Dewey was the guy that got photoed out in the 1948 Presidential election by Harry Truman. Louie was the 16th King of France who took a bad beat at the guillotine with Marie Antoinette. And Huey, Huey was a car selling, poker playing fool from out of the mountains of eastern Kentucky like you’ve never seen in your life. Before it’s over with, he may go down in history as more renowned than either Dewey or Louie, which is nothing to sneeze at, by any means.
Huey hit Lexington in the ’60’s at full speed, and never looked back. It was hard to tell which was more treacherous to get mixed up with him in – a car deal or a poker game. Anybody who tried either one got upside-down in a hurry. You can believe that. He left a string of destitute car buyers and poker players in his wake you wouldn’t believe. When Huey earned your business, you had a problem. His own wife owed him a quarter million from a heads-up Hold’em game on their honeymoon night. “Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to play sweetie” he told her, before he jacked the stakes up to no limit. Romance comes in a distant second to finance with Huey, I’m telling you.
He once made the Guinness Book of World Records for having a customer the most upside-down on a car deal. After several bouts of refinancing with Huey, the poor stiff owed $48,000 on a 1982 Ford Escort, which blue-booked for $400, and wouldn’t start. “Four new tires,” Huey pointed out proudly, when the poor guy complained.
Huey’s pride and joy was his TV ads, which ran virtually around the clock in Kentucky – and rightfully so. A buddy of mine had four cars and didn’t even drive, but every time he saw one of Huey’s ads he wanted to go buy another one. The ads were that good. At the end of the ads, Huey would run the bloopers from the filming, you know, all the takes that he messed up trying to get it right. It kind of reminded me of Burt Reynolds back in his hey day, back when Burt was Burt. I gotta admit, TV agreed with Huey. He had a good delivery, was halfway photogenic, and was a natural born ham. The ads made a regular celebrity of him around Lexington, which was a problem because most of his Sbobet gambling, as with many of us, was on the sly. So he started jetting off to Vegas once a month or so to play in the Bellagio’s $75-$150 7-stud game, where the regulars had him pegged as a tourist. They didn’t ending up liking his action too much though. What they failed to realize was, once you’ve learned all the angles in the car business, 7-card stud angles is easy to figure.
It wasn’t all candy and nuts for Huey, though. He had a few leaks (just like his cars), and one of them was sports betting. He took a particularly bad beat on the 1990 World Series. Some maniac bet him that the Cincinnati Reds would sweep the heavily favored Oakland A’s, at staggering odds. Huey got a little upside-down his own self when the “Nasty Boys” dispatched of the A’s in four straight. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but when he did, he swore off all gambling except poker – and ratcheted his 7-card game down to world class levels. 7-card stud games all over the Bluegrass were like a personal money tree to brother Huey. He had it made. He used to go out on these supposed car-buying trips and do nothing but drive to poker games all over the tri-state area, and bust their ass. I started thinking maybe the car dealing thing was just a front for his poker hustling. Kind of like Paul Newman in “The Hustler,” who was driving through towns purporting to be a traveling salesman. With “businessmen” like Huey and Eddie Felson around, who needs hustlers?
So the next time you hear someone say something about “Huey, Dewey and Louie,” you’ll know who they’re talking about. Dewey was a hard luck politician, Louie was the hard luck 16th King of France, and Huey was a hard luck ball bettor who didn’t need any luck at poker. No siree he didn’t. He made his own. From the mountains of eastern Kentucky to the high-limit room at the Bellagio, he could ram and jam with the best of them. When he’s through, Dewey and Louie – world famous though they are – will stand in his shadow. Mark my words.