Las Vegas before.....
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  1. #1

    Default Las Vegas before.....

    Whose experienced the "good ole days" of Las Vegas race & sports books? Even just to visit. Anyone remember LV before the casinos began booking?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Viejo D used to clean Sammy Davis Jr.'s glass eyeball before the Rat Pack performances.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    sure before 1971 little caessars was the best..............gl

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    The little place in the same little mall that Little Caesers was located.

    Churchhill Downs race and sports book?

    I loved that place with all the goofball toughguys that hung around there.

    What a place.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Bookmaking with written tickets

    And they would sometimes accept wagers AFTER the games started.

    I think that's impossible now.

  6. #6
    Just an Old Dawg, with New Tricks Junkyarddog47's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    "Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." George Patton. I win because I make the other dumb bastard lose. In gambling and in life.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Junkyarddog47 View Post
    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.

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

    Fucking assholes

  8. #8
    Just an Old Dawg, with New Tricks Junkyarddog47's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    "Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." George Patton. I win because I make the other dumb bastard lose. In gambling and in life.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by pvcpipe View Post
    Viejo D used to clean Sammy Davis Jr.'s glass eyeball before the Rat Pack performances.
    Only at the Sands Hotel and Caesars Palace....

  10. #10

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    The "Board" at the Dust...reminded me of the Red Sox scoreboard and Wrigley scoreboard...

    The lotteries...

    Lee Pete Shows...

    Castaways poker games...

    Churchill Downs, Rose Bowl, Austins...

    Trop golf course, Desert Inn Golf Course...

    Bill Dark and Bob Martin....

    Wish I had tape recordings of the Stardust bank of pay phones outside the sportsbook....

  11. #11

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    ah, the good old days.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Viejo Dinosaur View Post
    The "Board" at the Dust...reminded me of the Red Sox scoreboard and Wrigley scoreboard...

    The lotteries...

    Lee Pete Shows...

    Castaways poker games...

    Churchill Downs, Rose Bowl, Austins...

    Trop golf course, Desert Inn Golf Course...

    Bill Dark and Bob Martin....

    Wish I had tape recordings of the Stardust bank of pay phones outside the sportsbook....
    Played the DI many times, was always a great day.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Silver Slipper boxing events...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Slipper was my favorite place to play BJ, always seemed to get out of there up.

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    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Dunes and the golf course was also pretty good.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheapseats View Post
    Dunes and the golf course was also pretty good.
    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....

  17. #17
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    Default 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.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by unluckysob View Post
    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.
    Did you know Mugsy?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    i remember the little poker table at the castaways.......and the waitress passing out little cups of treats.............with the hole in the wall sportsbook about twenty feet from the poker table...........what a blast from the past

  20. #20

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    You might want to check this site out...has pictures of the strip hotels from 1975. Very cool to look back:

    http://gaming.unlv.edu/Xanadu/then.html

  21. #21

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIEPEETE View Post
    i remember the little poker table at the castaways.......and the waitress passing out little cups of treats.............with the hole in the wall sportsbook about twenty feet from the poker table...........what a blast from the past
    Remember the ungodly rake at the poker table? They were stealing...

  22. #22

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Union Plaza in the early 1980's, me and a friend of mine went...he knew the manager and we had everything compted..

  23. #23

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Viejo Dinosaur View Post
    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....
    Do you remember Joe Rubino Jr. He was huge, 350 or so, and a certified nut case:

    ......."Another time, Joe was upset about something, so he left Churchill and went across the Strip to the Dunes, wedged himself under a craps table, and got stuck under there. Nobody could get him out.

    Sid Wyman, owner of the Dunes, started talking to him: "Come on, Joe, come on out of there. Let’s talk about it."

    Sid owned the place, a really nice, grandfatherly type man. "Come on out, Joe. We can talk about this," Sid calmly pleaded.

    Meanwhile, people up above were still shooting dice, and the guy who owned the hotel was baby talking with this fat slob wedged underneath the craps table. Joe had a beef with somebody—not Sid, but some kind of beef somewhere. He eventually worked himself out. Must have gotten hungry."

