Las Vegas before.....

#41
Re: Las Vegas before.....

My dad know Bob Martin. They were good friends. I was fortunate enough to know Lefty Rosenthal on a first name basis. That man know more about sports wagering than any other man I have ever known, and that includes some of todays biggest "touts". Ofcourse it was a lot easier to make a buck back in those days. Unfortunately, I knew his buddy, Tony Spilotro a lot better, but that is another story. Have you ever seen Tony's kid? He looks nothing like Tony or his mom. I also liked the Barbery Coast. Loved the old sportsbook. They were one of the last to use the old board, instead of going computer.
 
#45
Re: Las Vegas before.....

My dad know Bob Martin. They were good friends. I was fortunate enough to know Lefty Rosenthal on a first name basis. That man know more about sports wagering than any other man I have ever known, and that includes some of todays biggest "touts". Ofcourse it was a lot easier to make a buck back in those days. Unfortunately, I knew his buddy, Tony Spilotro a lot better, but that is another story. Have you ever seen Tony's kid? He looks nothing like Tony or his mom. I also liked the Barbery Coast. Loved the old sportsbook. They were one of the last to use the old board, instead of going computer.
They also had what I knew as one of the top steak joints downstairs. I never got there, but heard it was all that, and some.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#47
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I'll read excerpts of this thread to Jimmy Vaccaro tomorrow on "Winning Wednesdays." Jimmy considers Scotty Schettler a friend and mentor.

Viejo can trade stories with Scotty. Impressive, very impressive.
 
#48
Re: Las Vegas before.....

My very first job in Las Vegas was driving a beer truck for the Miller Company (Bonanze Beverage)...there was no interstate that surrounded the town and the main streets were Sahara, Flamingo, Charleston, and Tropicana...you could get from one end of town to the other in 15 minutes...the quicker I got done my route for the day, the more time I could spend in places like the Rose Bowl, Gary Austins, or Palace Station...or any of the local joints, bars, or sportsbooks....

One of my stops on the route was a little place called Gallos on Paradice off Flamingo...I walked in and gave the invoice to a man who looked exactly like Willie Nelson...He was on the phone and talking point spreads with the guy on the other end...also in the joint was a guy named Jack Moore and a guy named Hershey...Hershy was also on a phone and talking point spreads...I put two plus two together and knew this was the place to be...

So I decided to spend my lunch hour there and shoot the shit with these guys...in the hour I was there, 6 or 7 guys came in but never ordered lunch or a drink, but instead exchanged brown paper bags with each other...

For some reason Frankie Masterana took a liking to me and we talked sports and gambling all the time...even invited me to his house a few times on Ottawa Drive, right on the Sahara Country Club...his wife Stella was a very gracious lady and I enjoyed their company...his kid, Frankie Jr. was not really the perfect son and soon after I met him, Jr. made the mistake of putting an arrow through Donna the Duck on the golf course...this outraged the Las Vegas community and he was bought up on charges...soon after, Frankie was paralyzed from the waist down after a cliff diving session in Mexico...a lot of people said it was justice for shooting Donna the Duck....(I didn't buy that)

After that Frankie (who was in the black book) asked me to help him on the weekends in his office on Spring Mt. called "Right Side Sports"...located between the Don Best office run by Al Corbo and Jasper's line service office...Frankie had customers who I would give nothing but rundowns on the spreads for the weekend games...I sometimes had 3 guys at the same time giving rundowns to and then I would transfer them to Frankie if I was asked to...didn't take me long to figure out he was taking action and laying off action...and you should have seen the traffic coming in and out of his office back then.....met a lot of the name gamblers back then, guys like Buzzy White, Dickie Stevens, Doc Stevens, the Spilotro Brothers, Jasper, The Swamper, Speedy Newmann, and a host of others...

This was where I got my first offshore job...The Cigar walked in one day and saw me giving lines out on the phone...He immediately asked me if I wanted to work for him in the Dominican Republic and could I be ready to leave in two weeks...I was going through a divorce at the time and said sure...I knew that the DR was in the Carribean but didn't know exactly where...so I packed my bags and that was my introduction to Offshore....(and to Steak TarTar who was the Lines manager down there)

More about Frankie M. later....
 
#49
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Frankie spent a ton of time in the custody of the government hotels around the country...so he has never had an affection for the men in blue or any person with authority...Being the local character that he was, Las Vegas Metro didn't take too kind to him and the feeling was likewise...

