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I put my money in this machine, hit max bet, and thank goodness I won. I couldn't figure out why I only has 33 credits, till I cashed out and figured out what happened, so by careful: The next morning was check out. Had to have our luggage ready by 6: There is NO need to be at this little itty bitty airport two hours early, so why they make you do this is ridiculous. Flight home was again, pleasant and uneventful. This was a nice little trip for hubbie and I, who don't get to go places by ourselves much lately with his work schedule.

I had been warned by many people that I wouldn't like Laughlin since we consider Vegas our home away from home. We won't be back, been there done that, lol. We were also two out of four people on our our whole junket that were under the retirement age. We very obviously stuck out like sore thumbs. The vast majority of people were older. And that is fine, they obviously loved Laughlin.

Great for them, but Vegas is much more my speed. There was a noticeable difference in ages Friday night, our last night there. The casino was packed with younger people having a good time. If it had been like that all week, my opinion might be different, but as is stands, our junket was Tues thru Sat morning, so we didn't get to have that fun.

All we got was quiet time, very few bells and whiles, I heard very few people winning, etc. So all in all, not my cup of tea. I am sure there are others who would love this sort of thing, but for younger people who want to gamble with good odds, have fun and people watch, I wouldn't recommend Laughlin.

One side warning, even though this was a junket and there were only two planes leaving Rockford Intl airport that day, they somehow managed to lose peoples luggage, so still take your standard precautions and take your valuables, meds and money on the plane with you. Hope you enjoyed this review. I tend to get long winded, but before I left, I read alot of the reviews on here and wished someone had posted all the details about the junkets.

This was my first and last stay here. It is not within walking distance to the "main' section of town - where the nightlife and limited dining is located in Laughlin. The only advantage here is the beach area which they do not allow personal coolers to be brought onto. At one point the line for the elevator was 40 people deep. The display in the elevator was incorrect and we ended up on the wrong floor and ended walking up three flights of stairs in degree heat.

The front desk manager explained, "that is how it is this time of year," and showed no concern about our time spent dealing with the very inconvenient elevators. Leaving on Sunday two full elevators passed us by as we waited 15 minutes to get down to the lobby to check out.

If I wanted to pay to stand around in a line with strangers on vacation, I would have gone to Disneyland. The restaurant choices are poor. On Saturday night we tried the buffet.

Tanya the young hostess seated us, but did not correctly place the receipt on the table for the waitress. When the waitress asked her if we paid for the buffet, Tanya's answer was confusing and unclear -- for some reason she was unable to explain, "yes, I seated them, but somewhere between the hostess stand and the table the receipt was lost.

We asked for a quiet room and were put next to the ice machine -- clunk, clunk, clunk. The topper on the cake. This is a nice place to stay, but there is little to do. The casino has a small amount of games to play. Lots of open space and few slots compared to other casinos. The Beach is nice, but you can not bring a cooler on the beach and there is no service to buy a drink or snack.

The pools are also nice, but yet again there is no service and coolers are not allowed. The site is too far away from other hotels and the river walk. You need to drive to or take a water taxi. This is a good spot for families and not for other adults. The Place can get over run by the kids. Most parents do not control their children.

The choice of places to eat are OK, but not to my liking. The last few years, we stayed at the Edgewater because of the great incentives but lately there hasn't been many so after reading reviews, I decided to try this hotel. We stayed in the North Tower for 3 nights and had a very nice time. You can pull a lounge chair right into the water and relax all day. There are umbrellas for those who want to stay dry and lounge.

Also, there are life guards on duty so an extra bit of reassurance for those with children. After a rather stressful stay in Las Vegas, our stay at Harrah's reminded me of why my family prefers Laughlin!

My husband and I loved our stay at Harrah's. Our room was great, but we were in Tower 3, which is the "family" tower and, much as we love kids, we never let ours run screaming down the halls. Plus, adults were loudly banging on each other's doors which could happen anywhere, I suppose. The hotel itself is fine Cinnabon, Baskin Robbins and McDonald's were nice to have available also. We have nothing negative to say, except that if you are adults travelling without kids, do not stay in Tower 3.

We had a great time.. Our only complaints Is they would'nt let you bring a cooler to beach area, and their Is no where to buy drinks beer. Their's a bar at the pool area but really expensive.. Radio Is really crappy at pool area..

Hotel should do some changes.. With pool and beach area so people could enjoy It better.. Alot of people felt the same..

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So I went to the Amazon site and sure enough it is also available there. I bought right away a dozen and we will again enjoy the desserts from now on. By Amazon Customer on October 29, This product is from days-gone-by. It is no longer available in grocery stores, and I am very pleased to see that I can still order it through Amazon. It is a delicious, tangy fruit pudding - just like the German "Rote Gruetze". I serve it with a vanilla sauce, for a delicious contrast.

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Published 1 year ago by Empress. Published 1 year ago by Penny Tegen. Pages with related products. See and discover other items: Within a few short years, Titanic had made a huge fortune. He'd travel in a huge, nickel-plated Pierce-Arrow automobile with the tools of his trade in the trunk: He was ambidextrous, and had many proposition bets to make all through any game.

After winning at many changing props, he'd offer to bowl, play golf, shoot targets or shoot pool left-handed. He was a natural lefty. Titanic wore loose custom-tailored suits, made to partially conceal the. There have been three poker robberies here in Lubbock Texas recently, and gamblers are carrying guns inside gambling joints as they did back in Ty's day. Titanic hired a bodyguard to drive and carry an extra gun for 10 per cent of his winnings.

When a dice game owner set Ty up for a robbery, he killed two more men, shooting the masked and armed robbers, even though he had a bodyguard.

Later, an alarm bell at a poker game alerted them. Ty turned over the poker table to use as a shield. He and his bodyguard each shot a robber dead. In , in Tyler, Texas, Titanic killed his last man.

When a man in a ski mask pointed a gun at him, Ty dropped to one knee, presenting a smaller target, and shot him twice. It turned out to be his year-old caddy. The caddy lived long enough to tell the police he was a robber in his spare time. Unlike the first four men he had killed, Titanic felt deep remorse over the death of the young caddy, but the fact that he had killed five men made Titanic most fearsome around the gambling halls of America.

These propositions became tales shared by gamblers, who love to swap stories, and Ty became famous. Ty married five women, all teenagers at the time of the marriage, so the age gap between him and his wife kept getting bigger. The gamblers and the women could tell you that Titanic Thompson's dark eyes could be gullible, child-like, confused, bemused, charming, magnetic, penetrating, predatory, all-knowing and scary when need be.

In the early twenties, Titanic went to Chicago where he met Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandalos, America's most famous gambler at the time. He sent his two-headed quarter into the air and grabbed it when the Greek called heads. Later, he tried to bet Nick Greek on the weight of a large rock they saw when out driving.

The Greek pointed out that this rock looked very different to all the others and Titanic admitted he had pre-weighed it. Al Capone was the absolute mob boss of Chicago and a big admirer of Nick the Greek. This was in prohibition when the mobsters had tons of money. Capone got Nick the Greek and Titanic in some large poker games and they played partners. He palmed the orange and threw a lemon filled with lead bird shot. This was one of Titanic's regular propositions. He turned toward the lake and sent his golf ball flying unto the ice.

With Titanic, the myths, legends, and stories may or not be precisely true. As partners, they made a fortune. It was here Ty took up golf, and very quickly he was terrific at it. The Greek could get them into the poker games, and Ty's eyes would beat them. However, Titanic lost millions on horses and sports bets. He followed the horses that followed the horses. In Tijuana, Mexico, Titanic attempted to fix a six-horse race.

He bribed five of the jockeys, but one refused to go along. Titanic told him he had a man in the grandstands with a high-powered rifle and a scope. He would shoot any jockey whose horse got in front of Nellie. With Nellie nearing the finish line with a comfortable lead, she fell and broke her leg.

He had bet with bookies around the country. Nick the Greek sent a fresh bankroll, and Titanic was playing poker that night.

He bragged he never stayed broke over six hours. Titanic would sit in a hotel lobby kicking his house shoe up into the air and catching it on his foot. He had some props! He could throw the hotel keys into the lock, and Doyle Brunson swears he saw him do it. He would bet on how many cards he could throw into a hat at 20 paces.

Of course, he could always throw what he needed to win a bet, right or left-handed. Titanic would set the horseshoes stakes 41 feet apart, when regulation was 40 feet. The longer distance would fool champions at horseshoes. When future legendary gambler, Hubert Cokes was years-old, he assisted Titanic by hiding in a hotel room next to his. Titanic would bet he could throw cards under the hotel room door and have them bounce into a hat. Hubert was hiding in the closet to place the cards in the hat.

These two became lifelong friends. He was tall, bald, very rich and had an ever-present cigar. They taught Minnesota Fats "the conversation" and he became world class at it. The challenge, the proposition, the negotiation, the bragging, the con, the spots. They'd make the sucker really want to beat them and think he could. At pool and later golf, they'd go after the best pool player in any town and hope he had the biggest gambler to back him.

Ty would win a series of bets. First he'd get a spot and win by one stroke, then play even, then give spots, bet on several trick shots, and play left-handed or one-handed.

Tommy Thomas, Titanic's son, wrote me this: Hubert Cokes was my godfather and I spent time with him when I was growing up and knew him very well He was not a capable card man like Ty but used some of the gaffs.

I still have a leather cup he gave me where you twist the bottom and the dice are switched. Used it playing backgammon, another cup just like it that was straight for your opponent I would go down to the Elks in Evansville and watch Hubert play one-pocket for hours. He would always get on Ty's case just like Ty would do when we were talking about him. Ty said Hubert was the most dangerous smart man he ever knew. He would carry two.

Over the years when I would call Hubert he would let me know he was following my career as a gambler and always seemed to know when I took off a big score. He did not teach me about cards but did teach me about life. Hubert told me a story about Ty you might like. He said they were in Kansas City and he bankrolled Ty to go to Evansville … where they were playing poker for high stakes because of all the oil money. Hubert had not heard from Ty for weeks and thought he would call him to see if he was winning any money.

He talked to Ty and he told him things were so bad everyone was soaking watches just to get by. Hubert knew Ty well enough he caught the next train to Evansville. He walked into the poker game and saw that Ty was winning thousands of dollars. They both took their winnings and bought up oil leases and became wealthy in the oil business. Cokes kept his, Ty ended giving my mother all producing income and half of all mineral deeds when they divorced.

That was about ten grand a month for Mom in the forties. Ty and Hubert were always going to kill each other but really were good friends.

The last serious beef they had was in the McCurdy Hotel. Ty was so angry at Hubert he waited in the hotel lobby for him to come down the elevator and was going to shoot him. Cokes figured Ty would be waiting for him and came down through the kitchen and walked up behind Ty and said, "Slim, are you ready to go to the golf course?

The two became close friends. Damon Runyon, one of America's most famous writers was also there, hearing all the Titanic Thompson stories. His character, Sky Masterson, patterned on Titanic, was in a short story that became the hit play and movie Guys and Dolls. Arnold Rothstein was the model for the Nathan Detroit character. Titanic once won a bet with Rothstein throwing a heavy peanut across Times Square.

He had packed the peanut with birdshot, lead. He did this with walnuts, pecans, oranges, lemons, and he was always ready. He won a bet on license plate poker when the car he had pre-arranged had and drove by when Ty doffed his fedora. Ty hired an ex-math professor to teach him the odds on many dice, poker, and prop bets. He won a bet from Rothstein betting two of the next thirty people to walk by would have the same birthday.

Ty learned a great many props from the professor. At any game, Titanic kept up a steady stream of challenges that he could keep in his head, but made other gamblers dizzy. On a train ride to the track the gamblers bet on how many white horses they would see. The next day, Rothstein had hired a man to plant extra white horses.

Ty had hired a man to plant even more. The publicity for McManus' murder trial made Titanic Thompson a nationally-known name. The public saw newspaper pictures of a rail-thin, 6'2" movie-star-looking, handsome, tall man, with thick, jet-black hair. Ty was immaculately dressed in expensive clothes, with big sparkling diamonds on several fingers. While testifying, Ty was asked if poker is a game of chance.

He came here, to Lubbock, Texas, from the s until the early s. Johnny Moss was living here in , when Ty offered a proposition that Johnny could not shoot a 46 with only a four iron on nine holes at Meadowbrook, our local golf course.

Moss had his four iron welded down into a two iron, but he couldn't sink putts because Titanic had paid a man to raise the lips on each cup. Moss snapped and had a man go around and tap them back down. At draw poker Ty's prop was that Moss did all the dealing, but Ty could cut anytime. He had the aces crimped and could cut to one as needed. In his biography, Moss said he won all his money back and a Cadillac after he figured it out.

When Ty returned to Meadowbrook when he was older, he'd have a top golfer as a partner or do prop bets of throwing half dollars into a cup, or pitching golf balls into a shot glass. He'd hit both balls at the same time on the first stroke. At other golf courses, he'd bet he could chip into a row boat or bet he could shoot flying birds out of the air with his pistol.

Like his peanuts, the pistol was loaded with bird shot. I caddied at Meadowbrook as a teenager in the early fifties. Sometimes, on a full moon, called a Comanche Moon in Texas, the gamblers played by moonlight. Once, a rich-looking, tall man hired me to retrieve golf balls while he was trying to teach a Doberman Pinscher to catch balls he had lofted high into the air. The dog was trying, but would usually drop the golf ball. This guy would hit a hard, low line drive and hit the dog in the side.

When I told people about this, they said it had to be Titanic Thompson, but I'll never know. Both Cokes and Ryan got very rich from oil royalties, while Titanic made a lot of money on royalties but gave his mineral interest to his wife when they divorced.

Neither Titanic nor Ryan could ever beat Minnesota Fats at one-pocket, however, and they lost a lot of money. Maybe… It was in Evansville that Titanic made a famous prop bet. He hired a farmer to count the watermelons on his truck and park near the McCurdy Hotel. He got the gamblers on the porch involved in the conversation and bet he could guess very near the exact number of watermelons on the truck. As he did in golf, pool or horseshoes, he only won by one.

Just one, as always. Golf was Titanic's best game and, without cheating, he was one of the very best in the United States. He never entered golf tournaments, saying he could not afford the pay cut, because he played for more on one hole than top pros made in a year.

When Nick the Greek got him in the country clubs of California, Ty beat some the well-known golfers. He stayed one of the best for 20 years. The conversation never stopped. Ben Hogan, one of America's greatest golf legends, said Ty was the best shot-maker ever and also the best short game player, and that he could beat anyone right- or left-handed.

Ty would join a country club, lose on the small, appear a braggart, and work up a really large bet. It might take weeks. The conversation had Ty getting a three-stroke handicap. Nelson shot a You know what Ty shot? Exactly what he needed to win the bet, a At times he was near the course record, if he got in a jam.

His years of throwing and practising hand-to-eye coordination came in handy. Titanic Thompson played partners with some of the most famous golf pros. Elder would wear overalls and appear a little slow, then Titanic would offer to take his caddy as partner and play the best two golfers in town, and Ty would play left-handed. To his credit, Titanic made Elder a full partner and gave him an even split of the money. As Ty became older and more famous, folks would ask if he was Titanic Thompson whenever he laid out a proposition, and gamblers would make small bets against him just to see him do his legendary throwing props.

And when plastic cards replaced paper cards, his big poker advantage vanished, while casinos, with their long dice tables, could prevent his control of the dice. And so, like many of the great gamblers who had a lot of gamble in them — Johnny Moss, Nick the Greek and Minnesota Fats — Ty didn't have much money at the end of his life. Tommy Thomas, Titanic's son, was born in Evansville in After Titanic left, Tommy read about him as he grew up and began to practise long hours with a deck of cards.

He became a master-cheater, travelling the country, practising hours and hours until he became an even better card mechanic than his father. Ty and I both said so. Ty helped his son get in poker games and sent him back to Evansville to be tutored by Hubert Cokes. I asked Tommy about the end of Ty's life, spent in a nursing home. He wrote me this. Every week I was in town he would call every day, saying, "What time will you be here?

Ty and I loved to gamble with each other, playing heads up poker. Whoever won the other's stack of chips got a hundred dollars. The only difference was Dad didn't have much money and we played his best game, Pitch. Make no mistake, Dad and I took no prisoners and would win at any cost. If we could cheat and get away with it, so be it. I remember our final game and the last time I would see Dad.

Dad knew he was the best player but couldn't figure out how I was winning. Later that night I would be on my way to Cincinnati to play poker for several weeks and knew Dad would miss me. But there was something different about today. I knew Ty had the cards on the bed waiting for me. I don't think he knew that, weeks before, I happened to look in the empty card box and saw that he had left two tens in the box.

This gave him a big advantage in the game of Pitch. As I walked into the nursing home, he walked up and put his arms around me. He said, "Son, I think I am going to die here. While I was gone Ty had two strokes and died. During that final game we were sitting on the bed and I dealt the cards for both of us. You should not be winning.

We agreed and, after showing him, we were now even for the first time since he helped me go to college. Dad said he loved me and the debt was cancelled. Ty was the best hustler the world has ever known. He would win all your money and turn around and give you the shirt off his back. It was always about winning, not the money. For the last 16 years I have ministered in the maximum security prisons and know most of the men there have never heard the words that I have come to cherish, "Son, I love you.

