Tiger Paul tries his luck in Las Vegas

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Part 2 of the Tiger Paul saga has him leaving his Pittsburgh roots and heading to Las Vegas.

Paul is living in a motel in Vegas. He walks into Churchill one summer morning in 1976 dressed in a black and gold pirate suit.

We didn’t equate that with the Pittsburgh kind of pirate. No one knew what to make of him. That soon ended when he began to run up and down in front of the sports counter flailing his arms windmill style then stop, close his trigger finger put the knuckle in his mouth, bite the knuckle and squint while shaking his head.

Then back to the windmill. This was all done at 100% full throttle. One of our customers recognized him as Pittsburgh’s Tiger Paul.

He brought $60,000 with him from Pittsburgh and began betting $5 or $10. Tiger sat, twirling his hair, with a look of utter despair. As far as he was concerned he never, ever had the right side of a bet. It was all bad, beginning with the first pitch of a four-team parlay.

Then when a crucial part of a game came up, so did Paul – full blast into his routine. He could have been in Pitt Stadium, Three Rivers or Fitzgerald Field House instead of Churchill on the Strip. We became used to him, even egging him on. Tourists were in shock, however. Is he having a fit? Is he dangerous?

After I took over the Stardust I hired him to write tickets. He was overly nice to customers. “Thank you, sir. Here’s your ticket and good luck, sir.” Then with the morning’s first kickoff, Paul turned around, ignoring customers, and started sweating games.

One Saturday I go into my office and Tiger is lying on the floor, writhing in “pain,” watching games on my TVs. That’s it. “Paul, get the **** outta here.” I had to do something; get him away from the public, hide him.

The perfect spot was up in the sports boardroom. He’d have a TV, sports ticker and no one sees him. A great plan till Paul screwed it up. He’d only put scores and odds changes on the bottom boards. He was afraid to go up on the ladder platform to get the top boards.

Paul was happy up there. We could hear him singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” through the ductwork as he practiced his routines.

Our 1988 race/sports book Christmas party was in an Italian restaurant off the Strip. We had a big room to ourselves but in full view of other diners. Paul was our entertainment.

He bursts out the kitchen door, grabs the microphone and does his Sinatra songs – the ones he choreographed up in the boardroom.

The other diners didn’t know what to think. Was he a comedian? What the hell? Most just kept their heads down, kept eating and pretended he wasn’t there. We understood him. What a great, great night.

Paul came in second in the Stardust company-wide talent contest, held in the showroom, featuring some great singers and dancers. He did his nightclub act, making a fool of himself as usual, but had the packed showroom in stitches. Not a lick of talent, not a hint, but he didn’t know it.

Tiger moved on. Legendary gambler and El Cortez hotel/casino owner Jackie Gaughan liked Paul and gave him a job downtown, but he blew that job, too. He had a scheme: if you lose your first bet double up on the next one and the next till you win.

Tiger figured if he started with a $5 lay down, he’d have to lose 14 straight to go tapioca (tapped out). Trouble came when Paul broke his system.

His initial bet was $500. He never won another. He asked Jackie for a $6,000 loan. Jackie had to let him go.

Keith Glantz of Glantz Culver Line and well respected book manager during this era, sent me my last Tiger story:

“I have a quick story about Tiger Paul you might find amusing. I hired him as a sports book ticket writer at the Palace Station, and you know Tiger loved to bet the Under in baseball. One day while he was working, he bet every MLB game Under to win $5 each. We had the TV’s above the writer stations. He turns around and looks at the TV above him; after the first pitch was called a ball he falls to the floor yelling that he lost that Under because the pitcher couldn’t even get a pitch over the plate!”

Eventually Paul became despondent. His spirit was gone as was most of the sizable bankroll he nursed.

Tiger Paul Auslander took his own life, alone in his motel room. He took the edge off some rough times for quite a few of us. He still does, I guess.

Take care.

Scotty Schettler began his Las Vegas journey in 1968. By the time he quit the race and sports book business he had booked over $1.5 billion for different employers. He says he knows where most of the cans are buried. His book,  is available on amazon.com. Contact Scotty at [email protected].

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