I was with Frankie in his red mercedes convertible one Sunday morning on the way to his office on Spring Mountain...we had the top down and it was around 8:00 AM...we passed through the intersection of Spring Mt and Koval Lane and a metro unit stops him for running a red light..to this day, I would swear that it was yellow....Frankie pulls over and says to me.."watch this." The officer comes up to the car and says license and registration please Mr. Masterana...

Frankie's reply...."Fuk you, you cocksucker, the light was yellow and tell your boss the fuking light was yellow"

The metro officer gave Frankie a ticket anyway and said have a great morning...Frankie said.."Fuk your morning and your girlfriend"
LVPD loved to screw with him and Frankie loved to give them shit right back...
 
#50
Re: Las Vegas before.....

One more short story...back then, Monday was always the end of the week....

Frankie always had figures for the losers on Tuesdays...

For the guys with winning weeks he always said "Figures will be up soon"
 
#51
Re: Las Vegas before.....

The best thing about Churchill Race and Sports was that you only had to hop a three foot wall to go to the Alladin where I could cash a check for 100$ then back to CD to play horses plus the 10% tax they charged. If I looked through some junk I could probably find one of the post cards that they had that had a picture of a monkey with a funny quote about playing the horses!! Might be worth a few dollars on ebay!! Also was in there before I turned 21 and one of the writters yelled out "Jimmy, telephone call". There sitting right in front of me was Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder during they hey day of CBS. The only thing that seperated the race and sports was a small sliding wooden door. I remember that they only had 4-5 theater seats in the Sports book and of course it was the race recreations from Del mar and then waiting 30-40 minutes for the results to be made official. If you were down to your last duece you really had to plan your betting... Scotty S was writting tickets and after I moved to Nevada in 77 he went to work for Warren nelson at Cal Neva. I think Scotty S was the first to introduce half time betting on college BB. No one else would here in town Roxy was living in a van before LVSC and betting and a guy that I can only remember as "Bruce" was the best college BB handicapper I have ever seen. Youcould even make money after he hammered the half time lines.
 

kyhawk

EOG Addicted
#53
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Quick excerpt

Another time, I walked into the Mirage and saw Sam. "How you doin', Sam?" I rhetorically asked. Wrong question. He went into a tirade about how he was being evicted from his condo in the Regency Towers.

When I inquired why, he said, "That f-----g c---sucker! I paid rent for seven years straight. Then when I missed two, he goes crazy and wants to throw me out on the streets after what a good tenant I been!"

"He's throwing you out after you missed two months?" I asked.

"No, two years," replied Sam, as if his landlord was totally out of line.
 
#55
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Sam Brown was a fixture at the Olympic Gardens for awhile selling his jewelry...he once said told me that if I cut down on the lap dances, he would give me a discount on some nice earrings for the lady...
 
#56
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I remember when I was working for Frankie and we got pinched by the Feds, and Frankie told them he sold Sports information he wasn't a bookie and also told them to go fuck themselves... Frankie could handle a deck of cards too... the stories this man told me were almost unbelieveable... Frankie scared me to death so many days driving to work, if you wanted to get frightened hop in the car with Frankie behind the wheel... it was me and I believe 7 other clerks that were clerking for him, lucky me I had 2 phones to answer at all times one in each ear.........
 

Bagiant

EOG Dedicated
#57
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I remember those old days. First trip to Vegas was 1969 when I won a contest that sent me to Caesers. I remember riding up the strip and seeing those stand alone sports books like the Rose Bowl.

So who opened the first sports book inside a casino in Vegas? My guess would be the Union Plaza downtown.
 
#58
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I remember when I was working for Frankie and we got pinched by the Feds, and Frankie told them he sold Sports information he wasn't a bookie and also told them to go fuck themselves... Frankie could handle a deck of cards too... the stories this man told me were almost unbelieveable... Frankie scared me to death so many days driving to work, if you wanted to get frightened hop in the car with Frankie behind the wheel... it was me and I believe 7 other clerks that were clerking for him, lucky me I had 2 phones to answer at all times one in each ear.........
He used to be a Pharroh dealer in his day...
(spelling?)
 
#59
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Would love to make a documentary while some of the old timers are still around. Get them all together for dinner and drinks and roll the camera. I'm sure you would get some great stories.
 
