The Story of an Underground Poker Club for Black Intellectuals

9 months ago
The Story of an Underground Poker Club for Black Intellectuals
10:31
26 Sep

A D.C. underground poker club for black intellectuals is dismantling after no less than 76 years of existence - the US capital’s oral history project is trying to capture as much as they can about the rich chronicles of the club.

In 1942, the Brookland Literary and Hunting Club was founded in Washington D.C. At first glance, this may not seem like a piece of information that belongs on a poker site. However, a member of the club for 33 years explains the name as such:

“It was literary because of discussions we’d have – of the civil rights and so on. And it was hunting because we played the cards, and you’re always ‘hunting’ for a good hand.”


Back in the early 40’s when racial segregation was still in full effect in the United States, a group of African-American intellectuals found themselves facing another type of discrimination - the religious president of Howard University - where many of them were lecturing - did not approve of their precious pass time, poker. So they decided to go underground and congregate under a deceptive club name

Their game of choice has always been 5-card stud, with two tables running in this fake literary club: low-stakes and high stakes. New members would have to work their way up from one table to the other, while retirees would move down stakes occasionally. 

However, the sad reality is that they have trouble recruiting new members - the lineage that has been in place for generations seems to be coming to an end. As the current members claim, middle-aged men these days rather play online or at a casino.

Eve Austin, the creator of D.C’s oral history project took the chance and interviewed the last remaining members of this historical poker club. The Washington Post recently reported on the subject.


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Marton Magyar is a Hungarian online poker player and writer who covers the latest in poker news.Read more

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