The Greatest (gambling) Story Ever Told

Quote of the Day     “so why don’t you shut up? You’re just a bitter old man.”     –TB’s first and only words to the old coot to my right in this story

Old stories, more appropriate for telling over a beer or three in a bar or on a boat, are hard to recapture accurately in written words. But as doing so is not only one of the goals of this site, but the only way they can be communicated until I get a podcasting contract, that’s what you get.

It was back in about ought-one or so I guess. TB, Larry and Stone decided for some reason that a run over to Vicksburg’s showplace destination, the Rainbow Casino was in order. I swear, in a rush to get gambling money flowing the original Rainbow was little more than a double-wide trailer slapped upon an abandoned barge and sunk in the mud. It seemed like we were dodging cigarette butts, peanut shells and cow manure while threading our way between the Las Vegas Sands’ castoff slot machines. But TB was feeling it this night and determined to shoot some dice. I spied a suitable table over behind the compost heap, and while Larry disappeared to do whatever the hell it is Larry does, TB and Stone took up station at opposite ends of a three dollar minimum table.

As the dice went from person to person, I was “breaking even”, as the term is used vis a vis gambling. Stone was too. In fact Stone broke so even he had to sit out by the time the dice reached TB. A three dollar table, as any craps player knows, is a ripoff due to the poor odds you get on most bets. So TB went all out and played in five dollar units, one of only two players of about ten exceeding the minimums. The old coot to my right was playing with mostly c-note chips, and some 500 dollar chips. He’d been “breaking even” for quite awhile it seems. At any rate, the dice finally made it to TB and the fun began in earnest.

You know that feeling athletes call being in the zone? I was in the zone baby. I was making those freakin bones dance. I hit a point right off, then nailed a couple of 7’s and 11’s on the come out. I established another point and started hitting place bets and moving my bets slowly up. I hit a couple of more points and about that time I noticed the old coot next to me was starting to crowd me a little. I glanced over at his chips and saw he was playing the “don’t pass.” For those of you not clued in on craps, basically I was off to a good start, making a little money and the guy playing for a lot more money than me was betting against me instead of with me. It’s perfectly fine to do so, but is considered anti-social and the person is shunned by most players. What the old bastard was doing was trying to interfere with TB’s perfect (that night) form and rhythm because his stack of blacks was rapidly vanishing. There is absolutely no empirical evidence that once dice leave the hands of the thrower there is any way to control them. I know that to be true. But when I’m shooting, I don’t feel it to be true, and neither does anyone else, be it a monopoly player or a Vegas whale or the casinos themselves. I was making those dice hit exactly the same place on the table, bounce in to the precise point on the far wall at which I aimed and come down showing anything but a crap out. I was rocking back and forth in perfect harmony with the gods of luck, rubbing my hands together to keep them hot during the lulls. I was in the heart of the zone. The boat went to its first move with a hot shooter and changed the stick man, but to no avail.

After about 10 minutes of success, and the opposite result for the coot, I kicked in to high gear. Point after point, 7’s on the come out, hitting hard ways and parlays, and now the old coot was blowing cigarette smoke in my face and elbowing me in the ribs. It didn’t matter, I was taking the hits and making my throws like John Elway  in the two minute drill on a cold day in Cleveland. The stick man changed again, and the dice got examined by the pit boss. The three dollar patrons were cheering my every move. Larry materialized from thin air, said something to which I responded, “get the hell away from me.” He got the hell away from me. The old coot started to cuss and I could see his spittle beginning to accumulate on the outside of my glasses. Another point, then another. The old coot asked for a marker for ten thousand. I looked up while they took care of his business and saw Stone, all two hundred seventy five pounds of him, pirouetting at the end of the table and high fiving a street bum with one of those beards that you can identify the individual hairs on and a watered down whisky and coke sloshing over onto the felt. Another point, and another and the old coot took another marker, then another. Stone’s dance moves threatened to upend the table, or maybe it was just a rogue Mississippi River wave or maybe it was the casino trying desperately to ruin my groove. But I was unstoppable.