Both Cokes and Ryan got very rich. We'll see if this stays up this time. No reason why it shouldn't! A man who became almost as legendary as any man in romantic fiction and certainly America's most famous gambler. He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the English run Baxter school. He was later educated at the Greek Evangelical College there.

After travels in America he had planned to study at Oxford and graduate to a Donship in Philosophy. Nick whose real name was Nicholas Andrea Dandolos was the son of a rug merchant and the godson of a wealthy shipowner. In Chicago he met and fell in love with a girl, but they quarreled and Nick moved on to Montreal. Nick then went back to Chicago and promptly lost the entire amount playing card and dice games that were unfamiliar to him.

But he was not at all deterred from continuing in his chosen profession. He began to study these games assiduously and in a few years had become so well known as a freelance gambler that casino proprietors were offering him large salaries to work for them.

In the January of , as the story goes, Nick the Greek approached Benny Binion with an unusual request-to challenge the best in a high-stakes poker marathon. Binion agreed to set up a match between Dandolos and the legendary Johnny Moss, with the stipulation that the game be played in public view.

During the course of the marathon, which lasted five months with breaks only for sleep, the two men played every form of poker imaginable. When the Greek lost his last pot, he arose from his chair, bowed slightly, and uttered the now-famous words, "Mr.

Moss, I have to let you go. He was enshrined in as a charter member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Nick explains to Richard how he wins big not by playing the tables, but by knowing the odds at the tables and betting against others who have superstitious beliefs about the outcome.

Albert Einstein stopped of in Las Vegas on a coast to coast journey. It was Nick who met him at the airport and chaperoned him around the Vegas casinos in a story told by Nick himself.

Einstein was famous for saying that no one could win money at the roulette table, 'unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn't looking'. So during a visit to the Tropicana Casino Nick approached a roulettte table and placed a handful of chips on red. It won and he let it ride and after winning again he did the same to further success. He then cashed in his chips, pocketed the cash and turned to grin at Einstein.

Nick then said, "Any questions? He sent 29 chilrdren of friends through college, paid hospital bills for 1, or more individuals and set up non-interest loans enabling another or so to launch businesses of their own.

His sum total of possessions at the time he died would have fitted handily into a shoe box. His most valuable presonal effects were the kind he could take with him.

He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the Eng. Nick The Greek was, allegedly, cheated by this man.

Old and newly acquired friends stopped by. Card-playing went on all hours of the day, and he was betting heavily on horse racing. No one could miss him. Smiley hoped Ryan might be his next victim. Ryan liked to place large bets at post time and often made a killing when he could get a bet down. Ryan, hoping an unsuspecting bookie might be willing to accept his bets after post time, developed elaborate schemes to learn the race winners.

One scam was to sequester himself in the shower in his hotel suite while his friends — gamblers and bookies — waited in the living room to go to the track. Meanwhile, Ryan sneaked in a phone call to a spotter at the track to find out who had won the first race.

When he left the bedroom, Ryan apologized for making the guys miss the first race, adding he really had a favorite horse he wanted to bet on. Usually one of the waiting bookies — certain Ryan had no idea who actually won — accepted his bet on the race. Ryan picked up thousands of dollars in the process. Another scam involved his frequent lunches with bookies, who never turned down a meal with one of their biggest bettors. Ryan pretended to scan the menu while memorizing the note.

It was just being smart enough to get the edge on the next guy — something they were trying to do to him. Early on, he managed to pull off the charade numerous times, but later most bookies shied away from taking his bets after post time regardless of whether they had been with Ryan the entire day. He loved to amuse his friends with stories of how he put one over on a bookie. His enormous personal appeal also brought him into contact with movie stars, studio executives, and producers in LA and Palm Springs.

Hollywood folks flocked to Palm Springs to get away from prying eyes and the hubbub of sprawling LA. The pace in Palm Springs was slower, the weather milder, and no one cared what anyone did behind the walls and iron gates of the mansions. Ryan relished being around movie stars and executive moguls, cementing friendships with Johnny Rosselli an influential mobster and other hoods who made California their empire and Palm Springs their pleasure palace, and drawing into his sphere of influence wealthy businessmen in the relaxed atmosphere of dinners and galas in Palm Springs and LA.

Ryan would collect hundreds of photographs of himself with movie stars and other new friends. Born in , Regan grew up in a cold-water flat in Brooklyn, the son of Irish immigrants. He later joined the New York City Police Department, and at a party given by a vaudeville producer, he went to a piano and sang. Ray Ryan already ha.

The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. It devoured much of Mr. Watanabe's personal fortune, he says, which he built up over more than two decades running his family's party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb.

It also benefitted the two casinos' parent company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc. Watanabe and Harrah's are fighting over another issue: Watanabe, 52 years old, says casino staff routinely plied him with liquor and pain medication as part of a systematic plan to keep him gambling.

Nevada's Gaming Control Board has opened a separate investigation into whether Harrah's violated gambling regulations, based on allegations made by Mr. He denies the charges, alleging that the casino reneged on promises to give him cash back on some losses, and encouraged him to gamble while intoxicated. Watanabe faces up to 28 years in prison. Jan Jones, Harrah's senior vice president for communications and government relations, says Mr.

Watanabe's civil suit and his defense against the criminal charges are attempts to get out of paying a debt and to avoid accepting responsibility for his own actions. Watanabe is a criminal defendant who faces imprisonment," Ms. Watanabe continue betting while he was visibly intoxicated, even though casino rules and state law stipulate that anyone who is clearly drunk shouldn't be allowed to gamble.

These employees say they were afraid they would be fired if they did anything to discourage Mr. Watanabe from gambling at the casinos. Just as in civil cases, people with alleged unpaid debts sometimes try to get out of criminal charges by claiming that casinos had a hand in keeping them intoxicated.

Zadrowski declined to comment specifically on Mr. Watanabe's case, he says this kind of defense never works in criminal court: Still, casinos will sometimes bar gamblers who are behaving erratically or whom they suspect won't pay their debts. Watanabe says in court documents that he was barred from the Wynn casino in because of compulsive drinking and gambling. A Wynn spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.

Harrah's Caesars and Rio casinos continued to put out the welcome mat. As part of the criminal case against Mr. Watanabe, Wilson Ning, a Harrah's marketing executive, testified before a grand jury in April that he didn't see Mr. Watanabe intoxicated at Caesars or Rio casinos, according to Mr. Zadrowski, the chief deputy district attorney who runs the bad-checks unit.

Watanabe's prodigality became almost as legendary as his gambling. According to court documents, Mr. Al Deleon and Kristian Kunder, two of Mr. They say he once told a security guard to go to a supermarket and buy every cut of steak, and then proceeded to hand them out to employees. Watanabe built his fortune on plastic trinkets, the kind given away at carnivals and church fund-raisers: Watanabe and his younger sister and brother worked with their father after school.

His mother, Fern, a Nebraska native, was a secretary there. When Terrance Watanabe was 15, his father asked him if he wanted to take over the business, as is Japanese tradition for the first-born son, says his sister, Pam Watanabe-Gerdes. By the time he was 20, he was chief executive. Some who knew Mr. Watanabe in Omaha describe him as guarded and shy. But he was also savvy at both marketing and selecting merchandise, says Bob Thomas, a chief operating officer at the company.

It was those skills that helped Mr. The job was all-consuming, say former associates. He traveled for long stretches of time examining merchandise in Asia. His sister and others who know him say they don't believe he ever had a significant romantic relationship. A major Omaha philanthropist, he gave millions to AIDS services, according to his foundation's records.

Watanabe sold his company to Brentwood Assoc. Oriental Trading has since been acquired by the Carlyle Group. After the sale, Mr. Watanabe said his plan was to throw himself into his philanthropic work and have more fun. Watanabe told his hometown newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, in Donations from his foundation grew, but he soon became restless. Several business ideas, including opening a restaurant, went nowhere. He started gambling there in , according to documents filed in Mr.

He became one of the casino's top customers, says Gabe Sullivan, a former Harrah's host who attended to Mr. Once he began traveling to Las Vegas frequently in , Mr. Watanabe's gambling and drinking intensified, according to his civil suit.

But, he says, his heavy betting drew the attention of Chief Executive Steve Wynn. After meeting with him in June , Mr. Wynn concluded that he was a compulsive gambler and alcoholic, and barred him from the casino, according to a letter to the Nevada Gaming Control Board drafted by Mr. Watanabe's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell.

Jones, the Harrah's vice president, says, "It was not our understanding that he was kicked out of Wynn because of problem gambling. Watanabe's letter to the Control Board and copies of emails sent from Harrah's to Mr.

Watanabe's assistant that were included in the court filings. In a series of emails signed by Mr. Ning, the Harrah's marketing executive, the casino company laid out the terms that it was willing to offer him, which included "a special formula just for Mr.

Watanabe alleges that Harrah's later rolled those terms back. Ning didn't respond to requests for comment. Jones declined to comment on whether the company rolled back any incentives, but says "the practice of offering incentives and discounts to significant players is not unusual.

Watanabe, "chairman," according to the filing and several employees. Watanabe, the most exclusive rank was "Seven Star. Watanabe resided for free in a three-bedroom suite at Caesars, had access to his favorite bartender, drank a special brand of vodka, Jewel of Russia, and was constantly surrounded by attendants to serve his every need, such as a seven-course meal from the casino's Bradley Ogden restaurant delivered to him while he was gambling, according to the court filing and employee accounts.

Watanabe was treated just like any other high-end gambler: Watanabe was seen as so valuable to Harrah's, say Messrs. Deleon and Kunder, two of his handlers, is that he gravitated toward games with low odds, including roulette and slots. He made such bad decisions on the blackjack table. Jones disputes this interpretation. Several employees say Mr.

Jones says for high rollers, the company will often extend credit. Sullivan, the Iowa casino host, visited Mr. Watanabe in Las Vegas during the height of his binge in , he says, Mr. Watanabe appeared incoherent and had trouble remembering details of conversations. Other employees recall Mr. Watanabe stumbling around and dozing off at casino tables, some of which were located next to a nightclub blaring loud music. Deleon say they both voiced concerns to managers that Mr.

Watanabe was too intoxicated, and were told not to get involved. Kunder left Harrah's in the summer of to work at nightclubs. He has since moved to Chicago and works at a cell-phone company. Deleon left the casino in March to do similar work at Red Rock casino, owned by Station Casinos.

Sullivan left Harrah's in March when his contract wasn't renewed by Harrah's. Jones says the departures were not related to Mr. Watanabe, but declined to further discuss the situations of individual employees. Looking the Other Way Mr.

Watanabe alleges that during this period Harrah's not only didn't make him leave when he was drunk, but it plied him with alcohol and prescription drugs to encourage him to stay and gamble. Several Caesars employees say there was no policy to keep Mr. Watanabe drugged or drunk.

But, they say, staff knew the company wanted to keep one of the Strip's most lucrative customers, and so looked the other way. A picture of him was hung in employee back rooms, they say. Jones says there was nothing inappropriate or unusual about fulfilling the reasonable requests of a good customer. Are we going to provide an environment that keeps him very happy? Of course we are.

instance:

We had dinner and headed back to Laughlin. I had a freind from Arizona meeting me that I hadn't seen since High School. Trip back was uneventful and we got back around 8ish and found my friend immediately. We had a snack with her in the cafe. When we first got to the hotel, I had gone to the desk to give them my credit card for charging to the room purposes.

We used this at the steakhouse and at the cafe already. But when we went to do this again at the cafe, the woman couldnt find my room or name. We must have waited ten minutes. She kept saying, "are you SURE you gave them a credit card". I had even showed her the slip I got for just this purpose and she still couldn't figure things out. Just another "what the Mh friend and stayed up awhile, playing VP at the bar and just laughing.

We got up early, and drove down to several of the other casino's, had breakfast before heading back to Harrahs. We took about an hour for a nap before meeting up again at the adult pool. We had a blast. We were there for hours. Most people were just standing in the pool to cool off, everyone with a drink in their hands. I had gone down to the beach and layed on a chair in the water for a little while but the river was freezing and going up and back to the snack shack for a drink was hard in the heat and slope of the beach, so it was pool only for us.

Bad service, but great food and views. Came back to Harrahs, hubbie played BJ and my freind and I sat at the bar, played VP, had cocktails and just laughed and laughed. I put my money in this machine, hit max bet, and thank goodness I won. I couldn't figure out why I only has 33 credits, till I cashed out and figured out what happened, so by careful: The next morning was check out. Had to have our luggage ready by 6: There is NO need to be at this little itty bitty airport two hours early, so why they make you do this is ridiculous.

Flight home was again, pleasant and uneventful. This was a nice little trip for hubbie and I, who don't get to go places by ourselves much lately with his work schedule. I had been warned by many people that I wouldn't like Laughlin since we consider Vegas our home away from home. We won't be back, been there done that, lol. We were also two out of four people on our our whole junket that were under the retirement age.

We very obviously stuck out like sore thumbs. The vast majority of people were older. And that is fine, they obviously loved Laughlin. Great for them, but Vegas is much more my speed. There was a noticeable difference in ages Friday night, our last night there. The casino was packed with younger people having a good time.

If it had been like that all week, my opinion might be different, but as is stands, our junket was Tues thru Sat morning, so we didn't get to have that fun. All we got was quiet time, very few bells and whiles, I heard very few people winning, etc.

So all in all, not my cup of tea. I am sure there are others who would love this sort of thing, but for younger people who want to gamble with good odds, have fun and people watch, I wouldn't recommend Laughlin. One side warning, even though this was a junket and there were only two planes leaving Rockford Intl airport that day, they somehow managed to lose peoples luggage, so still take your standard precautions and take your valuables, meds and money on the plane with you.

Hope you enjoyed this review. I tend to get long winded, but before I left, I read alot of the reviews on here and wished someone had posted all the details about the junkets.

This was my first and last stay here. It is not within walking distance to the "main' section of town - where the nightlife and limited dining is located in Laughlin. The only advantage here is the beach area which they do not allow personal coolers to be brought onto. At one point the line for the elevator was 40 people deep. The display in the elevator was incorrect and we ended up on the wrong floor and ended walking up three flights of stairs in degree heat.

The front desk manager explained, "that is how it is this time of year," and showed no concern about our time spent dealing with the very inconvenient elevators.

Leaving on Sunday two full elevators passed us by as we waited 15 minutes to get down to the lobby to check out. If I wanted to pay to stand around in a line with strangers on vacation, I would have gone to Disneyland. The restaurant choices are poor.

On Saturday night we tried the buffet. Tanya the young hostess seated us, but did not correctly place the receipt on the table for the waitress. When the waitress asked her if we paid for the buffet, Tanya's answer was confusing and unclear -- for some reason she was unable to explain, "yes, I seated them, but somewhere between the hostess stand and the table the receipt was lost.

We asked for a quiet room and were put next to the ice machine -- clunk, clunk, clunk. The topper on the cake. This is a nice place to stay, but there is little to do. The casino has a small amount of games to play. Lots of open space and few slots compared to other casinos. The Beach is nice, but you can not bring a cooler on the beach and there is no service to buy a drink or snack. The pools are also nice, but yet again there is no service and coolers are not allowed.

The site is too far away from other hotels and the river walk. You need to drive to or take a water taxi. This is a good spot for families and not for other adults. The Place can get over run by the kids. Most parents do not control their children. The choice of places to eat are OK, but not to my liking. The last few years, we stayed at the Edgewater because of the great incentives but lately there hasn't been many so after reading reviews, I decided to try this hotel. We stayed in the North Tower for 3 nights and had a very nice time.

You can pull a lounge chair right into the water and relax all day. There are umbrellas for those who want to stay dry and lounge. Also, there are life guards on duty so an extra bit of reassurance for those with children. After a rather stressful stay in Las Vegas, our stay at Harrah's reminded me of why my family prefers Laughlin!

My husband and I loved our stay at Harrah's. Our room was great, but we were in Tower 3, which is the "family" tower and, much as we love kids, we never let ours run screaming down the halls.

Plus, adults were loudly banging on each other's doors which could happen anywhere, I suppose. The hotel itself is fine Cinnabon, Baskin Robbins and McDonald's were nice to have available also. We have nothing negative to say, except that if you are adults travelling without kids, do not stay in Tower 3. We had a great time.. Our only complaints Is they would'nt let you bring a cooler to beach area, and their Is no where to buy drinks beer.

Their's a bar at the pool area but really expensive.. Radio Is really crappy at pool area.. Hotel should do some changes.. With pool and beach area so people could enjoy It better.. Alot of people felt the same.. Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. Review of Harrah's Laughlin. Best prices for -. Check In - Check Out 1 room. Compare best prices from top travel sites. Ranked 1 of 11 Hotels in Laughlin. Reviewed August 11, Poker Room not friendly. August , traveled as a couple.

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Read reviews in English Go back. Both Cokes and Ryan got very rich. We'll see if this stays up this time. No reason why it shouldn't! A man who became almost as legendary as any man in romantic fiction and certainly America's most famous gambler.

He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the English run Baxter school. He was later educated at the Greek Evangelical College there. After travels in America he had planned to study at Oxford and graduate to a Donship in Philosophy.

Nick whose real name was Nicholas Andrea Dandolos was the son of a rug merchant and the godson of a wealthy shipowner. In Chicago he met and fell in love with a girl, but they quarreled and Nick moved on to Montreal. Nick then went back to Chicago and promptly lost the entire amount playing card and dice games that were unfamiliar to him.

