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Special – L E’s Stories – “Hidden Card Room & High Stakes Poker With Austin’s Finest – A Secret Kept Close To The Vest” – The Story Of Soldier’s Recreation Pool Hall On 6th Street In Austin, TX

One never knows what lies beyond…especially beyond the oldest of doors….for one must pass through to the other side before one ever sees what is really there….even the oldest of doors….and in many instances….what turns out to be totally unexpected….is beautifully experienced.  The string of 100 year old buildings that lined the streets of East 6th Street….from Congress Avenue east to IH 35….were typically long and rectangular…..running from 6th St frontage to the alleys that ran behind….as each building appeared to be long and rectangular….with the building covering the whole lot….whereby allowing  BD and TNT to build the longest bar, with bar stools, in the State of Texas….which was a 109 ft monster that had a 75 ft refrigerated walk in keg beer box abutting right behind the back bar…..which held a total of eighty (80) double stacked sixteen (16) gallon beer kegs….all tied into the “cold tap beer” system at MSG 109 ft. beer bar upstairs at The Sports Place.  Shoot….during many live sporting events….Super Bowl…..Final Four….College World Series…. Marvelous Marvin Hagler fight….a WrestleMania Event….Kentucky Derby…..St Patty’s Day…..just to name a few of so many….and MSG would many times float all 80 of those barrels of beer…..TALK ABOUT BEER SALES!


Boxing – 1986 – World Middleweight Boxing Title – John “The Beast” Mugabi vs “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler

I want to make a point here….everything that happened as a result of Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place, located at 302 E. 6th St. in downtown Austin, Texas….was a result of the mutual efforts of BD and TNT….but you’ve got to understand, I never got to meet TNT….for he was out of the picture when I came into BD’s life some 141 years (dog years / 20 human years) that this lil ole Chiweenie has been in Bone Daddy’s life….so I don’t know him like the rest of the HUMANS  who appear in my stories….and Bone Daddy rarely talks of TNT….as they parted ways as friends a long time ago….and BD doesn’t talk much about it….and when he does….I hear a deep sadness in his voice….so I don’t have him tell me why….I just leave it alone. You know what….all HUMANS….would be wise to learn to do the same….just leave it alone.  Anyway….I figure it will come to the surface some day….and I’ll tell the story when it does.  Until    then….just know when I am telling a story that comes from the MSG days….that it was Bone Daddy and TNT….as BD handled operations….and TNT handled finances.  The fact is that I don’t really know if TNT was a true Sportsphile….and my web page is Ima Sportsphile.

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An important point to all of this is that these old buildings lent themselves to having a feeling of being in a cave….with various passages and anti-rooms secretly invisible to the HUMAN eye….and Ole Blue’s place was a perfect example of such a place.  As you came in through the street front door (no visible back door)….it looked like a pool hall which housed three (3) Brunswick SportKing pool tables….really nice 1950’s style….which had been kept in excellent condition…..with seemingly never ending new felt… as the felt was plush and green…..with a base of 1½“ solid piece slate….providing a roll that was as true and clean as a baby’s bottom….after it has been cleaned of course.   

Music – 1980 – Ray Charles – “America The Beautiful” – Sung Live At World Welterweight Title – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Roberto Duran – Fight II – With Howard Cosell


Also on the street side storefront of Ole Blue’s was another front door that led up a set of stairs to the 2nd floor of the building at 302 E. 6th St…..and immediately upon reaching the top of the stairs was a set of double doors that led into Blue’s office….where two (2) secretaries were typically working.  Way back in the darkest part of the 2nd floor of the cave….was another door which led to a set of stairs that went back downstairs….along with an exit door to a fire escape that ran down the alley side of the back of the building.  These stairs led to a hidden poker room that resided at the back of the first floor….behind a fake back wall of the pool room downstairs.  This hidden card room was accessible only from the second story of the building….through two locked doors where Ole Blue’s office resided….through a 3rd door at the back of the 2nd floor…..and down a stairwell to the most stylish card room BD had ever seen.  In the middle of this plush hidden room sat a beautiful 8-seat card table made of polished mahogany covered with the same green felt as on the Sport King pool tables. The walls were made of birds-eye maple with a beautiful warm slick sheen….with a stylish wet bar resting on the back wall….well stocked with top shelf liquor….with shelves full of crystal hi-ball, whiskey and shot glasses. 

MLB – 1952 – 1962 – Hollywood Couples Special – Marilyn Monroe And Joe Dimaggio

A person could not have ever even gotten to see Ole Blue‘s card room….unless they were invited and personally screened by Ole Blue’s own information sources….as Blue had the where-with-all to do background checks on any potential card player who wanted an invitation to THE GAME….which was ALWAYS done before Ole Blue would ever allow them entrance to the inner sanctum card room.  Ole Blue ran private poker games almost every night of the week in that hidden back room at Soldiers Rec….wherein some of Austin’s finest just happened to love to play poker….but they didn’t want to be seen by the public in doing so….for these were folks like State Senators & Legislators….City Councilmen….Top Shelf Defense Lawyers….Lobbyists…. Corporate CEO’s….National Recording Musicians….literally a veritable “Who’s Who in Austin” in the early 1970’s of HUMANS who just didn’t want to be seen by the public…. and were playing poker in Ole Blue’s card room….in complete secrecy….and only if Blue let them come in each night. 

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Buy-in prices for a seat at nightly poker games would range from $25 to $100 per head….with Monday and Tuesday nights being $25/seat buy-in with $5 / $10 / $25 chips….Wednesday & Thursday nights were $50/seat with $25 / $50 / $100 chips….Friday and Saturday nights $100/seat with $100 / $500 / $1000 chips….and even by this lil ole Chiweenie’s standard….that was a lot of money being put on the table in a private poker room on E. 6th St. in 1973……also, every player who was invited to play understood that depending on the cost of the buy-in to each nightly game….the HOUSE would pull a $5 / $10 / $20 chip from all the anti’s on each hand dealt to play in that particular hand before it was dealt….that of course was for the HOUSE to cover all drinks and snacks consumed during the course of the game.  That meant that even if a player never won a pot throughout the course of the game….that player could at least drink top shelf booze….eat really great snack food which was prepared daily at Blue’s other place….The One Line (I always wondered why he named it that?!).…being served by a scantily clad Austin beauties…. which was provided “over and above“ your seat purchase price into the game.  It was as close to Las Vegas as an Austin spot could ever come….and talk about a cash cow….cuz I do mean lots of cash when you were playing poker at Ole Blue‘s house….as he always put it….”Cash talks and bullshit walks around here”.   Bone Daddy often has said he sure would like the opportunity to replicate what Ole Blue had going on….cuz he just couldn’t believe how much cash could be generated from a 15′ x  20′ space of inner sanctum….in just one night of playing cards on East 6th Street in Austin, TX.

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