Las Vegas before.....

Re: Las Vegas before.....

I was there the night the Stardust Race and Sportsbook opened. I also saw Nicky "the ant" sucker punch a guy just outside the Stardust gift shop. Did anybody in this thread ever know a local Vegas BM named Dale "the bear" Hines?
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I had a friend over in Tahoe who didn't take showers every day so you sometimes knew he was there before you saw him.

Behind his back I usd to call him "Butt the Crack".
 

winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Before they tore down the Stardust and before they put a fence in the island in the middle of LV Blvd you could run out the door of the Dust Book and across the street and be in the Riviera book in less than 60 seconds. This was before all books used the same line services and you could get an extra 1/2-point or so on a game.

I will NEVER forget what happened to me on Jan 2, 1992. My friends and I were in town for the Fullerton @ UNLV game. We saw a line of "PICK" for the UCSB @ Pacific game and LOVED it and hit it hard. We got VERY lucky and UCSB won by 1 on a basket with 2 sec left. We cashed our tix at the Stardust. After doing that I had to go across the street to the Riviera to cash a ticket there. As I am in the Book I look on the floor and see a "UCSB -1.5" ticket on the carpet. THAT really hit home to me how important getting the best line really is and that WHAT you bet is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than WHO you bet. This showed me how truly important it was/is to get the best line and that (at the time) the spreads were wildly different from Book to Book - something we rarely see now - or at least to this extreme
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

The new Gaming Today had an article by Jimmy Vacaro talking about the Churchill Downs Race and Sports book and the Leaning Tower which was across the street. Jasper Speciale owned the Tower with Bobby Berrent(sic). I know Jasmine Speciale, and used to use Jaspers line service on Spring Mountain when I was booking in Calif.
Jasper gave me my first job in 1968. Stayed with him for a couple years at The Tower. I worked at Churchill Downs from 73-78.

Out of my book:

JASPER
Jasper Specialle was a New Yorker, Sicilian, and had mob connections. He was on the stage with Joe Columbo when Columbo was shot at the 1971 Columbus Day rally in New York. Jasper and his partner Bobby "Hunchy" Berent (a Sicilian and a Jew) owned the Tower of Pizza Italian restaurant on the Strip. The Tower was located on the south end of the Strip, past the Dunes. The only place farther south at that time would have been the Hacienda, where the Mandalay Bay is now.

I didn't have enough money for a bus, let alone a cab, so I walked all the way from downtown. In the July heat of Las Vegas, that's quite a walk. I finally got to the Tower of Pizza, and they weren't open yet. This was on a Sunday. The door is open though, so I walk into the place, and there's a guy behind the register.

I say: "I'm looking for Jasper," and I'll never forget the rest. He has on a blue shirt (always a blue shirt) buttoned at the collar, and he’s wearing granny glasses.

He looks over his glasses and says: "I'm Jasper. Can I help you?"

It was just him and me in there, and I reply: "Little Nicky sent me, and he said you might have a job for me."

Jasper says: "You wanna work?"

"Yeah."

He says: "Well, go get a white jacket and go to work."

I say "What do I do?"

He says "I don't care what you do. Just do something."

Little Nicky had sent me, and that was enough for Jasper. There was no interview, except maybe unofficially before with Nicky. So I went to the back and found a white jacket. And I'm thinking, "Well, what do I do now?"

When Jasper’s wife, Annie, showed up later, she straightened me out real quick. Annie was a tough old Polish girl from Scranton, Pennsylvania. She didn't tolerate any nonsense. She started me out bussing tables. Annie passed away in October, 2008.

Jasper came to Las Vegas in the 1960s, in exile from New York per NY’s finest. He ran the Santa Anita sports book (the early LV race and sports books were named after famous tracks; they had no connection though). The Gaming Control Board (GCB) later balked at the idea of Jasper operating a book on the Strip. They didn't want him in there because of his mob connections. LV was the center of righteousness, you know.

