Las Vegas before.....

#81
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....
Wow, thanks for the memories Viejo. I didn't know FM's kid was the one who shot Donna The Duck. Jaspers J&J Line Service office was like a kids clubhouse.
 
#82
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...
That's some funny stuff, I can just picture it. I'm still laughing.......

Thanx
 
#84
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.
Does this post ever bring back good memories although the dumbest thing I ever did in my life was quit working for Warren. He treated me like a son.
The Bruce you're talking about is Bruce The Crab..........

From My Book:

BRUCE THE CRAB
Our biggest player, Bruce the Crab, followed me to Reno from LV. This guy was smart, a good handicapper?make that great handicapper. He had a basic method he stuck to. Years later, he'd let me in on it.

Bruce and his gofer buddy Billy, who didn't bet, came to Reno shortly after I opened the book. Bruce relocated to Reno because it was mostly squares betting up there, and with me he had a spot to get down. He didn't have to worry about getting the worst of the number like in LV. He could cherry-pick lines easily in Reno. He knew what he was doing.

Bruce had one interest in life, and that was sports handicapping. He lived in a motel and didn't have a TV or car. The reason for his existence was to bet.

He was good and began kicking our butt, betting mostly parlays of all things. I felt bad, frustrated because Warren was such a good guy, and a guy named The Crab is killing us. I called Bob Martin for advice. I called Ray Vera. I told them what was happening, and they said to keep taking his action?since it was mostly parlays. We couldn't stop taking parlays, no matter what. Eventually he has to lose (doesn?t he?).

Warren also looked at his action and said to keep taking it; we've still got the best of it. Bruce answered the bell every day; even if he was losing, he still put at least $50,000 in action. He gave us a shot at him also.

Bruce had a goal, and he reached it. He won enough money; he quit winners. He and Billy went on a sabbatical, going to all twenty-six major league baseball ballparks at the time. He financed it with the money he won betting sports. Bruce the Crab may be the only player I know to actually quit winners (while still alive). Bruce and Billy saw at least one game in every major league park.

Later on, I was back in Las Vegas at the Stardust, and I heard from Warren that the Cal-Neva still had an uncashed ticket worth $60,000 from my time up there. It was a futures bet on the Boston Celtics, Bruce?s hometown. But he had taken off, and nobody had heard from him. Eventually, he showed up and cashed it.

Later, I would ask Bruce if he was worried about that ticket. "Nah," he said, "I knew you would stand behind it." Warren cashed it long after it expired, no problem. It was Bruce's money, and besides, if it lost, we would have kept the money. That?s the way it?s supposed to be, but sadly in today?s in Las Vegas, it?s not always like that anymore.

Bruce the Crab said he gave up betting. I don't know, though; a guy like that, I'm not sure he could really stay away.
 
#86
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.
Pierros was the restaurant where this could have been done years ago....the place across the street from the Las Vegas Hilton and down the street from the old Stardust....
 
#87
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Scotty...what was the over/under of runners getting robbed in the Stardust bathroom?

Or misplacing their bankroll on the property?

Or getting robbed in the parking lot?

I remember a runner named Waz turning over every trash dumpster in the Stardust looking for winning tickets and cash...he finally found his money in one of his hidden compartments in his jogging outfit....
 
#88
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Scotty...what was the over/under of runners getting robbed in the Stardust bathroom?

Or misplacing their bankroll on the property?

Or getting robbed in the parking lot?

I remember a runner named Waz turning over every trash dumpster in the Stardust looking for winning tickets and cash...he finally found his money in one of his hidden compartments in his jogging outfit....
If I had all the money of all these supposedly ROBBERIES I would be a MULTI MILLIONAIRE.... I would say over 90% was a bullshit story... maybe 10% was legit, but I doubt it..............
 
#89
Re: Las Vegas before.....

It's sad,the ole Vegas legends are dying off too quickly.Its almost like all the world war 2 guys.
once their gone you cant go back and get the stories or the history.
can't imagine in 50 years people will be interested in this present Vegas' stories or history.
 

kyhawk

EOG Addicted
#90
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I think WSOP started at the Stardust. I remember the tables would almost overflow into the book.
I used to watch the Lee Pete show with Jim Brown on Sunday.

FishHead could tell you some stories.

He had to grade and write tickets by hand at the Castaways. Lots of guys started there. Sonny Reizner was another Vegas legend.

I remember Gary Austins book was robbed.
I think he set it up.? Not sure.
I just moved there and was staying at the hotel next door.
The White house maybe? Fuk, I am old.
 
#91
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Austin robbed his own place...no denying that....

Fishhead has plenty of stories; no doubt...

How about crapless craps at Stupak's place?

Anybody remember when the electric company was the last thing west on Sahara just past Decauter...
 
#92
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.
Is it true that Sam onced opened up his colostomy bag and stunk out Binions sportsbook after getting a bad score?
 
#94
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Scotty...what was the over/under of runners getting robbed in the Stardust bathroom?

Or misplacing their bankroll on the property?

