I just finished reading Blood Aces, a new biography about Benny Binion, the Texas gangster who created a gambling empire in Vegas as well as the World Series of Poker. He could barely read and write, was a shrewd judge of character, and was also quite, um, colorful. Those who opposed him often ended up dead. Even mob heavies mostly left him alone. And he outlasted all of them, dying respected and beloved by many. (More on the book soon, after I hear author Doug Swanson speak at The Mob Museum.)
Two Binion quotes made me laugh out loud.
Binion served time for tax evasion. A few years later he explained in court how him giving a local poltician $30,000 in cash was a loan with no interest or repayment schedule, and was asked if he kept financial records.
“I didn’t keep no records. The last time I kept records you assholes put me in Leavenworth,” said Binion.
Also, there weren’t no scantily-clad showgirls at the Horseshoe, “and never would be, because as Binion liked to say, he didn’t want his money blowing out the end of some guy’s trumpet.”