Archive for the ‘Las Vegas’ Category

Caesars Basement

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Caesars had the opening lines.

Beady, restless, hungover, strung out, we’d all line up. Everyone had their place.

It was a tricky thing

I was small but they called me a whale

because when I was in the casino

I bet big.

In Vega$, a .620 winning percentage puts you in the Hall of Fame. A .604 winning percentage wins you a shit load of money.

Throw in the random, big money parlay and you are one groovy, high-rolling cat.

We no longer publish our picks.

Too much heat from the casinos.

The Greek

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Born Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos in Steubenville, Ohio, Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, was the self-made man with the million dollar smile.

He single handily moved betting and point spread conversation from back rooms and gin joints to America’s kitchens and living rooms.

He not only made it commonplace, he made it respectable.

The Greek moved to Las Vegas in 1956 and started his weekly pro-football betting line. He became a television icon on CBS’ NFL Today.

Unlucky for Jimmy, on January 16, 1988, he was fired by CBS for a controversial off-air, off-the-cusp interview at a dinner reception on MLK’s birthday.

Ala fellow Greek, Al Campanis, Jimmy made controversial remarks about black athletes and their roll in sports.

Jimmy, obviously in the bag, was asked: “What about blacks in coaching?

Jimmy: “Pretty soon they’ll have to equalize it for the blacks for the Greeks, the Jews and for everybody. And I mean let’s make it equal for everybody.”

Question: What about it was equal in sports?

Jimmy: “Well they’ve got everything and if they take over coaching like everybody wants them to, there’s not going to be anything left for the white people. All the players are black. The black talent is beautiful, it’s great, it’s out there. The only thing left for the whites is the coaching jobs. Pretty soon they’ll take over that too.”

Question: Don’t they need more black coaches?

Jimmy:  “I’m alright with that too. Whites control coaching jobs, that’s all that’s left for them.”

He unfortunately continued: “The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade … the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid …”

Walter Payton and Ahmad Rashad spoke out in defense of Jimmy the Greek.

Jimmy the Greek Snyder died an ostracized and broken heart on April 21, 1996 at the age of 77.

Escape from Las Vegas

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Vegas neon seared his dilated retinas.

Colors splashed his brain turning tourists into lizards.

The heat was hot on his trail.

He had been awake for 2 days fueled by acid, amphetamine, coffee, cigarettes, and an overactive imagination. He realized it was time to go south.

Associate, Dick Wheeler, warned him that the gravy days were over. If he didn’t leave on his own accord he would be leaving in a Clark County coroner’s body bag.

They had ways of making accidents happen to people. Max had seen it first hand.

There was James “Birdie” Wallace, Tony “The Ant” Spilotro, and even Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal’s El Dorado exploded as he turned the key to his ignition.

Lefty was lucky to be alive.

So was Max.

No one had to tell him twice.

Indictments were being handed down and entries made into the Vegas Black Book.

Attorney, and future Las Vegas mayor, Oscar Goodman said: “The only way to beat the Black Book is to drop dead before the hearing.”

Max, armed only with an ounce of Peruvian flake, liquid LSD, half pack of Luckies, and a quart of Wild Turkey, pointed his Ford Pinto southbound.

Cocaine eyes darted from rear view mirror to highway horizon back to rear view mirror.

Next stop: Tijuana.

Las Vegas

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

In spite of marketing efforts, today’s Las Vegas remains a shadow of yesterday’s Las Vegas.

Payouts are less, prices are more, and the corporate wiseguys are much more cut-throat & dangerous than anyone in Meyer Lansky’s crew ever was.

Lansky believed the Las Vegas takeover, which began with Howard Hughes’ purchase of the Desert Inn in 1967, was just one syndicate replacing another.

In his diaries he called the corporate syndicate “the real organized crime, the real underworld.”

After the Mafia’s inglorious expulsion from Cuba, Las Vegas became a melting pot of mob money.

Giancana owned the Tropicana, Siegel & Lansky the Flamingo, Major Riddle the Dunes, Detroit and St. Louis families the Aladdin, Sarno Circus, Circus, Doc Stacher the Sands.

Meyer Lansky, referring to the Syndicate, quipped: ”We’re bigger than U.S. Steel.”

In the 1980s Sin City was still very much a mob town. It was clean. It was tidy. Everyone knew their place. Everyone had fun. Everyone made money.

The mob was everywhere & no one wore flip-flops or tank tops in the casinos.

