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Guitars and a stack of chips: The Monkees’ relationship with poker

October 4, 2013 by  
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4792416436_4d4b6c713b_zGuitars and a stack of chips

The Monkees’ relationship with poker

The Pre-Fab Four is one group who has been playing the game long before the poker boom

Poker has long been a popular card game in the US, but in the past decade or so the game has been catapulted to mainstream popularity all around the world. Everyone – from average Joes to millionaire celebrities – is trying their luck and testing their skills at the felt.

Way back before the poker boom, The Monkees were already anteing up and raking in chips. Just check the title of the first episode to be aired from the TV series’ first season, “Royal Flush”. The Pre-Fab Four also had their share of run-ins with the game during the show’s run. According to the website Games Monkees Play, poker was featured in at least two episodes.

In the original pilot episode, Episode 10, “Here Come The Monkees”, the game is “played when the guys are running from Mr. Russell.” In Season 2’s Episode 45, “Monkees in Texas”, Mickey and Red play poker while waiting for Red’s partner-in-crime, Black Bart. A guard also mentions poker as a game that the guys could play to get the jailer’s key.

Outside of the fictional world of the small screen, the gang also partook in the occasional game of poker to pass the time. Mickey, in particular, has spent time playing poker for a number of charities over the years. In 2005, he was asked to participate in a New York radio-sponsored poker game with Penn Jillette, Frankie Valle, Danny Hutton, Mary Wilson, and a contest winner. Jillette, a lifelong Monkees fan, said that even though they didn’t play a lot of real poker during the game, he “wanted to keep a promise to himself when he was 12 and hang out with Mickey of the Monkees.”


In 2008, Mickey once again participated in a charity poker game. The event, named Monte Carlo Night, was organized by actress Nancy Cartwright. Most would recognize her as the voice of Bart Simpson. Mickey anted up against other celebrities and poker pros vying for a seat on a WSOP satellite event and trying to raise money for a good cause. He played again in the charity event’s fifth annual run in 2010.

Davy may have been the best poker player out of the band, though. The band’s longtime compatriot David Pearl, who many consider to be the fifth Monkee, has said that Davy usually wins whenever they play card games. “I really believe that Davy has a fairy godmother watching over him,” he said in a 1967 article from 16 Magazine. “Like he always wins. Always! We are all beginning to think that maybe Davy should stop working and start playing cards for a living.”

Sadly, we never got to see how Davy would have fared in the partypoker-sponsored World Poker Tour or the World Series of Poker. He would have been a great addition to the long list of great musicians who have participated in major poker tournaments like Anthrax’s Scott Ian and German rap icon Sido.


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