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Old 05-16-2022, 10:17 AM   #16
Bustin Stones
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Back in the 70s or 80s at Thistledown, my buddies told me that this one gent who we saw at the track often had inherited 6 figures and had vowed to keep coming back until he ran out. Apparently, he did.
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Old 05-16-2022, 11:30 AM   #17
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I know the intent of this thread is to elicit golden memories of colorful characters past, but when I think back on the very worst degenerates I've encountered, the defining trait they shared was a complete lack of empathy for others. They were too busy feeding the habit. So I find myself wishing I'd shown far less tolerance for their lies, selfishness, and often-awkward attempts to exploit me.

A year, or so, ago, I probably would have seized this chance to conjure up their flawed, distinctive spirits. And will almost certainly do so from time to time on the show. But this morning I'm feeling like get-off-my-lawn guy.

On a related not: With grandstands nearly vacant nowadays, and most bettors playing from home, Just WHERE do leeching low-lifes dwell these days? I mean, with their habitat greatly dwindled and food sources dried up, who do they beg from and con?????????

I do know of one (former) racetrack hustler, once so brazen as to squeeze BIG money from what had to be THE dumbest rich people alive on the incredible premise of slipping down to the paddock and literally purchasing whatever horse figured to win the next race (thus securing impending purse money for themselves), who now conducts a daily restaurant scheme. Go to expensive eatery..consume most of steak..complain about chef..demand comp..etc..etc.

How bland and uninspiring in comparison to the aforementioned capers, but give the guy credit for still doing his part to impinge on others and make the world a lesser place.

Last edited by mountainman; 05-16-2022 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 05-16-2022, 12:00 PM   #18
v j stauffer
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A buddy of mine had a war room in his basement that would rival most sports books in Vegas.

5 or 6 60" screens.

Smaller TV's on the side.

We'd go in there on a Sunday morning and blow our brains on anything and everything we could bet on.

One day a friend of ours, I'll call him Mark, was firing and firing HARD.

Mostly horses and football. No exaggeration we watched him go through $50,000 easy.

When Sunday night football ended. Which he of course lost.

The "ONLY" thing left was the late pick 4 at Cal Expo harness.

We said Mark what about the buggy races in Sacramento?

He said are you guys crazy? I don't know anything about the Trotters!!
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Old 05-16-2022, 12:28 PM   #19
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I spent about 10 years with the OTB in Monroe New York as my gambling HQ.


We all knew each other as it was off the beaten path so few transients. Sort of like Cheers without the beer.


Anyways, one day one of the regulars, Artie the Greek, slumped over holding his chest. He hit the ground real hard still clutching his bet tickets. As we gathered around to see how he was, one of the regulars was checking his pulse when another asked, Is he Alive? Another degenerate picked the tickets out of his hand, looked at them and responded "Just in the Double" and kept the tickets.


So many stories....So little time.
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Old 05-16-2022, 01:45 PM   #20
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A buddy of mine had a war room in his basement that would rival most sports books in Vegas.

5 or 6 60" screens.

Smaller TV's on the side.

We'd go in there on a Sunday morning and blow our brains on anything and everything we could bet on.

One day a friend of ours, I'll call him Mark, was firing and firing HARD.

Mostly horses and football. No exaggeration we watched him go through $50,000 easy.

When Sunday night football ended. Which he of course lost.

The "ONLY" thing left was the late pick 4 at Cal Expo harness.

We said Mark what about the buggy races in Sacramento?

He said are you guys crazy? I don't know anything about the Trotters!!
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Old 05-16-2022, 03:29 PM   #21
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My biggest degenerate story happened on a particular Sunday. We had been betting all day and we were about even. At 5 PM all of the NY OTB’s were closing for the day, but we were starving for action. The closest place to bet on horses was in an OTB in Center City Philadelphia. So we hopped in my friend’s old 1976 Dodge Coronet station wagon which got about seven blocks to the gallon and headed down to Philly. When we got there the only track that was running was the nighttime card at Pocono Downs. So all three of us started betting…and all three of us were promptly slaughtered.

The card ended and now we had to head back to New York in the gas guzzling Coronet which, seriously speaking, got about seven miles to the gallon. It had about a quarter tank left and between the three of us we have no credit cards, nothing in our bank accounts and $20 in cash. Three grown ass men with no jobs and only $20, the definition of degeneracy. We immediately realized that $20 will not be enough to get us to The Bronx. Either we save the toll money, but we won’t have enough gas to make it to the GW Bridge, or we put everything in the gas tank, but have to take US-1 up and not have the bridge toll. We chose the latter as being stuck on the side of the road with toll money was pointless.

