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Bust: How I Gambled and Lost a Fortune, Brought Down a Bank - and Lived to Pay for It

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On the surface, Adam Resnick was your typical guy next door, a friendly, charismatic father of two. But he spent the first decade of his adult life winning and losing fortunes playing blackjack and betting on sports, sometimes winning and losing millions in mere hours–until, in one frenzied night, he received a phone call that was his moment of reckoning, and that sounded the death knell for his lifelong addiction.

Bust is a white–knuckled story of the highs and lows of a ...

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Overview

On the surface, Adam Resnick was your typical guy next door, a friendly, charismatic father of two. But he spent the first decade of his adult life winning and losing fortunes playing blackjack and betting on sports, sometimes winning and losing millions in mere hours–until, in one frenzied night, he received a phone call that was his moment of reckoning, and that sounded the death knell for his lifelong addiction.

Bust is a white–knuckled story of the highs and lows of a world–class gambler. Introduced to gambling at the age of six, Resnick was a whiz kid who was winning tens of thousands by his teens. A successful businessman, he won and lost millions at the gambling tables throughout his twenties–and wrote more than 130 bad checks to cover his losses. Resnick's high–rolling lifestyle opened the door to the parties 'n' celebrities universe of Las Vegas, while at the same time introducing him to the underbelly of bookies and mobsters. He was surrounded by a host of enablers who lent him cash–often at exorbitant rates that enriched their pockets at his expense. And, finally, he found what seemed like the answer to his prayers: An insider at a family–owned Chicago bank who gave him an open line of credit. It all came to a head one fateful morning when a phone call informed him that he had 24 hours to deposit $3,000,000 into a bank account. Cornered by sure financial ruin, a prison sentence, and worse, Resnick drove to a casino in Hammond, Indiana, with a million dollars in cash . . . won up to $8 million in one night . . . and then lost it all before he left the table. In one frenzied night–captured on casinovideotape–Resnick brought down that bank, and won himself a jail sentence for bank fraud.

Adam Resnick's story is both moving and timely. Coming when the multi–billion–dollar gambling industry is bigger than ever and celebrity poker tournaments are the rage, this stinging indictment of gambling's dark side and portrait of a lifelong addict will draw readers who want to know more about what it is to be a high roller–the risks, the exhilaration, and the eventual collapse

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061341366
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Adam Resnick grew up in a typical middle-class Wisconsin household. From early childhood, he exhibited behavioral patterns that would later define and drive his gambling. Before his indictment in 2005, he had built a successful career as a health care entrepreneur. In January 2007, after pleading guilty to wire fraud, Resnick began a forty-two-month term in federal prison.

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Read an Excerpt

Bust

How I Gambled and Lost a Fortune, Brought Down a Bank--and Lived to Pay for It
By Adam Resnick

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Adam Resnick
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061341366

Chapter One

Is There a Problem?

You always drown alone, and there I was.

Binion's Horseshoe Casino. A three-story riverboat transformed into a gambling mecca on the Indiana–Illinois border. The highway leading there from downtown Chicago, after the two-dollar tollbooth, was wide open and fast this morning, allowing me to step on the gas. Driving against the traffic, I flew by the morning commuters heading to their jobs in the city. Aerosmith and Run DMC's version of "Walk This Way" came on and I cranked the radio.

I could feel the buzz start to build. A few phone calls to friends and my bookie and suddenly I was exiting I-90 at Indianapolis Boulevard. Seven minutes later I pulled my Mercedes in front of the casino and tossed the key to the valet, the first person of the day to greet me as Mr. R, as in "How ya doin', Mr. R?"

How was I doing?

It was 10 am, and I'd kissed my two small children good-bye, told my wife that I was headed to work, and then sped to the Horseshoe. I had a $1 million check wadded up in my pocket and I didn't know it. For the past seven months I'd written checks, illegally, off an internal account at Universal Federal Savings and Loan, during which timeI'd cycled more than $200 million in and out of the local bank to fuel my gambling. I was on the binge of all binges. I had no idea that in a week I'd be walking into the same casino, at nearly the same time, needing to win at least $3 million to keep the bank from collapsing and my world from falling apart.