Finally it was all over. For forty minutes the Rainbow and the old coot could not stop me, but the law of averages did catch up and allow them to contain me. My pitching arm was spent, rotator cuff inflamed, glasses irreparably smudged. I hadn’t breathed deeply the whole time. Stone was getting dizzy. My pile of reds were spilling off the table, climbing out of my pockets and protruding from my socks. The old coot wasn’t beaten though. He got in my face and berated me. “You stupid bastard!”, he wailed, you should’ve won at least ten thousand dollars on a roll like that. You don’t know what you’re doin!” For the briefest  millisecond I considered his position. Any gambler feels remorse when its all over–either because he shouldn’t have bet, if he lost, or because he should’ve bet more if he won. But I felt the pleasing weight of all those plastic chips. My peripheral vision picked up Stone barreling over and through a throng of redneck humanity to get to me and slap my back and rub down my arm. Larry was peering out from a black jack table a couple of rows away waiting to see if it was safe for him to come back out. I would later find that I’d made nearly a thousand bucks, a lot of money for ole TB, then and now. I recovered my wits and reared like a grizzly after being hunched for so long and showed my size advantage and my glazed MD style crazy eyes to the old coot who immediately cowered beneath the table. “Listen you old coot! You could’ve bet with me and won fifty grand. That was damned stupid, so why don’t you shut up? You’re just a bitter old man.” It wasn’t the highlight of my retort career, but its what I said, and it was pretty satisfying at the moment. And the old coot shut up, beaten at last. And TB and a couple of his ARB’s went out to celebrate in style.

Bonus Quote of the Day     “If I lose today, I can look forward to winning tomorrow and if I win today, I can look forward to losing tomorrow. A sure thing is no fun.”     Chico Marx

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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27 Responses to The Greatest (gambling) Story Ever Told

  1. pardago9 says:


  2. sweet says:

    Nice. But then, some time later, two women took that fire out of TBs belly. I want to see that one more time

  3. Hey pard thanks for taking the time to offer your word of wisdom.

    Sweet, there is still a pilot light down there, but it doesn’t flame up too often.

  4. Is it even lawful for someone who uses a cartoon character as his/her picture to make fun of others?

    Good story. When you feel another one of those times coming on, please take me with you.

    • Andre says:

      Could this site turn into a gathering place of FreeStyle dncoussisis and information? If so, how do we make that happen? Should we find information from p-net, solo-tripping and facebook and re-post it here? How should information be organized and categorized? What are your thoughts?

    • You’ve really captured all the essentials in this subject area, haven’t you?

    • Geoffrey says:

      Would you happen to have any falmiy photo’s that were taken in Sterling that you would be willing to share? I live in Sterling and am interested in the history. Any photo’s that also include buildings are of interest.I remember your Aunt Francis and Uncle Dugan and Butch, they lived down the road from me when I was growing up.

    • It’s always a pleasure to hear from someone with expertise.

    • Kacper says:

      Thank you, I’ve recently been snicrhaeg for information about this subject for a long time and yours is the best I have came upon till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the source?|What i don’t realize is actually how you are now not really a lot more smartly-favored than you may be right now. You are so intelligent.

  5. face says:

    All of my knowledge of craps, as limited as it may be, comes from TB.

  6. Stone says:

    It was a great night. I made about 600 bucks (I amvery conservative about pressing bets).

    TB left out the following facts:

    1. The bitter old man got several (ie more than 2) 10K markers. Old Ben left that SOB about $50,000.00 bucks in the red.

    2. The aforementioned street bum kept saying, in his bum like voice, “look at this stupid son of a bitch playing the don’t pass line. The greatest roll in my life and that silly son of a bitch is on the don’t pass line. Ha! Ha! Ha! Can you believe that son of a bitch?” All of that loud enough to be overheard by the bitter old man.

    3. Bitter old man was trying to double up to catch up. This is playing into the hand of the house. Even that dump of a place, strike that they are a client so I mean that fine establishment, has a bigger bank roll than you. Thus, play that game long enough and they get all your money. That Bitter old man more than paid for the rest of the table’s bets.

    4. This was in the days of the old Baen (before the T was added to the B). Baen could appear, at times, a bit beat down. Not that night. Baen’s chest was puffed out. He was again a big winner. I imagine he looked like that in the old days back on the mound after a strike out. Back in the salad days before his arm was turned into a barely usable hunk of flesh. He must of looked like that before the day he locked his keys in the car in a Wendy’s parking lot on the way to State. Baen had his winnings and was in the mood to spend gambling winnings in the only way he felt appropriate.

    Pardago9 can stick it. It was a great great night.

  7. Zeek says:

    TB, good story, I can picture it all vividly. I wouls just like to state that I think you gave the best damn retort possible at the moment. Concise, clear,to the point,call it like it is baby. Give me the damn bones!!!!!