But he was not at all deterred from continuing in his chosen profession. He began to study these games assiduously and in a few years had become so well known as a freelance gambler that casino proprietors were offering him large salaries to work for them. In the January of , as the story goes, Nick the Greek approached Benny Binion with an unusual request-to challenge the best in a high-stakes poker marathon. Binion agreed to set up a match between Dandolos and the legendary Johnny Moss, with the stipulation that the game be played in public view.

During the course of the marathon, which lasted five months with breaks only for sleep, the two men played every form of poker imaginable. When the Greek lost his last pot, he arose from his chair, bowed slightly, and uttered the now-famous words, "Mr. Moss, I have to let you go. He was enshrined in as a charter member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Nick explains to Richard how he wins big not by playing the tables, but by knowing the odds at the tables and betting against others who have superstitious beliefs about the outcome.

Albert Einstein stopped of in Las Vegas on a coast to coast journey. It was Nick who met him at the airport and chaperoned him around the Vegas casinos in a story told by Nick himself. Einstein was famous for saying that no one could win money at the roulette table, 'unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn't looking'.

So during a visit to the Tropicana Casino Nick approached a roulettte table and placed a handful of chips on red. It won and he let it ride and after winning again he did the same to further success. He then cashed in his chips, pocketed the cash and turned to grin at Einstein. Nick then said, "Any questions? He sent 29 chilrdren of friends through college, paid hospital bills for 1, or more individuals and set up non-interest loans enabling another or so to launch businesses of their own.

His sum total of possessions at the time he died would have fitted handily into a shoe box. His most valuable presonal effects were the kind he could take with him. He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the Eng.

Nick The Greek was, allegedly, cheated by this man. Old and newly acquired friends stopped by. Card-playing went on all hours of the day, and he was betting heavily on horse racing. No one could miss him. Smiley hoped Ryan might be his next victim. Ryan liked to place large bets at post time and often made a killing when he could get a bet down. Ryan, hoping an unsuspecting bookie might be willing to accept his bets after post time, developed elaborate schemes to learn the race winners.

One scam was to sequester himself in the shower in his hotel suite while his friends — gamblers and bookies — waited in the living room to go to the track. Meanwhile, Ryan sneaked in a phone call to a spotter at the track to find out who had won the first race. When he left the bedroom, Ryan apologized for making the guys miss the first race, adding he really had a favorite horse he wanted to bet on.

Usually one of the waiting bookies — certain Ryan had no idea who actually won — accepted his bet on the race. Ryan picked up thousands of dollars in the process. Another scam involved his frequent lunches with bookies, who never turned down a meal with one of their biggest bettors.

Ryan pretended to scan the menu while memorizing the note. It was just being smart enough to get the edge on the next guy — something they were trying to do to him. Early on, he managed to pull off the charade numerous times, but later most bookies shied away from taking his bets after post time regardless of whether they had been with Ryan the entire day. He loved to amuse his friends with stories of how he put one over on a bookie. His enormous personal appeal also brought him into contact with movie stars, studio executives, and producers in LA and Palm Springs.

Hollywood folks flocked to Palm Springs to get away from prying eyes and the hubbub of sprawling LA. The pace in Palm Springs was slower, the weather milder, and no one cared what anyone did behind the walls and iron gates of the mansions. Ryan relished being around movie stars and executive moguls, cementing friendships with Johnny Rosselli an influential mobster and other hoods who made California their empire and Palm Springs their pleasure palace, and drawing into his sphere of influence wealthy businessmen in the relaxed atmosphere of dinners and galas in Palm Springs and LA.

Ryan would collect hundreds of photographs of himself with movie stars and other new friends. Born in , Regan grew up in a cold-water flat in Brooklyn, the son of Irish immigrants.

He later joined the New York City Police Department, and at a party given by a vaudeville producer, he went to a piano and sang. Ray Ryan already ha. The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. It devoured much of Mr. Watanabe's personal fortune, he says, which he built up over more than two decades running his family's party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb. It also benefitted the two casinos' parent company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

Watanabe and Harrah's are fighting over another issue: Watanabe, 52 years old, says casino staff routinely plied him with liquor and pain medication as part of a systematic plan to keep him gambling. Nevada's Gaming Control Board has opened a separate investigation into whether Harrah's violated gambling regulations, based on allegations made by Mr.

He denies the charges, alleging that the casino reneged on promises to give him cash back on some losses, and encouraged him to gamble while intoxicated. Watanabe faces up to 28 years in prison. Jan Jones, Harrah's senior vice president for communications and government relations, says Mr. Watanabe's civil suit and his defense against the criminal charges are attempts to get out of paying a debt and to avoid accepting responsibility for his own actions.

Watanabe is a criminal defendant who faces imprisonment," Ms. Watanabe continue betting while he was visibly intoxicated, even though casino rules and state law stipulate that anyone who is clearly drunk shouldn't be allowed to gamble. These employees say they were afraid they would be fired if they did anything to discourage Mr. Watanabe from gambling at the casinos. Just as in civil cases, people with alleged unpaid debts sometimes try to get out of criminal charges by claiming that casinos had a hand in keeping them intoxicated.

Zadrowski declined to comment specifically on Mr. Watanabe's case, he says this kind of defense never works in criminal court: Still, casinos will sometimes bar gamblers who are behaving erratically or whom they suspect won't pay their debts.

Watanabe says in court documents that he was barred from the Wynn casino in because of compulsive drinking and gambling. A Wynn spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter. Harrah's Caesars and Rio casinos continued to put out the welcome mat. As part of the criminal case against Mr. Watanabe, Wilson Ning, a Harrah's marketing executive, testified before a grand jury in April that he didn't see Mr.

Watanabe intoxicated at Caesars or Rio casinos, according to Mr. Zadrowski, the chief deputy district attorney who runs the bad-checks unit. Watanabe's prodigality became almost as legendary as his gambling.

According to court documents, Mr. Al Deleon and Kristian Kunder, two of Mr. They say he once told a security guard to go to a supermarket and buy every cut of steak, and then proceeded to hand them out to employees. Watanabe built his fortune on plastic trinkets, the kind given away at carnivals and church fund-raisers: Watanabe and his younger sister and brother worked with their father after school.

His mother, Fern, a Nebraska native, was a secretary there. When Terrance Watanabe was 15, his father asked him if he wanted to take over the business, as is Japanese tradition for the first-born son, says his sister, Pam Watanabe-Gerdes. By the time he was 20, he was chief executive. Some who knew Mr. Watanabe in Omaha describe him as guarded and shy.

But he was also savvy at both marketing and selecting merchandise, says Bob Thomas, a chief operating officer at the company. It was those skills that helped Mr. The job was all-consuming, say former associates. He traveled for long stretches of time examining merchandise in Asia.

His sister and others who know him say they don't believe he ever had a significant romantic relationship. A major Omaha philanthropist, he gave millions to AIDS services, according to his foundation's records. Watanabe sold his company to Brentwood Assoc. Oriental Trading has since been acquired by the Carlyle Group. After the sale, Mr. Watanabe said his plan was to throw himself into his philanthropic work and have more fun.

Watanabe told his hometown newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, in Donations from his foundation grew, but he soon became restless. Several business ideas, including opening a restaurant, went nowhere. He started gambling there in , according to documents filed in Mr. He became one of the casino's top customers, says Gabe Sullivan, a former Harrah's host who attended to Mr. Once he began traveling to Las Vegas frequently in , Mr. Watanabe's gambling and drinking intensified, according to his civil suit.

But, he says, his heavy betting drew the attention of Chief Executive Steve Wynn. After meeting with him in June , Mr. Wynn concluded that he was a compulsive gambler and alcoholic, and barred him from the casino, according to a letter to the Nevada Gaming Control Board drafted by Mr. Watanabe's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell.

Jones, the Harrah's vice president, says, "It was not our understanding that he was kicked out of Wynn because of problem gambling. Watanabe's letter to the Control Board and copies of emails sent from Harrah's to Mr. Watanabe's assistant that were included in the court filings.

In a series of emails signed by Mr. Ning, the Harrah's marketing executive, the casino company laid out the terms that it was willing to offer him, which included "a special formula just for Mr.

Watanabe alleges that Harrah's later rolled those terms back. Ning didn't respond to requests for comment. Jones declined to comment on whether the company rolled back any incentives, but says "the practice of offering incentives and discounts to significant players is not unusual. Watanabe, "chairman," according to the filing and several employees. Watanabe, the most exclusive rank was "Seven Star. Watanabe resided for free in a three-bedroom suite at Caesars, had access to his favorite bartender, drank a special brand of vodka, Jewel of Russia, and was constantly surrounded by attendants to serve his every need, such as a seven-course meal from the casino's Bradley Ogden restaurant delivered to him while he was gambling, according to the court filing and employee accounts.

Watanabe was treated just like any other high-end gambler: Watanabe was seen as so valuable to Harrah's, say Messrs. Deleon and Kunder, two of his handlers, is that he gravitated toward games with low odds, including roulette and slots. He made such bad decisions on the blackjack table. Jones disputes this interpretation. Several employees say Mr. Jones says for high rollers, the company will often extend credit.

Sullivan, the Iowa casino host, visited Mr. Watanabe in Las Vegas during the height of his binge in , he says, Mr. Watanabe appeared incoherent and had trouble remembering details of conversations. Other employees recall Mr. Watanabe stumbling around and dozing off at casino tables, some of which were located next to a nightclub blaring loud music. Deleon say they both voiced concerns to managers that Mr. Watanabe was too intoxicated, and were told not to get involved. Kunder left Harrah's in the summer of to work at nightclubs.

He has since moved to Chicago and works at a cell-phone company. Deleon left the casino in March to do similar work at Red Rock casino, owned by Station Casinos. Sullivan left Harrah's in March when his contract wasn't renewed by Harrah's. Jones says the departures were not related to Mr. Watanabe, but declined to further discuss the situations of individual employees. Looking the Other Way Mr. Watanabe alleges that during this period Harrah's not only didn't make him leave when he was drunk, but it plied him with alcohol and prescription drugs to encourage him to stay and gamble.

Several Caesars employees say there was no policy to keep Mr. Watanabe drugged or drunk. But, they say, staff knew the company wanted to keep one of the Strip's most lucrative customers, and so looked the other way.

A picture of him was hung in employee back rooms, they say. Jones says there was nothing inappropriate or unusual about fulfilling the reasonable requests of a good customer. Are we going to provide an environment that keeps him very happy?

Of course we are. Jones says, the company tells its employees to ask people who are clearly intoxicated to refrain from gambling, as required under state regulations. Employees attend a responsible-gaming class every year where they learn how and when to tell gamblers to leave the casino.

The company has a phone number that employees can call to anonymously report unethical or improper behavior by other employees. There are no reports that anyone called the number regarding Mr. In its marketing materials, Harrah's reports its record as an early advocate and funder of organizations that help gambling addicts.

Among other measures, it honors requests from addicts that they be barred from all casinos run by the company. In September , Mr.

Watanabe fell in his room and hurt his back. He says his handlers -- including Mr. Deleon -- supplied him doses of the prescription pain medication Lortab without a doctor's prescription, his court filing says. Kunder says he gave Mr. Watanabe prescription pain medication from his personal supply a single time on the day after the fall upon Mr. Deleon says he never gave Mr. Jones said that if employees ever provided Mr.

Watanabe drugs, it would be against company policy. Watanabe's sister says she and her brother and sister-in-law weren't aware of how much money he was losing until a Thanksgiving visit, when he opened up to her about the depth of his losses.

Two weeks later, she says, she returned to Las Vegas and brought him home. Watanabe was back in Las Vegas gambling for a period in But he entered a residential treatment facility that year and hasn't entered a casino since, Ms. In July , Mr. He now lives near San Francisco.

Watanabe is due to stand trial on the felony charges stemming from his debts. In May, he pled not guilty. Dramatic developments were announced Thursday in a Las Vegas courtroom in the criminal case against Terry Watanabe, Omaha philanthropist and former owner of Oriental Trading Company.

Criminal charges are dropped against Watanabe and civil lawsuits have been stopped dead in their tracks. Following the complaint, prosecutors in Clark County, Nevada filed criminal charges against Watanabe that could have put him in prison for 28 years.

Watanabe filed a civil suit against Harrah's Entertainment in which he alleged Harrah's employees had supplied him with liquor and prescription painkillers while he lost tens of millions of dollars.

But it all ended when Clark County District Court Judge Donald Mosley on Thursday accepted a confidential deal between a prosecutor and lawyers for year-old Watanabe. Trial had been set for next week. Watanabe agreed to drop civil lawsuits against Harrah's, and Harrah's agreed to freeze counterclaims pending binding arbitration. I love these stories - thank you for sharing. I'll tell you one not in the same league but true of human nature and gamblers.

The dream of many is to learn to card count, and although its widely known and difficult to get away with these days you can make fair money at it. So, how does one card count. You need a system - a method to improve your memory. There is such a book that you can buy now.

Its one of the original 'memory' books. How to Develop a Perfect Memory ISBN When given the chance of riches and a high roller life by the author to his student, the student said 'looks like hard work to me. The dream of many is to learn to card count, and although its widely known and difficult to get away with these days you can m. Slightly off topic but when tepmtation raises its head, in the hands of a compulsive gambler this would have been 'interesting' You may struggle to believe this.

Even while it was happening to me, I struggled too. One morning before Christmas, I checked my online bank account and noticed — although that seems too mild a word for it — that someone had just given me a quarter of a million pounds. It was an exciting moment. I assumed there was a glitch in the website; but when I logged off and on again, the money was still there.

It had been deposited the day before, but there was no sign of anybody looking for it. This was very private business that I wouldn't want to spread around.

Nor can you assume you'll get an honest answer to the question: Should I put it into a high-interest account until the matter was resolved? There didn't seem to be quite enough to run away with.

Nowhere near enough if I took my wife and children, which ideally I would. Maybe there would be a reward, ahem, for giving it back? Or might this all be some ingenious scam? It would have to be very ingenious indeed, because I couldn't work out how anyone might profit by giving me a quarter of a million pounds.

Of course there was the slim chance that this money had been given to me on purpose. I focused on that. In March I'd published a novel, so I took to wondering if some shy patron of the arts had loved it and gone frankly rather overboard. Her shyness would be so pronounced, of course, that she'd prefer to ferret out my bank details rather than post me a cheque. Maybe the eccentric companion of a deceased forgotten aunt was giving me my legacy?

I tried strenuously to believe so as I typed an email to my bank explaining things. It turned out that it is familiar with "erroneous transfers", which occur when somebody mistypes an account number or a sort code.

It was softened, however, by the news that my case was the largest that she had heard of. There was something hypnotic about the sight of my usual domestic debits splashing on the surface of that enormous balance. Between checks, I kept forgetting that the money was there, and then — perhaps when an Aston Martin drove past — remembering. Another thought occurred to me. What if I just borrowed the money for a few hours, and gambled with it?

I would return the full amount afterwards, providing I won. A friend suggested that I would be in breach of trust law, but I found it hard to believe that anyone would prosecute me if they got their money back. All I'd need would be an online betting account, an odds-on certainty and a stiff drink.

If it didn't, admittedly, I'd get prison. At last, just over a week after the money had arrived, my bank called. It was as I'd feared: I'd have to give everything back — although they needed my approval to transfer the money. The results of saying no were not explained. In the process of typing a sort code, the bank explained, this mysterious woman had pressed "6" when she meant "8", and lost a fortune.

I've tried to trace her since, without success. I'd like to tell her about the interesting week I had with her money. I'd also like to find out what her week had been like. Rather fraught, I'm guessing. Finally, I'd thank her for ensuring that I'll never make that same mistake — mainly because I no longer have a quarter of a million pounds. One morning before Christmas, I che. Yes it's long but it's well worth the read He was in the bed sleeping when the two men walked into his bedroom.

Billy Walters sleeps in a big clean bed in Las Vegas, in a small but elaborate home renovated to his liking, with palm trees and white flowerpots and two satellite dishes in the yard, and four large televisions in the den, and a security guard who sits just out of sight behind the shrubs across the street.

This environment was disrupted early last Jan. He greeted them by sitting up in the bed, blinking. His wife wasn't in the bed with him. They already had her, probably.

Billy Walters reached down for the pile of wrinkled clothes he had worn the night before. The room was quiet. The men watched him dress.

His wife Susan was downstairs with a third man in the kitchen. There was not a lot of chit-chat. Susan and Billy Walters were led across their fine, trimmed yard in handcuffs. The path to law and order wended past a copy of the daily newspaper, which lay on their driveway like an upturned headstone. As Billy Walters glanced down at the headline, he realized that he was the front-page news: Afterward, when they had been released without bail, she revealed how the manacles had eaten through her stockings.

Seventeen days later Billy Walters and 16 associates held the first meeting of the legendary Computer Group. This was a celebrated occasion in gambling history, and long overdue. The men and women of the Computer Group had been pioneers in their field. All the Computer Group did, apparently, was wager money on college football and basketball games, but for five hysterical years they did it better than anyone else ever had.

It was almost as if they had invented junk bonds. Every season the cash arrived by the millions, all because their computer told them which teams should be favored to win everything from the mammoth Ohio State-Michigan football game to the basket-ball game pitting Monmouth against Fairleigh Dickinson.

