No shortage of action this time of the year

No shortage of action this time of the year

October 31, 2017 3:00 AM


All four major sports are in action at the same time. This occurs every year in this brief window. Like an eclipse, it can be counted on. It’s always been like a slice of heaven for players but it wasn’t so joyous for us at the Stardust. It required a tremendous amount of work and dedication for us to open every morning.

We had no off-shores to copy a line from so we made our own numbers and opened them up to the public every morning at 8 a.m. It was truly a virgin line, our own fresh numbers with input from Roxy (Michael Roxborough), Jerry “The Hat” (Taffel), Kenny White and my own supervisors.

It was an organized scramble to get it done every day. Beginning the day before and into the night we had to get it right. Matchups, times, weather, injuries and everything we needed to put together a line we could book with confidence. It was no place for the faint of heart.

The players got used to seeing the numbers every morning so most never really understood the monumental effort required to pull it off and keep winning (which we did) while going up against the sharpest money that found its way from all over the country to our sports windows.

Before the Stardust it was Churchill Downs who took the lead, although the urgency was not there at the time since hotels didn’t have sportsbooks hence no competition. We opened up football at CD on Tuesdays, baseball daily at 11 a.m. except when the Cubs were home. Baskets depended on the day and the college schedule.

For those whose memories I’ve jarred you’ll remember the J.K. Schedule that was the source of matchups and times. We wrote the line in our J.K.’s and kept track of changes by hand. It was a simpler time but they were good times.

Before corporations took over and joined the race and sportsbooks together like a picket fence the books were second homes, almost like adult clubhouses. Each book, in spite of having only spartan amenities, had its own atmosphere and clientele. Your crew usually showed up daily unless you came up lame, then you hung at a different book till you came up fresh again and settled up.

I never heard of anyone who quit playing as long as they could borrow or bet on credit. If some of us studied as hard in school as we worked at staying in action things might have been different although another way of life didn’t occur to us.

Take care.