Farewell Jimmy the Greek: Wizard of Odds

Ginger Wadsworth, Author Eakin Press $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-57168-144-7
When Demetrios Synodinos (1919- 1996), who later changed his name to James George Snyder, was a boy of 10, his mother and her sister were killed by the sister's estranged husband. Soon afterwards, Jimmy was taken from his Ohio home to the Greek island of Kois, the family's homeland, and after three years was moved to Steubenville, Ohio, where he became involved in gambling. Even as a teenager, he saw that the odds are usually with the house and, where they are not, information is the key to winning. In later years, he never bet at casinos and, although he wagered at racetracks, always assumed he might lose. Where information could help, however, was in sports betting, so he became the country's most respected oddsmaker for football, baseball and basketball, occasionally venturing into politics, where his greatest coup was a $170,000 win on Harry Truman in 1948. As an oddsmaker, he lived in Las Vegas, where he was arrested for interstate gambling in 1963 but was pardoned in 1974. From 1976 to 1988, he was a member of the NFL Today team on CBS-TV, which fired him for alleged racist remarks. Because Jimmy knew innumerable celebrities, his biography has some general interest, but the many details given by freelancer Wadsworth of his oddsmaking career will baffle anyone who is not a bookie or an accountant, making this book a long shot at best. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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