The Computer Group did not fix games. It simply understood them. The group began to assert its mastery of sports betting in , when the computer as an everyday machine had no firm place in sports. Most of the big Las Vegas players of were still relying on their own good sense and whatever trends they could pick up. A computer seemed to them a gimmick from the future, a big blinking queen-bee serviced by men in white coats. There were relatively few of these "personal computers" that are everywhere today.

As a matter of fact, the Computer Group didn't even own its own computer. As for the group's invaluable program, it was maintained on thousands of clumsy old "batch" cards, kept in shoeboxes, then fed to the computer like hay into a thrasher. Although dozens of workers served the Computer Group, only one man communicated with the machine itself. He was Michael Kent, a year-old mathematician who had spent II years helping to develop nuclear submarines for Westinghouse.

He found such work boring. In he quit his job and moved to Las Vegas, to bet on football games. In he became partners with a man he hardly knew, an orthopedic surgeon. Ivan Mindlin, who Kent says agreed to place bets for them on a basis, in accordance with his computerized forecasts.

He never bothered to check the books. Mindlin had built their little corner business into something resembling a national conglomerate, which had opened betting offices staffed by a dozen employees in New York and Las Vegas. The Computer Group had burgeoned into the first truly national network of sports bettors, able to buy up the best point spreads from coast to coast. At the height of its powers, the Computer Group of wielded more influence over the millions of Americans who bet on sports than any superstar athlete or Super Bowl franchise.

Yes, it was even more important than the split-fingered fastball. In its sleekest moments, the Computer Group had as grand an effect upon its constituency in the s as OPEC had upon American consumers in the 70s.

As its influence grew, the Computer Group became something of an underground social club, extending an unofficial membership to at least one smalltime hoodlum, as well as sharing information with the likes of lrwin Molasky, the powerful real estate developer and Las Vegas civic leader. The group never had a losing season betting on college football or college basketball. Yet Michael Kent suspects that his records are incomplete. They do not account for personal bets made by Dr.

Mindlin, or Billy Walters, or by the dozens of other associates who had access to the Computer Group's information. They had to break up, just like the Beatles. Despite all the time they had spent working together, the members of the Computer Group had never really known one another. In most cases they had spoken only by phone, in staccato conversation, using code names.

Faces rarely had been attached to voices. And so, as their legend had grown in recent years, it was only proper that these reclusive celebrities be united last Jan.

Among these Garbos there were two their partners most wanted to see: Billy Walters, gambler of gamblers, who had come to Las Vegas in debt and was now a millionaire; and the treacherous doctor, Ivan Mindlin, whose cunning had built the group up-and then led to its demise. On the day they were arrested, just two weeks before the five-year statute of limitations on their case would have run out, Billy Walters sat in a holding cell with Dr.

Mindlin and a third member of the group, Billy Nelson. Mindlin wore his hair longer than Walters remembered - combed back, until it splashed against his shoulders. The three of them were discussing their contempt for the FBI, and, in particular, the ambitious special agent Thomas B.

Noble, whose investigation of six years had uncovered so very little. Walters and Nelson went back and forth in their denigration of Noble, using many unpleasant terms, until finally the doctor spoke up.

Walters recalls Mindlin saying: He was the most intriguing presence among them. Yet he sat alone in a corner, as if he were the least popular boy in school. In groups of four they were called to the bench of U.

Mindlin's was the first name called. Each man and woman was asked about his or her education, and it turned out that all had attended college, with the exception of Billy Walters.

Then the magistrate wanted to know how they intended to plead. He then proceeded to set all the gamblers free, on their own recognizance, and several of them hurried back to their homes, for there were games that night, and wagers to be made. The Operation In a room alone, just he and his computer, Michael Kent was simply another technology dweeb.

But plug him into a network of bettors, and now, with the flick of a switch, Kent was utterly brilliant, a mastermind. These dozens of betting agents, or beards, as they are called, were as essential to Michael Kent as the electrical juice that drove his computer.

He could not begin to succeed without them. And so, each day, without equivocation, he turned over his forecasts of the upcoming games to Dr. Ivan Mindlin, who then passed them on to his New York partners, Stanley Tomchin and Jimmy Evart, who, until , were responsible for placing the majority of wagers for the Computer Group.

Mindlin had been making personal bets through Tomchin and Evart long before the Computer Group was formed. By offering Kent's computer information to them, Mindlin was able to work off his debt quickly. Tomchin and Evart were so impressed with the accuracy of Dr.

Mindlin's information that they agreed to move money for him on a regular basis. Their colleagues describe Tomchin and Evart as a pair of Ivy Leaguers, more erudite than the normal gamblers.

Tomchin, a Cornell alumnus, was a world-class backgammon and poker player; his friend Jimmy Sneakers Evart was said to have attended Harvard. His newlywed wife insisted that he stop gambling, and so, in , he walked away from the money and moved to Spain. According to a former partner, Tomchin moved to San Francisco and eventually left the group. His former partners say he is now an options trader in Santa Barbara. Tomchin declined to answer questions in connection with this story. Mindlin offered Billy Walters a percentage of the group's winnings and placed him in charge of moving the weekly millions.

At that time Walters worked out of a lovely three-bedroom home overlooking the eighth fairway at the Las Vegas Country Club, Indeed, Billy Walters wore clothes suggesting that he had been called in from the golf course. His gray speckled hair was styled straight back.

His face was older than his body. He was always thinking about work. He had been assigned he enormous responsibility of exploiting the weakest betting lines, and it did not matter where they were. Billy Walters was supposed to find them. He was a powerful broker in an unregulated industry. Walters blanketed the country with bets, taking action wherever it was available, which was at times in as many as 45 states. In 44 of them he dealt exclusively with illegal bookmakers.

His wife served as an accountant, but he depended most upon his young assistant, Glen Walker, who had quit his job in the publicity department at NBC Sports in New York and relocated to Las Vegas, so enthralled was he by a story in Sports Illustrated about Las Vegas gambler Gary Austin. Billy Walters maintained a low profile in Las Vegas. If he appeared at a sports book it was usually around midnight.

As for more public matters, he preferred that business be conducted by Glen Walker. So Walker would visit the Las Vegas sports books each day, to settle up or place bets, and fend off the legions of bettors who wanted to know which games the computer liked that week.

His colleagues would meet there, at an office park on Spring Mountain Road. Perhaps Walters' favorite employee was gentle Arnie Haaheim, a big bright laughing man who was unable to mask his tremendous emotions. He liked women - liked to talk about them, actually, until he was all talked out. Then, says Walker, Arnie would stare off, leaning on his elbow, as passive as a solar cell at dusk. All around him phones were ringing and money was being wagered in thick sexy wads, but Arena would just sit there, his jaw hanging open while Billy Walters shouted orders.

By and large, though, there was little humor in their work. On a Saturday of college basketball they might bet 60 games, which required that they be aware of every injury, casualty and rumor surrounding all teams.

They had to chart the movement of the point spreads in various sports books for each game. They had to find the weakest lines, and they had to make and keep track of their wagers by the hundreds. They worked almost every day from September through March. Some days they would start at 6 a. Always Walters felt obliged to protect the Computer's information from the public, because these numbers were as valuable to him personally as they were to the group.

His employees never even heard mention of the name Ivan Mindlin. The voice delivering the daily betting orders was known only as "Doc" or "Cowboy," and Billy Walters would say nothing more to identify him. Occasionally, however, it paid to be careless. Walters knew that several wise guys would be passing time near the counter at Gary Austin's. And they would ask who was responsible for moving the line, and they would be told the truth: The wise guys would bet on Wisconsin themselves.

These wise guys would whisper to other wise guys. Tout services would hear that the computer liked Wisconsin. A run would begin on Wisconsin. News of Wisconsin would spread nationally. By the time word reached the man in Louisiana or the woman in Illinois, there would be no mention of the Computer Group.

They would simply be told that they had better get something down on Wisconsin. You can see now that the betting market in Las Vegas is no different than Wall Street.

Fed by rumor, speculation and greed, a stock like Wisconsin can grow hot for no substantial reason. At this point Billy Walters believed the price could rise no higher, and so he would marshal his forces: Into one phone they would shout a few words and then hang up while dialing another number on another phone, back and forth, until they were frazzled. In two minutes Walters alone could place bets through a dozen beards or bookies. On Wednesday they'd bet against Purdue.

And wouldn't you know it: Sometimes Wisconsin would beat Purdue by 4 and the Computer Group would win the "middle" - bets on both teams paying off in the same game. Now and then, Billy Walters fooled his own employees. Glen Walker recalls more than one occasion when Arena Haaheim laid his own money on the first team in this case Wisconsin only to find out later in the week that the Computer had preferred the opponent Purdue all along.

On Saturday they would sit in Billy Walters home and watch the game on television. Records of the college football season seized from Dr. Mindlin show that the Computer Group won an incredible Of course, in those days the official point spread was softer than mayonnaise.

The mathematical wizard Michael Kent admits that the Computer Group might never have risen to prominence if not for the removal of Bob Martin, who since had been making the official line for Las Vegas. However, in , Martin was sentenced to 13 months for the crime of transmitting wagering information across state lines by telephone. If the federal government had not gotten rid of Bob Martin, then the FBI might never have felt compelled to spend six long years investigating the Computer Group.

More often than not, Michael Kent's line was more accurate than the official line in Las Vegas. Line-makers will argue that the only purpose of their official line is to entice betting action on both sides, that they are not responsible for outsmarting experts like Michael Kent. Nonetheless, the people who were making that line in the early s were a particularly feeble lot. Other gamblers noticed the same weaknesses, but they couldn't take advantage to the same extent as the Computer Group.

With these computer guys, every time a game moved, they were the ones credited with moving it, whether they did it or not. Their legend may be larger than they actually were. In Las Vegas, a classroom genius like Michael Kent has to depend entirely upon someone like Billy Walters, who was educated in alleys.

Now, how do I know when the spread has risen as high as it's going to get? I have to depend upon my years of experience. I use my feel and the information I get from my contacts around the country to decide when I should bet and when to back off.

On one page was a list of point spreads compiled by Michael Kent's computer. In the case of Wisconsin at Purdue, Kent might have decided: Purdue -I over Wisconsin. On the second page Billy Walters was keeping track of the official lines at various sports books in Las Vegas. If the official line decided: Wisconsin -5 over Purdue, then what Billy Walters had here was a massive 6-point difference of opinion.

The greater the difference, the more he would bet see box, p. So confident was the Computer Group that its weekly wagers often exceeded the ceiling of its betting pool. Including the college bowl games and the NFL play-offs. And that represented the work of Michael Kent's tiny group.

Dozens of other bettors had access to his information. Who knows how much additional revenue they earned? He is just one of many big winners whose profits do not appear on the group's ledgers. Even though he tried to gamble like the button-down brokers on Wall Street, Walters admits that he too fell victim to the occasional betting frenzy. During the Christmas holidays six years ago, Walters found he was betting hand over fist on Michigan in the Sugar Bowl against Auburn.

It was one of those rare times when the tout services were opposing the computer on a major game. No matter how much Billy Walters bet on Michigan for the Computer Group and for himself, the line remained the same. I literally bet my entire net worth on that game, and probably some additional. But Auburn kicked a yard field goal to win, , and Billy Walters is today a rich genius.

The Computer Wizard One day Michael Kent, who was the centerfielder, got to wondering about his company softball team. How good were he and his teammates, really? When they destroyed a poor opponent by , was that as impressive as beating a good team by ? His team had won a couple of league championships, but what had they really accomplished?

All his life he had found answers to such questions in numbers, statistics. He simply had to find out what those numbers meant. What was the numerical definition of a good softball team?

His thoughts drifted naturally in this direction. Kent was a year-old math-' mathematician at Westinghouse in suburban Pittsburgh. Every day he worked with computers. At night, he says. Each week he would update the statistics, then feed the information into the high-speed Control Data computer at Westinghouse.

His teammates were interested in this output of statistics - it was flattering to them - but Michael Kent ultimately was disappointed by the results. When he work was done he had a printout listing his team's strengths and weaknesses. He had given order to these numbers, but there was no application, no further use for them.

He says he began work on a more complex program. The game was college football. This time he could foresee a dollar sign in front of the numbers. The year was He recorded information from old NCAA football guides, which list the scores and statistics from the previous season. Then he visited the library, the old newspapers in particular, in order to see which teams had been favored each week, and by how many points. He examined the spreads and the slats.

Which statistics, he wanted to know. He knew of only one way to find out. He began to write a program. The computer would ask hundreds of questions in algorithmic. As his wealth of information grew, Kent learned that some strengths were more important than others. There was a value to first downs and there was another value to yards gained.

Home-field advantage had a value. So did strength of schedule. So did success against common opponents. The list of questions went on and on, some so picayune that the average football fan might have laughed in the face of this stocky, bespectacled mathematician.

Billy Walters believes that the program even accounted for the distance of the visiting team's road trip. The hobby soon became his vocation.

He began to test his model by placing bets with local bookies. He says he worked an average of two hours per night over the course of seven years, fine-tuning his football program and developing a similar program for college basketball, until one morning he walked into the plant and quit his job. He was very quiet about it.

Only his closest friends were informed of his plans. He moved to Las Vegas in lime for the college football season. For the last seven years he had been saving his money, to wager on football and basketball games. Still, when he looked in the mirror, it was a hard thing to believe, that the person staring back at him was a professional gambler.

When Michael Kent arrived in Las Vegas, he clearly was on his own. No gambler of note was depending solely upon a computer to analyze bets. Allow yourself to go broke because of a machine? That was crazy thinking. But Michael Kent didn't know anything about Las Vegas common sense. He was from Pennsylvania. He wanted to know where he should do his laundry. Common sense in Las Vegas said that you couldn't win big by betting a lot of games.

You should concentrate on just a few games. That's what common sense said. Michael Kent didn't know about that, either. Most of what he knew about this business was contained in a book called Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic, by Richard A.

Chapter 2 told him the percentage of his money he should bet, depending upon how much he liked the game. The book was written in the language of numbers. Michael Kent wanted to meet this man Epstein. The job of betting sports fulltime was a little harder than he had imagined. Kent would wake up early, update his information from the morning newspapers. Then he and a friend would spend the rest of the day and night visiting sports books and private bookmakers, seeking out the most favorable point spreads.

He was not instantly successful. Then in midseason, there were five big games, and I lost all five by a point, by a half-point.

It put me down. His bad luck continued two months into the basketball season. Then, I remember, there were 17 games I was betting one night, and I won 16 of the That was a definite high. It was not an easy thing to settle up with a bookmaker after each round of bets, carrying huge bundles of cash in and out of public places.

Whenever he had a lot of money on him, he feared he was being followed. If he happened to notice two men walking behind him on the sidewalk, he would run as fast as he could into the nearest casino, and stand near a security guard for a while. Of course, this only drew more attention to himself.

He asked security guards to escort him to his car whenever feasible. He also depended heavily upon valet parking. He didn't like the idea of carrying Valet parking was much safer. He didn't know how to just be cool about it. He couldn't chill out. He was working 80 hours a week in the strangest city in America and he was always worrying. He gave betting one last try for a football month in the fall of Exhausted, with no alternative but to go home, he says he placed a call to Dr.

He had met the doctor once before. In , while playing tennis with fellow gambler Billy Nelson, Michael Kent had mentioned his use of a computer in betting. Nelson had said that Kent should meet this Dr. They seemed to understand each other. When Kent arrived at Mindlin's house on Ottawa Drive, the doctor explained that.

When Michael Kent heard this. Mindlin was a brother. Mindlin as a father. Mindlin would place his arm around Michael Kent and say that they were, as gamblers, married to each other. Years later, Kent's attorney marvels at the hypnotic grip Dr. Mindlin maintained over his brilliant yet woefully naive client. Says Steven Brooks, "I would sit down with Michael for hours, discussing different parts of his arrangement with Dr.

He didn't know why they were doing anything. He just trusted Ivan completely. Michael taught John how to feed data to the computer, training John to work for the Computer Group. Later, Michael would invite another brother, and even his mother, into the betting pool. Michael's success provided wonderful experiences for all of the Kents.

Michael was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars each season. He was depositing his winnings with banks in the Bahamas and Switzerland, the same banks that Dr.

Mindlin was using, according to Kent. Only in the last few years did Michael Kent begin to understand the full extent of his creation.

numerous people

You can only have so many great meals. Fitting for one with enough cash to roll as high as the moon, Packer wagered at the largest stakes the casinos would allow. But because he gambled for so much money-and had a tendency to quit while he was ahead, garnering the reputation on the Strip for being a "hit and run player"-the timing of Packer's passing brought some relief: After all, following one of the Aussie billionaire's eight-figure wins, a gaming corporation's quarterly numbers sometimes ended up in the toilet.

That Kerry Packer, a brilliant entrepreneur, an astute stock market investor he managed to liquidate his Wall Street holdings just prior to the big crash of and one of the world's great tokers after experiencing a close brush with death in , he tipped his lifesaving ambulance drivers and EMS workers a million dollars each , would eventually find his way to Vegas almost seemed inevitable. Having beaten polio as a boy, the pugnacious Packer grew up with an ingrained hunger for wagering.

It may have been the right thing to do, but it failed to douse the burgeoning player's enthusiasm for high-wire propositions and his respect for gamblers with the guts to risk it all. With extreme wealth and a craving for chest-thumping action, Packer quickly found himself frustrated by the modest betting limits offered in Aussie casinos. But that never stopped him from toying with the managers and owners of local gambling halls.

