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Secret Life of an Old-School New York Bookie

Are you a gambling man?” Vera asks me. She hands on an envelope to a bartender at the Meatpacking District as she sips on a whiskey and ginger ale. The envelope includes cash for one of its own customers. Vera’s a bookie and also a runner, and also to be apparent, Vera’s not her real name.
She’s a small-time bookie, or a bookmaker, one who takes bets and leaves commission off them. She books football tickets and collects them from bars, theater stagehands, workers at job websites, and sometimes building supers. Printed on the tickets that are the size of a grocery receipt are spreads for college football and NFL games. At the same time, she’s a”runner,” another slang term to describe somebody who delivers spread or cash numbers to a boss. Typically bookies are men, not women, and it’s as though she’s on the pursuit for new blood, searching for young gamblers to enlist. The newspaper world of soccer gambling has shrunk in the face of the wildly popular, embattled daily fantasy sites like FanDuel or DraftKings.
“Business is down due to FanDuel, DraftKings,” Vera says. “Guy bet $32 and won 2 million. That is a load of shit. I wish to meet him” There’s a nostalgic feel to circling the amounts of a football spread. The tickets have what seem like hints of rust on the edges. The college season has finished, and she did not do so bad this year, Vera says. What is left, however, are swimming pool stakes for the Super Bowl.
Vera started running back numbers when she was two years old at a snack bar where she worked as a waitress. The chef called on a phone in the hallway and she would deliver his bets to bookies for horse races. It leant a charm of young defiance. The same was true when she first bartended from the’80s. “Jimmy said at the start,’I’m going to use you. Just so you understand,”’ she says, remembering a deceased supervisor. “`You go in the bar, bullshit with the boys. You’re able to talk soccer with a guy, you are able to pull them , and then they’re yours. ”’ Jimmy died of a brain hemorrhage. Her second boss died of brain cancer. Vera says she beat breast cancer , even though she smokes. She failed radioactive treatment and refused chemo.
Dead managers left behind customers to run and she’d oversee them. Other runners loathed her in the beginning. They couldn’t understand why she’d have more clientele than them. “And they would say,’who the fuck is this donkey, coming here carrying my occupation? ”’ she states just like the men are throwing their dead weight about. On occasion the other runners duped her, for instance a runner we will call”Tommy” maintained winnings he was likely to hand off to her for himself. “Tommy liked to put coke up his noseand play cards, and he liked the women in Atlantic City. He’d go and provide Sam $7,000 and fuck off with the other $3,000. He informs the boss,’Go tell the broad.’ And I says, ‘Fuck you. It is like I am just a fucking broad to you. I don’t count. ”’ It is of course forbidden to get a runner to devote cash or winnings intended for clients on personal vices. But fellow runners and gaming policemen trust . She speaks bad about them, their characters, winnings, or names. She never whines if she doesn’t make commission. She says she could”keep her mouth shut” which is why she is a runner for nearly 25 years.
When she pays clients, she exchanges in person, never secretly leaving envelopes of money behind toilets or beneath sinks in tavern bathrooms. Through time, though, she’s lost up to $25,000 from men not paying their losses. “There’s a great deal of losers out there,” she explained,”just brazen.” For the football tickets, she capital her own”bank” that’s self-generated, nearly informally, by building her worth on the achievement of the school season’s first few weeks of stakes in the autumn.
“I ai not giving you no more figures,” Vera says and drinks from her black stripes. Ice cubes turn the whiskey to some lighter tan. She reaches her cigarettes and zips her coat. She questions the current alterations in the spread for the weekend’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos and squints in her beverage and pays the bartender. Her moves lumber, as her thoughts do. The favorability of the Panthers has changed from three to four four-and-a-half to five fast from the last week. She needs the Panthers to win by six or seven in order for her wager to be a success, and forecasts Cam Newton will direct them to a double-digit win over Peyton Manning.
Outside, she lights a cigarette before moving to a new bar. Someone she didn’t want to see had sat down in the initial one. She says there’s a man there who tends to frighten her. She proceeds farther north.
In the next bar, a poster tacked to the wall past the counter indicates a 100-square Super Bowl grid or”boxes.” “Have you been running any Super Bowls?” Vera asks.
To win a Super Bowl box, in the conclusion of each quarter, the final digit of either of the teams’ scores need to match the number of your selected box in the grid. The bartender hands Vera the grid. The bar lights brighten. Vera traces her finger throughout its outline, explaining that when the score is Broncos, 24, and Panthers, 27, by the third quarter, that’s row 4 and column 7. Prize money changes each quarter, and the pool only works properly if bar patrons purchase out all the squares.
Vera remembers a pool in 1990, the Giants-Buffalo Super Bowl XXV. Buffalo dropped 19 to 20 after missing a field goal from 47 yards. All the Bills knelt and prayed for that area goal. “Cops from the 20th Precinct won. It was 0 and 9,” she says, describing the box amounts that matched 0 and 9. But her deceased boss wasted the $50,000 pool within the course of the year, spending it on rent, gas and cigarettes. Bettors had paid payments through the entire year for $500 boxes. Nobody got paid. There was a”contract in his life.”
The bartender stows a white envelope of cash before attaching an apricot-honey mix for Jell-O shots. Vera rolls up a napkin and spins it into a beer that seems flat to give it foam.
“For the first bookie I worked , my title was’Ice,’ long before Ice-T,” she says, holding out her hands, rubbing at which the ring with her codename would fit. “He got me a ring, which I lost. Twenty-one diamonds, made’ICE. ”’ The bookie told her he had it inscribed ICE since she was”a cold-hearted bitch.”

Read more here: http://kddance.co.uk/sports-betting-machines-the-future-of-sports-wagering-2/

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