Arnold Rothstein must have thought that the poker game at the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan would be a lucky one – but his luck ran out when he was shot and killed here on November 4, 1928. Police found him covered in his own blood at the service entrance of the hotel. They followed the trail of blood and this led them to a suite where a group of men were having a good time playing cards. Rothstein apparently ran out of good cards in his final hand.
Rothstein was known as someone who was very talented in playing numbers. As early as his teenage years, he was able to build wealth just by playing craps and poker games. He developed a sincere interest in the gambling world and by the age of 20, has already earned enough fortune to operate his very own casino. New York immediately recognized his presence and even considered him a legend in gambling; he was known for his unmatched winning streak in bets and card games. However, his reputation was tinted with controversy. Some think that his winnings were a result of him fixing the said occasions, one of which was the World Series that was held in 1919. Abe Attell who was a friend and employee to Rothstein apparently paid some of the players on the Chicago White Sox. The scandal was later revealed but Rothstein denied allegations of participation before a grand jury. Luck was on his side in this one incident and he was able to escape formal charges. Without the jury watching though, Rothstein liked to keep his outlaw image and didn’t even try to deny his involvement.
When 1920s came, Rothstein expanded his horizon – he now started to buy other businesses and things that gave him opportunity to multiply his money such as brothels, racehorses, and nightclubs. His name was well-known in the criminal underworld where he was even rumored to have spent half a million dollars to resolve a gang war. His fortune was estimated to be at $50 million when he became recognized as a high-level loan shark. He covered his criminal tracks by stuffing the pockets of police and judges, an act that allowed him to toy with the law. Stories also circulated where the gambler supposedly always carried a pocket money of $200,000.
The fame and fortune that he earned for himself would soon become useless for him in 1928 when the losing streak started to appear in his life. In September of that year, he made the mistake of playing poker game with Hump” McManus, “Nigger Nate” Raymond, and “Titanic” Thompson. He must have been playing fair and square because he ended up losing $320,000. He knew that he was not cheating but accused the other players of rigging the game and refused to pay the amount he owed. He was invited by McManus two months later to play once again with them and Rothstein willingly agreed, not knowing that this would be his last.
Although he was a cheat, he kept the gangsters’ code of silence to heart – he never revealed the person who shot him when he was asked about it before he died. Authorities suspected McManus who went to trial. However, the secret as to who really shot Rothstein would forever become a secret as McManus was acquitted of the crime.