  8. Jessie Lou says:

    Perhaps Pardago9 is the bitter old coot. A gambler I’m not but it is still a good story TB. I just like my money is a safer place like my pocket or the freezer.

  9. larry says:

    I had to leave. If you would have turned cold with my re-appearance, I would have been blamed. Larry – The Cooler. I think I won $200 – $300 that night playing blackjack.

    Pard – lame duck

  10. workinbaen says:

    The best thing about your adherence to “the code” was you didn’t hesitate, just turned around immediately without even glancing at the table. You knew immediately what was going on. As a wise man once said (in Bull Durham) “Never f### with a winning streak.”

  11. Cecil Ann says:

    What a great and entertaining story! I found myself laughing out loud many times while reading it, because I have been in that same situation many times before, along with my gambling buddy of 16 years.
    If you’re not a craps player you can’t understand or appreciate the feeling of a 40-45 min. roll. On those nights when you are in “The Zone” it wouldn’t matter if someone did a tap dance on your table, nothing can shake you,with the exception of someone coming and asking how things are going. That’s usually the “kiss of death”, but for some reason not on those nights. I find just ignoring them gets the message across even if it’s a friend or relative.They just need to back off.
    With regards to the don’t players you are so right about them. No greater satisfaction than the dealer snatching their money each time a point is hit. They are like lepers and you just want to put your cigarette out in their eye.
    Well, TB just wanted to let you know this is a great gambling story from someone that can relate to every point you made. Thanks for starting my morning off with a good laugh. I’m so glad Jessie Lou shared this with me.

  12. Thanks Cecil Ann, don’t be a stranger to the site.

  13. coachteajay says:

    I got to hear this story first hand a few days later, as Baen, stumbled back to the coast, only to treat this poor college student/public servant out on the town for a night of free miller lites and lemon drop shots!!!!! Good Times

  14. Madd Dawg says:

    That is a great writen story, but it is even better to hear TB tell it in person with his wild gestures.

  15. Harmony says:

    LOL Great story, yet another one I wouldn’t mind hearing/seeing in person. Get thee to the youtube!

  16. Samsmama says:

    Hi Harmony!

    That was a fabulous story! I’ve gamble approximately once and after losing $20 I stopped. It’s not for me.

    Pard’s comment threw me as I didn’t know if he was a friend being sarcastic or not. Your retort made laugh, as did the others.

  17. Mac says:

    Glad I stumbled upon this. As a reformed craps aficionado, I thoroughly enjoyed this yarn TB. I have played “the dark side” on several occasions and it always amazed me that it didn’t matter. They still end up with all your money. Like someone said above, they got a bigger bankroll. I am really glad I was able to shake that habit. I am fond of saying “I’m not the smartest puppy in the litter, but I ain’t that sum-bitch chasing his tail neither”.

    • Alexandr says:

      some ideas: Articles. Reference materials. Cross post aclrites. History Who’s who. Technique maneuvers, heel, pitch Practical Application. Boats. Forward Stroke. Creating a routine. Paired Solo. Marc O instructional videos. and the blog page could be a chance for people to ask a question, or suggest a topic.

    • Raul says:

      Oct. 22, 2012WHAT: Chicken for Children fundraiser for the Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children feaunritg Nelson’s barbecued chicken dinnerWHEN: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 31WHERE: Free delivery in Fort Wayne or pick up at Plymouth Congregational Church, 501 W.Berry St.TO ORDER: Call (260)750-8032 or email Rebecca Nix at . Orders will be taken until 500 dinners are sold. Dinners sell out fast so ORDER NOW!COST: $9/meal includes: bd Nelson’s chicken & Pit-Tatoes,™ green beans, bread/butter and a treat. **Great time-saver for Halloween night or enjoy for lunch at your place of work or home! All proceeds benefit the Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children which provides forensic interviews of child victims of alleged sexual abuse.

  18. You should definitely catch up on “the best of Travellinbaen” page for some of the old stories Mac.

    This one came up in conversation just last week, the classics never truly get “old.”

    And I think playing the dark side gives you about a .o1 better percentage than the light. But the social stigma ain’t worth it and you are right, in the end, the casino always wins. I miss craps, but having a little scamp around to think of makes the stakes of gambling a little higher than they once were.

  19. Arturo says:

    :*There are certainly a lot of dlaites like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  20. Really, great story. You know, I guess people should play free casino games and don`t spend their money on gambling. I adore playing slots at but I play for fun. Of course, everybody ought to do his own thing. So, cheers!

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