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Iconic Texas Mobster Gambling Den For Sale

Fincastle Estate Was So Dangerous, Even Doyle Brunson Avoided Games There


What was once home to some of the most ruthless underground poker games in Texas is now up for sale.

Fincastle Estate, located near Athens and about 90 miles south of Dallas, is on the market for $11.95 million.

Today, it is nothing more than a massive 1,369-acre plot of land with a gigantic several-thousand square foot main house. In the 1940s and 1950s, however, it was where several mobsters ran high-stakes poker games.

Fincastle was originally built Ivy Miller, a mobster from Texas that was close friends with Benny Binion, a fellow gangster that was one of the last casino owners in Las Vegas with ties to organized crime. Binion, who was considered the reigning mob boss of Dallas in the 1940s, left Texas and opened the Horseshoe casino in Downtown Las Vegas in 1951.

During his time in Dallas, however, he and Miller would host poker games at the Fincastle Estate. The games brought some of the most dangerous people in the state all together under one roof to gamble.

Doyle BrunsonThe games were so risky that 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and famed Texas road gambler Doyle Brunson wouldn’t play there.

“Dallas was the one town in Texas that I tried to avoid,” said Brunson. “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.”

One of the most legendary tales about Miller’s past is that he allegedly killed a rival encroaching on Binion’s territory in Dallas. It set off a 20-year battle between the two gangs that resulted in several gruesome murders.

Miller passed away in the late 1960s and the estate was sold to the Schoellkopf family in 1968 shortly after his death. Much of the original gambling den was kept intact, even though the property was used as a private retreat and wildlife sanctuary.