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A Poem for Sonny

Sonny Reizner (1921 - 2002)

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SEE ALSO: From the Las Vegas Sun, December 02, 2002

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Nobody didn't like Sonny Reizner. He was universally respected throughout the gaming community for his integrity, graciousness and class. I won't go into Sonny's fabled history as a gambler and sportbook manager here. You can read about that in plenty of other places. Let's just say that sports betting today would not be what it is without the input of Sonny Reizner.

When I was doing research for my book, How Professional Gamblers Beat the Pro Football Pointspread, I wanted more information about what went on behind the counter at a sportbook. Sonny was nice enough to spend a considerable amount of time with me. In fact, I learned more from Sonny about bookmaking in a couple hours than I'd ever learned on my own. We became friends, and during all my years in Las Vegas I never met anyone with a bad thing to say about Sonny Reizner.     

Randy Hecht grew up with Sonny Reizner's kids. He knew Sonny all his life. Randy was invited to Sonny's 75th birthday party in 1996, and wrote this poem for that occasion. Randy was nice enough to let us reprint his tribute to Sonny here...

Sonny'shine

I dedicate this poem to a man I’ve known all my life,

His children, and a great loving wife.

Gale, Jann, Alan & Adam, a winning card in any sport.

Sonny recognized early on, he likes this home court.

From the good-ole days back in Framingham, Mass,

To the Las Vegas Strip, many will ask.

How does a man acquire so much knowledge.

The answer my friend, not from any college.

Bill Friedman was the man at the Castaways.

A friend of Sonny’s, who knew his winning ways.

There were much profits in wagering he recognized.

Let’s bring it to the casino, so it’ll be on the inside.

But Sonny notices a problem, this place is too small.

Bill replies, “we’ll flaunt it”, and call it the ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’.

With the Castaways now history,

New casinos see victory.

Bigger money builds a larger façade.

Another Vegas icon, they call it the Mirage.

But players and books, have no fear.

Sonny now sets up shop, at the Frontier.

With Sonny’s charisma, opportunities are many.

In the sports book business, you always have to be ready.

Sonny’s next challenge is at a new casino.

So just around the corner, awaits The Rio.

As the years go by, not wanting to resign.

Enjoys watching the game, ang putting up the line.

Sonny envisions one more big win.

This time let it be, at the Desert Inn.

Analyzing trends and stats is only part of the scheme.

Is inside information the key in picking the winning team?

Many ask, “what’s the secret in betting against the spread”?

Knowing Sonny’s ‘30 rule credo’, then you will have the edge!

From the Framingham Mall to the Hole-in-the-Wall,

Your legend spreads far and wide.

And everyone around, who wants to get down,

Will call Sonny to get the right side.

From one who thought I was always a hard worker,

But didn’t know Randy Hecht was also a handicapper.

Will always remember we reunited back in 1985,

And even more happy to celebrate, you making it to 75.

Sonny Reizner has given so much to the community,

So tonight, its only fair, to take this opportunity.

To show our appreciation in a warm way.

We are proud to say “Sonny, have a Happy Birthday!!”

Remember, as the play in college and pro,

For who will win, we don’t really know.

But one thing's for sure, and we’ll say it this way.

We love you Sonny, each and everyday.

                                                              - Randy Hecht, 1996 

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Related article:
Something I Learned from Sonny Reizner

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