#60
Re: Las Vegas before.....

good idea on the documentary.Most people only know Vegas as it is today. Would be a cool retro nostalgia trip for the ole timers.And a history lesson for the rest.

So many stories,It would be hard to cut it down to 2 hours though.
 
#62
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Anybody remember Frank Masterana? Any good stories?

Hitting the sack now...will have a write up about him tomorrow....
FM passed a couple years ago, but his wife & son took over and are very sucessful. They deserve it, his son is wheelchair bound.


I remember one day at the Royal. I hear a commotion and come out and Frankie Eyelash has FM in a headlock and is pounding his head, pony tail included, with a long neck beer bottle. Guess who owed who.

FM was a Willie Nelson look alike.
 
#63
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I liked the Rose Bowl and Churchill Downs Sports Book. Those days in Vegas were the Golden Days. Hotel rooms were cheap. Women were readily available. Booze and smokes were free. Food was very cheap. Vegas was run by people who knew how to run a gaming operation, not by a bunch of cooperate hogs who only care about a bottom line.
Comps aplenty with no strings attached.
 
#64
Re: Las Vegas before.....

The Banking Mafia stole these Casinos and have run Las Vegas into the ground with their greed.

Fucking assholes
The reason I lasted so long was I ALWAYS worked for a single owner who booked with his own br, didn't sweat and let me do my job. No such situations in LV now.
 
#65
Re: Las Vegas before.....

amazing how much can get done and without all the stress when people are allowed to do their jobs.
its a simple concept,but I'm amazed how little it actually is implemented.
 
#66
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Absolutely. Howard Huges was the beginning of the end of Vegas for we old timers. It has just gotten worse and worse ever since.
He bought The Desert Inn and took over the whole eigth floor. He then bought Channel 8 so he could tell them which movies to put on so he could watch them. I think he ended up with eight hotels but could be wrong.
 
#69
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Outstanding property...

Funniest thing I ever saw there was the time they removed a crap table from the floor after one night of continuous winning hands....carried it right off the floor....
A mobbed up joint, no more left in LV(?). I got my daughter comped in The Presidential Suit for her wedding night 20 yrs ago. It was 900$ a night then.

Remember the sports book out back by the door?
 
#71
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I remember when the hotels didnt have sportsbooks. You had to leave the property. Castaways, Churchhill Downs, Gary Austins, Leeroys. numbers were hand written on a board. Ive still got some hand written tickets. Think my favorite book was Barbary Coast.
Santa Anita, Bill Darks, Hollywood, The Paddock, The Derby. They went into the hotels in 76', first was The Union Plaza and then the first strip property was in The Stardust.
 
#74
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Downtown was better without the enclosure, I remember having to see the roof light show for the first time, but the character of Downtown lost some.
Some genius college graduate, marketing type must have thought up the Freemont Street Experience. Went to too much college and not enough highschool probably. Ruined Downtown as far as I'm concerned. Now it's no more than a carny midway. I remember two way traffic Downtown, kids cruising on weekend nights. It was great, it was real.
 
#75
Re: Las Vegas before.....

if I had the Back to the Future car Id definitely go back to the early Vegas days.

I'd probably come back smelling like smoke but I'd have a ton of stories to tell.
 
#76
Re: Las Vegas before.....

My dad know Bob Martin. They were good friends. I was fortunate enough to know Lefty Rosenthal on a first name basis. That man know more about sports wagering than any other man I have ever known, and that includes some of todays biggest "touts". Ofcourse it was a lot easier to make a buck back in those days. Unfortunately, I knew his buddy, Tony Spilotro a lot better, but that is another story. Have you ever seen Tony's kid? He looks nothing like Tony or his mom. I also liked the Barbery Coast. Loved the old sportsbook. They were one of the last to use the old board, instead of going computer.
From my book:

"TOUGH TONY" SPILOTRO
"Tough Tony" Spilotro was played by Joe Pesci in the 1995 movie Casino. Tony Spilotro did die in that Indiana cornfield, along with his brother Michael, as the movie portrayed. Until that brutal end, Tony Spilotro raised some horrendous, but unproven accusations including many alleged, brutal murders. Tony Spilotro was the Chicago mob?s overseer, an enforcer, sent to Las Vegas from Chicago in 1971 to oversee their interests here. Although Tony was a Churchill regular at times, I never saw that side of him; he was always just another guy hanging around, never being anything but a nice guy.

