Legendary gamblers: Arnold Rothstein
Reading time: 7 min, 1338 words
Rating: 7.5
Rating: 7.6

Legendary gamblers: Arnold Rothstein

Categories: cheating, crime, gambling history 22 Jan 2021 445 0

Arnold Rothstein was an infamous gambler known for his exceptional skills and cunning tactics. He was an American businessman and gambler who became prominent during the early 20th century. Rothstein was considered a mastermind in the gambling world and was often referred to as "The Brain." He had a fascinating life and career, and in this article, we will delve into the story of Arnold Rothstein, his achievements, and his downfall.

Arnold Rothstein
Arnold Rothstein

Rothstein was born in New York City on January 17, 1882, and saw his last classroom at age 16. He worked as a traveling salesman for a while, but he became drawn to a life of crime when he started hanging out in the neighborhood pool clubs. Rothstein started out small, gambling and working as a local loan shark, but it wasn't long before he made friends with some high-level officials, businessmen and figures of crime.

Rothstein was hungry for gambling, especially casino games, cards and horse racing, but he also used a large network of consultants to limit the volatility of his betting. For instance, he was accused of engineering the results of several horse races. In Manhattan, he allegedly ran an illegal casino.

Black Sox Scandal

Both for and against Rothstein being involved in the 1919 World Series fix, there is a lot of facts. In 1919, the agents of Rothstein reportedly paid representatives of the Chicago White Sox to intentionally lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. In what was called the "Black Sox Scandal", he bet against them and made a substantial profit.

He was summoned to Chicago to testify before a grand jury investigation of the incident; Rothstein said he was an innocent businessman, bent on clearing his name and his reputation. No proof could be identified by prosecutors to link Rothstein to the affair, and he was never indicted. Testified by Rothstein: 

When Abe Attell and some other cheap gamblers decided to frame the series and make a killing, the whole thing began. The world knows that I was asked about the offer, and my friends know that I flatly turned it down. I have no doubt that Attell used my name to bring it in order. Smarter men than Abe have done this. But I wasn't on it, under any conditions, wouldn't have gone into it, and didn't bet a cent on the Series after I found out what was going on.

Abe Attell
Abe Attell
Abe Attell

In another version of the story, Joseph "Sport" Sullivan, a gambler, first approached Rothstein, who suggested Rothstein help fix the World Series. Rothstein supposedly turned down Sullivan's proposal, but Rothstein reconsidered Sullivan's first offer when he got Attell's offer.

Joseph "Sport" Sullivan

He felt that the rivalry to fix the game made it worth the risk of playing and still being able to cover his participation. Rothstein's biography by David Pietrusza indicated that with Sullivan and Attell, the gangster worked both ends of the fix. Michael Alexander assumed that Attell fixed the series "probably without Arnold Rothstein's approval" which "did not prevent Rothstein from betting on the Series with inside knowledge."

Leo Katcher said that "all the records and minutes of the Grand Jury disappeared. So, too, did the signed confessions of Cicotte, Williams and Jackson.... The state, virtually all of its evidence gone, sought to get the players to repeat their confession on the stand. This they refused to do, citing the Fifth Amendment." The judge eventually has no alternative but to dismiss the case. Supposedly he won $350,000 on this game.

Rothstein owned a racehorse called Sporting Blood under the pseudonym Redstone Stable, which, under dubious circumstances, won the 1921 Travers Stakes. To pump up the betting on Sporting Blood, Rothstein reportedly conspired with a leading trainer, Sam Hildreth. On the morning of the race, Hildreth joined an outstanding three-year-old, Gray Lag, leading the betting on Sporting Blood to rise to 3-1. Via bookmakers, Rothstein bet $150,000, reportedly having been told that the second favorite, Prudery, was off her feed. Hildreth scratched Grey Lag from the starting list shortly before post time and without clarification. About $500,000 in bets plus the purse were raised by Rothstein, but a plot was never proved.

Rothstein reputedly manipulated most of the games that contributed to his winnings, and by joking that he would gamble on anything but the weather because he couldn't influence it, he perpetuated the notion.

Frank Costello
Frank Costello

By the mid-1920s, Rothstein was the financial boss of the American narcotics trade, and some of the most prominent mobsters of the period were hired by him: Frank Costello (Rothstein was financing Costello's bootlegging business), Jack "Legs" Diamond, "Lucky" Luciano and Dutch Schultz were all members of the crew of Rothstein.

Before and after Prohibition, he was a major player in increasing Mob syndicates, until he was gunned down at the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan on November 4, 1928.

Park Central Hotel
Park Central Hotel
George McManus
George McManus, gambling buddy of Rothstein, was arrested in the murder of Rothstein, but acquitted.

Some blamed the assassination on a poker player who Rothstein owes a gambling debt of $300,000 to. And if it took a day for Rothstein to die, he declined to inform the police who used to do that, and the gambler was never charged.

His assassination and the dissolution of the New York City-based criminal organization of Rothstein helped clear the way for Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to take office as a reformer.

King of the Roaring 20s: The Story of Arnold Rothstein

King of the Roaring 20s poster

American, biopic, drama, crime film directed by Joseph M. Newman, produced by Samuel Bischoff and starring David Janssen, Dianne Foster, Diana Dors and Jack Carson. During the prohibition era the gangster Arnold Rothstein rises to be a major figure in the criminal underworld. It is also known by the alternative title The Big Bankroll. It was based on a book by Leo Katcher. 



Q: Who was Arnold Rothstein?

A: Arnold Rothstein was a legendary gambler and organized crime figure in the early 20th century. He was born in 1882 in New York City and became known as "The Big Bankroll" due to his wealth and success in gambling and bootlegging.

Q: What made Arnold Rothstein so famous?

A: Rothstein is best known for his alleged involvement in the fixing of the 1919 World Series, which is often referred to as the "Black Sox Scandal". Although he was never officially charged with any wrongdoing, many people believe that he orchestrated the scheme in order to profit from gambling on the games.

Q: How did Arnold Rothstein get involved in gambling?

A: Rothstein grew up in a family of gamblers and was exposed to the world of gambling from a young age. He began his own gambling career as a teenager, betting on horse races and eventually moving on to poker, craps, and other games.

Q: Did Arnold Rothstein have any other criminal connections?

A: Yes, Rothstein was also involved in bootlegging and other illegal activities. He had ties to several organized crime figures, including Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky.

Q: What was Arnold Rothstein's gambling strategy?

A: Rothstein was known for his analytical and strategic approach to gambling. He often studied his opponents and their tendencies, and was known to use mathematical formulas and probability calculations to make his bets.

Q: How did Arnold Rothstein die?

A: Rothstein was shot and killed in 1928 in New York City. The circumstances surrounding his death are still shrouded in mystery, and no one was ever officially charged with the crime.

Q: What was Arnold Rothstein's legacy in the gambling world?

A: Rothstein's legacy in the gambling world is a mixed one. While he is remembered as a legendary gambler and strategist, his alleged involvement in the Black Sox Scandal has also tainted his reputation.

Q: Was Arnold Rothstein ever portrayed in popular culture?

A: Yes, Arnold Rothstein has been portrayed in several films, TV shows, and books. Notable examples include the TV series "Boardwalk Empire" and the film "Eight Men Out", which dramatize his involvement in the Black Sox Scandal.

See more: Mafia impact on Las Vegas in early years, Legendary gamblers: Nikos "Nick the Greek" Dandolas

Rating: 6.3
Rating: 8


There are no comments yet.