To register to attend the 2017

Encampment, become

a member of the

Death Valley '49ers.

Visit our Membership

Page to JOIN NOW.


Encampment Program

2016 Example

Down the Trail



November 5th-12th, 2017


General Meeting


September 9th, 2017, 2:00pm

Heritage Inn

Ridgecrest, CA

~ ~Over Herd~ ~


2016 Keepsake

"The Passionate Creation of

the National Park Service"

by Steve Hale


"Death Valley - A Winter's Journey"

by Jackie Keller

Available Now!

The Water Hole


Social Links



5th Annual Inaugural 1849 Poker Tournament

Welcome to the Death Valley '49ers 1849 Poker Tournament Page. The sole purpose of this section of the website is to introduce you (if it’s your first time here) and update you on the newest and one of the most exciting events at the Annual Encampment. Below you will find pictures and information.

NEW!!!!  On the next page, we have the rules and regulations for participating in our tournament. You are NOW able to SIGN UP here to participate and pay your entrance fee for a lesser cost ($30.00) than if you wait till game day ($40.00).

We hope you enjoy this page, but we hope you enjoy participating in the tournament this year even more!! (Yeah, that was an outright hint…)

So why the funny title?  In 2013, we had our 2nd Annual Poker Tournament, but due to a funny mix-up on the participation ribbon, it became the 2nd Annual Inaugural Poker Tournament. This error was so well received, we decided to keep the tradition going, so for 2016, we will be holding our 5th Annual Inaugural Poker Tournament

How this event came about (or what was actually going through my mind)

In November 2011, we had our Member’s meeting at Furnace Creek Inn in the Marquez Room. While we were sitting, there going over whatever business was being discussed, I was looking around the room and noticed the warmth of the wood and the beautiful scenery outside the window.  For a moment, I was transported to the past and saw a group of poker players hunkered around a wood table, playing to pass some time until they were to leave to find gold or take their finds and leave the area back to civilization known as the East Coast. From this little image, came the idea to have a poker tournament which would bring back a taste of history and hopefully draw some “younger” folks into the '49er fold, with the added benefit of raising additional monies for the '49ers to use for scholarships or other equally useful programs. That vision became reality in November, 2012 when we held the Inaugural 1849 Poker Tournament.


First Place and Best Female Winner - Crystal Aldridge

Second Place and Best Male Winner - Todd Maddox (survived 5 hours)

Third Place - David Brown (survived 4 hours, 38 minutes)

Best Costume - Suzanne Fex

First Player Out - Dave Anderson (survived 1 hour, 10 minutes -

Dave has this honor for the second year in a row)

This poker tournament is meant for all players, young (at least 21… sorry, state laws) and old (cut off is 104, but exceptions can be made), men and women, beginner and experienced. 

It is a game to be enjoyed with the goal of raising money for the '49er endeavors and to bring new people out to experience the Encampment. Our current vision is for 40 players competing in an initial round, and through play, the numbers will get down to four players who will play for the top prizes which include a ribbon and a Visa or American Express Gift Card (CA State Rules).

We also wish to keep the 1849 spirit alive, so we have included a costume contest for the players and most of the helpers (the tournament directors, while finely attired, are not eligible to participate). We want people to dress in any manner that would be found in the US during the 1849 era, including gold seekers who traveled west during this time. The costumes are voted on by all the players, all the helpers and any observers who may attend and the winner receives a ribbon.

This year we continuing the ribbon award for the honor of being the first person out of the game. While this may not be something to necessarily strive for, it will make that position a bit more palatable and be a unique bragging point.