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Remembering Bob Martin

1 April 2001

Bob Martin, the wisest of the wise guys has passed away. He was 82. Martin was the man. He set the Las Vegas line for sports betting. He was responsible for coming up with the betting numbers on a daily basis in the days before computers. He didn't need one. Bob Martin had feel. He instinctively knew what the right numbers were. His opinion was so well respected that there was never a question as to their validity. If you thought that he somehow slipped up, all you had to do was step up to the betting window and back your opinion with cash. Martin never flinched.

One time a guy walked up and looked at the betting board and in a loud voice proclaimed that he couldn't believe the point spread on a particular game. He asked in an even louder voice if the joint would take a $10,000 bet. Martin said sure, and added that if he wanted to bet more he would book that too. The obnoxious bettor then asked if he could make a larger bet at the same number. Martin nodded yes. The bettor then backed off and Martin didn't move the line.

A couple of minutes later while the bettor was still hanging around the window, another bettor walked in and bet $300 on the other side of the game. Martin immediately moved the line a 1\2 point. The first guy looks at Martin really angry and says, "I bet 10 dimes and you don't move the line, this guy bets $300 and you move it. Why?" Without missing a beat Martin says, "I respect his opinion". In the golden age of Las Vegas Bob Martin was one of the most respected men in town. He ran a clean store. His integrity was above reproach.

In 1982 Martin was caught in a web that the federal government threw out to get another guy. Martin wasn't the target but due to a phone conversation with someone he knew, the government gave him a choice, squeal or go to federal prison.

For Martin that was no choice at all. Anybody that knew him knew that he wouldn't roll over. Martin was no squealer. Bob Martin was a stand-up guy. What he knew would never be revealed, especially not to the feds. Everyone knew the charges were trumped up. Martin spent 13 months in prison for his silence. His friends visited him regularly and brought him plenty of his favorite deli food. He did his time and never whined about it. He turned a setback into a triumph.

At his funeral a few weeks ago the old-timers came to pay their last respects. Everyone that I spoke with remembered him fondly. They told their favorite stories of a time when the wise guys gathered at the Churchill Downs sports book. The conversation was peppered with nicknames and laughter. This wasn't your normal funeral. It truly was a celebration of one of finest men Las Vegas has ever known. Bob Martin wasn't just another guy. He was well loved. Tough guys in a tough town remembered him as a guy who had the respect of everyone. He was smart, quick-witted and dead-pan funny. He was stand-up.

As Always…Good Luck!

Larry Grossman

Larry Grossman is host and producer of Las Vegas' most popular gaming and handicapping radio show, "You Can Bet On It." Since 1989 he has interviewed World Champion poker players that include Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, and Tom McEvoy. Regular guests during the football season include Lem Banker, Mike Lee, Mort Olshan, and Andy Iskoe.

During the 1997 and 1998 season, Grossman hosted a nationally televised show that featured many of the nations' top handicappers.

Larry Grossman is the author of two books, "You Can Bet On It" Volume 1 - Casino Games and Volume 2 - Sports Betting. He is a regular columnist for many gaming publications. Larry has hosted and produced handicapping seminars in Las Vegas. Visit AudioVegas.com to listen to archives of his "You Can Bet On it" radio show.

Larry Grossman Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com

Books by Larry Grossman:

You Can Bet On It! -- Volume 1: Casino Games
Larry Grossman
Larry Grossman is host and producer of Las Vegas' most popular gaming and handicapping radio show, "You Can Bet On It." Since 1989 he has interviewed World Champion poker players that include Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, and Tom McEvoy. Regular guests during the football season include Lem Banker, Mike Lee, Mort Olshan, and Andy Iskoe.

During the 1997 and 1998 season, Grossman hosted a nationally televised show that featured many of the nations' top handicappers.

Larry Grossman is the author of two books, "You Can Bet On It" Volume 1 - Casino Games and Volume 2 - Sports Betting. He is a regular columnist for many gaming publications. Larry has hosted and produced handicapping seminars in Las Vegas. Visit AudioVegas.com to listen to archives of his "You Can Bet On it" radio show.

Larry Grossman Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com

Books by Larry Grossman:

You Can Bet On It! -- Volume 1: Casino Games