THE TOWER OF PIZZA
So Jasper just booked out of the Tower of Pizza, all the while putting out great Italian food. He ended up taking more bets at his restaurant than most legitimate joints were taking. At that time, all regulated, licensed books were in storefronts. There were no books in casinos till the regulations were changed in 1976.

His partner Bobby Berent was all business, a bookmaker and bettor, but mostly bettor. The only time Bobby showed up at the Tower was at 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. to "work" on the books. Jasper and Bobby booked, loaned out a few dollars, and put out good Italian food. Bobby came by his nickname "Hunchy" because he had a hunched back, but he wasn't offended by the moniker. Bobby was a great sports handicapper and bettor, but his weakness was the horses. He could make a nice score on sports and blow it all back, and more, in the racebook.

The Tower put out authentic Italian food. We made our own bread and were well known for it. Nobody could copy Vince the bread man’s recipe.........(skipping)......... The Tower’s atmosphere was laid back. Strip headliners could come in without being hassled, have dinner, or just sit at the bar without being bothered. Actually, Jasper’s clientele wasn’t that impressed with celebrities. Robert Mayhew, Howard Hughes’s top man, was a regular with his wife. She wore a plain plaid dress, and you’d never know who they were. The "guys from out of town" could get a table in the side room, quietly have a good Italian dinner, and not be bothered. Most of the New York crowd stopped by to pay respects to Jasper.

At night, after the showrooms closed, the maitre d' and showgirls, baccarat dealers, craps dealers, cocktail waitresses, and assorted wiseguys would head for the Tower to hang around, to cap their night. It might be morning by the time everybody was gone.

If the barmaid was away from the bar, certain customers could go behind and pour their own drinks, as long as they didn’t forget to put something in the register. The really george (good tippers) might walk back into the kitchen and tell the cooks how they wanted their food prepared. The system worked well; the cash register was always ahead. Most everyone toked (tipped) really well. The waitresses and barmaids were well taken care of, and they cut it up with the help in the back.........(skipping).........Jasper worked up front behind either the bar or the register. He’d take a phone call and maybe say, "What's that? Pepper and egg sandwich, Okay … and a pizza with pepperoni, Okay … and a parlay with Alabama and Oklahoma, okay." A tourist over hearing this, while waiting at the register to pay his tab, might have wondered what an Alabama pizza was. You could get a pizza delivered and a parlay on the same phone call.

Jasper finished his days in Las Vegas running a flower shop and as volunteer gardener at Our Lady of Las Vegas. He didn’t copy that role from the movies either. Sunday 6:30 a.m. Mass was called the bookmaker’s Mass. Larry Krantz from the Union Plaza, myself from the Stardust, Jasper, "Gus the goose," Jerry "Shoes" from the Palace Station, and other assorted BMs and bettors all went to early Mass so we could open our stores. After Mass, we had a pow wow out front and lied to each other about how bad we were going. BMs or bettors alike never win.

Jasper later owned J & J Sports Service, a phone in line service, which is still in business to this day. J & J is run by his daughter Chris. Jasper passed away much too early, from problems made worse from five years he did in the can. The feds put him away till he either turned state’s evidence or the grand jury was excused. He refused to turn state’s evidence and spent the entire time of the grand jury in a federal penitentiary in Missouri where his health went in the tank. Jasper Speciale passed away just after Christmas of 1991. He had a Christmas tree up in his home year around. Jasper said, "Everyday's Christmas."

I left the Tower in 1971, in my late twenties with plenty of experience in bookmaking and betting. Jasper and the Tower were good to Conne and me. It supported us, Elizabeth, and our new son Vincent, who was born while I worked there. We bought a small house in North Las Vegas. That $18 a week motel and long walks to work were over with. Thanks to Jasper, we were on our way.

