difference between an amateur and a professional gambler is the difference
between a general practitioner and a heart specialist. The only similarity is
that they're both called doctors.
who wins is just borrowing the bookmaker's money.
"You can't be
a successful gambler when you're young. You have to go busted a few times.
"There are no
geniuses in gambling. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and
beat the [blackjack, crap] tables because of the PC [percentage] and the limit.
The only gambling game you can beat is a game of opinion.
"I don't want
good luck. I just don't want bad luck.
"I've been a
bookmaker and a player. I respect a good bookmaker. But I admire a player.
We're on the outside. We're warriors."
Lefty said his
only aim as a handicapper is to pick winners; he isn't concerned with middles
and other point games. I had to agree it was a distraction. The way to pick
winners, he said, is to remember that football is still decided "in the
trenches" and by staying two or three weeks ahead of the linemaker by
anticipating a team's changing fortunes. Injuries, he thought, are overrated.
Of course I loved him for all of that, since it confirmed my own findings. His
insights into the specifics of teams and individuals were so dead-on that I got
the feeling of comparing political notes with a stranger who had made the same
clearheaded, enlightened discoveries. In some cases he went further than I had,
startling and exciting me at once.
We discussed the
Vikings- 49ers game. He said, " Alan Page is the greatest lineman in the
history of football." I've thought that but never felt compelled to put it
that boldly. A bettor knows Page's worth because he creates such havoc, forcing
fumbles and interceptions, that he is indirectly responsible for many scores.
( Fran Tarkenton once said that if he were starting a franchise Alan Page would
be his first choice, over any quarterback.) I said I liked the 49ers because
they run just well enough to throw effectively. He said that without Ken
Willard in top form San Francisco doesn't run that well. I said Vic Washington
was a pretty good football player. He cut me dead with, "He's a
fumbler." (some pros, wise guys, players I've met have impressed me with
their knowledge of the turnover tendencies of various teams and individuals. I
haven't concentrated on that as much as I should. Pro Football Weekly runs a
turnover chart that can be a valuable aid.) I said I liked Steve Spurrier.
Lefty said he did, too, "But this is his first big game. Experience is a
factor in a big game." I pointed out that Spurrier passed for 300 yards
against the Vikings in his only start against them. Lefty repeated firmly,
"Experience is a factor."
I was chastened
by this exchange. It is perfectly plain why people all over the country are
waiting for Lefty Rosenthal to bet. He does his homework. He knows the