charm and beauty to separate the traders from their money. As many as 100 Monte tables operated in Santa Fe during this time, with stakes as high as $50,000. By 1838, town officials realized there was more money gained by granting gambling licenses than collecting fines, and sanctioned the formerly illegal activity.

In a few years, she had enough capital to purchase a “Sala,” or gambling house and saloon, in which she entertained her guests with dances, drinks, lavish dinners, and gambling. Over time, she amassed a fortune as Santa Fe’s most renowned Monte dealer and confidante to some of New Mexico’s most powerful political, military and religious leaders. This menagerie included Manuel Armijo, the Governor of New Mexico, with whom she carried on an illicit affair that eventually led to his downfall.

The sala of La Tules was situated on San Francisco Street at the southeast corner of Palace Avenue and Burro Alley where it extended the width of the entire block. It was a long, low adobe building that eventually sported finely carved furniture from Spain resting on exquisite Turkish carpets. The main bar wound around a gigantic room. Two additional mahogany bars connected to form a quadrangle. Large glistening mirrors adorned the walls behind the bars, but omitted from the gambling casino itself. Elaborate crystal chandeliers with rings of candles provided ample light. As a finishing touch, private card rooms stretched the length of today’s Burro Alley from San Francisco Street to Palace Avenue along the Plaza. The private card rooms were strictly for professional gamblers, important visitors, and the affluent. La Tules staffed the operation with a small army of bartenders, waiters, dealers, and female “hosts.”

There is considerable debate as to her beauty. Some accounts depict her as a stunning beauty with olive skin, radiant dark hair that poured down a slender neck, and sultry black eyes that flashed in the glitter of chandeliers. They described her as charming, beautiful, fashionable, shrewd, witty, and brilliant. One writer described her as: “… sylph-like in movement with a slender figure, finely featured face, smooth and dark of Spanish decent, thin-lined, arched eyebrows, flowing dark hair, thin lips, a beautiful woman, with steady, proud head and the demeanor of a wild cat.” On the other hand others depicted her in less glowing terms describing her garments as “Eve-like and scanty, low-cut chemises and short petticoats,” the negligé style. Another wrote, “When I saw her, she was richly, but tastelessly dressed, her fingers being literally covered with rings, while her neck was adorned with three heavy chains of gold, to the longest of which was attached a massive crucifix of the same precious metal.”

If you looked at the drawing of La Tules that appeared in the April 1854 Harper’s New Monthly Magazine you might side with her detractors. She appears as a dour, cigarette-smoking hag that surely could not warrant a description of an enticing beauty. In thinking it over you could postulate that the image depicted in the magazine was La Tules in her latter years where the wear and tear of the long hours of dealing monte had taken its toll on her looks. In all probability, she was originally a very striking young woman capable of being a superb seductress.

There is definitely no debate that La Tules was unmatched in dealing Monte in her sala. Matt Field met her in 1839 and was amazed at her genius in handling cards. He wrote: “A female was dealing and had you looked in her countenance for any symptom by which to discover how the game stood, you would have turned away unsatisfied; for calm seriousness was alone discernible and the cards fell from her fingers as steadily as though she was handling only a knitting needle.” In her book, Doña Tules, Santa Fe’s Courtesan and Gambler, Mary J. Straw Cook wrote about La Tulles. She wrote that, “She dealt night after night, often until dawn, with ‘skillful precision’ as the cards ‘slipped from her long fingers as steadily as though she were handling only a knitting needle… With feminine bravado, Tules’s deft and beringed fingers swept away piles of gold, the result of perpetual practice, as she won time and time again.”

Matt Field, while in Santa Fe one night, watched while La Tules dealt Monte to a Kentuckian whose declared goal was to break her bank. He later wrote that the drunken man was:

“… swearing that he would make or break before left his seat… and drinking to health of the Spanish lady in the again refilled glass which was at that moment handed to him… When the daylight was peeping through the door cracks, (La Tules) once more swept the table, and the reckless trader was left without a dollar.

The Senora then curtsied and disappeared though a side door with the dignity of an Empress and the same skillfully modeled smile, followed by her attendant with heavy bags of gold and Mexican dollars.”

One of the legendary tales associated with the gambling queen revolved around those bags of gold and Mexican currency. Because there were no banks in Santa Fe or Taos, La Tules periodically shipped some of her large winnings to banks in the United States. As the tale goes, she sent a 10-mule team loaded with 20 buckskin bags of gold to the U.S. with a contingent of armed guards. Somewhere in the desert, bandits attacked the mule train. Before being killed, the guards buried the cache of gold and would not divulge the location. No one ever found the gold and the legend began about the “Lost La Tules Treasure.”

La Tules was quite politically influential and though her relationship with Armijo, the last Mexican governor of New Mexico, she gained insight to the practices of the Politicos. They lived lavishly on graft and heavy taxation of the poor Mexican people and the American traders. As the conditions for war with the United States loomed she conceded that U.S. occupancy meant survival for her people. As Mexico’s power diminished and the United States took acquisition of New Mexico in 1846, Doña Tules secured her position with a loan to United States General Kearny for the purpose of paying his troops, on the condition that she have military escort to the Victory Ball at La Fonda. It was a lavish event attended by the upper echelon of Santa Fe Society.

She was also credited with alerting U.S. authorities of the Mexican-Indian conspiracy of December 1846. La Tules had plenty of opportunity to hear Mexican plotting and skullduggery in her gambling rooms. As a result, she is recognized as possibly preventing a blood bath in Santa Fe.

Doña Tules remained colorful and controversial figure in Santa Fe history up to her elaborately planned and executed funeral, presided over by the newly appointed Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy. Records at the Catholic Church say she was laid to rest in Santa Fe, January 17, 1852. Various reports by her biographers have described her funeral as lavish – some say $1600 for spiritual services, another $1000 paid to the candles alone. La Tules’s lifelong gifts to charity had granted her access to the highest social circles of Santa Fe and in writing her will; she stipulated a final gift to the church to amend for her questionable past. She was one of the last people buried within the adobe walls of La Parroquia, the old parish church on the Plaza that was later replaced by the St. Francis Cathedral. What became of her remains during the construction and possibly where her treasure was buried in the desert is only part of the mystery that continues to intrigue historical researchers about this fascinating “The Monte Queen of Santa Fe.”

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Historical note: The popular gambling game of Monte (1800’s) is often confused with the sleight of hand swindle called “three-card Monte.” There is absolutely no connection between the two; one being a game of chance while the latter is a “sure thing” winner for the dealer.