Friday, May 27, 2011

Titanic Thompson

Titanic Thompson

Titanic Thompson is another well-rounded gambler who bet titanic sums of money on everything.
Born Alvin Clarence Thomas in 1892, nicknamed "Titanic" for the size of his bet or because he sinks everybody, not sure.  He make his living by the road, traveling the country with his golf clubs, a .45 revolver, and a suitcase full of cash.  Winning and losing millions of dollars (an estimated 10 millions dollars) playing cards, golf, dice, horses, pool, horseshoes, and any kind of "proposition bets" you could think of.  He married five underage women and killed five men in self-defense.  What a crazy life!

Hustler, cheater, liar, card shark, con man, dice manipulator as long as he could get the edge.  Titanic Thompson is known as one of the best proposition bettors who ever lived, some said he was "golf's greatest hustler", and many think he is the Greatest Gambler of All-Time. 

Thompson was a self-taught ambidextrous golfer blessed with extraordinary eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and athletic abilities.  He was good enough to turn pro but it didn't sound interesting since the top pro golfers of the era only make $30 000 a year.  And Titanic Thompson could make that much in one week hustling rich country club players.   

The high-roller who out-smarted the smartest, died penniless at age 82, on May 19, 1974, from a stroke in a retirement house.  Hustling till the end, social security checks of other residents were found in his room. 

The man became a legend.  Fictional gambler Sky Masterson from Damon Ruyon's Broadway play and movie "Guys and Dolls" was modeled on him. 

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