He's a man who liked to make people sweat. And it quickly became clear to casino managers that the sooner you showed him you were sweating, the better off you'd be. How did Packer handle those financial beatings? The good thing was that a couple days after he left, you'd get a call from his secretary so she could make arrangements to settle up the markers. With a lot of big players, you need to go to them in order to get your money. Not so with Packer. He was a very desirable gambler.

He played decent basic strategy, and there was a fear that he was getting better and better. Impossible to control was the nonwagering largesse of this whale's whale. Probably the most extravagant toker Vegas has ever known, Packer routinely doled out six-figure gratuities that would be pooled among the dealers.

On one memorable occasion, Packer paid off a waitress's mortgage. Casino executives silently cringed at these shows of generosity because they knew the money he tipped would never make it back to the house's coffers. No doubt, Packer took some pleasure in stressing them out.

However, all the worry and hand-wringing was not without warrant. That day, after Al Qaeda terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Packer was ahead millions of dollars and poised to leave Las Vegas with a tidy profit.

Undeniable is that he did not let anybody get between him and his God-given right to wager mind-boggling sums of money.

Then Packer tersely added, "This is not someone else's money. This is my money. I am entitled to spend it in any way. And he did it with the kind of exuberant gumption and panache that will surely be missed from one end of the Las Vegas Strip to the other. The story of Anargyros Karabourniotis A. Archie Karas reads like a story of an ancient myth, but it is both very real and of modern times. His mom stayed at home and raised his brothers and sisters, while his father was a construction worker.

When he was a teenager his family was really struggling, and began missing a few meals. In order to earn a few dollars for his family, and so he could personally eat, he began shooting marbles in the neighborhood.

From the start he was good at gambling, as he often left a winner. When Karas was 15 years old, the relationship between him and his father became violent. While working for his father, they got into a disagreement about some of the work that had to be done.

Unexpected to Archie, his father became instantly violent and picked up a shovel and launched it at his head, missing it by mere inches. That same night Karas decided to run away. He never talked to his father again, who died four years later.

Karas wanted to get out of Greece, so he took a job on a ship as a waiter. When Karas turned 17 he became bored with ship travel and the work that went with it. On one trip to Portland, Oregon, he decided to literally jump ship. Karas hitchhiked down the west coast, eventually settling in Los Angeles when he was offered a job as a waiter. The money was decent, but the cash he made at the bowling alley next door would be a lot better. Shortly after accepting the job at the restaurant Karas began going to the bowling alley after shifts.

In the back was a pool room, and despite never playing the game before he got very good very fast. While playing pool, as luck would have it, there was also a poker table. Again, he had never played the game, but again got very good at it in short order. He was a gambler. He of course began playing for bigger stakes than he could get in the bowling alley, moving on to local casinos for high stakes poker games, and learning about big pool games during his travels at the casinos.

Never one to worry too much about these things, he decided to take a trip to Las Vegas to see what he could scrounge up from some poker friends.

Karas excused himself from the table. He was back in business. With his new found bankroll Karas went on a scouting trip to look for juicy pool games. He learned that a well known business man from the area was looking for some action. X was also a world champion poker player. The next player to step up to the plate was Stuey Ungar. Then another person many consider to be the best poker player ever sat with him, Chip Reese.

Reese went on to lose over two million dollars, which prompted him to utter the now famous quote regarding Karas: Archie was an action junkie. He has said many times that it may take him 24 hours to win a million dollars at the poker table, while he can do the same with one roll of the dice at the craps table. Archie was looking for action, and knew just the place he could get it. He followed that by losing another million to his nemesis Reese. After a quick trip to Greece, to take a breather, saying he needed a break from gambling, he went back to the Horseshoe to try to relive his magic.

Karas expectedly resides in Las Vegas. In addition to playing high stakes poker, he has also found some minor success in the World Series of Poker. While he has yet to be able to win a gold bracelet, he has cashed in six events, with four of those being final tables. What might be most amazing about this story is to hear Karas tell it.

When telling his story he shows no remorse. Born in in Antypata on the island of Kefalonia, Greece, the man who would eventually win upwards of. How about some fightin' words? Savor this tall-tale about Packer: A loud and obnoxious Texas high roller is playing at the same table as Mr.

This man is being as obnoxious as, well, as the stereotypical obnoxious Texan in countless obnoxious Texan stories. The man gets louder: I am worth 60 million dollars, pardner! That's what I'm worth. This man is being as obnoxious as, well, as the stereotypical obnoxious Texan in countless obnoxious. Would be fantastic if it were true. That story has been in the Aussie press a number of times, which of course doesn't guarantee its veracity.

A few years later he buys it back after Bond fcuks it up, for a bit over million. Packer was quoted as saying " You only get one Allan Bond per lifetime ". There's a lot to be said about Alan Woods but this is fairly to the point Born in Australia in , Alan Woods, as a child, has a passion for bridge and was gifted with brillance and aptitude for mathematics, which fascinated him. But it wasn't until his 30s that gambling took a major part of his life. In the late 70s, Alan Woods was a mathematician working as an actuary, he learned to count cards at blackjack then became a pro gambler travelling casinos around the world for three years.

As Woods would say: Years later, all three of them were multimillionaires. And for the next twenty years, he and his team of computer wizards, racing analysts, accountants and money runners rocked the Hong Kong Jockey Club's world. He was strictly a number guy. He had not been on a racetrack for over twenty-five years. His job ressembled more that of an accountant and computer programmer.

For him, it was all about statistics, numbers, and computer calculations. His advice to someone who wanna be a pro gambler would be: He has been a world-class bridge player, a sports bettor, a globetrotting blackjack player, and a stock market speculator.

Horse betting was his main job and the stock market was were he did his "gambling". Sixty days later he would have been a multi-billionaire. Passed away on January 28, , at 62 years old from an appendiceal cancer. Which make him the world's greatest horse racing handicapper. There's a lot to be said about Alan Woods but this is fairly to the pointBorn in Australia in , Alan Woods, as a child, has a passion for bridge and was gifted with brillance and aptitude for mathematics, which fascinated him.

But it wasn't unti. Titanic Thompson, aka Alvin C. Thomas , grew up in rural Arkansas in a gambling family. As a child he pitched pennies at the line, hunted small game with his. He invented his own proposition bet, where he threw pennies into a small box.

As he would his whole life, Titanic spent hours practicing and always looking for a gaff, a gimmick, or a way to cheat. With the sharpened nail on his little finger, Titanic could make marks, dents and crimps on paper playing cards that only he could see with those amazing eyes. He could bend the cards where the slight wave would catch a glint of light. Titanic was able to play in the largest poker games all over the country and mark the old paper playing cards during the game against some top gamblers who were very alert to cheating and the standard mechanic's moves.

Titanic left home at age 16 to haunt the pool halls, domino games, bowling alleys, dice games and poker games. He learned to cheat at dice. He'd start with the aces or sixes, or any combination of those touching, give a few false shakes that made a sound, and then roll stiff-wristed, straight down the table to avoid craps.

If you were accurate twice in a hundred times you had way the best of it. Titanic made most of his money from dice and poker before he took up golf, and he made millions. He was cheating top gamblers. As a teen, Titanic got a job as a trick shot artist with a travelling medicine show, which helped him learn the con. Within a few short years, Titanic had made a huge fortune. He'd travel in a huge, nickel-plated Pierce-Arrow automobile with the tools of his trade in the trunk: He was ambidextrous, and had many proposition bets to make all through any game.

After winning at many changing props, he'd offer to bowl, play golf, shoot targets or shoot pool left-handed. He was a natural lefty. Titanic wore loose custom-tailored suits, made to partially conceal the. There have been three poker robberies here in Lubbock Texas recently, and gamblers are carrying guns inside gambling joints as they did back in Ty's day.

Titanic hired a bodyguard to drive and carry an extra gun for 10 per cent of his winnings. When a dice game owner set Ty up for a robbery, he killed two more men, shooting the masked and armed robbers, even though he had a bodyguard.

Later, an alarm bell at a poker game alerted them. Ty turned over the poker table to use as a shield. He and his bodyguard each shot a robber dead. In , in Tyler, Texas, Titanic killed his last man. When a man in a ski mask pointed a gun at him, Ty dropped to one knee, presenting a smaller target, and shot him twice. It turned out to be his year-old caddy.

The caddy lived long enough to tell the police he was a robber in his spare time. Unlike the first four men he had killed, Titanic felt deep remorse over the death of the young caddy, but the fact that he had killed five men made Titanic most fearsome around the gambling halls of America.

These propositions became tales shared by gamblers, who love to swap stories, and Ty became famous. Ty married five women, all teenagers at the time of the marriage, so the age gap between him and his wife kept getting bigger. The gamblers and the women could tell you that Titanic Thompson's dark eyes could be gullible, child-like, confused, bemused, charming, magnetic, penetrating, predatory, all-knowing and scary when need be.

In the early twenties, Titanic went to Chicago where he met Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandalos, America's most famous gambler at the time. He sent his two-headed quarter into the air and grabbed it when the Greek called heads. Later, he tried to bet Nick Greek on the weight of a large rock they saw when out driving.

The Greek pointed out that this rock looked very different to all the others and Titanic admitted he had pre-weighed it. Al Capone was the absolute mob boss of Chicago and a big admirer of Nick the Greek.

This was in prohibition when the mobsters had tons of money. Capone got Nick the Greek and Titanic in some large poker games and they played partners. He palmed the orange and threw a lemon filled with lead bird shot. This was one of Titanic's regular propositions. He turned toward the lake and sent his golf ball flying unto the ice. With Titanic, the myths, legends, and stories may or not be precisely true.

As partners, they made a fortune. It was here Ty took up golf, and very quickly he was terrific at it. The Greek could get them into the poker games, and Ty's eyes would beat them. However, Titanic lost millions on horses and sports bets. He followed the horses that followed the horses. In Tijuana, Mexico, Titanic attempted to fix a six-horse race. He bribed five of the jockeys, but one refused to go along.

Titanic told him he had a man in the grandstands with a high-powered rifle and a scope. He would shoot any jockey whose horse got in front of Nellie. With Nellie nearing the finish line with a comfortable lead, she fell and broke her leg. He had bet with bookies around the country. Nick the Greek sent a fresh bankroll, and Titanic was playing poker that night. He bragged he never stayed broke over six hours. Titanic would sit in a hotel lobby kicking his house shoe up into the air and catching it on his foot.

He had some props! He could throw the hotel keys into the lock, and Doyle Brunson swears he saw him do it. He would bet on how many cards he could throw into a hat at 20 paces. Of course, he could always throw what he needed to win a bet, right or left-handed.

Titanic would set the horseshoes stakes 41 feet apart, when regulation was 40 feet. The longer distance would fool champions at horseshoes. When future legendary gambler, Hubert Cokes was years-old, he assisted Titanic by hiding in a hotel room next to his. Titanic would bet he could throw cards under the hotel room door and have them bounce into a hat. Hubert was hiding in the closet to place the cards in the hat. These two became lifelong friends. He was tall, bald, very rich and had an ever-present cigar.

They taught Minnesota Fats "the conversation" and he became world class at it. The challenge, the proposition, the negotiation, the bragging, the con, the spots. They'd make the sucker really want to beat them and think he could. At pool and later golf, they'd go after the best pool player in any town and hope he had the biggest gambler to back him. Ty would win a series of bets. First he'd get a spot and win by one stroke, then play even, then give spots, bet on several trick shots, and play left-handed or one-handed.

Tommy Thomas, Titanic's son, wrote me this: Hubert Cokes was my godfather and I spent time with him when I was growing up and knew him very well He was not a capable card man like Ty but used some of the gaffs. I still have a leather cup he gave me where you twist the bottom and the dice are switched.

Used it playing backgammon, another cup just like it that was straight for your opponent I would go down to the Elks in Evansville and watch Hubert play one-pocket for hours. He would always get on Ty's case just like Ty would do when we were talking about him. Ty said Hubert was the most dangerous smart man he ever knew. He would carry two.

Over the years when I would call Hubert he would let me know he was following my career as a gambler and always seemed to know when I took off a big score. He did not teach me about cards but did teach me about life. Hubert told me a story about Ty you might like. He said they were in Kansas City and he bankrolled Ty to go to Evansville … where they were playing poker for high stakes because of all the oil money.

Hubert had not heard from Ty for weeks and thought he would call him to see if he was winning any money. He talked to Ty and he told him things were so bad everyone was soaking watches just to get by. Hubert knew Ty well enough he caught the next train to Evansville. He walked into the poker game and saw that Ty was winning thousands of dollars. They both took their winnings and bought up oil leases and became wealthy in the oil business.

Cokes kept his, Ty ended giving my mother all producing income and half of all mineral deeds when they divorced. That was about ten grand a month for Mom in the forties. Ty and Hubert were always going to kill each other but really were good friends. The last serious beef they had was in the McCurdy Hotel. Ty was so angry at Hubert he waited in the hotel lobby for him to come down the elevator and was going to shoot him.

Cokes figured Ty would be waiting for him and came down through the kitchen and walked up behind Ty and said, "Slim, are you ready to go to the golf course?

The two became close friends. Damon Runyon, one of America's most famous writers was also there, hearing all the Titanic Thompson stories. His character, Sky Masterson, patterned on Titanic, was in a short story that became the hit play and movie Guys and Dolls. Arnold Rothstein was the model for the Nathan Detroit character. Titanic once won a bet with Rothstein throwing a heavy peanut across Times Square.

He had packed the peanut with birdshot, lead. He did this with walnuts, pecans, oranges, lemons, and he was always ready. He won a bet on license plate poker when the car he had pre-arranged had and drove by when Ty doffed his fedora.

Ty hired an ex-math professor to teach him the odds on many dice, poker, and prop bets. He won a bet from Rothstein betting two of the next thirty people to walk by would have the same birthday.

Ty learned a great many props from the professor. At any game, Titanic kept up a steady stream of challenges that he could keep in his head, but made other gamblers dizzy. On a train ride to the track the gamblers bet on how many white horses they would see.

The next day, Rothstein had hired a man to plant extra white horses. Ty had hired a man to plant even more. The publicity for McManus' murder trial made Titanic Thompson a nationally-known name.

The public saw newspaper pictures of a rail-thin, 6'2" movie-star-looking, handsome, tall man, with thick, jet-black hair. Ty was immaculately dressed in expensive clothes, with big sparkling diamonds on several fingers.

While testifying, Ty was asked if poker is a game of chance. He came here, to Lubbock, Texas, from the s until the early s. Johnny Moss was living here in , when Ty offered a proposition that Johnny could not shoot a 46 with only a four iron on nine holes at Meadowbrook, our local golf course.

Moss had his four iron welded down into a two iron, but he couldn't sink putts because Titanic had paid a man to raise the lips on each cup. Moss snapped and had a man go around and tap them back down.

At draw poker Ty's prop was that Moss did all the dealing, but Ty could cut anytime. He had the aces crimped and could cut to one as needed. In his biography, Moss said he won all his money back and a Cadillac after he figured it out. When Ty returned to Meadowbrook when he was older, he'd have a top golfer as a partner or do prop bets of throwing half dollars into a cup, or pitching golf balls into a shot glass.

He'd hit both balls at the same time on the first stroke. At other golf courses, he'd bet he could chip into a row boat or bet he could shoot flying birds out of the air with his pistol. Like his peanuts, the pistol was loaded with bird shot. I caddied at Meadowbrook as a teenager in the early fifties. Sometimes, on a full moon, called a Comanche Moon in Texas, the gamblers played by moonlight. Once, a rich-looking, tall man hired me to retrieve golf balls while he was trying to teach a Doberman Pinscher to catch balls he had lofted high into the air.

The dog was trying, but would usually drop the golf ball. This guy would hit a hard, low line drive and hit the dog in the side.

When I told people about this, they said it had to be Titanic Thompson, but I'll never know. Both Cokes and Ryan got very rich from oil royalties, while Titanic made a lot of money on royalties but gave his mineral interest to his wife when they divorced. Neither Titanic nor Ryan could ever beat Minnesota Fats at one-pocket, however, and they lost a lot of money.

Maybe… It was in Evansville that Titanic made a famous prop bet. He hired a farmer to count the watermelons on his truck and park near the McCurdy Hotel. He got the gamblers on the porch involved in the conversation and bet he could guess very near the exact number of watermelons on the truck. As he did in golf, pool or horseshoes, he only won by one.

Just one, as always. Golf was Titanic's best game and, without cheating, he was one of the very best in the United States. He never entered golf tournaments, saying he could not afford the pay cut, because he played for more on one hole than top pros made in a year. When Nick the Greek got him in the country clubs of California, Ty beat some the well-known golfers. He stayed one of the best for 20 years. The conversation never stopped. Ben Hogan, one of America's greatest golf legends, said Ty was the best shot-maker ever and also the best short game player, and that he could beat anyone right- or left-handed.

Ty would join a country club, lose on the small, appear a braggart, and work up a really large bet. It might take weeks. The conversation had Ty getting a three-stroke handicap. Nelson shot a You know what Ty shot?