  24. #24

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by High Times View Post
    Bookmaking with written tickets

    And they would sometimes accept wagers AFTER the games started.

    I think that's impossible now.
    I worked at Churchill Downs from 73-78. Some of the tickets written after the games started were customers past posting the writers and some of the ppd tickets were writers past posting the book, espicially in the race book. Every book had a couple clerks who were 'in business for themselves' but they only used the money to bet and gave it right back. It usually never left the building.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty S View Post
    Do you remember Joe Rubino Jr. He was huge, 350 or so, and a certified nut case:

    ......."Another time, Joe was upset about something, so he left Churchill and went across the Strip to the Dunes, wedged himself under a craps table, and got stuck under there. Nobody could get him out.

    Sid Wyman, owner of the Dunes, started talking to him: "Come on, Joe, come on out of there. Let’s talk about it."

    Sid owned the place, a really nice, grandfatherly type man. "Come on out, Joe. We can talk about this," Sid calmly pleaded.

    Meanwhile, people up above were still shooting dice, and the guy who owned the hotel was baby talking with this fat slob wedged underneath the craps table. Joe had a beef with somebody—not Sid, but some kind of beef somewhere. He eventually worked himself out. Must have gotten hungry."
    If he was the same guy I knew from Buffalo, then that was him...

  26. #26

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Remember:
    The Tower of Pizza & Jasper & Hunchy
    Work Cards (for those of us who had a job)
    Felony Cards
    Sherriff Ralph Lamb
    The Palamino Club
    The Flame
    Trying to get a late game score
    Radio games
    Driving to Mt Charleston to get good reception
    The World Football League
    Maybe 8-10 bowl games
    March Madness was 32 teams (wasn't called March Madness)
    The NIT was legit, meant something
    "Who they got"

  27. #27

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    How about a guy named joe finesilver what a character

  28. #28

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Viejo Dinosaur View Post
    If he was the same guy I knew from Buffalo, then that was him...
    Joe was from Atlanta and decided to run for President of The United States in 1976. Joe Rubino Jr. legitimately thought he was going to carry the vote in at least two states.

    Joe was a huge man, weighing close to four hundred pounds. Joe Jr. and his dad Joe Sr. were from Atlanta but were Las Vegas and Churchill regulars. They both were extra sharp with numbers. Joe Sr. could sit in the book and make you a number on any pitch, any play, and any situation in any sport. They were, however, must bets (if you asked for a price, you were obligated to make a bet).

    Joe Sr. owned a newspaper and hotel in Georgia. Joe Jr. was a decent handicapper and bookmaker in his own right, but he was certifiably goofy (so goofy he ran for president, not of the Rotary Club, but President of The United States). Even goofier, he bet on himself to carry two states. Bob Martin gave him some ridiculously long odds, and Joe Jr. actually bet his own money with some of the big guys around town.

    Joe called his party the Peace Party. He had a Secretary of Defense and State picked out. His campaign headquarters was in the Casbah Hotel downtown. Joe campaigned quite a bit in Churchill where he handed out Peace Party sports schedules with the party’s logo on them. He had slogans and some of his platform on them also. During the campaign one day, he comes into Churchill, this huge guy, and he's wearing nothing but white boxer shorts, a white T-shirt, and a necktie.

    He starts shouting, "They locked me out of my room." He was living in the Sahara Hotel at the time. "They locked me out. They won't let me in."

    He was ranting and raving and went and took a seat in the back row—he was a back row guy. In a bit, Ray Vera shows up. Ray’s in his pajamas and bathrobe since it was basketball season. His regular attire till after the Final Four. Nobody thought anything of it.

    So Ray, in pajamas and bathrobe, spots Joe in his boxer shorts, T-shirt, and necktie. It turned out Joe owed Ray serious money. Ray goes over to Joe and he says he wants his money. He ended up beating on Joe while Joe just lifted up one huge ham to try and fend him off, and Ray just kept beating on him. Joe was just hiding behind this huge, fat leg.

