It can be fun to own a part of history. I, for instance, own a couple seats from Milwaukee County Stadium, the former home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, not much history was made in that stadium, but I spent many a day in my childhood there, so they mean something to me. My wife and I also own a couple cabinets that belonged to Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Miss Elizabeth of wrestling fame. It’s a long story. There is no real significance to the furniture except for the story, but wrestling fans might enjoy them for the story alone. If you are a poker and/or gambling fan and really want to splurge, you can own a unique piece of gambling history for a mere $12 million. That is the asking price for the East Texas ranch founded by Dallas crime boss Ivy Miller. It was used as a gambling den for Ivey and his friends such as fellow crime boss and Las Vegas legend, Benny Binion.
Called Fincastle, the 1,369 property is in Athens, Texas, about one and a half hours from Dallas. It is described as an “idyllic hideaway” by real estate broker Icon Global. Icon continues:
Fincastle represents a unique, one-time opportunity for a new family, multi-family compound or development of a private fishing/ hunting club. In my opinion, Fincastle is an interesting and engaging hideaway property that is a blank canvas. Anchored by three spring-fed lakes of 60 acres, 30 acres, and 20 acres each fully stocked with fish. The property includes a range of habitat, wildlife and adventure throughout a great mix of rolling topography woods and open space. An idyllic hideaway that feels far bigger than its map.
The current owners use the property as a private retreat and wildlife sanctuary, but Icon Global confirms that it originally built by Miller for gambling. The listed price for the property is $11.95 million.
Of course, when we talk of Texas and gambling, what immediately comes to mind is the old days of poker. Doyle Brunson, arguably the most famous poker player of all time, was in the middle of Texas poker back in the day (hence his “Texas Dolly” nickname, but even he wouldn’t play at Fincastle.
“Dallas was the one town in Texas that I tried to avoid,” Brunson told Card Player. “It was dangerous because there were so many ‘bad guys’ that played and would actually force players to take actions to defend themselves. Ivy’s place was top of the list for those kinds of games.”
Though Ivy and Benny Binion were both criminal bosses in the Dallas area, they were friends. Binion controlled most of Dallas in the early 1940’s, but eventually fled to Las Vegas when the Chicago Outfit moved in and local elections caused him to lose his pull in the Dallas government.
Binion continued his criminal activities in Las Vegas, but is best known nowadays as the founder of Binion’s Horseshoe casino in downtown Las Vegas. Binion’s was the original home of the World Series of Poker.