Sorry I had to skip a lot of the book, there's just too much about Jasper. Who knows what would have happened to me if Jasper didn't take me under his wing.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

No

Dick the pick
The Legend
Little Abner
Three of the greatest. Abner took over the care of the phone room in the Dust. Kept the tourists out, cleaned phone #s off the wall, emptied ash trays etc. He always got more of our Stardust Schedules than anybody (most went back to Philly).....Last I knew of Dick The Pick he was in Thailand.....The legend ???
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

:medical:




As great as the cast of characters is for sportsbetting, the list involoving advantage type casino players was and is equally as engaging, if not even more so........ wish I could recall more.............:+textinb3..................


Danny the Cap

Dollar Bill

Maverick

Big Jim

Dakota Kid

Cookie Monster

Charlie

Ma and Pa Shithead...(quite possibly the greatest nickname(s) in gaming history)

Goober
I don't know any of them by those names but I'm certain they were all very skilled.....
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I was there the night the Stardust Race and Sportsbook opened. I also saw Nicky "the ant" sucker punch a guy just outside the Stardust gift shop. Did anybody in this thread ever know a local Vegas BM named Dale "the bear" Hines?
I knew Dale Hines but I can't juggle loose any distinct memories.....
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Great stories about Jasper....

One thing about him always stuck with me...he didn't trust too many people but if you were on his good side, you had a friend for life....

Scotty....remember the Saber brothers? Now there was a pair to draw to....LOL
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Used to do a lot of business with Dale the Bear. That is really going back a long time. He had a collector for him that went out on his own and owed me pretty good. I'm sure Dale has passed away by now. Used to love to go to the races at Hot Springs Ark and loved to play the nags. Beat him pretty good. Always had a lady or two sitting with him. Speaking of Dickie C, what ever happened to him?When Dale first moved to Vegas, he was getting bad numbers from someone i won't mention and then got them bet back into him. Lost a lot before he caught on.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Great stories about Jasper....

One thing about him always stuck with me...he didn't trust too many people but if you were on his good side, you had a friend for life....

Scotty....remember the Saber brothers? Now there was a pair to draw to....LOL
From the wide open gambling mecca of Stubenville, Ohio. Richard was a superviser for me at The Stardust and his brother Tom was 86'd. Weird huh?
Dean Martin and Jimmy The Greek also from Stubenville.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Used to do a lot of business with Dale the Bear. That is really going back a long time. He had a collector for him that went out on his own and owed me pretty good. I'm sure Dale has passed away by now. Used to love to go to the races at Hot Springs Ark and loved to play the nags. Beat him pretty good. Always had a lady or two sitting with him. Speaking of Dickie C, what ever happened to him?When Dale first moved to Vegas, he was getting bad numbers from someone i won't mention and then got them bet back into him. Lost a lot before he caught on.
Remember Clyde, another bookie from that era ?
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Charly The Hawk aka The Beak is still around I hear, he's at least 92. I think he still goes to The Stardust every morning although it was leveled.....
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Gosh, i remember when Dickie first got out there and didn't have a dime to rub together. it didn't take him too long to get a br.Have ofen wondered what happened to him.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Charly The Hawk aka The Beak is still around I hear, he's at least 92. I think he still goes to The Stardust every morning although it was leveled.....
Charlie has a new home, the Las Vegas Hilton. Still drives at age 92. His car has Georgia plates. Loves to play heavy favorites. The bigger the price, the more he likes the side. His handicap is simple. He likes to say in a Southern drawl, "They'll kill 'em, they'll absolutely kill 'em."
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Gosh, this stuff really makes me feel old. Nostalgia for sure. Yes i do remember Clyde.
Clyde in that slow drawl "You're finally going to bet one that hasn't started huh?". The guy was past posting Clyde, Clyde let him go unaware, the guy still couldn't beat him.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Dickie Carson LOL There was a friend of mine arrested in Jan 1984 and the bond was set at 1million $ Dickie flys in with a million dollars in cash for bond money. WOW its the truth. A year later 18 people were indicted in a Federal probe
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Remember it very well. Started over Billy's moves.Was there and i didn't enjoy it. i think everyone really got a bogus deal with the exception of one person who i think no, i know turned states evidence.He never was indicted and wss moving about 85% of the moves through me and i didn't even know him or where it came from. Didn't know it was out of state and was told it wasn't. Was gauranteed by a freind.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I'm not saying the money was not flown in, but i do feel like if it was that was kind of stupid. it could have been impounded and it wasn't a year before the indictment came.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

