Lobby > Bird Cage Theater Poker Game History: The Longest Game Played
Of all the Bird Cage Theater poker game events played at this Western saloon, the longest game lasted incredibly for several years, and it is known as the longest game in the history of poker.
From 1881 to 1892, the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona, operated as an entertainment venue, showcasing comedians, opera singers, comic singers, minstrels, and Shakespearean actors. It was here where Mademoiselle De Granville, popularly referred to as the ‘Female Hercules’ and ‘the woman with the iron jaw,’ made a mark for her ability to lift heavy objects with her teeth.
At the intersection of 6th and Allen Street, the Bird Cage was most famous for hosting the longest poker game in history. Ran for a total of 8 straight years; the game went on 24 hours each day from 1881 to 1889. It is said that approximately $10 million in total passed hands during the game, with Bird Cage keeping 10% of all revenue generated.
Many great names were in attendance at this event, including Diamond Jim Brady, George Hearst, Adolphus Busch, and Wyatt Earp. In the present day, the basement at the Bird Cage Theater, where the famous game took place, has become a museum of sorts.
Some side attractions worth checking out as a first-time visitor here include the bar area, the iconic dressing room, the stairwell leading to the theater seats, and the famous 1881 rosewood piano, just to name a few. Many more artifacts are present there that chronicle the historical fame of the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona.
The Bird Cage Theater Poker Game Saloon
Tombstone, Arizona, is home to a long stretch of the history of the American cowboy. In this city, the famous Bird Cage Theater is a significant holding point for various entertainment and relaxing activities. The Bird Cage Theater was so famous at the time it ran a brothel that attracted patrons from far and wide looking to see what the whole fuss was all about.
But for all its infamy, as being a regular hangout spot for locals and some of the toughest-looking tourists, it was also the location for prolonged poker events. Running for a total of eight years, five months, and three days, the longest poker event in history was the high point of that era.
The Bird Cage Theater was first launched in 1881 and quickly rose to popularity as a top gambling spot. When the tournament began, gamblers were required to make an upfront payment of $1,000 (worth $30,600 in today’s money) to participate in the event.
For all the years the event ran, not a single player maintained a chair at the tables for long as sitting positions changed regularly. The atmosphere was free and largely uncouth as players strutted around the room, full of fanfare and the air; of booze, tobacco, and mild forms of debauchery. It was indeed a glamorous time graced by exclusive visitors and some of the gambling greats of that era.
How Did the Poker Event Come to an End?
One of the most popular poker fun facts is that the Bird Cage Theater poker game did not end naturally. So, nobody won?? No, the tournament was forced to end as the Bird Cage Theater was closed down abruptly due to a series of dramatic events.
It was said that mining activities at the Grand Central Mine, which was just a few miles away, had dislodged an underground water pipe. The surge of water caused significant floods in prime locations around town, the Bird Cage Theater inclusive, forcing its owners to shut off activities.
The famous poker event remains the longest-running tournament in poker history. Yet, the fossil footprints of a bye-gone era stay in a tiny basement of an infamous theater in the mid-west. There, the outlawed gents, public stewards, and typical locals met to prove strength, wits, and unwavering bravado at the poker table. To play table games similar to Las Vegas poker tournaments, head on to Vegas Aces Casino.
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