LAS VEGAS — The curious kid sidled up to the table on which her dad and his pals were playing poker, captivated by the cards and the money and the action—especially the action.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas, Kelly Stewart clutched a purple-felt Crown Royal bag containing her life savings, about 70 bucks, all change. John Stewart told his 11-year-old daughter to sit still, they’d finish and some would remain to teach her Texas Hold’em.
“Of course, we clipped her,” says John, 74, now a rancher in Montana.
Today, Kelly is a one-woman gang, a petite dark-blonde dynamo, the most-renowned female in Las Vegas sports betting whose signature parlay — The Hottie Three-Way, she’d dub it — would alter her life.
Twenty-five years ago, though, she begged for her money back. John shook his head. No, he said, now you’re broke. You’re not getting it back because that’s the way the game is played. He kept the purple bag, too.
“Wanted to teach her a lesson,” he said. “I tried explaining it to her, but it didn’t stick. ‘Kell’ was a different child. I think it just made her want to play harder.”
On a recent visit to Montana, his friends and her wound up gambling, as usual, in a bar. The game was Ship, Captain and Crew, involving five dice. Six is the ship, five the captain, four the crew. Three rolls. Obtain those first three, the other two dice constitute the cargo.