We filled up the tank and made it to the George Washington Bridge with 1/8th of a tank left. Now we had to beg our way across the bridge. They sent us to the toll supervisor who was being a hard ass and didn’t want to let us go, at which point one of my friends starts cussing her out. Mind you I’m no longer worrying about getting past the bridge, now I’m worrying about the Port Authority cops coming and paying us a visit! Anyway to finally get rid of us, she writes the driver a bill for the toll and lets us go. We run out of gas just as the car gets to my friends house (the driver) we push it into a parking spot then my friend and I sneak on the train to head home.
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Old 05-16-2022, 05:01 PM   #22
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This reminds me of the night I graduated high school. My folks were so proud and wanted to take us all out for ice cream to celebrate. I told my family that me and my buddies were heading to Northfield Part to play the trotters. We hopped in my friend's car and we all had a pretty successful evening. It's a good thing I've grown up since then. That was pretty thoughtless of me.
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Old 05-16-2022, 07:03 PM   #23
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This reminds me of the night I graduated high school. My folks were so proud and wanted to take us all out for ice cream to celebrate. I told my family that me and my buddies were heading to Northfield Part to play the trotters. We hopped in my friend's car and we all had a pretty successful evening. It's a good thing I've grown up since then. That was pretty thoughtless of me.
Andy Beyer claims he lost out on the opportunity to graduate from college because he missed an exam to go up to Aqueduct and bet Amberoid in the Belmont.
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Old 05-17-2022, 01:27 AM   #24
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Quite a few stories, including some of myself - but...

- I knew two cab drivers who played the ponies at Fairmount Park back in the mid 1980s. To protect the innocent, whoever they may be, we'll call them Joe and Chet. If they didn't cash in the first race or two, out they'd head to the parking lot and go drive their cabs. If it was slow on the cab circuit, they'd be lucky to make enough to pay their "rental fee" for the vehicle that night. If they hit a couple of juicy fares, they would sometimes be back for the 9th or 10th race.

The last time I saw Joe, he was sitting with a woman in the clubhouse, a pained expression on his face, as she paid for his lunch but was obviously limiting his betting funds. Joe needed better advice on how to find a Sugar Momma.

The last time I saw Chet, he told me his father had died and left him $70,000 - which he had pissed away at the track in about six months. Sheesh.
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Old 05-17-2022, 05:53 AM   #25
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I was hanging out in an OTB, during lunch, many years ago in Brooklyn, when a woman walks in pushing a baby carriage and two kids on each hand. She goes up to the window and put $500 to win on a horse in my race. I looked at my racing form to see what was so special about this horse. As far as I could see, the horse couldn’t win the race if they locked the other horses gates and pushed the finish line up to her horse. The horse was around 60-1. I thought for a second to place a bet on her horse, but I had always made it a rule not to impulse bet like that. I stuck to my wager. The race went off and my horse won. Hers needed a wheelchair to cross the line. She starts crying after the race, “What am I goin going to do? That was my welfare check! How will I feed my Kids?”
She didn’t get a good reply as the guys in there hammered her for gambling her kids food money on a horse. She begged for money, but didn’t get a dime.
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Old 05-17-2022, 01:24 PM   #26
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Anybody ever seen guys rip through their savings and credit cards to feed the disease at the OTB.

I have a friend who loads $100 on NYRA every weekend with his eight ball of coke
and bottle of whiskey and hides in the basement with his phone app. Shuts the kids and wife off and locks himself in.
BT are you with the band or otherwise paying homage to it?

Zman- the bridges and tunnels presented an issue for degenerate NY area players pre ez pass. The Garden State wasn’t a big deal- could always find a few quarters somewhere or just run them, triggering a bell that sounded like the off bell at the track. But the NY bridges/tunnels run by the TBTA were an issue they were expensive and used a gate. Had to get that return token for the Triborough bridges in case you tapped out at Belmont (I trailed others a few times, not easy with the gate in use) or detoured thru Queens to the free 59th st bridge
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Old 05-17-2022, 02:43 PM   #27
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To a non-gambler $100 is a lot to lose in one week. That’s like a monthly car payment. If your a non-gambler married to one that is not you will never convince them with the “hobby“ angle. For someone who doesn’t gamble they will never agree that betting horses is a hobby. We are automatically labeled degenerates and looked at different. An old guy gave me great advice years ago. He said if you have a passion for betting the horses make sure whomever you date/ marry knows this going in. Don’t try to hide it make it clear from the beginning. Even with that advice most of my relationships over the years accepted the passion but would never agree to call it a hobby.
I got lucky. SWMBO is a Business Analyst in her career. She actually loves crunching numbers and predicting outcomes based on number analysis of performance models. This of course translates well into handicapping. She enjoys handicapping, and thus horse racing in general. It's a passion we can both share.

