While I was in Las Vegas at a Computer Security Conference recently, I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Jim Feist. He treated me to lunch at Kojo’s at the Orleans. I had been introduced to him by my co-author David Lesperance.
Jim is an American Institution. He is a famous ‘capper, or handicapper … what on this side of the pond we call a tipster … but on a grand scale. He studies the ‘form’ of various sports, and then packages and sells his tips … very successfully. He is the principal panelist on Proline, America’s premier handicapping television show on the USA Cable Network.
Now just in his seventies, Jim started hustling pool at the age of fourteen. Meeting him was like coming face to face with a Damon Runyon character, relocated from New York to Vegas. Rumour has it that he was the model for the Al Pacino character, Walter Abrams, in the 2005 film Two for the Money, co-starring Mathew McConaughey.
Personally I don’t see it. Jim was charming, great to talk to, full of fascinating anecdotes, not a hint of cynicism, and he shared his encyclopaedic knowledge of Vegas freely … nothing like the manic Walter.