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THE CAPTAIN

Proving the greatest craps player was real

By Frank Scoblete

In the years where my writing has allowed me some notoriety I have received hundreds of requests to meet people at casinos or to go out to dinner with them. I’ve rarely ever done either.

Still, I made an appointment to have lunch with a member of an online message board who lives near me. In the years where I have slowed down on my 130-days-a-year playing schedule and reduced my trips to the casinos by two-thirds, I’ve gone to some web sites to read posters and to occasionally respond.

Now, over the years I have ignored any criticism of me—specifically about the existence of the late Captain, my gambling mentor, the greatest craps player who ever lived and the man who inspired me and taught me everything I know.

Despite the fact that in my new book I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! I named dozens of people who knew him, some posters on that site and on other sites still think the Captain is a fictitious (or completely exaggerated) character that I wrote about to sell books.

Not so. He was—as I’ve said—the greatest of all time.

Finally, I thought to myself, “Why not meet one of the posters on this web site and show him a picture of the Captain and his whole Crew of 22 high rollers that was taken at the Trump Castle’s most popular restaurant on a Saturday night when the powers-that-be allowed this group to take over the whole place in Atlantic City around 1990?”

He could then tell everyone he had seen the Captain and his Crew and that would be that.

I decided to bring the guy three of my books, the above named one and also I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack! and The Virgin Kiss.

As I was leaving the house, my wife the Beautiful AP said, “What are you wearing?”

“What?”

“You have to be kidding me,” she said. “You are meeting a fan wearing your sweat pants?”

“Uh,” I said. “I mean it’s just lunch.”

“At a quality restaurant. Change into a suit right now,” she said. “You don’t want to look like a bum.”

So I changed and met the guy at my favorite local restaurant Taverna Uva Rossa in Malverne. I never ate lunch at Taverna before but my wife and I eat dinner there a few nights a week. My wife and I even have our own table, number 42.

We entered the restaurant and I figured I’d get my usual big hello from Carol, a pretty young woman who designed the place, but she was not there. I did not know the greeter. I looked into the restaurant and— oh, my lord!—a group was sitting at my table! I had made a reservation. That table should have the “reserved” sign on it.

We sat at another table. The waiter was someone new too. Obviously, the afternoon crew was not the same as the night crew. I guess I couldn’t impress my fan with how I am treated like a king at my favorite joint. Oh, well, I am not the Captain.

The guy I met gave me a beautiful hand-crafted pen that used Bethlehem wood. Ah, that was nice, a gift for his favorite author (which I assumed I was). I opened the shopping bag in which were the books I was giving him and I would (with a flourish) take out my pen and autograph them.

I whipped my pen out of my pocket and…

“I don’t read,” he said.

“Huh,” I said.

“I have a case of macular degeneration,” he said. “I don’t read.

It hurts.”

“Ah,” I said. I slyly put my pen back in my pocket.

“I don’t really know who you are,” he said. “I just know that a lot of people on the web site dislike you.”

“A few,” I said.

“I figured it would be fun meeting you since we live so close by.

Have you met any of them?” he asked.

“Uh, ah, no I don’t know who they are. It’s just a few,” I said.

“I figured you wrote a book once,” he said.

“I’ve written thirty-five books; some big publishers too…”

“I don’t read,” he said.

“Ah.”

So I opened the shopping bag and took out the framed picture of the best of all time, the Captain and also his Crew. “Here it is,” I said.

“Here is?”

“The Captain and his Crew!” I announced.

“Who?” He took the picture and looked at it.

“It’s the Captain. The Captain and his Crew. Look at them. I have the

names with the ones I wrote about,” I said.

“Never heard of him,” he said.

“The Captain,” I said.

“No,” he said.

“But people have written about him—the Captain, the Captain—on that web site. He’s right there in the picture,” I pointed. “He is the best craps player of all time.”

“I don’t read much of the web stuff. I just once in a while write something but I ignore most of the stuff except for some of the people who have said mean stuff about you. But I don’t read much there. I didn’t even know you were a famous writer. I thought you may have written one book in the 1990’s.”

We ate. We had a nice conversation. I didn’t autograph my books.

When I got back home the Beautiful AP asked, “So how did it go?”

“I should have worn my sweats,” I said.

Frank Scoblete’s newest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps!, I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack! and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic. Frank’s books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

 

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