Exactly what he needed to win the bet, a At times he was near the course record, if he got in a jam. His years of throwing and practising hand-to-eye coordination came in handy. Titanic Thompson played partners with some of the most famous golf pros. Elder would wear overalls and appear a little slow, then Titanic would offer to take his caddy as partner and play the best two golfers in town, and Ty would play left-handed.

To his credit, Titanic made Elder a full partner and gave him an even split of the money. As Ty became older and more famous, folks would ask if he was Titanic Thompson whenever he laid out a proposition, and gamblers would make small bets against him just to see him do his legendary throwing props. And when plastic cards replaced paper cards, his big poker advantage vanished, while casinos, with their long dice tables, could prevent his control of the dice.

And so, like many of the great gamblers who had a lot of gamble in them — Johnny Moss, Nick the Greek and Minnesota Fats — Ty didn't have much money at the end of his life. Tommy Thomas, Titanic's son, was born in Evansville in After Titanic left, Tommy read about him as he grew up and began to practise long hours with a deck of cards.

He became a master-cheater, travelling the country, practising hours and hours until he became an even better card mechanic than his father. Ty and I both said so. Ty helped his son get in poker games and sent him back to Evansville to be tutored by Hubert Cokes.

I asked Tommy about the end of Ty's life, spent in a nursing home. He wrote me this. Every week I was in town he would call every day, saying, "What time will you be here? Ty and I loved to gamble with each other, playing heads up poker. Whoever won the other's stack of chips got a hundred dollars. The only difference was Dad didn't have much money and we played his best game, Pitch. Make no mistake, Dad and I took no prisoners and would win at any cost.

If we could cheat and get away with it, so be it. I remember our final game and the last time I would see Dad. Dad knew he was the best player but couldn't figure out how I was winning. Later that night I would be on my way to Cincinnati to play poker for several weeks and knew Dad would miss me. But there was something different about today. I knew Ty had the cards on the bed waiting for me.

I don't think he knew that, weeks before, I happened to look in the empty card box and saw that he had left two tens in the box. This gave him a big advantage in the game of Pitch. As I walked into the nursing home, he walked up and put his arms around me. He said, "Son, I think I am going to die here. While I was gone Ty had two strokes and died. During that final game we were sitting on the bed and I dealt the cards for both of us.

You should not be winning. We agreed and, after showing him, we were now even for the first time since he helped me go to college. Dad said he loved me and the debt was cancelled. Ty was the best hustler the world has ever known. He would win all your money and turn around and give you the shirt off his back.

It was always about winning, not the money. For the last 16 years I have ministered in the maximum security prisons and know most of the men there have never heard the words that I have come to cherish, "Son, I love you. Both Cokes and Ryan got very rich. We'll see if this stays up this time. No reason why it shouldn't! A man who became almost as legendary as any man in romantic fiction and certainly America's most famous gambler. He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the English run Baxter school.

He was later educated at the Greek Evangelical College there. After travels in America he had planned to study at Oxford and graduate to a Donship in Philosophy.

Nick whose real name was Nicholas Andrea Dandolos was the son of a rug merchant and the godson of a wealthy shipowner. In Chicago he met and fell in love with a girl, but they quarreled and Nick moved on to Montreal. Nick then went back to Chicago and promptly lost the entire amount playing card and dice games that were unfamiliar to him.

But he was not at all deterred from continuing in his chosen profession. He began to study these games assiduously and in a few years had become so well known as a freelance gambler that casino proprietors were offering him large salaries to work for them.

In the January of , as the story goes, Nick the Greek approached Benny Binion with an unusual request-to challenge the best in a high-stakes poker marathon. Binion agreed to set up a match between Dandolos and the legendary Johnny Moss, with the stipulation that the game be played in public view. During the course of the marathon, which lasted five months with breaks only for sleep, the two men played every form of poker imaginable.

When the Greek lost his last pot, he arose from his chair, bowed slightly, and uttered the now-famous words, "Mr. Moss, I have to let you go. He was enshrined in as a charter member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Nick explains to Richard how he wins big not by playing the tables, but by knowing the odds at the tables and betting against others who have superstitious beliefs about the outcome.

Albert Einstein stopped of in Las Vegas on a coast to coast journey. It was Nick who met him at the airport and chaperoned him around the Vegas casinos in a story told by Nick himself.

Einstein was famous for saying that no one could win money at the roulette table, 'unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn't looking'. So during a visit to the Tropicana Casino Nick approached a roulettte table and placed a handful of chips on red.

It won and he let it ride and after winning again he did the same to further success. He then cashed in his chips, pocketed the cash and turned to grin at Einstein. Nick then said, "Any questions? He sent 29 chilrdren of friends through college, paid hospital bills for 1, or more individuals and set up non-interest loans enabling another or so to launch businesses of their own. His sum total of possessions at the time he died would have fitted handily into a shoe box.

His most valuable presonal effects were the kind he could take with him. He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the Eng. Nick The Greek was, allegedly, cheated by this man. Old and newly acquired friends stopped by. Card-playing went on all hours of the day, and he was betting heavily on horse racing.

No one could miss him. Smiley hoped Ryan might be his next victim. Ryan liked to place large bets at post time and often made a killing when he could get a bet down. Ryan, hoping an unsuspecting bookie might be willing to accept his bets after post time, developed elaborate schemes to learn the race winners. It is no longer available in grocery stores, and I am very pleased to see that I can still order it through Amazon.

It is a delicious, tangy fruit pudding - just like the German "Rote Gruetze". I serve it with a vanilla sauce, for a delicious contrast. By DianJo on June 7, This was a desert we enjoyed years ago. Try pouring filling mixed with raspberries into a graham cracker pie crust follow package directions. Refrigerate and serve when chilled. Whipped cream on top is good. By Kenny on October 29, Just what we remember.

By Don Goodrich on May 5, In the days before electric refrigerators, hot Raspberry Danish Dessert with melted marshmellows was my childhood favorite. What a thrill to find that it was still available and is better than my memories. There really is nothing to compare it to day. Was this review helpful to you? See all 81 reviews. Most recent customer reviews 3.

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Got to Bellagio fine, checked in and started playing. WAY different than Laughlin, lol. With our comp offer here, we also had some free meals, and took advantage of them.

Won some money here before heading to bed. Again hubbie had to work, so I just did a casino crawl up the strip to Wynn. Stayed on the shady side of the strip and just meandered in and out of casinos.

It was nice having the casino air conditioners blowing out to the sidewalk. I played some and came back to the hotel around 5ish. We had dinner and headed back to Laughlin. I had a freind from Arizona meeting me that I hadn't seen since High School. Trip back was uneventful and we got back around 8ish and found my friend immediately. We had a snack with her in the cafe.

When we first got to the hotel, I had gone to the desk to give them my credit card for charging to the room purposes. We used this at the steakhouse and at the cafe already. But when we went to do this again at the cafe, the woman couldnt find my room or name. We must have waited ten minutes. She kept saying, "are you SURE you gave them a credit card". I had even showed her the slip I got for just this purpose and she still couldn't figure things out.

Just another "what the Mh friend and stayed up awhile, playing VP at the bar and just laughing. We got up early, and drove down to several of the other casino's, had breakfast before heading back to Harrahs. We took about an hour for a nap before meeting up again at the adult pool. We had a blast. We were there for hours. Most people were just standing in the pool to cool off, everyone with a drink in their hands.

I had gone down to the beach and layed on a chair in the water for a little while but the river was freezing and going up and back to the snack shack for a drink was hard in the heat and slope of the beach, so it was pool only for us.

Bad service, but great food and views. Came back to Harrahs, hubbie played BJ and my freind and I sat at the bar, played VP, had cocktails and just laughed and laughed. I put my money in this machine, hit max bet, and thank goodness I won. I couldn't figure out why I only has 33 credits, till I cashed out and figured out what happened, so by careful: The next morning was check out.

Had to have our luggage ready by 6: There is NO need to be at this little itty bitty airport two hours early, so why they make you do this is ridiculous. Flight home was again, pleasant and uneventful. This was a nice little trip for hubbie and I, who don't get to go places by ourselves much lately with his work schedule. I had been warned by many people that I wouldn't like Laughlin since we consider Vegas our home away from home. We won't be back, been there done that, lol. We were also two out of four people on our our whole junket that were under the retirement age.

We very obviously stuck out like sore thumbs. The vast majority of people were older. And that is fine, they obviously loved Laughlin. Great for them, but Vegas is much more my speed. There was a noticeable difference in ages Friday night, our last night there. The casino was packed with younger people having a good time. If it had been like that all week, my opinion might be different, but as is stands, our junket was Tues thru Sat morning, so we didn't get to have that fun.

All we got was quiet time, very few bells and whiles, I heard very few people winning, etc. So all in all, not my cup of tea. I am sure there are others who would love this sort of thing, but for younger people who want to gamble with good odds, have fun and people watch, I wouldn't recommend Laughlin. One side warning, even though this was a junket and there were only two planes leaving Rockford Intl airport that day, they somehow managed to lose peoples luggage, so still take your standard precautions and take your valuables, meds and money on the plane with you.

Hope you enjoyed this review. I tend to get long winded, but before I left, I read alot of the reviews on here and wished someone had posted all the details about the junkets. This was my first and last stay here. It is not within walking distance to the "main' section of town - where the nightlife and limited dining is located in Laughlin. The only advantage here is the beach area which they do not allow personal coolers to be brought onto. At one point the line for the elevator was 40 people deep.

The display in the elevator was incorrect and we ended up on the wrong floor and ended walking up three flights of stairs in degree heat. The front desk manager explained, "that is how it is this time of year," and showed no concern about our time spent dealing with the very inconvenient elevators.

Leaving on Sunday two full elevators passed us by as we waited 15 minutes to get down to the lobby to check out. If I wanted to pay to stand around in a line with strangers on vacation, I would have gone to Disneyland. The restaurant choices are poor. On Saturday night we tried the buffet.

Tanya the young hostess seated us, but did not correctly place the receipt on the table for the waitress. When the waitress asked her if we paid for the buffet, Tanya's answer was confusing and unclear -- for some reason she was unable to explain, "yes, I seated them, but somewhere between the hostess stand and the table the receipt was lost. We asked for a quiet room and were put next to the ice machine -- clunk, clunk, clunk. The topper on the cake.

This is a nice place to stay, but there is little to do.

the Kool Aid into

For him, it was all about statistics, numbers, and computer calculations. His advice to someone who wanna be a pro gambler would be: He has been a world-class bridge player, a sports bettor, a globetrotting blackjack player, and a stock market speculator.

Horse betting was his main job and the stock market was were he did his "gambling". Sixty days later he would have been a multi-billionaire. Passed away on January 28, , at 62 years old from an appendiceal cancer. Which make him the world's greatest horse racing handicapper. There's a lot to be said about Alan Woods but this is fairly to the pointBorn in Australia in , Alan Woods, as a child, has a passion for bridge and was gifted with brillance and aptitude for mathematics, which fascinated him.

But it wasn't unti. Titanic Thompson, aka Alvin C. Thomas , grew up in rural Arkansas in a gambling family. As a child he pitched pennies at the line, hunted small game with his. He invented his own proposition bet, where he threw pennies into a small box.

As he would his whole life, Titanic spent hours practicing and always looking for a gaff, a gimmick, or a way to cheat. With the sharpened nail on his little finger, Titanic could make marks, dents and crimps on paper playing cards that only he could see with those amazing eyes.

He could bend the cards where the slight wave would catch a glint of light. Titanic was able to play in the largest poker games all over the country and mark the old paper playing cards during the game against some top gamblers who were very alert to cheating and the standard mechanic's moves. Titanic left home at age 16 to haunt the pool halls, domino games, bowling alleys, dice games and poker games. He learned to cheat at dice. He'd start with the aces or sixes, or any combination of those touching, give a few false shakes that made a sound, and then roll stiff-wristed, straight down the table to avoid craps.

If you were accurate twice in a hundred times you had way the best of it. Titanic made most of his money from dice and poker before he took up golf, and he made millions. He was cheating top gamblers. As a teen, Titanic got a job as a trick shot artist with a travelling medicine show, which helped him learn the con. Within a few short years, Titanic had made a huge fortune. He'd travel in a huge, nickel-plated Pierce-Arrow automobile with the tools of his trade in the trunk: He was ambidextrous, and had many proposition bets to make all through any game.

After winning at many changing props, he'd offer to bowl, play golf, shoot targets or shoot pool left-handed. He was a natural lefty. Titanic wore loose custom-tailored suits, made to partially conceal the. There have been three poker robberies here in Lubbock Texas recently, and gamblers are carrying guns inside gambling joints as they did back in Ty's day. Titanic hired a bodyguard to drive and carry an extra gun for 10 per cent of his winnings.

When a dice game owner set Ty up for a robbery, he killed two more men, shooting the masked and armed robbers, even though he had a bodyguard. Later, an alarm bell at a poker game alerted them. Ty turned over the poker table to use as a shield. He and his bodyguard each shot a robber dead. In , in Tyler, Texas, Titanic killed his last man. When a man in a ski mask pointed a gun at him, Ty dropped to one knee, presenting a smaller target, and shot him twice.

It turned out to be his year-old caddy. The caddy lived long enough to tell the police he was a robber in his spare time. Unlike the first four men he had killed, Titanic felt deep remorse over the death of the young caddy, but the fact that he had killed five men made Titanic most fearsome around the gambling halls of America.

These propositions became tales shared by gamblers, who love to swap stories, and Ty became famous. Ty married five women, all teenagers at the time of the marriage, so the age gap between him and his wife kept getting bigger. The gamblers and the women could tell you that Titanic Thompson's dark eyes could be gullible, child-like, confused, bemused, charming, magnetic, penetrating, predatory, all-knowing and scary when need be.

In the early twenties, Titanic went to Chicago where he met Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandalos, America's most famous gambler at the time. He sent his two-headed quarter into the air and grabbed it when the Greek called heads.

Later, he tried to bet Nick Greek on the weight of a large rock they saw when out driving. The Greek pointed out that this rock looked very different to all the others and Titanic admitted he had pre-weighed it. Al Capone was the absolute mob boss of Chicago and a big admirer of Nick the Greek. This was in prohibition when the mobsters had tons of money. Capone got Nick the Greek and Titanic in some large poker games and they played partners. He palmed the orange and threw a lemon filled with lead bird shot.

This was one of Titanic's regular propositions. He turned toward the lake and sent his golf ball flying unto the ice. With Titanic, the myths, legends, and stories may or not be precisely true. As partners, they made a fortune. It was here Ty took up golf, and very quickly he was terrific at it. The Greek could get them into the poker games, and Ty's eyes would beat them. However, Titanic lost millions on horses and sports bets.

He followed the horses that followed the horses. In Tijuana, Mexico, Titanic attempted to fix a six-horse race. He bribed five of the jockeys, but one refused to go along. Titanic told him he had a man in the grandstands with a high-powered rifle and a scope.

He would shoot any jockey whose horse got in front of Nellie. With Nellie nearing the finish line with a comfortable lead, she fell and broke her leg. He had bet with bookies around the country. Nick the Greek sent a fresh bankroll, and Titanic was playing poker that night. He bragged he never stayed broke over six hours. Titanic would sit in a hotel lobby kicking his house shoe up into the air and catching it on his foot.

He had some props! He could throw the hotel keys into the lock, and Doyle Brunson swears he saw him do it. He would bet on how many cards he could throw into a hat at 20 paces. Of course, he could always throw what he needed to win a bet, right or left-handed.

Titanic would set the horseshoes stakes 41 feet apart, when regulation was 40 feet. The longer distance would fool champions at horseshoes. When future legendary gambler, Hubert Cokes was years-old, he assisted Titanic by hiding in a hotel room next to his. Titanic would bet he could throw cards under the hotel room door and have them bounce into a hat. Hubert was hiding in the closet to place the cards in the hat. These two became lifelong friends.

He was tall, bald, very rich and had an ever-present cigar. They taught Minnesota Fats "the conversation" and he became world class at it.

The challenge, the proposition, the negotiation, the bragging, the con, the spots. They'd make the sucker really want to beat them and think he could. At pool and later golf, they'd go after the best pool player in any town and hope he had the biggest gambler to back him.

Ty would win a series of bets. First he'd get a spot and win by one stroke, then play even, then give spots, bet on several trick shots, and play left-handed or one-handed. Tommy Thomas, Titanic's son, wrote me this: Hubert Cokes was my godfather and I spent time with him when I was growing up and knew him very well He was not a capable card man like Ty but used some of the gaffs.

I still have a leather cup he gave me where you twist the bottom and the dice are switched. Used it playing backgammon, another cup just like it that was straight for your opponent I would go down to the Elks in Evansville and watch Hubert play one-pocket for hours. He would always get on Ty's case just like Ty would do when we were talking about him.

Ty said Hubert was the most dangerous smart man he ever knew. He would carry two. Over the years when I would call Hubert he would let me know he was following my career as a gambler and always seemed to know when I took off a big score.

He did not teach me about cards but did teach me about life. Hubert told me a story about Ty you might like. He said they were in Kansas City and he bankrolled Ty to go to Evansville … where they were playing poker for high stakes because of all the oil money. Hubert had not heard from Ty for weeks and thought he would call him to see if he was winning any money.

He talked to Ty and he told him things were so bad everyone was soaking watches just to get by. Hubert knew Ty well enough he caught the next train to Evansville.