On the thread above i didn't have my glasses on and i can't seem to correct or dodn't know how as i don't do a lot of looking over here. Just was thread looking and throughly enjoyed a look back. On the thread above change the figure from 85% to 25%. That was a lot of money in those days although it was easier back then and money flowed freely. I remember New Years day the year after and i think it was the most i have ever lost in one day let alone one month. Billy went bongers in those three day's prior to and including New Years day. I think he had two losers, and i think he played every game on the board, although some of the moves were backtracked.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I really am enjoying reading this thread and wish I had something to contribute. Regarding the Spilotro brothers while it was rumored they were buried alive, they actually weren't. While that version would scare the bejesus out of anyone, they were actually killed at a suburban home. The gentleman responsible for the burial put them in a shallow grave, it was found and he was subsequentally murdered as well per outfit rules.

the other part in the movie about Lefty's wife spending money Frank left her on drugs isn't entirely true. A lot of her jewelery, and mink coats made its way back to Chicago

Any stories about Bob Stupak?
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Buddy I was indicted to and my name is buddy for real. You are correct Dicks Attorney Graves Thomas wouldnt use the money for the bond. The goverment reduced it to a 100000$ several weeks Later
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I really am enjoying reading this thread and wish I had something to contribute. Regarding the Spilotro brothers while it was rumored they were buried alive, they actually weren't. While that version would scare the bejesus out of anyone, they were actually killed at a suburban home. The gentleman responsible for the burial put them in a shallow grave, it was found and he was subsequentally murdered as well per outfit rules.

the other part in the movie about Lefty's wife spending money Frank left her on drugs isn't entirely true. A lot of her jewelery, and mink coats made its way back to Chicago

Any stories about Bob Stupak?
While the movie was based on some known facts, it certainly was victim of Hollywood's need to exagerate the truth. Tony was certainly not the loud mouth tough guy in public, as depicted in the movie. What strikes me as funny is how the movie depicted all of the Kansas City wise guys as dumb and illiterate. That was certainly not the case. They got nailed becausesome moron kept legitimate books, and turned them over to the Feds. Then everyone ratted everyone else out in Vegas. I can remember the "entertainment" director at the Tropicana getting involved, though I forgot his name. They had to drag a former "Boss" out of retirement in Palm Springs to run the operations in Vegas, and that did not work out. So they "boys" decided to get out of Vegas, for the most part. Now Vegas is nothing more than a vacation resort spot with gaming. All the major chains are more concerned about making a profit in every aspect, such as room prices, food prices, drink prices, show prices, etc... as well as casino profits. It is not, and will never be the same as the "Golden Era" of Las Vegas, from Bugsy to the beginning of the end, when Hughes bought the Desert Inn.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
Re: Las Vegas before.....

So who knows who here? Scotty, Viejo and JK all seem to know the same people. But do they know each other?
I know Scotty better than he knows me.

I met VD on a couple of occasions, but I plan to hook up with him in Costa Rica to discuss EOG business next month.

I respect and admire both guys.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Buddy I was indicted to and my name is buddy for real. You are correct Dicks Attorney Graves Thomas wouldnt use the money for the bond. The goverment reduced it to a 100000$ several weeks Later
Don't you feel like Dickie bringing in that kind of money was a ploy to throw it in the government's face about how much money the group could make if they were on the right side.I know my attorney tried to get separate trials rather than throw the bunch together and was told they wouldn't even think about it especially after Dickie bringing in that kind of money. They told him it was like a slap in the face and that money could make this thing go away. Not so, i hate to say.
 
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