19/05/2015

Geno Lawrenzi Jr: A Golden Age Gambling Journalist

Michael '007' Lang

It doesn’t matter if you are a gambler or not, Geno Lawrenzi Jr draws you in like honey to a bee. If you are a gambler then that’s even better because you will can’t help but appreciate the colorful life he has had. A world famed journalist, he always has a story to tell relating to gambling that goes back to over a half of century. His adventures are cool and smooth as silk.

Winning is the ultimate adrenaline rush but there is more to it than hitting triple red 7’s across a Slot machine or landing a Royal Flush in Poker. It is the buildup to the win and as we all well know everyone has a story to tell that leads up to it. However, not many have the finesse in reporting the exciting lifestyle of a gambler like Geno does.    

Once you have had a taste of his writing, you will anxiously await the next episode in this amazingly interesting man’s life. He expresses himself as if he gives each and every one of us a glimpse into his private diary filled with journal entries. As each passage unfolds we can only wonder what the next story could possibly be. Can he top the last, what other famous celebrity will he run into and what amazing Jackpot did he encounter next?

One particular recent article stands out The Winning Edge when he discusses game odds and Mr. Vegas himself Frank Sinatra:

“Let's start with baccarat, a game that gives the casino a small advantage over the player. While the advantage is tiny, it is a consistent one that is hard to overcome. Frank Sinatra discovered that when he nearly got himself killed one evening at a Strip casino when he tried to push his edge to the extreme.

Old Blue Eyes was drinking heavily (a favorite habit) and feeling his wild oats after doing a show. He enjoyed a perk the average Las Vegas player never sees -- nearly unlimited credit. But that night Frank discovered that every road comes to an end..

Playing the High Roller to the entourage of friends and tourists who had gathered around the table to watch him gamble, Frank, cocktail in hand, kept increasing the size of his bets. He was on a losing streak, but never mind. He had unlimited credit with the casino that had his name in a huge neon-lit blinking billboard on the Strip and it was good to be King.

Sinatra kept losing and he continued signing chits for more credit. Finally that was enough for the casino manager. He abruptly cut off Frank's credit and told him in as gentle a voice as the gods can use that it was time to call it a night.

Sinatra was Sicilian and had a temper. He took a swing. A gun magically appeared in the manager's hand. For one swift moment, Frank Sinatra was no longer the blue-eyed singer that everyone worshiped. He was just an intoxicated gambler from New Jersey had gone beyond his limits.”

Besides incredible reading there is valuable tips to heed like drinking and gambling don’t mix and even the chairman of the board can get carried away and lose control. He talks of a nostalgic era that you’re either old enough to remember or have parents/grandparents that have told a few tales of their own while you were growing up.

In his article West of the Sun he talks about an American icon:

“Will Rogers, the great American cowboy, comedian, actor and trick rope spinner, was famous for his saying, 'I have never known a man I didn't like.'

 Notice he said 'known,' not 'met.' Like all of us, I am sure the Oklahoma Cherokee cowboy met some people he would not want to spent an hour with much less a day or heaven forbid, a weekend or longer.

I understand Rogers' philosophy and wholeheartedly agree with him. Gamblers, barbers and bartenders have one thing in common: they get to meet a lot of people. And to my way of thinking, every person I meet is a walking, talking book, especially those who rub elbows with you at a poker table.

I feel sorry for individuals who are addicted to cell phones and those headsets they jam into their ears while playing poker, blackjack or some other game at a casino. To me -- and this may not be the case -- they seem to be anti-social.”

Like Fred Astaire, Geno dances to an unforgettable beat that is a tribute to the gambling industry. Words dance off each page with an eloquence, leaving his followers anxiously waiting to quench their thirst for more.

Who is Geno Lawrenzi Jr? He is a prodigy, the last of the Mohicans, a golden age journalist that keeps gambling yesterday, today andtomorrow alive.