We were going to go to Keeneland this year together for the Breeder's Cup, but damn, the hotels in the area are asking a king's ransom for their rooms. This combined with tickets to the venue make it a very expensive trip. So we decided to pass. We can put that money into going to Churchill Downs and enjoying play there in a luxury suite with some nice dining options - without the crowds of the Breeder's.
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Old 05-17-2022, 06:06 PM   #28
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Regarding degens, the track is the great equalizer, brutally indiscriminate. It's why tracks are one of my favorite places to be. At some tracks, you have people who are clearly millionaires walking next to regular guys like me, horsepeople, families with kids running around - people of all stripes. And the horses and tickets don't know or care who placed the bet. It's black ink on white thermal paper and pays out the same regardless of who's holding the winning ticket. And when I go to a track, I never sit in the backyard or simulcast during the race - I always want to see it with my own eyes and feel that energy around me. The confluence of wins and losses, heartbreak and triumph - all between the time they hit the top of the stretch and the time they cross the wire. And they'll do it all again in 20 minutes.

I digress.. I don't have any crazy degen stories, but I do remember stories of, we'll call him Flip, a former trainer at Saratoga Harness, and Jody, a (presumably) rich kid who bet a ton of money with his brother. They both always seemed very amped up and animated, and would always turn the volume way up at the bar. I admit to sometimes "following" their loud proclamations of their picks and it won me a few bucks. I think they did their best work at Yonkers, the Meadowlands and Delta Downs (of all places).
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:06 PM   #29
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This is my ultimate degenerate story and it is 100% true. Nothing is made up.

I used to know this horseplayer who was known as “The Flipper” who used to hang out at the Penn Station and John Street OTB’s. He got that nickname looking to flip quarters so that he could scrounge up enough money for a $2 bet. He completely lived for betting and would sleep on the Staten Island Ferry at night.

So this one day around 1989 I’m at John Street and he’s there. He starts with $10 and hit the early double at Aqueduct so he wasn’t flipping coins. On this one race he loves a 35/1 shot at Aqueduct and puts $40 to win on it…and it hits! I wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t shown me the old-style yellow hard paper ticket. So he plays the late double, hits it, and walks out with over $2000. He decides with his best friend that it’s time to hit the tables in Atlantic City. So they head to the bus terminal to take the Greyhound bus down there.

He gets to AC and he’s absolutely red hot. He plays craps and roulette and gets on a winning streak we can only hope to get one day. He’s down there for almost two weeks, rooms comped and everything, and gets the $2000 up to over $40,000!!! So now he decides, again with his best degenerate friend, it’s time to go to Vegas! They go to the AC Airport and book airline tickets straight to Vegas.

He’s in Vegas and stays hot. He does all of his gambling at one casino, again rooms comped and the whole nine yards, and gets the $40,000 to over $100,000! An unbelievable sum…but not for the Flipper. However now he starts to get cold, and he’s slowly losing the money back. He makes it last nearly two months until the money is all gone. He’s dead broke, but that’s not the end of the story.

The best friend tells me that one of the big bosses at the casino (I forget the name of the place) invites him into the office. He shows pity towards the Flipper and says to him, "We want to sincerely thank you for giving us your business. As a token of our appreciation, we would like you to go to our Armani boutique and choose two suits on the house. We also would like to give you a check for $2,500 and we would love to see you come back to our casino in the future and we wish you a safe flight home." Flight home? Noooo, not for the Flipper. He pawns the suits, cashes the check and goes to a completely different casino.

Unbelievably he gets red hot again! The money he got for the suits and check he was able to get it all the way up to $80,000! Unbelievable, a second chance to do right? Nope. The Flipper gets cold once more and the $80,000 disappears in a little more than two weeks. But this time there’s no charity, he’s dead broke and it’s time to come home. So almost four months after the hot streak started and finished, he’s back sleeping on the Staten Island Ferry and flipping for quarters at the OTB. Even the Flipper himself confirmed that that’s how everything went down. I couldn’t believe it.
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:19 PM   #30
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Zman, I bet it was the best four months of his life. Maybe it was all worth it.
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