SI Vault
Gilbert Rogin
December 18, 1961
Jimmie (The Greek) Snyder (right), a large, shrewd and popular man who broods about his weight, is the foremost oddsmaker and, as he grandly but precisely expresses it, "speculator in sports" in Las Vegas. Oddsmaker is, in a sense, a euphemism for bookie, a familiar noun Jimmie avoids as connoting a form of illegal and disreputable low life (so is the offending blowfish marketed as sea squab).
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December 18, 1961

The Greek Who Makes The Odds

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Baron: What do you make it?

Big Red (writing covertly in his notebook): 15� Texas.

Baron: I saw you write 17.

Big Red : That was in Italian. It don't count.

Baron: I'll take it for a dime [$1,000]. A&M I'm taking.

Big Red : You're taking it for a nickel [$500], and the price is now 14, gentlemen.

Baron: For a nickel.

Big Red : 13 is the number.

Baron: For a nickel. All right, now you can buy it back for a $5 bill [$500]. No? All right, I'll have another raspberry phosphate. I used to drink chocolate phosphates, but they're too sweet.

Jimmie Snyder is oddsmaker and manager of the Hollywood Sports Service, a downtown store that is shabbier than the average funeral parlor but tidier than the general run of pool halls. It is furnished with blackboards, counters and chairs with broad writing arms like those found in college lecture halls. Jimmie finds the current state of affairs so melancholy he refers to himself, with both pride and regret, as "the last of the oddsmakers." This despite the fact that the Hollywood Sports Service does more business than any book in town.

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