The rise of the corporate syndicate introduced a new, insatiable, competitive force in Glitter Gulch: Wall Street.

Never denied, the corporate cabal set their sites on turning Las Vegas into the cut-throat, dangerous, “family-themed vacation hot spot” it is today.


Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

In 1976 Las Vegas was a mob town.

Everything was clean.

Everything was tidy.

Everyone knew their place.

Young, junkie bottom feeders were allowed to exist. They served a purpose. They were consumers. They also took care of one another, sort of like a black market Department of Social Services.

Birdie Wallace discovered Upstate New York refugee, Max Steingrout, among the pimps, prostitutes, con artists & drug addicts, exhalting in the exhaust fumes of the Trailways bus station.

“Welcome to Las Vegas, Pilgrim!”

Unlike in New York, in Las Vegas Max made friends quickly.

By 1977 he ran security for Birdie’s bergeoning escort service empire consisting of an old crack whore named Connie and a semi-retarded 17-year-old.

Security consisted of Max hiding behind the trailer with a baseball bat hoping the johns didn’t get out of line.

James “Birdie” Wallace was a peculiar bird, not a common bird. He was not a big bird, he was  a skinny bird, sort of like a humming bird, flying all around.

Between 1979 and 1985 Birdie Wallace became the biggest importer and distributor of cocaine in Clark County, NV.

He helped Las Vegas become known as “Sin City.”

Everyone did it.

Nicknamed “Elvis,” it was The King and thought of as a clean, healthy, recreational drug.

If you did blow in Las Vegas in the early ’80s it probably came from someone who got it from someone who go it from Birdie Wallace.

He supplied coke to everyone who supplied coke to everyone in Las Vegas: dealers, valets, bartenders, taxi drivers, strippers, whores, hotel managers, stars and performers.

Steve & Edie, Phyllis Dyller, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Brando, Eric Estrada, Goldie Hawn: either directly or indirectly, Max Steingrout sold cocaine to them all.

Birdie Wallace’s cocaine.

Peru was the world’s leading producer of cocaine. The Colombian traffickers turned it into a dirty, bloody business and the cartel cocaine wars turned violent. This spelled the end for ’60’s pacifists like Las Vegas’ Birdie Wallace.

He didn’t have the stomach for the rough stuff.

Birdie made too many people nervous and he started to make too much money.

Birdie was fine doing the hustle, rolling a junkie or slapping around an under-aged runaway hooker, but once he started to move mountains of coke and make the kind of money reserved for Wayne Newton, he no longer knew his place.

One day he flew away.

Allegedly with a bullet to the back of his head in the back of an El Dorado.

Danke schoen.

Free Fall

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Las Vegas Free Fall.

Hotel rooms, convention halls & restaurants are empty.

Pimps, prostitutes & drug dealers stare at their cell phones.

Tourists scurry through casinos wearing flip-flops.

Fear. Desperation. Paranoia.

Corporate Vegas can’t respond to the spiralling economy. They are the spiralling economy.

Mob-run Vegas, the rackets, thrived during down times.

Max misses the good old, wiseguy days, when Las Vegas was a “We Are The World,” mob melting pot.

Giancana owned the Tropicana, Siegel & Lansky the Flamingo, Major Riddle the Dunes, Detroit and St. Louis families the Aladdin, Sarno Circus, Circus, Doc Stacher the Sands.

The mob was everywhere and everyone knew their place.

Almost everyone.

Bobo The Famous Handicapping Chimp

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Las Vegas, NV –  1976.

Happy Bicentennial Birthday America, Happy Birthday Bobo.

Ceasars Palace’s Bobo the Famous Handicapping Chimp turned five and was coming off an 8-4 NFL weekend spiriting his winning percentage to over .600.  Vegas partied like it was 1999. Don’t ask me how, Bobo knew how to pick the winners.

Bobo made regular appearances on the Lefty Rosenthal Show, opposite old Blue Eyes himself. Some maintain, Bobo stole the show. Bobo, was more a member of the Rat Pack than Peter Lawford and it was unanimous: Vegas loved Bobo & Bobo loved Vegas!

Unfortunately, Bobo also loved the sweet, banana nectar of Jack Daniels. Disillusioned by the late nights, cigarettes, booze and strippers, Bobo lashed out at his fans. He ripped off his diaper and threw feces at Caesars’ patrons. Bad Bobo.

One night, long after his Las Vegas bright lights were turned off, Bobo finished off a quart of JD, took a handful of sleeping pills, choked on his vomit and died in his inebriated sleep.