I was thirty years old, arguably the biggest gambling addict on the planet, and I was headed for a crash of epic proportions.

How was I doing?

I was phe-fucking-nominal.

I walked through the casino and nodded at a half dozen employees who greeted me. I went straight to the back room, the one reserved for the high rollers, where a dealer stood behind a green-felt blackjack table. She was in her early thirties, looked in her mid-forties, and wore her dirty brown hair in a feathered style she'd probably had since the mid-eighties. I'd played with her umpteen times before, and she was solid. She understood when to talk and—more important—when not to utter a word, not to make a sound, not to scratch her face if it meant interrupting the rhythm.

I didn't have the patience to play with other people at the table, so I sat by myself. I wanted the hands hypersonic, and I didn't want to wait between cards.

The casino knew that and everything else about me. They knew I played fast, bet the highest available limits, and pushed to get them higher. They knew I indulged a germ phobia by cleaning my hands with antibacterial wipes and patting my bald head compulsively with Stridex pads. They knew I pushed down on the top chip of each stack in front of me. They also knew I had no self-control as a gambler.

I started out slow, making small talk with the dealer until I got warmed up and started to feel the cards. It was like finding my way through a maze in the dark; eventually I found the pathway, then sped up confidently. Whether that confidence was deserved, that was another issue. But I stopped talking at that point and entered a zone—or the zone, as I called it—where the thoughts in my head washed away and nothing existed other than the dealer, the cards, and my wagers. The dealer picked up on it too; a good dealer feels the same thing as the player.

I didn't win every hand, but I won more than I lost, and the winnings piled up in front of me until I was up a couple hundred thousand dollars. Then the game shifted subtly or, more accurately, the gamesmanship began. The casino's top chef came to the table and asked if I felt like something special. He interrupted the deal and broke my concentration. I glanced at the pit boss. He knew I wasn't there to eat lobster, prime rib, caviar, or anything else.

The pit boss looked away.

"No, thanks," I said.

I shook my head at the dealer.

"You hungry?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"Me neither. It's laughable."

We resumed the game. I sat forward. I wore a dull blue long-sleeved T-shirt and jeans. My leather shoulder bag was slung over the back of my chair. I breathed deeply several times, like a yogi reentering a meditative state. Despite the chef's intent to throw me off, the vibe continued, within an hour I was up five hundred thousand dollars.

I leaned back and stretched my arms above my head. I felt the leather strap of my shoulder bag slip off the back of my chair. When I turned to rehook it, I saw that security had let a handful of people gather about six feet behind me. I didn't like that. Worse, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a new dealer moving toward the table.

I was aghast. I motioned for the pit boss. He hurried to the table.

"Yes, Mr. R?"

"If you bring him in"—I glanced toward the new dealer—"I'm never coming back here."

"Is there a problem?" the pit boss asked.

"You know what's going on," I said. "There's going to be a problem if you bring him in."

I glanced at the new dealer to make sure he knew I meant nothing personal against him. I saw he was on my side. Likely a gambler himself, he had a look that appeared to say, Sorry, Mr. R. I know this is bullshit. They're sending me in to fuck up your game.

"I understand," the pit boss said. He nodded to the dealer, who appeared relieved to be let go. "Is there anything I can get you?"



Continues...

Excerpted from Bust by Adam Resnick Copyright © 2007 by Adam Resnick. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    Haven't read an entire book in five years....Until this one!!!!

    Have a friend that gave me this book to read because he thought that it might interest me. It laid around the house for about a week, then I finally picked it up and started to read it. I finished it in two days.
    An eye openning account of a good man with a horrific Gambling addition and how he has found a way to change his life.
    This is a story for many different kinds of readers. It lets you see how important a role LOVE and FORGIVENESS plays in the lives of those that believe and have true faith especially when things get real bad.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Heartpounding!

    I am not a fan of gambling but was drawn to this book for some reason. The blurb sounded interesting so I thought I would discover something more about the psychology of a gambler. I was amazed at the emotion that was stirred up when reading this. At times I would be willing the author to stop what he was doing, or to just see sense. Towards the end of the story I felt nervous and uncomfortable (which I would class as making this more of a thrilling story and also a compelling reason to steer clear of gambling!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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