He walked into the poker game and saw that Ty was winning thousands of dollars. They both took their winnings and bought up oil leases and became wealthy in the oil business. Cokes kept his, Ty ended giving my mother all producing income and half of all mineral deeds when they divorced. That was about ten grand a month for Mom in the forties. Ty and Hubert were always going to kill each other but really were good friends.

The last serious beef they had was in the McCurdy Hotel. Ty was so angry at Hubert he waited in the hotel lobby for him to come down the elevator and was going to shoot him. Cokes figured Ty would be waiting for him and came down through the kitchen and walked up behind Ty and said, "Slim, are you ready to go to the golf course? The two became close friends. Damon Runyon, one of America's most famous writers was also there, hearing all the Titanic Thompson stories.

His character, Sky Masterson, patterned on Titanic, was in a short story that became the hit play and movie Guys and Dolls. Arnold Rothstein was the model for the Nathan Detroit character. Titanic once won a bet with Rothstein throwing a heavy peanut across Times Square.

He had packed the peanut with birdshot, lead. He did this with walnuts, pecans, oranges, lemons, and he was always ready. He won a bet on license plate poker when the car he had pre-arranged had and drove by when Ty doffed his fedora. Ty hired an ex-math professor to teach him the odds on many dice, poker, and prop bets. He won a bet from Rothstein betting two of the next thirty people to walk by would have the same birthday. Ty learned a great many props from the professor. At any game, Titanic kept up a steady stream of challenges that he could keep in his head, but made other gamblers dizzy.

On a train ride to the track the gamblers bet on how many white horses they would see. The next day, Rothstein had hired a man to plant extra white horses. Ty had hired a man to plant even more. The publicity for McManus' murder trial made Titanic Thompson a nationally-known name. The public saw newspaper pictures of a rail-thin, 6'2" movie-star-looking, handsome, tall man, with thick, jet-black hair.

Ty was immaculately dressed in expensive clothes, with big sparkling diamonds on several fingers. While testifying, Ty was asked if poker is a game of chance.

He came here, to Lubbock, Texas, from the s until the early s. Johnny Moss was living here in , when Ty offered a proposition that Johnny could not shoot a 46 with only a four iron on nine holes at Meadowbrook, our local golf course. Moss had his four iron welded down into a two iron, but he couldn't sink putts because Titanic had paid a man to raise the lips on each cup. Moss snapped and had a man go around and tap them back down. At draw poker Ty's prop was that Moss did all the dealing, but Ty could cut anytime.

He had the aces crimped and could cut to one as needed. In his biography, Moss said he won all his money back and a Cadillac after he figured it out. When Ty returned to Meadowbrook when he was older, he'd have a top golfer as a partner or do prop bets of throwing half dollars into a cup, or pitching golf balls into a shot glass.

He'd hit both balls at the same time on the first stroke. At other golf courses, he'd bet he could chip into a row boat or bet he could shoot flying birds out of the air with his pistol. Like his peanuts, the pistol was loaded with bird shot. I caddied at Meadowbrook as a teenager in the early fifties. Sometimes, on a full moon, called a Comanche Moon in Texas, the gamblers played by moonlight. Once, a rich-looking, tall man hired me to retrieve golf balls while he was trying to teach a Doberman Pinscher to catch balls he had lofted high into the air.

The dog was trying, but would usually drop the golf ball. This guy would hit a hard, low line drive and hit the dog in the side. When I told people about this, they said it had to be Titanic Thompson, but I'll never know.

Both Cokes and Ryan got very rich from oil royalties, while Titanic made a lot of money on royalties but gave his mineral interest to his wife when they divorced. Neither Titanic nor Ryan could ever beat Minnesota Fats at one-pocket, however, and they lost a lot of money. Maybe… It was in Evansville that Titanic made a famous prop bet. He hired a farmer to count the watermelons on his truck and park near the McCurdy Hotel.

He got the gamblers on the porch involved in the conversation and bet he could guess very near the exact number of watermelons on the truck. As he did in golf, pool or horseshoes, he only won by one. Just one, as always. Golf was Titanic's best game and, without cheating, he was one of the very best in the United States. He never entered golf tournaments, saying he could not afford the pay cut, because he played for more on one hole than top pros made in a year.

When Nick the Greek got him in the country clubs of California, Ty beat some the well-known golfers. He stayed one of the best for 20 years. The conversation never stopped. Ben Hogan, one of America's greatest golf legends, said Ty was the best shot-maker ever and also the best short game player, and that he could beat anyone right- or left-handed. Ty would join a country club, lose on the small, appear a braggart, and work up a really large bet. It might take weeks.

The conversation had Ty getting a three-stroke handicap. Nelson shot a You know what Ty shot? Exactly what he needed to win the bet, a At times he was near the course record, if he got in a jam. His years of throwing and practising hand-to-eye coordination came in handy. Titanic Thompson played partners with some of the most famous golf pros.

Elder would wear overalls and appear a little slow, then Titanic would offer to take his caddy as partner and play the best two golfers in town, and Ty would play left-handed. To his credit, Titanic made Elder a full partner and gave him an even split of the money. As Ty became older and more famous, folks would ask if he was Titanic Thompson whenever he laid out a proposition, and gamblers would make small bets against him just to see him do his legendary throwing props.

And when plastic cards replaced paper cards, his big poker advantage vanished, while casinos, with their long dice tables, could prevent his control of the dice. And so, like many of the great gamblers who had a lot of gamble in them — Johnny Moss, Nick the Greek and Minnesota Fats — Ty didn't have much money at the end of his life. Tommy Thomas, Titanic's son, was born in Evansville in After Titanic left, Tommy read about him as he grew up and began to practise long hours with a deck of cards.

He became a master-cheater, travelling the country, practising hours and hours until he became an even better card mechanic than his father. Ty and I both said so. Ty helped his son get in poker games and sent him back to Evansville to be tutored by Hubert Cokes.

I asked Tommy about the end of Ty's life, spent in a nursing home. He wrote me this. Every week I was in town he would call every day, saying, "What time will you be here? Ty and I loved to gamble with each other, playing heads up poker. Whoever won the other's stack of chips got a hundred dollars.

The only difference was Dad didn't have much money and we played his best game, Pitch. Make no mistake, Dad and I took no prisoners and would win at any cost. If we could cheat and get away with it, so be it.

I remember our final game and the last time I would see Dad. Dad knew he was the best player but couldn't figure out how I was winning. Later that night I would be on my way to Cincinnati to play poker for several weeks and knew Dad would miss me. But there was something different about today.

I knew Ty had the cards on the bed waiting for me. I don't think he knew that, weeks before, I happened to look in the empty card box and saw that he had left two tens in the box. This gave him a big advantage in the game of Pitch. As I walked into the nursing home, he walked up and put his arms around me. He said, "Son, I think I am going to die here.

While I was gone Ty had two strokes and died. During that final game we were sitting on the bed and I dealt the cards for both of us. You should not be winning. We agreed and, after showing him, we were now even for the first time since he helped me go to college.

Dad said he loved me and the debt was cancelled. Ty was the best hustler the world has ever known. He would win all your money and turn around and give you the shirt off his back. It was always about winning, not the money. For the last 16 years I have ministered in the maximum security prisons and know most of the men there have never heard the words that I have come to cherish, "Son, I love you. Both Cokes and Ryan got very rich. We'll see if this stays up this time.

No reason why it shouldn't! A man who became almost as legendary as any man in romantic fiction and certainly America's most famous gambler. He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the English run Baxter school. He was later educated at the Greek Evangelical College there. After travels in America he had planned to study at Oxford and graduate to a Donship in Philosophy.

Nick whose real name was Nicholas Andrea Dandolos was the son of a rug merchant and the godson of a wealthy shipowner. In Chicago he met and fell in love with a girl, but they quarreled and Nick moved on to Montreal.

Nick then went back to Chicago and promptly lost the entire amount playing card and dice games that were unfamiliar to him. But he was not at all deterred from continuing in his chosen profession. He began to study these games assiduously and in a few years had become so well known as a freelance gambler that casino proprietors were offering him large salaries to work for them.

In the January of , as the story goes, Nick the Greek approached Benny Binion with an unusual request-to challenge the best in a high-stakes poker marathon. Binion agreed to set up a match between Dandolos and the legendary Johnny Moss, with the stipulation that the game be played in public view. During the course of the marathon, which lasted five months with breaks only for sleep, the two men played every form of poker imaginable. When the Greek lost his last pot, he arose from his chair, bowed slightly, and uttered the now-famous words, "Mr.

Moss, I have to let you go. He was enshrined in as a charter member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Nick explains to Richard how he wins big not by playing the tables, but by knowing the odds at the tables and betting against others who have superstitious beliefs about the outcome.

Albert Einstein stopped of in Las Vegas on a coast to coast journey. It was Nick who met him at the airport and chaperoned him around the Vegas casinos in a story told by Nick himself. Einstein was famous for saying that no one could win money at the roulette table, 'unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn't looking'. So during a visit to the Tropicana Casino Nick approached a roulettte table and placed a handful of chips on red. It won and he let it ride and after winning again he did the same to further success.

He then cashed in his chips, pocketed the cash and turned to grin at Einstein. Nick then said, "Any questions? He sent 29 chilrdren of friends through college, paid hospital bills for 1, or more individuals and set up non-interest loans enabling another or so to launch businesses of their own.

His sum total of possessions at the time he died would have fitted handily into a shoe box. His most valuable presonal effects were the kind he could take with him. He was born in Rethymnon, Crete, from which his father sent him to live with a wealthy godfather in Smyrna, Turkey, where attended the Eng. Nick The Greek was, allegedly, cheated by this man. Old and newly acquired friends stopped by. Card-playing went on all hours of the day, and he was betting heavily on horse racing. No one could miss him.

Smiley hoped Ryan might be his next victim. Ryan liked to place large bets at post time and often made a killing when he could get a bet down. Ryan, hoping an unsuspecting bookie might be willing to accept his bets after post time, developed elaborate schemes to learn the race winners. One scam was to sequester himself in the shower in his hotel suite while his friends — gamblers and bookies — waited in the living room to go to the track. Meanwhile, Ryan sneaked in a phone call to a spotter at the track to find out who had won the first race.

When he left the bedroom, Ryan apologized for making the guys miss the first race, adding he really had a favorite horse he wanted to bet on. Usually one of the waiting bookies — certain Ryan had no idea who actually won — accepted his bet on the race.

Ryan picked up thousands of dollars in the process. Another scam involved his frequent lunches with bookies, who never turned down a meal with one of their biggest bettors. Ryan pretended to scan the menu while memorizing the note.

It was just being smart enough to get the edge on the next guy — something they were trying to do to him. Early on, he managed to pull off the charade numerous times, but later most bookies shied away from taking his bets after post time regardless of whether they had been with Ryan the entire day. He loved to amuse his friends with stories of how he put one over on a bookie.

His enormous personal appeal also brought him into contact with movie stars, studio executives, and producers in LA and Palm Springs. Hollywood folks flocked to Palm Springs to get away from prying eyes and the hubbub of sprawling LA.

The pace in Palm Springs was slower, the weather milder, and no one cared what anyone did behind the walls and iron gates of the mansions. Ryan relished being around movie stars and executive moguls, cementing friendships with Johnny Rosselli an influential mobster and other hoods who made California their empire and Palm Springs their pleasure palace, and drawing into his sphere of influence wealthy businessmen in the relaxed atmosphere of dinners and galas in Palm Springs and LA.

Ryan would collect hundreds of photographs of himself with movie stars and other new friends. Born in , Regan grew up in a cold-water flat in Brooklyn, the son of Irish immigrants. He later joined the New York City Police Department, and at a party given by a vaudeville producer, he went to a piano and sang. Ray Ryan already ha. The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history.

It devoured much of Mr. Watanabe's personal fortune, he says, which he built up over more than two decades running his family's party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb.

It also benefitted the two casinos' parent company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc. Watanabe and Harrah's are fighting over another issue: Watanabe, 52 years old, says casino staff routinely plied him with liquor and pain medication as part of a systematic plan to keep him gambling.

Nevada's Gaming Control Board has opened a separate investigation into whether Harrah's violated gambling regulations, based on allegations made by Mr. He denies the charges, alleging that the casino reneged on promises to give him cash back on some losses, and encouraged him to gamble while intoxicated.

Watanabe faces up to 28 years in prison. Jan Jones, Harrah's senior vice president for communications and government relations, says Mr. Watanabe's civil suit and his defense against the criminal charges are attempts to get out of paying a debt and to avoid accepting responsibility for his own actions. Watanabe is a criminal defendant who faces imprisonment," Ms. Watanabe continue betting while he was visibly intoxicated, even though casino rules and state law stipulate that anyone who is clearly drunk shouldn't be allowed to gamble.

These employees say they were afraid they would be fired if they did anything to discourage Mr. Watanabe from gambling at the casinos.

Just as in civil cases, people with alleged unpaid debts sometimes try to get out of criminal charges by claiming that casinos had a hand in keeping them intoxicated. Zadrowski declined to comment specifically on Mr. Watanabe's case, he says this kind of defense never works in criminal court: Still, casinos will sometimes bar gamblers who are behaving erratically or whom they suspect won't pay their debts.

Watanabe says in court documents that he was barred from the Wynn casino in because of compulsive drinking and gambling. A Wynn spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter. Harrah's Caesars and Rio casinos continued to put out the welcome mat. As part of the criminal case against Mr. Watanabe, Wilson Ning, a Harrah's marketing executive, testified before a grand jury in April that he didn't see Mr.

Watanabe intoxicated at Caesars or Rio casinos, according to Mr. Zadrowski, the chief deputy district attorney who runs the bad-checks unit. Watanabe's prodigality became almost as legendary as his gambling. According to court documents, Mr. Al Deleon and Kristian Kunder, two of Mr. They say he once told a security guard to go to a supermarket and buy every cut of steak, and then proceeded to hand them out to employees. Watanabe built his fortune on plastic trinkets, the kind given away at carnivals and church fund-raisers: Watanabe and his younger sister and brother worked with their father after school.

His mother, Fern, a Nebraska native, was a secretary there. When Terrance Watanabe was 15, his father asked him if he wanted to take over the business, as is Japanese tradition for the first-born son, says his sister, Pam Watanabe-Gerdes. By the time he was 20, he was chief executive.

Some who knew Mr. Watanabe in Omaha describe him as guarded and shy. But he was also savvy at both marketing and selecting merchandise, says Bob Thomas, a chief operating officer at the company. It was those skills that helped Mr. The job was all-consuming, say former associates.

He traveled for long stretches of time examining merchandise in Asia. His sister and others who know him say they don't believe he ever had a significant romantic relationship. A major Omaha philanthropist, he gave millions to AIDS services, according to his foundation's records. Watanabe sold his company to Brentwood Assoc. Oriental Trading has since been acquired by the Carlyle Group.

After the sale, Mr. Watanabe said his plan was to throw himself into his philanthropic work and have more fun. Watanabe told his hometown newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, in Donations from his foundation grew, but he soon became restless. Several business ideas, including opening a restaurant, went nowhere.

He started gambling there in , according to documents filed in Mr. He became one of the casino's top customers, says Gabe Sullivan, a former Harrah's host who attended to Mr. Once he began traveling to Las Vegas frequently in , Mr.

Watanabe's gambling and drinking intensified, according to his civil suit. But, he says, his heavy betting drew the attention of Chief Executive Steve Wynn.

After meeting with him in June , Mr. Wynn concluded that he was a compulsive gambler and alcoholic, and barred him from the casino, according to a letter to the Nevada Gaming Control Board drafted by Mr. Watanabe's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell. Jones, the Harrah's vice president, says, "It was not our understanding that he was kicked out of Wynn because of problem gambling. Watanabe's letter to the Control Board and copies of emails sent from Harrah's to Mr.

Watanabe's assistant that were included in the court filings. In a series of emails signed by Mr. Ning, the Harrah's marketing executive, the casino company laid out the terms that it was willing to offer him, which included "a special formula just for Mr.

Watanabe alleges that Harrah's later rolled those terms back. Ning didn't respond to requests for comment. Jones declined to comment on whether the company rolled back any incentives, but says "the practice of offering incentives and discounts to significant players is not unusual. Watanabe, "chairman," according to the filing and several employees.

Watanabe, the most exclusive rank was "Seven Star. Watanabe resided for free in a three-bedroom suite at Caesars, had access to his favorite bartender, drank a special brand of vodka, Jewel of Russia, and was constantly surrounded by attendants to serve his every need, such as a seven-course meal from the casino's Bradley Ogden restaurant delivered to him while he was gambling, according to the court filing and employee accounts.

Watanabe was treated just like any other high-end gambler: Watanabe was seen as so valuable to Harrah's, say Messrs. Deleon and Kunder, two of his handlers, is that he gravitated toward games with low odds, including roulette and slots. He made such bad decisions on the blackjack table. Jones disputes this interpretation. Several employees say Mr. Jones says for high rollers, the company will often extend credit.

Sullivan, the Iowa casino host, visited Mr. Watanabe in Las Vegas during the height of his binge in , he says, Mr. Watanabe appeared incoherent and had trouble remembering details of conversations. Other employees recall Mr. Watanabe stumbling around and dozing off at casino tables, some of which were located next to a nightclub blaring loud music. Deleon say they both voiced concerns to managers that Mr.

