THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

  • Stay tuned for THIEF! book signings, media interviews and other THIEF! events
  • Media Reviews posted periodically
  • Mobwriter comments on true crime events and books

THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Monday, March 23, 2015

BJ Dealers School + Poker Cheat + White Chick = THIEF!

Mob Speak announced an upcoming subject several posts ago.

So, what does a casino dealers school, a poker cheat and a curious white chick with a dubious past have in common?

It goes like this...years ago yours truly, the white chick with a dubious past, worked as TV station manager and on-air personality (Bambi Lin) for an indie TV station in Santa Fe/Albuquerque, NM. Talk about a fun job. Then boom. The TV station sold and I found myself in the unemployment line.

Well, Indian casinos were popping up all over the state like wigwams. I interviewed seven blackjack dealers who agreed to talk with me and found out they made pretty decent tip money. Barely knowing how to hold a deck of cards, I had to enroll in a casino dealers school. It was there I met William "Slick" Hanner, one of my teachers. He carried around a yellow tablet with 28 pages of his handwritten "life story," searching for some sucker to make it into a book. Naturally he had no money to pay anyone.

We think it was an "act of God" that convinced me to take on the task because I'd never written anything other than a shopping list, let alone a book about gangsters. Plus, I didn't know the first thing about the crazy, complicated publishing world. With all that stacked against me, I was determined to write the true tale of a zany card mechanic who went through life like a speeding freight train about to derail at any minute. Something I can't explain drove me to write the book then get it commercially published. It was sort of like a passive death wish.

Almost overnight (actually nine grueling years later), Slick was ready to kill me out of frustration when we finally landed a publishing contract with Barricade Books. A year later, THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist hit bookstores.

Young Slick handcuffed with his rap partners
from THIEF!

As for my blackjack dealing abilities, you can read about that in earlier the time I was auditioning (that's how prospective dealers get hired) and one of my fake red fingernails flew off and hit a player between the eyes. Or the time I was auditioning as a roulette dealer, spun the ball a little wildly, it flew out of the wheel and hit the floorman in the crotch.

Listen, I really don't have to make this s--t up. It follows me around like the dog crap you step in and can't shake off.

That's it for now.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Greed, Mob Ties, Vengeance...

There's one person who definitely knows who killed Bugsy Siegel and that person is Sandra Lansky, Meyer Lansky's daughter. As everyone knows, Meyer Lansky and Siegel were thick as thieves from childhood. I hope Sandra is one of the panelists mentioned below. In our book THIEF!, co-author Slick has plenty to say about Ben Siegel's murder. Courtroom Conversations could prove interesting.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Slick's Las Vegas Then & Now: 27th in Series

It's been quite a while since MOB SPEAK posted an excerpt from Slick's colorful take on "Old Las Vegas" versus "New Las Vegas." Here it is from its 1940s heyday to mega-corporate 2009:
Present day Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Then and Now

Then: Crime and murder rates low
Now: Crime and murder rates high

Then: Mobsters ruled
Now: Wall Street, mega corporations and real estate
developers rule

Then: Lido de Paris
Now: Magic Shows; Cirque du Soleil

Onetime mayor, Oscar Goodman
and friends
Then: Mob took care of cheaters
Now: Law takes care of cheaters

Then: Evening gowns and men's suits
Now: Tank tops and flip flops

Then: Seven-card stud
Now: Texas Hold’em

Then: Thick smoke everywhere
Now: Smoking banned almost everywhere

Then: Hookers in every bar
Now: Overpriced strip clubs, fake escort ads and

Old Stardust
bordellos allowed only outside county limits

Then: $.49 breakfast
Now: Better eat at home

Then: Movie Casino
Now: Movie 21

Then: Drive anywhere in Las Vegas in 10 minutes or less
Now: Try to get anywhere in one day

Then: Las Vegas jumping with movie stars
Now: See movie stars in movies

Then: Comped Room, food, booze
Now: Players card

Then: Free entrance to beautiful, clean Lake Meade
Now: Pay to see what’s left of Lake Meade