    So finally we broke it up, and Joe, in all sincerity, said, "I’m a presidential candidate. You can't do that to me." He was dead serious. He went to the pay phones outside, called the Sherriff, the Feds, the Secret Service, everybody he can think of, saying, "I'm a presidential candidate, and I demand protection."

    Soon, the trauma unit came. They saw Joe out front sitting in the grass, still ranting. So now it all made sense to them. It was a better comedy than Hollywood could produce.

    "I'm a presidential candidate, and I demand protection."

    They said, "Come on, Joe, let's go."

    He gets in the front seat, no squawking, like all this is completely normal to him. He rests his arm out the window, riding shotgun in the ambulance like he's in a beer truck, and they drive off, his arm still hanging out the window. They took Joe to a psych ward somewhere, where he spent his stay booking. What a great cover. Joe didn’t get on the presidential ballot and lost the presidency and his money. He paid off; he was dead serious. ....Hollywood couldn't produce this.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Lefty getting almost killed at Tony Romas on Sahara...

    Boston Pizza right after a night at the Olympic Gardens...

    Hole in the Wall Gang...

    Good casino managers like Toby D. and Bob Wheeler...

    UNLV baskets at the Convention Center...

    The Landmark Hotel...

  30. #30

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty S View Post
    Joe was from Atlanta and decided to run for President of The United States in 1976. Joe Rubino Jr. legitimately thought he was going to carry the vote in at least two states.

    Joe was a huge man, weighing close to four hundred pounds. Joe Jr. and his dad Joe Sr. were from Atlanta but were Las Vegas and Churchill regulars. They both were extra sharp with numbers. Joe Sr. could sit in the book and make you a number on any pitch, any play, and any situation in any sport. They were, however, must bets (if you asked for a price, you were obligated to make a bet).

    Joe Sr. owned a newspaper and hotel in Georgia. Joe Jr. was a decent handicapper and bookmaker in his own right, but he was certifiably goofy (so goofy he ran for president, not of the Rotary Club, but President of The United States). Even goofier, he bet on himself to carry two states. Bob Martin gave him some ridiculously long odds, and Joe Jr. actually bet his own money with some of the big guys around town.

    Joe called his party the Peace Party. He had a Secretary of Defense and State picked out. His campaign headquarters was in the Casbah Hotel downtown. Joe campaigned quite a bit in Churchill where he handed out Peace Party sports schedules with the party’s logo on them. He had slogans and some of his platform on them also. During the campaign one day, he comes into Churchill, this huge guy, and he's wearing nothing but white boxer shorts, a white T-shirt, and a necktie.

    He starts shouting, "They locked me out of my room." He was living in the Sahara Hotel at the time. "They locked me out. They won't let me in."

    He was ranting and raving and went and took a seat in the back row—he was a back row guy. In a bit, Ray Vera shows up. Ray’s in his pajamas and bathrobe since it was basketball season. His regular attire till after the Final Four. Nobody thought anything of it.

    So Ray, in pajamas and bathrobe, spots Joe in his boxer shorts, T-shirt, and necktie. It turned out Joe owed Ray serious money. Ray goes over to Joe and he says he wants his money. He ended up beating on Joe while Joe just lifted up one huge ham to try and fend him off, and Ray just kept beating on him. Joe was just hiding behind this huge, fat leg.

    So finally we broke it up, and Joe, in all sincerity, said, "I’m a presidential candidate. You can't do that to me." He was dead serious. He went to the pay phones outside, called the Sherriff, the Feds, the Secret Service, everybody he can think of, saying, "I'm a presidential candidate, and I demand protection."

    Soon, the trauma unit came. They saw Joe out front sitting in the grass, still ranting. So now it all made sense to them. It was a better comedy than Hollywood could produce.

    "I'm a presidential candidate, and I demand protection."

    They said, "Come on, Joe, let's go."

    He gets in the front seat, no squawking, like all this is completely normal to him. He rests his arm out the window, riding shotgun in the ambulance like he's in a beer truck, and they drive off, his arm still hanging out the window. They took Joe to a psych ward somewhere, where he spent his stay booking. What a great cover. Joe didn’t get on the presidential ballot and lost the presidency and his money. He paid off; he was dead serious. ....Hollywood couldn't produce this.
    Now I know you you mean...didn't know him personally, but he was crazy....