Watanabe was too intoxicated, and were told not to get involved. Kunder left Harrah's in the summer of to work at nightclubs. He has since moved to Chicago and works at a cell-phone company. Deleon left the casino in March to do similar work at Red Rock casino, owned by Station Casinos. Sullivan left Harrah's in March when his contract wasn't renewed by Harrah's. Jones says the departures were not related to Mr. Watanabe, but declined to further discuss the situations of individual employees.

Looking the Other Way Mr. Watanabe alleges that during this period Harrah's not only didn't make him leave when he was drunk, but it plied him with alcohol and prescription drugs to encourage him to stay and gamble. Several Caesars employees say there was no policy to keep Mr. Watanabe drugged or drunk. But, they say, staff knew the company wanted to keep one of the Strip's most lucrative customers, and so looked the other way. A picture of him was hung in employee back rooms, they say.

Jones says there was nothing inappropriate or unusual about fulfilling the reasonable requests of a good customer. Are we going to provide an environment that keeps him very happy?

Of course we are. Jones says, the company tells its employees to ask people who are clearly intoxicated to refrain from gambling, as required under state regulations. Employees attend a responsible-gaming class every year where they learn how and when to tell gamblers to leave the casino. The company has a phone number that employees can call to anonymously report unethical or improper behavior by other employees.

There are no reports that anyone called the number regarding Mr. In its marketing materials, Harrah's reports its record as an early advocate and funder of organizations that help gambling addicts. Among other measures, it honors requests from addicts that they be barred from all casinos run by the company.

In September , Mr. Watanabe fell in his room and hurt his back. He says his handlers -- including Mr. Deleon -- supplied him doses of the prescription pain medication Lortab without a doctor's prescription, his court filing says. Kunder says he gave Mr. Watanabe prescription pain medication from his personal supply a single time on the day after the fall upon Mr.

Deleon says he never gave Mr. Jones said that if employees ever provided Mr. Watanabe drugs, it would be against company policy. Watanabe's sister says she and her brother and sister-in-law weren't aware of how much money he was losing until a Thanksgiving visit, when he opened up to her about the depth of his losses.

Two weeks later, she says, she returned to Las Vegas and brought him home. Watanabe was back in Las Vegas gambling for a period in But he entered a residential treatment facility that year and hasn't entered a casino since, Ms. In July , Mr. He now lives near San Francisco. Watanabe is due to stand trial on the felony charges stemming from his debts. In May, he pled not guilty.

Dramatic developments were announced Thursday in a Las Vegas courtroom in the criminal case against Terry Watanabe, Omaha philanthropist and former owner of Oriental Trading Company. Criminal charges are dropped against Watanabe and civil lawsuits have been stopped dead in their tracks. Following the complaint, prosecutors in Clark County, Nevada filed criminal charges against Watanabe that could have put him in prison for 28 years.

Watanabe filed a civil suit against Harrah's Entertainment in which he alleged Harrah's employees had supplied him with liquor and prescription painkillers while he lost tens of millions of dollars. But it all ended when Clark County District Court Judge Donald Mosley on Thursday accepted a confidential deal between a prosecutor and lawyers for year-old Watanabe.

Trial had been set for next week. Watanabe agreed to drop civil lawsuits against Harrah's, and Harrah's agreed to freeze counterclaims pending binding arbitration. I love these stories - thank you for sharing. I'll tell you one not in the same league but true of human nature and gamblers. The dream of many is to learn to card count, and although its widely known and difficult to get away with these days you can make fair money at it. So, how does one card count. You need a system - a method to improve your memory.

There is such a book that you can buy now. Its one of the original 'memory' books. How to Develop a Perfect Memory ISBN When given the chance of riches and a high roller life by the author to his student, the student said 'looks like hard work to me.

The dream of many is to learn to card count, and although its widely known and difficult to get away with these days you can m. Slightly off topic but when tepmtation raises its head, in the hands of a compulsive gambler this would have been 'interesting' You may struggle to believe this.

Even while it was happening to me, I struggled too. One morning before Christmas, I checked my online bank account and noticed — although that seems too mild a word for it — that someone had just given me a quarter of a million pounds. It was an exciting moment. I assumed there was a glitch in the website; but when I logged off and on again, the money was still there.

It had been deposited the day before, but there was no sign of anybody looking for it. This was very private business that I wouldn't want to spread around. Nor can you assume you'll get an honest answer to the question: Should I put it into a high-interest account until the matter was resolved?

There didn't seem to be quite enough to run away with. Nowhere near enough if I took my wife and children, which ideally I would. Maybe there would be a reward, ahem, for giving it back? Or might this all be some ingenious scam? It would have to be very ingenious indeed, because I couldn't work out how anyone might profit by giving me a quarter of a million pounds. Of course there was the slim chance that this money had been given to me on purpose. I focused on that. In March I'd published a novel, so I took to wondering if some shy patron of the arts had loved it and gone frankly rather overboard.

Her shyness would be so pronounced, of course, that she'd prefer to ferret out my bank details rather than post me a cheque.

Maybe the eccentric companion of a deceased forgotten aunt was giving me my legacy? I tried strenuously to believe so as I typed an email to my bank explaining things. It turned out that it is familiar with "erroneous transfers", which occur when somebody mistypes an account number or a sort code. It was softened, however, by the news that my case was the largest that she had heard of. There was something hypnotic about the sight of my usual domestic debits splashing on the surface of that enormous balance.

Between checks, I kept forgetting that the money was there, and then — perhaps when an Aston Martin drove past — remembering. Another thought occurred to me. What if I just borrowed the money for a few hours, and gambled with it?

I would return the full amount afterwards, providing I won. A friend suggested that I would be in breach of trust law, but I found it hard to believe that anyone would prosecute me if they got their money back. All I'd need would be an online betting account, an odds-on certainty and a stiff drink.

If it didn't, admittedly, I'd get prison. At last, just over a week after the money had arrived, my bank called. It was as I'd feared: I'd have to give everything back — although they needed my approval to transfer the money.

The results of saying no were not explained. In the process of typing a sort code, the bank explained, this mysterious woman had pressed "6" when she meant "8", and lost a fortune. I've tried to trace her since, without success.

I'd like to tell her about the interesting week I had with her money. I'd also like to find out what her week had been like. Rather fraught, I'm guessing. Finally, I'd thank her for ensuring that I'll never make that same mistake — mainly because I no longer have a quarter of a million pounds.

One morning before Christmas, I che. Yes it's long but it's well worth the read He was in the bed sleeping when the two men walked into his bedroom. Billy Walters sleeps in a big clean bed in Las Vegas, in a small but elaborate home renovated to his liking, with palm trees and white flowerpots and two satellite dishes in the yard, and four large televisions in the den, and a security guard who sits just out of sight behind the shrubs across the street.

This environment was disrupted early last Jan. He greeted them by sitting up in the bed, blinking. His wife wasn't in the bed with him. They already had her, probably. Billy Walters reached down for the pile of wrinkled clothes he had worn the night before. The room was quiet. The men watched him dress. His wife Susan was downstairs with a third man in the kitchen. There was not a lot of chit-chat.

Susan and Billy Walters were led across their fine, trimmed yard in handcuffs. The path to law and order wended past a copy of the daily newspaper, which lay on their driveway like an upturned headstone. As Billy Walters glanced down at the headline, he realized that he was the front-page news: Afterward, when they had been released without bail, she revealed how the manacles had eaten through her stockings.

Seventeen days later Billy Walters and 16 associates held the first meeting of the legendary Computer Group. This was a celebrated occasion in gambling history, and long overdue. The men and women of the Computer Group had been pioneers in their field. All the Computer Group did, apparently, was wager money on college football and basketball games, but for five hysterical years they did it better than anyone else ever had. It was almost as if they had invented junk bonds.

Every season the cash arrived by the millions, all because their computer told them which teams should be favored to win everything from the mammoth Ohio State-Michigan football game to the basket-ball game pitting Monmouth against Fairleigh Dickinson. The Computer Group did not fix games. It simply understood them. The group began to assert its mastery of sports betting in , when the computer as an everyday machine had no firm place in sports. Most of the big Las Vegas players of were still relying on their own good sense and whatever trends they could pick up.

A computer seemed to them a gimmick from the future, a big blinking queen-bee serviced by men in white coats. There were relatively few of these "personal computers" that are everywhere today. As a matter of fact, the Computer Group didn't even own its own computer.

As for the group's invaluable program, it was maintained on thousands of clumsy old "batch" cards, kept in shoeboxes, then fed to the computer like hay into a thrasher.

Although dozens of workers served the Computer Group, only one man communicated with the machine itself. He was Michael Kent, a year-old mathematician who had spent II years helping to develop nuclear submarines for Westinghouse. He found such work boring. In he quit his job and moved to Las Vegas, to bet on football games. In he became partners with a man he hardly knew, an orthopedic surgeon.

Ivan Mindlin, who Kent says agreed to place bets for them on a basis, in accordance with his computerized forecasts. He never bothered to check the books. Mindlin had built their little corner business into something resembling a national conglomerate, which had opened betting offices staffed by a dozen employees in New York and Las Vegas.

The Computer Group had burgeoned into the first truly national network of sports bettors, able to buy up the best point spreads from coast to coast. At the height of its powers, the Computer Group of wielded more influence over the millions of Americans who bet on sports than any superstar athlete or Super Bowl franchise.

Yes, it was even more important than the split-fingered fastball. In its sleekest moments, the Computer Group had as grand an effect upon its constituency in the s as OPEC had upon American consumers in the 70s. As its influence grew, the Computer Group became something of an underground social club, extending an unofficial membership to at least one smalltime hoodlum, as well as sharing information with the likes of lrwin Molasky, the powerful real estate developer and Las Vegas civic leader.

The group never had a losing season betting on college football or college basketball. Yet Michael Kent suspects that his records are incomplete. They do not account for personal bets made by Dr. Mindlin, or Billy Walters, or by the dozens of other associates who had access to the Computer Group's information. They had to break up, just like the Beatles. Despite all the time they had spent working together, the members of the Computer Group had never really known one another.

In most cases they had spoken only by phone, in staccato conversation, using code names. Faces rarely had been attached to voices. And so, as their legend had grown in recent years, it was only proper that these reclusive celebrities be united last Jan.

Among these Garbos there were two their partners most wanted to see: Billy Walters, gambler of gamblers, who had come to Las Vegas in debt and was now a millionaire; and the treacherous doctor, Ivan Mindlin, whose cunning had built the group up-and then led to its demise.

On the day they were arrested, just two weeks before the five-year statute of limitations on their case would have run out, Billy Walters sat in a holding cell with Dr. Mindlin and a third member of the group, Billy Nelson. Mindlin wore his hair longer than Walters remembered - combed back, until it splashed against his shoulders. The three of them were discussing their contempt for the FBI, and, in particular, the ambitious special agent Thomas B.

Noble, whose investigation of six years had uncovered so very little. Walters and Nelson went back and forth in their denigration of Noble, using many unpleasant terms, until finally the doctor spoke up.

Walters recalls Mindlin saying: He was the most intriguing presence among them. Yet he sat alone in a corner, as if he were the least popular boy in school. In groups of four they were called to the bench of U. It is much much nicer than Harrah's. I even won a little there.

Even if I didn't win alot, I was able to play with my money much longer here. We rented a car from Enterprise. They came and picked hubbie up and brought him back to the rental desk at the airport.

We got a nice SUV. We headed out towards Vegas at around 6. Picked up subs at the Subway in Laughlin. I paid for that the next two days, as I must have had old bad tuna. The drive to Vegas was awesome, just as the sun was going down. Beautiful views with the mountains. The only strange thing was that they obviously were doing some construction during the day, but yet left the cones up at night, and no passing signs. So when the car in front of us only did 50 mph, there was no way to pass, even though there were miles and miles of open roads, lol.

Well, no legal way anyway. What's with the towns in the middle of nowhere with like people? Where do they work? Drove over a mountain and saw Vegas in the distance. Got to Bellagio fine, checked in and started playing.

WAY different than Laughlin, lol. With our comp offer here, we also had some free meals, and took advantage of them. Won some money here before heading to bed. Again hubbie had to work, so I just did a casino crawl up the strip to Wynn. Stayed on the shady side of the strip and just meandered in and out of casinos. It was nice having the casino air conditioners blowing out to the sidewalk.

I played some and came back to the hotel around 5ish. We had dinner and headed back to Laughlin. I had a freind from Arizona meeting me that I hadn't seen since High School. Trip back was uneventful and we got back around 8ish and found my friend immediately.

We had a snack with her in the cafe. When we first got to the hotel, I had gone to the desk to give them my credit card for charging to the room purposes. We used this at the steakhouse and at the cafe already. But when we went to do this again at the cafe, the woman couldnt find my room or name.

We must have waited ten minutes. She kept saying, "are you SURE you gave them a credit card". I had even showed her the slip I got for just this purpose and she still couldn't figure things out. Just another "what the Mh friend and stayed up awhile, playing VP at the bar and just laughing. We got up early, and drove down to several of the other casino's, had breakfast before heading back to Harrahs. We took about an hour for a nap before meeting up again at the adult pool.

We had a blast. We were there for hours. Most people were just standing in the pool to cool off, everyone with a drink in their hands. I had gone down to the beach and layed on a chair in the water for a little while but the river was freezing and going up and back to the snack shack for a drink was hard in the heat and slope of the beach, so it was pool only for us.

Bad service, but great food and views. Came back to Harrahs, hubbie played BJ and my freind and I sat at the bar, played VP, had cocktails and just laughed and laughed. I put my money in this machine, hit max bet, and thank goodness I won. I couldn't figure out why I only has 33 credits, till I cashed out and figured out what happened, so by careful: The next morning was check out. Had to have our luggage ready by 6: There is NO need to be at this little itty bitty airport two hours early, so why they make you do this is ridiculous.

Flight home was again, pleasant and uneventful. This was a nice little trip for hubbie and I, who don't get to go places by ourselves much lately with his work schedule. I had been warned by many people that I wouldn't like Laughlin since we consider Vegas our home away from home. We won't be back, been there done that, lol. We were also two out of four people on our our whole junket that were under the retirement age.

We very obviously stuck out like sore thumbs. The vast majority of people were older. And that is fine, they obviously loved Laughlin. Great for them, but Vegas is much more my speed.

There was a noticeable difference in ages Friday night, our last night there. The casino was packed with younger people having a good time. If it had been like that all week, my opinion might be different, but as is stands, our junket was Tues thru Sat morning, so we didn't get to have that fun. All we got was quiet time, very few bells and whiles, I heard very few people winning, etc.

So all in all, not my cup of tea. I am sure there are others who would love this sort of thing, but for younger people who want to gamble with good odds, have fun and people watch, I wouldn't recommend Laughlin.

One side warning, even though this was a junket and there were only two planes leaving Rockford Intl airport that day, they somehow managed to lose peoples luggage, so still take your standard precautions and take your valuables, meds and money on the plane with you.

Hope you enjoyed this review. I tend to get long winded, but before I left, I read alot of the reviews on here and wished someone had posted all the details about the junkets. This was my first and last stay here. It is not within walking distance to the "main' section of town - where the nightlife and limited dining is located in Laughlin. The only advantage here is the beach area which they do not allow personal coolers to be brought onto.

At one point the line for the elevator was 40 people deep. The display in the elevator was incorrect and we ended up on the wrong floor and ended walking up three flights of stairs in degree heat. The front desk manager explained, "that is how it is this time of year," and showed no concern about our time spent dealing with the very inconvenient elevators.

Leaving on Sunday two full elevators passed us by as we waited 15 minutes to get down to the lobby to check out. If I wanted to pay to stand around in a line with strangers on vacation, I would have gone to Disneyland. The restaurant choices are poor. On Saturday night we tried the buffet. Tanya the young hostess seated us, but did not correctly place the receipt on the table for the waitress.

When the waitress asked her if we paid for the buffet, Tanya's answer was confusing and unclear -- for some reason she was unable to explain, "yes, I seated them, but somewhere between the hostess stand and the table the receipt was lost. We asked for a quiet room and were put next to the ice machine -- clunk, clunk, clunk.

The topper on the cake. This is a nice place to stay, but there is little to do. The casino has a small amount of games to play.

Lots of open space and few slots compared to other casinos. The Beach is nice, but you can not bring a cooler on the beach and there is no service to buy a drink or snack. The pools are also nice, but yet again there is no service and coolers are not allowed. The site is too far away from other hotels and the river walk. You need to drive to or take a water taxi. This is a good spot for families and not for other adults. The Place can get over run by the kids. Most parents do not control their children.

The choice of places to eat are OK, but not to my liking. The last few years, we stayed at the Edgewater because of the great incentives but lately there hasn't been many so after reading reviews, I decided to try this hotel. We stayed in the North Tower for 3 nights and had a very nice time. You can pull a lounge chair right into the water and relax all day. There are umbrellas for those who want to stay dry and lounge.

Also, there are life guards on duty so an extra bit of reassurance for those with children. After a rather stressful stay in Las Vegas, our stay at Harrah's reminded me of why my family prefers Laughlin! My husband and I loved our stay at Harrah's.

Our room was great, but we were in Tower 3, which is the "family" tower and, much as we love kids, we never let ours run screaming down the halls. Plus, adults were loudly banging on each other's doors which could happen anywhere, I suppose. The hotel itself is fine Cinnabon, Baskin Robbins and McDonald's were nice to have available also.

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