Old Time Gamblin’

28 Nov

Copyright Darren Kirby (Click For Original)cIf I might once again refer to the song Stagger Lee for a moment:

I was standing on the corner
When I heard my bulldog bark
He was barkin’ at the two men
Who were gamblin’ in the dark
It was Stagger Lee and Billy
Two men who gambled late
Stagger Lee threw seven
Billy swore that he threw eight

Whatever happened to old time gambling? The skeazy craps game is a classic fixture of a certain period of crime fiction – it seems as long as we’ve had alleys, we’ve had indigents hoping for a 7 or 11. I mean, dubious men tossing dice is a concept that goes at least all the way back to the Roman legion of the bible.

Cowboy Craps, original source unknownYet, these days, you don’t hear much about it. Maybe I’m just running with the wrong crowd, but it feels like sometime in the late-80s or early-90s, the on-the-street-casinos started to lose traction, at least in the popular consciousness.

So what happened?

Well, when the gin racket was run by criminals, the American government brought them down by simply legalizing and controlling the product. My suggestion is that we no longer have a large contingent of people tossing the bones because we’ve found new dim alleyways online.

Why pull on that heavy leather jacket and stand out in the cold when you can just as easily bilk a table full of grandmas from the comfort of your own home (or a public internet cafe)?

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2 Responses to “Old Time Gamblin’”

  1. dePi November 29, 2010 at 00:44 #

    I’ve played craps on a homemade table.

    I’ve played poker against people who’ve been to prison for serious crimes.

    It’s around. You just need that one grey area shady friend to get you an invite to the house.

    • JRD Skinner November 29, 2010 at 10:00 #

      Fair enough, although I think the basement casino/card game is a slightly different beast than it’s alleyway cousin.

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