While I was a clerk, he?d call Churchill looking for scores, and he?d ask for me. We all had our own phones sitting right on the counter at our window. He'd keep me on the phone talking and talking. He didn?t particularly want my conversation; he just kept me hanging on so when he heard the ticker in the background crank up, he?d say, "Hey, what?s that coming over the ticker?" I?d tell him the Cubs were making a pitching change, or whatever it was. "Okay, thank you," he?d say. Then we went back to idle chatter until the ticker started up again. "What's that score?" By keeping me on the phone with him, it was like he had a personal ticker in his house or wherever he was. It was boring, but you didn?t hang up on Tony Spilotro.

Tony had several nicknames including "the Ant," but it was "the Little Guy" that most who knew him used. When in public, or anywhere for that matter, you never, ever used his name or even said "the Little Guy." You had to make a silent gesture holding your hand out flat, palm down, about five feet, five inches off the ground, to indicate the Little Guy.

You?d have to say, "Yeah, I was at The Dunes, and I saw ?" and then pause and make this gesture, meaning you saw the Little Guy?you saw Spilotro. He was so paranoid of law-enforcement bugs and rats he didn?t want his name mentioned.

Thanks to my friends Tommy Licato and Pirates Manager Chuck Tanner, Vincent was a batboy in the visitor?s clubhouse in Dodger Stadium and also old Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. I'll never forget the day in 1986 Conne, Vincent, and I were in Los Angeles for a Dodger series with the Pirates. While downtown in Los Angeles, I ran into somebody I knew from LV, and he asked me if I had heard about Tony. I hadn?t. Tony and his brother were lured back to Chicago on a ruse sometime earlier. They found his body and that of his brother Michael, beaten and buried alive in a cornfield in Indiana. Tony allegedly went too far, on his own behalf, in LV. He was freelancing beyond his duties to his employers back in Chicago. His "Hole in the Wall" gang was burglarizing businesses in LV without fear. He was muscling people on his own. He had to be dealt with.

As I mentioned earlier, I never saw Spilotro push anybody around. Neither Tony nor his crew took advantage of their feared status with us. Later when I "had the pen" (authorized to write comps) at several casinos, he?d never ask or even accept a comp if offered. He?d tell me, "No thanks, I don't wanna get you in trouble."

Later, when I ran books on my own, if one of their guys came in to bet a game and we were already buried on it, it would have been easy for them to try to muscle a big bet. It never happened to me or my supervisors. In fact, "the guys" were good for my different sports books. They kept wannabe tough guys in check much more effectively than hotel security could, and our customers were never robbed. They were good for the bottom line too. If we asked, they could help get us off a game (bet the side we needed) if we were buried. It was perfectly legit. Tickets were printed and taxes paid. No, they weren?t the patron saints of my sportsbooks bottom lines. We?d give them a hook, a point, or a nickel (hook = one-half point, nickel= $.05 on a money line) on the wagers we solicited. Again, Las Vegas was much safer and sane then.
 
#77
Re: Las Vegas before.....

My dad know Bob Martin. They were good friends. I was fortunate enough to know Lefty Rosenthal on a first name basis. That man know more about sports wagering than any other man I have ever known, and that includes some of todays biggest "touts". Ofcourse it was a lot easier to make a buck back in those days. Unfortunately, I knew his buddy, Tony Spilotro a lot better, but that is another story. Have you ever seen Tony's kid? He looks nothing like Tony or his mom. I also liked the Barbery Coast. Loved the old sportsbook. They were one of the last to use the old board, instead of going computer.
Also from my book:

THE LEFTHANDER
The 1995 movie Casino was about the Stardust, Frank Lefty Rosenthal, and Tony Spilotro. Robert De Niro played Lefty aka Ace Rothstein in the movie. Sharon Stone played Jerri, his wife. Joe Pesci played Tony Spilotro, and the Stardust was called the Tangiers. The race and sportsbook in the movie was not the Stardust but was an unopened book in the Jockey Club. The Casino story line was basically correct but didn?t portray Lefty?s vision in creating the Stardust Race and Sportsbook. Lefty, a master handicapper, moved from his hometown Chicago to Miami, and then to Las Vegas in 1968. He began running the Rose Bowl Race and Sportsbook on the Strip. He was tapped by his hometown Chicago Outfit in the ?70s to look out for their interests in the Stardust Hotel & Casino.

