Colorful Gambler Dies In Oklahoma City

Thursday, November 2nd 2006, 10:30 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Tracy ``Pody'' Poe, a colorful gambler federal authorities once dubbed a ``kingpin of organized crime,'' has died. He was 73.

Poe died Wednesday at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City from complications related to cancer, said Danny Williams, a local radio personality who was his friend.

``He got a lot of negative publicity, but he was a great guy,'' Williams said. ``He was so generous ... and it's amazing how intelligent he was.''

Williams said he helped Poe write the book, ``From Tinhorn Gambler to Kingpin of Organized Crime.''

``He stood up to a lot of people,'' Williams said. ``Like he said to me, the government spent $8 million putting me in jail for playing blackjack in his garage.''

Poe served two stints in federal prison on gambling-related charges following raids on his Oklahoma City home.

``They come with enough people to storm a pillbox,'' Poe told The Oklahoman in a 2005 interview. ``And they see too many movies having these guns. They'd ask me, 'Where is your gun?' I'd say, 'Why would I have one?' They'd say, 'Aren't you afraid of getting heisted?' And I'd answer, 'It looks like that's what is happening to me now.'''

In 1997, he was sentenced to five years in prison after a jury convicted him of money laundering and running an illegal gambling operation. He was released from prison in 2000.

Retired Oklahoma City police Detective Ken ``Sugar'' Smith said Poe's passing dims a colorful part of Oklahoma history.

``He was a character,'' Smith said. ``But I never really had any trouble with him. From my point of view, he was a polite enough guy, even when he was arrested.''