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August 12th, 2021 at 1:10:05 PM permalink
When I was a kid I sometimes had money making ventures such as selling Kool-Aid, or comics.

One day I got hold of a toy roulette wheel and had the neighborhood kids play it, for pennies and nickels.

I banked their bets and won.


But my gambling interest was dormant until the nineties: I flew to Las Vegas for the first time, saw some shows, but knew nothing of gambling.

But my interest was piqued.

That xmas my secretary gave me John Patrick's tome "Advanced Craps:" I read it, thought about it, and headed off to the tribal casinos with money in hand and hope in my heart.
"What, me worry?"
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August 12th, 2021 at 1:15:42 PM permalink
Probably around the same age. Outside of certain games with my dad, five-card draw poker with deuces wild at Elementary School.
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August 12th, 2021 at 1:42:18 PM permalink
I went to a casino in St Maarten during our honeymoon. It was my first time gambling and my first AP play but I didnt realize it was an AP play till recently.

The year was 1976.

At the casino I played $2 blackjack. When I won the dealer paid me with a $1 chip on top of a $5 chip. She expected big tips. But that isnt the AP play.

My wife and I were talking to another couple while standing by a row of 25-cent slot machines. Out of boredom I turned to the machine I was standing next to and I put in a quarter and pulled the handle. There was only a handle -- no buttons. Its 1976 remember.

The three reels started to spin... slowly... and they didnt stop for about half a minute. And when the reels stopped there was a cherry. Out came two quarters.

I put in another quarter... and after thirty seconds another cherry.

The four of us spent the next ten minutes taking turns winning 25-cents at a time.

Then a suit came along and disabled the machine.

I learned a lot that night. LOL
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August 12th, 2021 at 2:09:11 PM permalink
3rd grade...flipping baseball cards.

First sports bet...I took Ali in Ali-Frazier cash on the line, we bet baseball cards.
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August 12th, 2021 at 2:10:30 PM permalink
I used to gamble on Sports illegally when I turned 18 with a local Italian bookie in my hometown. I started off just betting $5.50 or $11 as straight bets on some games each week and I would play some parlay cards.

I ended up moving to college about 2 hours away from my hometown. The bookie from my hometown start letting me make bets on credit. So, I started running numbers myself out of my dorm room at college. I had white boards in my dorm rooms with all of the lines listed every day and a stack of parlay cards I backed all of the money myself and ended up making a nice chunk of profit doing this over the course of a few months.

The fact that I was able to gamble with credit with my bookie in my hometown over the phone, and the fact that I was doing so well running numbers myself from my dorm room I ended up getting in over my head pretty quickly. When Florida State played against Virginia Tech in the national championship game, I had over $22,000 of bets booked myself. A lot of the Action was one-sided so to hedge the bet, I called in a five-figure bet to my bookie in my hometown over the phone. He honered it. The bet I made with him ended up losing but I won enough money on the bets I booked myself I drove up and paid him.

Considering he let me make that bet on credit and I paid him he started letting me bet big on credit all the time. Needless to say being a kid young dumb and stupid I started making big bets over the phone everyday. I got on a massive losing streak and kept trying to Martingale over the phone. He eventually saw what I was trying to do, cut me off and demanded I pay him instantly. I had to borrow money at 25% through CitiFinancial to get my loan paid off.

Needless to say I learned a lot from that experience, and I do not gamble like that anymore as an adult. However, that is how I got started.
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August 12th, 2021 at 2:33:18 PM permalink
I started going to Roosevelt Raceway the summer I graduated high school, so I was 17. That fall I started hustling free chips at various local Las Vegas nights. I pretty much stopped gambling after that until 1999 when I started working one night a week in Atlantic City. After pissing away my earnings several weeks in a row on slots, I read an article on BJ, played it for a few hours and got hooked. Read every book I could, and practiced constantly. Due to commitments, I wasn't able to go to Vegas much until 2001 but from then until I moved there in 2016, I'd spend about six weeks there each year.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
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August 12th, 2021 at 2:54:07 PM permalink
One hell of a story by MWalz9!!!

Am I allowed to like that post if I want to? Where are the arbiters of what I may or may not like?
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August 12th, 2021 at 3:32:02 PM permalink
Played a game called Rummoli for pennies with family when I was about 8 I think. Started playing 3-5 player sit-n-gos with friends at 13 for $2-$5 per person… I might have cheated…
You can shear a sheep a hundred times, but you can skin it only once. — Amarillo Slim Preston
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August 12th, 2021 at 3:35:52 PM permalink
At 16 a friend of my best friend transferred to our high school and his entire family played the horses, so he took me to the Pomona Fair one Saturday. The only winner I had that day was Pet Label, a favorite that I placed $10 to place on (while thinking the teller would bust me for being underage but didn't). That horse won easily and I was hooked. Went to Vegas a couple years later when I was 18 with other friends and their parents, stayed at The Stardust one night and then at MGM Grand.

Wanted to try gambling in a casino so I had packed my one leisure suit, put it on one night and walked into the Barbary Coast and quickly lost $20 on the Big Wheel, but what an adrenaline rush again thinking I would be booted but didn't.
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August 12th, 2021 at 5:03:15 PM permalink
When I was 14, the pool hall near my middle school had a couple of bingo pinballs - that's where I got my start. It closed a couple of years later, and I went "cold turkey" until I turned 18 and could bet on horse races at the track.

My first casino experience was in 1985, in Reno (my father and brothers were in the Greater Reno Italian Golf Association tournament held each summer for a while). My second was in Vegas, I think in 2004 - and pretty much the only reason I went to Vegas was because of the Pinball Hall of Fame (next to the movie theater on Tropicana & Pecos back then).

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