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Remembering Sonny Reizner

11 December 2002

One of the true legends of Las Vegas recently passed away. Sonny Reizner 81, began as a sports bettor, learning his trade at the Boston Garden, and Fenway Park at the ripe age of 15. Many gamblers years ago, would congregate in the stands and make wagers amongst themselves. They would make all these exotic bets like would the next guy up get to second base or would the team go hitless in the next inning, or anything they could put a number on and, try to get the best of the guy they were betting with.

It was an exercise where you had to outwit with your hard earned knowledge the other guys in the stand, and then out bet them. It wasn't all business, far from it. Instead of going to a "regular job", these Damon Runyon characters would spend the betting, and laughing, and truly enjoying themselves. They watched Ted Williams and Bob Cousy and ate hot dogs. It was a glorious time when life was simpler. They had the time of their lives and forged lifelong friendships, all the while trying to win each others money. There was competition on the field and on the court, but many times the real show was in the stands.

Sonny Reizner and his wife Rolene, an accomplished artist, were like two peas in a pod. They laughed and spread joy everywhere they went. With their four children in tow, Gale, Jann, Alan, and Adam they moved to Las Vegas in 1970. It was to be the adventure of their lives. Under the tutelage of another legendary character, Bob Martin, Sonny began his career on the other side of the counter at the Churchill Downs Sportsbook.. It wasn't long before he was running his own shop at the Castaways. This is where he really began to hit his stride. Sonny was the smiling face of sports betting. He was always courteous and enjoyed the company of wise guys and casual bettors. No matter how many times he answered the same mundane questions he acted as if he had just heard it for the first time.

He had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face that was so pure that you just wanted to be around him. He was extremely generous with his laughter and friendly disposition. In his day he changed a lot of lines, but at his core he never changed. He was honest, stand-up and a man among men. Sonny put up the proposition wager of, "Who shot J.R.?" At that time Dallas was the most watched and the most talked about show on television. The proposition listed everyone on the show, and even included Tom Landry, then the Dallas Cowboy coach. The odds on him were 500 to 1. Sonny was a guy that always enjoyed a good laugh.

Reizner also started the football handicapping contests in town. His imagination and foresight changed the face of sports betting. Sonny made a lot of friends and spread a lot of joy and laughter during his life. He served his country with honor in World War II and saw action in Italy.

He leaves behind a legacy of merit, and good character. His greatest and most enduring gift that he has left us are his wonderful and loving family. At his memorial service his youngest son Adam, spoke eloquently of his father. Holding back tears he showed what a father meant to a son, and how Sonny's spirit will still be with all those that knew him and loved him.

I know I will always remember him and be grateful for his friendship and his kindness. He was one of my best friends. He will be missed.

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