Arnold Rothstein, who was born in New York City in 1882, was a merchant and the leader of New York’s Jewish underworld. He is also renowned for attempting to fix the 1919 World Series in the Chicago Black Sox Scandal.
Not only was Rothstein, a.k.a. Big Al, a ruthless mafia leader, but he also understood the complexities of business and ran the mob as a corporation.
“[He] had the most extraordinary intellect. He had a natural understanding of business, and if he had been a legitimate financier, he would have been just as eager as he was with his wagering and other scams.
Meyer Lansky, also known as the Mob’s Accountant, stated.
Rothstein amassed a fortune estimated to be worth $10 million, or roughly $140 million when adjusted for inflation, due to his business acumen and mathematical aptitude.
Long before he became New York’s wealthiest and most influential criminal, Rothstein was a high school reject attempting to earn a living through wagering.
So, let’s discuss Rothstein’s background, wagering skills, rise in the criminal underworld, clandestine casinos, and demise, including how he was shot during a high-stakes poker game.
Dropout of high school to millionaire gambler
Rothstein’s Early Gambling Talent
Arnold Rothstein was reared in a Manhattan upper-middle-class family, as opposed to the majority of mafia bosses who grew up on the streets. Abraham was a prosperous merchant whose reputation for integrity earned him the moniker “Abe the Just.”
Arnold deviated from this path early on since he received subpar grades and was more interested in wagering as a child. Rothstein excelled in only one academic subject, mathematics, which served him well in wagering.
In an article by Victoria Vanderveer titled Arnold Rothstein and the 1919 World Series Fix, he was asked when he began gambling.
Arnold resisted his father’s authority and resented the attention his parents lavished on his rabbi-studying elder brother, Harry. This is one of the reasons why Arnold continued to fire dice after his father spotted him and reprimanded him.
A career as a cigar vendor
After abandoning high school, Rothstein lacked the funds to pursue his genuine passion, wagering.
This compelled him to pursue a profession as a cigar salesman. Arnold, as described by Leo Katcher in his biography The Big Bank Roll on Rothstein, never lost site of his ultimate objective.
“The cigar vendor made a comfortable livelihood. “He lived frugally and did not become a drunkard,” writes Katcher. Each week, the coil of paper in his pocket became slightly thicker. He was aware that he could never achieve his ultimate objective through straightforward economies, but he hoped they would get him started. He disliked long-term endeavors. He was primarily a short-term, high-turnover employee.”
Rothstein eventually sold enough cigars and hoarded enough money to accrue wealth.
a cash reserve of $2,000. Arnold, who is worth over $28,000 today, resigned his position as a merchant in order to become a professional speculator.