Or getting robbed in the parking lot?

I remember a runner named Waz turning over every trash dumpster in the Stardust looking for winning tickets and cash...he finally found his money in one of his hidden compartments in his jogging outfit....
The robberies gave me a great idea. The Stardust was the first to offer safety deposit boxes right in the sportsbook cashiers cage. The money never left the building ( players didn't lose it somewhere else, left it with us overnight and got it out for the lottery next morning).

We were also the first to payout 24 hrs a day. We didn't wait to take the money so why make players wait to get their money. This helped the pit also. A guy comes in at 3:00am to cash a ticket, gets his $$$, turns around and is staring at the tables.

We had lots of pickers. Some we 86'd from the property. Some of them were just looking for winners, scratches or pushes to cash so they could just bet. Those we let scrounge around.

Some of those robberies were phony but most were very real. Willy The Watch cashed out $40,000 to visit his daughter in NY and was never seen again.
 
#95
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Austin robbed his own place...no denying that....

Fishhead has plenty of stories; no doubt...

How about crapless craps at Stupak's place?

Anybody remember when the electric company was the last thing west on Sahara just past Decauter...
I remember when Jones Blvd was a dirt road and Henderson had 10,000 people at the very most. Speaking of Henderson (of course) does anyone remember when that maitre d' from The Sands opened a bathroom sized sportsbook on Water St with Bobby The Owl as his lone employee? On the level.
 
#96
Re: Las Vegas before.....

It's sad,the ole Vegas legends are dying off too quickly.Its almost like all the world war 2 guys.
once their gone you cant go back and get the stories or the history.
can't imagine in 50 years people will be interested in this present Vegas' stories or history.
That's my reason for the book, kinda a labor of love. I wanted to get the early haunts and little guys in print before noone remembers. Thinking of expanding to another one so everyone is included.
 
#97
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I remember when I was working in Dominican Republic in the early 1990's and they were in line betting you on Friday for Saturday college basket games and betting us while they were betting you, I don't know if you knew Ronnie Brown, he passed away about 8-10 years ago, he was opening us up.... hard to believe this guy took a shot at all the books he could bet on credit and went busted and owed everybody, I thought the guy was an honorable person at the time, I don't know if he got sick and had x amount of time to live or what, it just happened so fast.......
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I remember when Jones Blvd was a dirt road and Henderson had 10,000 people at the very most. Speaking of Henderson (of course) does anyone remember when that maitre d' from The Sands opened a bathroom sized sportsbook on Water St with Bobby The Owl as his lone employee? On the level.
the only sportsbook on water street in the early 80s that i remember was in the elegant rainbow club! i worked next door at the el dorado.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

I remember when I was working in Dominican Republic in the early 1990's and they were in line betting you on Friday for Saturday college basket games and betting us while they were betting you, I don't know if you knew Ronnie Brown, he passed away about 8-10 years ago, he was opening us up.... hard to believe this guy took a shot at all the books he could bet on credit and went busted and owed everybody, I thought the guy was an honorable person at the time, I don't know if he got sick and had x amount of time to live or what, it just happened so fast.......
I left The Stardust in November 1991.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Great stuff Scotty. Spot on with Tony. I recall never using his name. When we saw each other, we just said Hi. We never used each others name. Tony must have been arrested well over 20 times during the time I knew him. They never could hang anything on him. Unfortunately it ultimately cost him his life. He thought he was bigger than the "orginization" he worked for. When the walls came crashing down on the guys who ran Vegas from Chicago via Kansas City, they decided to take everyone out that may have the slighest inkling of what was really going on in Vegas. They were sure that Tony bought too much "heat" on their operation, and that heat eventually led to the now famous "book" (accounting ledger) that laid out everything to the Feds. Tony and his brother had to go.

I often wondered if they were just sending a message to Lefty. The "attempt" on his life with the car bonb left a lot of things to be desired. The bomb was placed under the passenger seat, and caught firebefore it blew up, giving Lefty time to get out of the car. Lefty eventually left town, and set up shop in San Diego, where I saw him last. If any of us could pick football games as well as he could, we would not be allowed in any sportsbook in Vegas.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Great stuff Scotty. Spot on with Tony. I recall never using his name. When we saw each other, we just said Hi. We never used each others name. Tony must have been arrested well over 20 times during the time I knew him. They never could hang anything on him. Unfortunately it ultimately cost him his life. He thought he was bigger than the "orginization" he worked for. When the walls came crashing down on the guys who ran Vegas from Chicago via Kansas City, they decided to take everyone out that may have the slighest inkling of what was really going on in Vegas. They were sure that Tony bought too much "heat" on their operation, and that heat eventually led to the now famous "book" (accounting ledger) that laid out everything to the Feds. Tony and his brother had to go.