  31. #31

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Quote Originally Posted by markrightplay View Post
    How about a guy named joe finesilver what a character
    Joe Finesilver aka Indian Joe, always looking for an apple as he called his marks. He would find a tourist and what a break for them. Joe would give them a winner for half their bet.
    Joe was rummored dead many times but always miraculously re-appeared, usually at a So Cal track, just waiting till it was clear to return to LV.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    I have to take a break for the rest of the day guys but keep the memories comming. I'll add what I can when I return tomorrow. Can't wait.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Remember Bob

    Bob Martin took over the sports side for owner Harry Gordon at Churchill Downs in 1967. During Bob Martin’s tenure, the Las Vegas line originated at Churchill and went out to the country.

    Bob Martin was an absolute genius at making numbers (point spread, money line, and odds) to book with. Nobody ever completely knew what he did or how he came up with his the numbers, numbers he booked to, numbers that could get two-way action (bettors wager on both teams). Bob said, "when it fits like a glove, you know it’s the right number." Bob Martin was the king of odds makers. He was the judge of the sports betting world. His word could settle disputes anywhere in the country. Just ask Bob, and whatever Bob Martin says goes. No one has ever filled that universal position since.

    Bob was pleasant, a real gentleman. He had a good sense of humor and was a pleasure to be around or speak with. Bob was good company. You’d never know he was the most influential odds maker in the United States. We had had him on a pedestal, though he didn't act like it. He was approachable and easy to talk to. He enjoyed the little guys like me, the average bettors, and we felt honored just having Bob give us some time.

    I remember one encounter I had with Bob before I went to work in Churchill. I considered myself a good handicapper (in my own mind), so I told Bob, "I have Southern Methodist +3." It was only for $50, but that was a sizable lay down (putting up your money, a bet) for me at the time.

    Seemingly, without even trying, Bob made me feel great. He said, "Southern Methodist! How’d you come up with them, one of the strongest bets on the board." He wasn't being condescending; he was being genuinely nice. Now, years later when I recall those days, who knows if he liked SMU or not, but they fit like a glove to me.

    Bob didn’t drive a car, but he had his own driver, Sarge, who was also a taxi driver. All Sarge did was drive Bob around in his cab. That was it. That was the extent of his job. He would park his cab out in front of Churchill and drive Bob around if Bob needed to go somewhere. It was the only cab that was regularly valet parked at Caesars Palace.

    Bob would hang the print outs off the office UPI machine, out front on a big bulletin board, for us to see. Shortstops and wiseguys alike. Guys would come in and study the bulletin board (myself included), reading all these write ups. I soon learned a valuable lesson, a lesson to be used later when I took over the Stardust. I knew who I wanted before reading all that info; after digesting it all, it became a guess. We took ourselves off winners and would come up with plays we didn’t even like before. I would later use this and other of Bob’s innovative ideas at the Stardust, every one of which would work for me. Bob Martin left Churchill for the Union Plaza Hotel downtown in 1972. I was hired in 1973. Bob stayed with book manager Johnny Quinn at the Plaza for three years. In a hotel setting and with a TV show, Bob was more mainstream. Newspapers were now using the "Official Las Vegas Line," Bob’s line, from the Union Plaza.

    Bob got caught up in a sting he wasn’t even the target of, but he got swept up anyway. He was sentenced to thirteen months in California’s Lompoc Federal Prison in 1983 for transmission of wagering information across state lines. If you have to do time, Lompoc "country club" is the place to do it in. Bob passed away in 2001 at age eighty-two. There has never been anyone of Bob’s stature since. Sure there are guys making numbers, but no one has the respect Bob had—not as a linemaker or human being.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Great write up of Mr. Martin....thanks Scotty....

  35. #35

    Default Re: Las Vegas before.....

    Anybody remember Frank Masterana? Any good stories?

    Hitting the sack now...will have a write up about him tomorrow....

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