While in this position, he conceived and built a race and sportsbook for the Stardust. Way ahead of his time, he saw the power of a race and sports book as a money machine benefiting an entire property, not just a little niche in the corner as was the business decision of other hotels. What ingenious ideas Lefty had and brought to fruition. Remember, race and sportsbooks in the hotels were not much more than a small betting counter, an afterthought. Even Caesars Palace had but a small carousel of a sportsbook. So small, in fact, players would reach around and change odds on the boards when the sportsbook personnel weren?t paying attention.

Lefty had the blessings of the right people behind him. Lefty, who may have never cracked a smile in his life, saw the big picture and didn?t have to answer to corporate suits upstairs and their bean counters in the basement. He built a mammoth race and sportsbook with ceilings three stories high. The race and sports boards were a couple stories high themselves, reaching almost to the ceiling. They were big enough to require catwalks and ladders behind them, so odds and results could be put in by hand, much like the Fenway Park or Wrigley Field scoreboards.

He installed a state-of-the art satellite TV system with a monster theater screen and a compliment of smaller screens to bring in games and races other books didn?t even acknowledge as existing. He had a maintenance crew assigned exclusively to take care of the satellite system and TVs. People flocked to the Stardust.

The race book boards were the best ever. Nothing in today?s advanced tech age can compare; the players loved them. They were so easy to read compared to today?s electronic boards. The race book behind-the-scenes process started at 6:00 a.m. when two girls typed entries, jockeys, and morning odds into a machine that transferred them to film. The girls would then take the film to the racebook's dark room to develop them. They were actually negatives when developed. Each race was on a 6" X 12" negative. Five or six tracks minimum were produced. Once developed, the girls would call upstairs to the boardroom so a race book board man would come down and get them. He took the films back upstairs to the cavernous boardroom, which resembles a spaceship. There would be a five- or six-man crew up in the catwalks and control room. Two rows of race boards, each a story tall with its own catwalk. The guys could maneuver the catwalks like Tarzan. The monster room was dim with a speaker system that added to the spaceship atmosphere. Where did the negatives come in? Lefty had big projectors installed behind each race board, over fifty of them. The negatives were placed on each projector in their proper order of track and race. They were then projected onto the rear of the giant boards and the 6" X 12" negatives were now projected to 3.5? X 7?. Our customers on the other side, down on the main floor, had a clear, easy to read black and white of every race.

As race results came in, a man in the control room, located in the guts of the boardroom, announced the results to the guys on the catwalks who would open up the corresponding door and insert the results, again like Fenway. To protect the customers from errors, Lefty installed a movable video camera way on the opposite side of the racebook, facing the boards, so the man in the control room could scan the posted results for accuracy. The racebook players had no idea what went into this process. All they saw were big, neat boards. Good thing.

The race board men were a unique crew, kind of like a parallel workforce. Some of them may have actually bunked in that cavernous area. They had couches on each catwalk. A girlfriend or two were rumored to have visited. When I took over in 1983, I just pretended I never saw anything. The work was always done on time. They didn?t need a supervisor. Enough said. Upper management and security didn?t venture up there since it was only accessible by a ladder, like a submarine only in the air. Once, however, the fire department did go up there on an inspection. The control room walls were covered with hundreds of pinups. They had to come down?fire hazard, you know.

The sports boards, on the other side of the book, were a one-man operation in a much smaller setting. The sports boards and room covered about one-fifth the area of the race boards. They were located on the second floor, directly above the sportsbook counter. Two rows with three 5? X 6? boards in each row. A bottom row with another row on top. Each board was on hinges making it a door, in fact. Results and odds were displayed on plaques and cards, again like Fenway. The bottom three boards were floor level while the top row was reached with a big, rolling ladder. Every team ever booked, in every sport, pitchers in baseball, league names, dates, times, etc., were on permanent plaques. When a new pitcher was brought up from the minors, or a fight or any event not on a plaque was booked, we made a plaque for it, right in the boardroom. There were trays of letters and numbers that could cover everything. Changes in the odds, from the sportsbook directly below, were announced to the sportsbook customers via speakers hooked up to a mike and also to the board man upstairs. The board man would open the big doors and put odds changes or scores in their slots. He had a ticker for scores and a TV.

The board men on the sports side were a unique breed also, and much more a part of the betting action due to the constant odds changes. They were also partially visible when they opened the big doors..........
 
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