Students of datelines may notice that the typist, returning from California to Washington, took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up at a blackjack table playing for $14,000 a hand. A beautiful women in a pastel gown sat to his left. A hundred people stopped to about Billy Kilmer's arm. He was dealt 21 every time, and he made a mental note to tip the dealer.
No, not really.
What really happened is that an itinerant sports writer put a quarter in a machine called "Kentucky Derby." The machine flashed odds on nine horses. At 100 to 1, Equipose seemed worth the investment. The quarter set the tiny mechanical horses in motion around a four-foot track. At 100 to 1, Equipose finished - yes, last, if you must know.
A lot of people know nothing about gambling.
They think baccarat is Angie Dickinson's husband.
For those innocents, this is their lucky day.
The high-roller who risked a quarter on Equipoise is here with the inside scoop.
It'll be the Rams and Raiders in the Super Bowl.
The Dodgers and Yankees in the World Series.
And it's 2 to 5 a guy can't play a round of golf here without encountering a marvel of nature that will destroy his serenity.
These findings are the result of a painstaking investigation that begun in a sports book.
A sports book is not a pile of paper that tells you how to hit a cross-court forehand.
In Vegas, a sports book is a place to bet the money on Broadway Joe. It's a jock gambler's supermarket. At the Stardust Race and Sports Lounge, the most glittering of 10 books here, you can bet on almost anything that moves. The Stardust has a 30-foot high wall with lighted boards advertising the day's economic possibilities. Customers sit insoft, leather chairs at long, curved desks fanned across a large room. This could be the Senate floor with action.
Down a quarter, the high-roller gave up and sought out the book's supervisor, Ray Lenzi, for an explanation of how the Stardust came up with its Super Bowl odds.
The odds were freshy done, the first of the season. The Rams are the favorites, at 8 to 5, in the National Football Conference, followed by the Cowboys (5 to 2), Minnesota (7 to 2), Chicago (3 to 1) and St. Louis and the Redskins (8 to 1). In the American conference, Oakland is 8 to 5 followed by Pittsburg (3 to 1), Cincinnati (7 to 2), New England (4 to 1) and the Colts (6 to1).
Unlike Jimmy the Greek, who would have you beleive he knows everything about sports through exclusive divine revelation. Lenvi of the Stardust, when asked who makes the book's Super Bowl line, said, "It's a consensus. A bunch of us do it. You gotta be crazy to put out your own opinions. There's 200 million people out there. You're going to fight 'em all?"
For example, the Rams are not 8-to-5 favorites because Joe Namath whispered a guarantee into Lenzi's ear.
"It's because we're close to L.A.," Lenzi said. "Personally, I don't think they'll be as good as everybody thinks. But L.A.'s where our money comes from. We look at what the public wants and we act accordingly."
If the public wants to invest its quarters in the Rams, then the Stardust simply encourages them.
"The line is set mostly for us to make some money." Lenzi said, as if someone beleived the Las Vegas casinos are charitable institutions. "We want to make as much as possible."
"Without hurting the players outright."
A heart of gold.
Geography, current circumstances and economic survival led the Stardust to make the Dodgers 2-to-5 favorites in the National League. The Phillies are next at 3 to 5, with the Cardinals and Phijllies 4 to 1, the Cubs 8 to 1 and Reds 10 to 1. Nobody else gets a call.
(An aside here: You can get down a bet on all 28 pro football teams, with Tampa Bay and Seattle available at 200 to 1. But Lenzi said, "Anybody we've got from 20 to 1 on might as well be a million to one. They're not going to win.")
Eight teams are alive in the American League baseball race with the Yankees even-money favorites. Boston is 6 to 5, Chicago 7 to 5, Kansas City 8 to 5, Minnesto and Texas 5 to 2, Baltimore 4 to 1 and California 10 to 1.
Baseball bets are made according to the starting pitchers. To bet on California, say, when Frank Tanana is pitching, you may spot the other team two runs and put up $1.75 to win $1. The surest thing in baseball today, Lenzi said, is Mike Torrez of the Yankees.
"He's been super the last five times out," Lenzi said. (Torrez has five straight complete-game victories.) "That's what's important, how a guy's doing now, not what he used to do. Catfish Hunter, he's done. The ball has killed him. Hunter's big thing always was to get to fly out. Now the ball is flying out of the park."
As for the natural hazards of golf in Vegas, your painstaking investigator, working like a dog, checked out a story told by a Kentuckian named George Bissig. He sliced a drive that landed near a backyard in which were on view "four nekkid brawds," presumably showgirls at rest. Bissig later reported the discovery to his partner, John Brewer, who was in the left rough. "What a time to snap-hook," Brewer said.
Two other Kentuckians, John Livisay and Bill Malone, drove a golf cart into a three-foot tall metal stake when distracted by an embroidered halter. Your painstaking investigator sliced three drives out of bounds. Six penalty shots, one bikini. Nice odds.