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Betting OK, even on Memorial Day

May 27, 2008 7:00 PM

Getting Rich with Saber by Richard Saber | Some rules of gambling by none other than me, with a little help from "Broadway Bennie" Saber.

"Broadway" once told my mother, Mary, when she asked him one Memorial Day weekend why he had to go to Waterford Park, he said, "you need to make a bet every day. You might be walking around lucky and not even know it."

But my dear departed dad also had some other very deep betting insights that I have kept with me all my gambling life.

• Bennie’s Rule No. 1: Never borrow money to bet with.

• Rule No. 2: Never get your gambling money mixed in with your real life living expenses (bills, food, savings).

Gambling money should come from a source put away from your earnings that can be used for fun, like if someone spends $100 to go golfing.

Well, I really don’t see any fun in that.

My dad would take a maximum of $20 to the track and he would milk it until the last race – unless he had some winners in between. When Bennie won, we all won. And, that was a good thing.

Bennie’s prowess was not just with the art of picking the ponies. He also liked to make a few $5 parlays on baseball and football down at Tommy’s Lounge, one of the hotter cigar stores in Steubenville back in the 1950s and ’60s. Tommy’s Lounge was my first venture into a major betting parlor and I was in awe.

We walked in the front door and it looked and smelled like a regular cigar store. Once we ventured into the back room, it was whole new world with big boxes of "sangwiches" wrapped in wax paper and free to the patrons.

There were these bleachers with guys smoking big black stogies that stunk, just watching chalkboards and listening to all the bubble gum-shaped tickers clicking out the scores. I remember it like yesterday. There was this one old-timer listening to the ticker and telling people that it was a home run. He actually could tell by the ticks.

It was at that point all I really wanted in life was to run a little room like that one and have one of those tickers. Well, it almost happened but I ended up at the Stardust sports book instead.

There were many lessons learned from my early days of betting both on sports and the ponies, but some of the main ones came from my dad’s mouth. Like never stick anyone if you lose a bet. In those days, it would have been hazardous to your health.

What brought this all about?

The other day I was in a race book and overheard a guy tell his buddy that a friend of theirs took the title of his car to one of those title car loan places that are all over town.

Legalized loan shark joints, if you will.

Anyway, he blew the money playing the slots and now won’t have a car unless he can get $500. Now that is just plain dumb and it reminded me of the great advice I received in my youth.

This past Sunday I was having a cookout by the pool with family and friends, leaving the ponies behind for the Memorial Day weekend. I thought of "Broadway Bennie" telling my mom why he was going to the track and bet horses, rather than visit and play horseshoes.

Well, as I was getting ready to leave the race book, I felt lucky. So, I made some bets for the later races as we could watch them while drinking wine or beer and eating the steak, chicken, and burgers that my niece Connie cooked up. Not to mention the potato salad my friend Susie worked so hard to make and the fabulous baked beans my cousin Liz put together.

And, I don’t want to forget the treats Jerry and Marilyn brought over. Yes, my friend Syl did bring a huge bottle of wine and we had a great time. However, I wasn’t walking around lucky since all my bets lost. Good thing was, it had been money put aside for gambling so there was still some left over.

Yes, I was really lucky to have the chance to spend that afternoon with some great family and friends. Thanks.

Way to go, Jerry’s!

Jerry’s Nugget has created the East Coast Handicapping contest each Friday for horse players. If you like betting East Coast tracks, this contest is for you.

You can win $800 instantly, while testing your skills at selected East Coast race tracks. Take a little ride down to Jerry’s Nugget and join the More Club for free. Contest rules are listed there and you can dine at several great restaurants.