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What your bookie won't tell you, part 2
04-22-2009, 08:35 AM (This post was last modified: 04-22-2009 10:36 AM by KillJoy.)
Post: #1
What your bookie won't tell you, part 2
Taken from, "Confessions of an Ivy League Bookie" as well as other sources.

Ever wonder how people become bookies? It is not as if you put "bookie" as career ambition in the yearbook. OK, some folks willdo that. Still, it is not a career path you will get into by answering an ad on careerbuilder. (Craigslist, maybe :-) )

Bookies seem to start out one of two ways. They might migrate out of a wire room, or start as "runners" or "campus bookies."

First, you must realize that building a successful bookie career is little different than building a successful career as a lawyer or stockbroker. Step one is get an education. In the legit world you go to college. Then get an "entry level" job in a firm.

As a bookie, well, no need for college. But you will have to know someone to get to square one. You will need to get someone to "vouch" for you with an established bookie/room. This is not to take lightly as when you are vouched for, your screw-ups become THEIR screwups. Reputation is everything in this world. So if you do get someone to vouch for you and you screw up, expect them to take it out on you on some level. Might be never talking to you again, or even a beating if it is a really tough person you let down.

But lets assume the best. You got vouched for on some level. Now where they need you is key. If they are a decent sized operation, they will have a "wire room." This is where they will take calls for bets. it could be behind a bar, in someone's apartment, or anything else. Don't expect it to be "Class A" office space since they may have to fold it up in minutes.

Even in a wire room you need training. How do they talk in "code" so you know who is making the bets. They might have a code last name for the bookie of "Burns" for example. And a player might use a code first name of "Jim." So he would say, "Jim Burns calling, I need $100 on Buffalo over Miami." Thus the player "Jim" (we don't know the real name) makes a play and "Burns" the bookie (we don't know his real name) gets the credit for the action. If anyone has the phone tapped, "Jim Burns" by itself is useless.

The purpose of the wire room is to take as much action as possible. They will need clerks as even bookies have an outside life, or the need to sleep, or can only take so many calls at once. So bookies guys run the room, man the phones, and clerks answer as well plus post a chalkboard so they can adjust the line if needed or whatever.

Think of the clerk like a "ticket runner" at a stock brokerage. He is a young kid who literally "runs" an order to a person placing it on the floor. The pay is low, but the idea is to learn and work your way up. the kid "works his way up" by cold calling potential clients and "building a book." (HEY, does this sound like similar terminology??!!)

The bookie shop is no different. If an aspiring bookie wants to make enough scratch to make a potential pinch worthwhile, he needs to bring in players. They all do since players go broke or drop off over time. Like any business, new customers are the lifeblood.

Now you get to the "runner" or "campus bookie" depending on the surroundings. So our hero has worked the wire room a few months. He decides to make some real cash. So at the bar he works at, he lets it drop to the bartender he can take some action if anyone is looking. Or he may be in college and take action for campus buddies.

At first, the runner will work directly under an established bookie, for less money or maybe just free bets. He must build his business. Pay is based on a % of action and losses. No different than the stockbroker.

Here is another way it is the same as the broker. Say a new player signs up and refuses to pay his loss. Guess who is responsible? Yup--the bookie is responsible just like a broker must work off a loss if a client renegs. This is why a new bettor will have a limit at first. Bookies don't use FICO Scores--they must size you up on their own.

After that, it is building the business while you watch for both the cops and the mob. You also have the same collection problems as the legit guy running a lawn mowing business. So as sexy as it sounds, I think I'll be a player instead.

What your bookie won't tell you, Part 1
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04-22-2009, 10:50 AM
Post: #2
RE: What your bookie won't tell you, part 2
(04-22-2009 08:35 AM)AZDuffman Wrote:  Ever wonder how people become bookies? It is not as if you put "bookie" as career ambition in the yearbook. OK, some folks willdo that. Still, it is not a career path you will get into by answering an ad on careerbuilder. (Craigslist, maybe :-) )

Big Grin

(04-22-2009 08:35 AM)AZDuffman Wrote:  After that, it is building the business while you watch for both the cops and the mob. You also have the same collection problems as the legit guy running a lawn mowing business. So as sexy as it sounds, I think I'll be a player instead.

I agree.

Very informative, thanks! Smile

"Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit." - R. E. Shay
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