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She’s in the money!

Dawson City is a magical place. If you haven’t been here, it is hard to imagine that something like this even exists. It’s all wide, dusty streets, wooden sidewalks, old buildings, history everywhere.

Our favourite bar in Dawson--the Pit.

Love this building!

There is a vibrant, living history in this town, and it’s easy to get lost in it.  I already know I will miss it when we leave on Tuesday.  I already know I will be back.

My folks and I went to a Robert Service poetry reading at his cabin yesterday.  We were captivated by the speaker, Andrew.  What an amazing experience–the cabin in the forest, the amazing words of Robert Service.

Listening to Robert Service poetry with his cabin in the background.

The reading was an hour long, and included a fascinating history of his life. Over the years, Robert Service has been incorporated into so many myths and stories around this part of the world.  People swear he had a claim in the Klondike (he never did), that he rescued a miner from the burgeoning river (never happened), that he finished his days in the Yukon (once he left, he did not return).  In fact, he never considered himself a poet, preferring to think of himself as a storyteller, a person who spoke about the things that made others uncomfortable (prostitutes, drinking, gambling). We were honestly enthralled, and want to give a huge shout out to Andrew from Parks Canada for making this such an unbelievable experience for us.

 We spent a lot of the day at the casino yesterday because Tel was participating in a women only poker tournament. The tournament was held in the casino, Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall. We were there for long enough to see all three shows!  My Dad ended up being actively involved with one of the shows…..singing show tunes with Gertie (the host) and even getting pulled up on stage by one of the can-can dancers to do the Charleston!!

My Dad singing show tunes.

Making more friends!

And so you might be wondering about the poker tournament that Tel entered?  We had read about this women only tournament before we even arrived in the Yukon, and had been thinking about entering.  Tel decided the day before that she wanted to play, and we went to the casino yesterday at lunch to get her registered.

 Turns out that women around here take their poker seriously!  About thirty seven women registered, and the tournament started at 2 pm.  My folks and I kind of wandered in and out while Tel was playing, and I tried to give her as much space as possible so that she could focus.  I struck a deal with the pit boss and he agreed to come and find me in the casino and keep me updated on how she was doing.

At about 10 pm, I was playing Blackjack with my Dad and the pit boss came up to me at the table and broke the news: Tel’s in the money! She had made it to the top ten, and was guaranteed a piece of the pot!

We hung around the casino, jumping with joy every time someone else got knocked out……she’s in the top 8, top 7, top 6….and finally….TOP THREE!!!  There were crowds of people packed around the table when Tel knocked out the number 3 contender, putting her in the top two.  Tel was head to head with a local woman, Ashley, for quite a while, until finally the casino manager said that the tournament would have to be decided based on a chip count.  We held our breath while the pit boss counted the chips……Tel had $248,000 in chips and the other woman……..$249,000.  One chip short of a tie!

Still, for second prize she won $2090……pretty freaking awesome for an out of towner to do so well.  I am so incredibly proud of her, of who she is as a person, of how she played, of how decent and honest and kind she is. And she has now become a part of the local gossip….we heard that she was the only tourist to participate in the tournament, and she managed to knock out some really incredible poker players in Dawson.  It was a ton of fun, and a really great part of our time here in Dawson.

We are just about to head across the top of the world highway to Chicken, Alaska, so I will be back to write more about that later in the week.

Bye for now, and thanks for reading!


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