I often wondered if they were just sending a message to Lefty. The "attempt" on his life with the car bonb left a lot of things to be desired. The bomb was placed under the passenger seat, and caught firebefore it blew up, giving Lefty time to get out of the car. Lefty eventually left town, and set up shop in San Diego, where I saw him last. If any of us could pick football games as well as he could, we would not be allowed in any sportsbook in Vegas.
There was also a steel plate under the frame of Lefty's Caddy.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Knicknames:
Tucker The Sucker
Bobby The Owl
Stinky Jim
Benny The Bite
Bobby Baseball
Hunchy
Pittsburg Jack
Toledo Blackie
Willie The Watch
Spinner
Boobs
Brickhouse
The Munson Family
Detroit Red
Sam The Plumber
Frankie Eyelash
Frankie koo koo
Gus The Goose
Black Allen
Hungry Hall
Big Hank
101
Sneakers
Marty The Jew
Montana Melvin
Indian Joe
The Little Guy
Crying Kenny
The Gorrila Man
Tiger Paul
Tony Taxi
Parlay Paulie
Paul The Doorman
Mogan David
The Lefthander
Fast Eddie
Jerry The Hat
Greasy Jerry
Joe The Pollock
Bruce The Crab
The Teacher
Bicycle
Peddals
The Jogger
Herbie Hoops
The Spaniard
Crazy Louie
The Greek
The Hockeymeister
One Eye Scotty
Crazy Jim
Coach

There are plenty more I forgot or never heard.......
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

My first trip to Sin City was the summer of 1970.
I drove in wild eyed and full of innocence as an 18 yeard old just out of high school with my two best friends, Greg Kenny and Matt Flood.
I had never gambled, didn't have a clue what sports betting might be and was just there to see the world.

I remember a couple things about the trip.

Back then most the casinos had their parking lots in front of them, between Las Vegas BLVD and the casino itself.
In the god awful heat the three Amigos trudged from casino to casino and it seemed like millions of parked cars at each lot
and walked into every casino on the strip just to say we had seen all of them.

In one of them I decided to "sneak in" and play slots. I was a snotty nosed kid with no bankroll at all, maybe 20 bucks to spend.
I walked to the back and found a bank of nickle slots. A lady twice my age (old maid, maybe 40) was all smiles and giggles.
I walked over to watch her play. She said the machine was broken, had been paying out all over the place.
I think it was one that took 5 coins maximum. I watched. Sure enough the machine kept paying off (three bells, three plums, 3 bars, etc) and she was playing the max and laughing.
After while she said her show was starting and had to go.
I took over and could only afford 1 or 2 nickles at a time. Boy, I was living the high life as the machine kep paying off 50 cents here, a dollar there, etc, etc.
Anyway, after 10 minutes the machine went dark. Completely dark. The rest of the bank of slots were still working. Someone had turned it off. I'm sure they were watching from the mirrors above, saw a teenage brat and figured they could get the machine off the floor. So, I took my 10 bucks profit and ran outta there.

Just a day in the life of the BettingFool
 

Bagiant

EOG Dedicated
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.
 

Bagiant

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

I remember Bob Martins UHF TV show that broadcast from the Union Plaza and they had Bobby "The Tower", a show girl and Larry Merchant who picked games against the spread. Even though I didn't know who Bobby was at the time, I remember one show where an Ivy League game was one of the picks that had to be selected. It was a game like Yale-Harvard and Martin made the line say Yale -2. The Tower said he would take the game at Yale -1, and Martin finally conceded. Game wound up like Yale 20-19. Martin really respected The Towers opinion, and made the game Yale -1. I was impressed. This was probably around 1978, and I watched that show every week.

If you remember, Merchant had a book out at the time called the National Football Lottery, NFL, which was probably the first book ever out about betting the NFL games.
 
Re: Las Vegas before.....

Knicknames:
Tucker The Sucker
Bobby The Owl
Stinky Jim
Benny The Bite
Bobby Baseball
Hunchy
Pittsburg Jack
Toledo Blackie
Willie The Watch
Spinner
Boobs
Brickhouse
The Munson Family
Detroit Red
Sam The Plumber
Frankie Eyelash
Frankie koo koo
Gus The Goose
Black Allen
Hungry Hall
Big Hank
101
Sneakers
Marty The Jew
Montana Melvin
Indian Joe
The Little Guy
Crying Kenny
The Gorrila Man
Tiger Paul
Tony Taxi
Parlay Paulie
Paul The Doorman
Mogan David
The Lefthander
Fast Eddie
Jerry The Hat
Greasy Jerry
Joe The Pollock
Bruce The Crab
The Teacher
Bicycle
Peddals
The Jogger
Herbie Hoops
The Spaniard
Crazy Louie
The Greek
The Hockeymeister
One Eye Scotty
Crazy Jim
Coach

There are plenty more I forgot or never heard.......

Reckon that I've borrowed $100 or given a buck to at least one-third on this list.

On a sad note, may have been the last person that Tiger Paul spoke with before he tragically tied a belt around his neck and hanged himself in a downtown hotel.
 

John Kelly

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

My favorite Las Vegas nickname, though politically incorrect in today's climate, Bobby the Midget.

Great contributions in this thread. Thanks Scotty.
 
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
 
Top