Titanic Thompson Profile

Titanic Thompson is perhaps one of the most interesting gamblers in history. He started off at an early age according to his biography. Thompson made his first bet at six. He told a stranger his dog could fetch a marked stone from a pond. Of course the stranger took the bet, thinking there was no way. The dog went in and fetched a marked stone. Titanic Thompson had filled the pond with several marked stones, making it impossible for him to lose the bet and this is the way he played. Before he would make any bet he made certain to fix it. In this way whenever a mark came along he would be sure to win.

It was said that he dug up a sign post stating Joplin was 20 miles away. He made certain to put it five miles closer. He went to some local gamblers and stated the sign was five miles too close. There was another story that he bet thousands that he could drive a golf ball 500 yards. He decided to tee up using a frozen lake.

You might say Titanic Thompson was a gambler and a hustler from these stories.  It is certain that if he wasn’t playing cards or other known games, he was creating something on his own to make a sure bet.

Titanic Thompson was born Alvin Clarence Thomas in 1892. He was from Monette Missouri. His private life was just as rich as his hustling games and golf. He was married five times before his death in 1974 at the age of 81. Three of his wives underwent divorce with him. His second wife was killed in a road accident. The fifth was around at the time of his death. He also had three boys who he named Thomas, Robert, and Ty Wayne.

In terms of gambling he was known to play cards, dice, horseshoes, golf, and devise proposition bets. He was a very talented man when it came to golf given he was able to use both hands. Thompson was definitely a pool shark and marksman. It was reputed that he had skills like “Merlin himself.” Damon Runyon was said to base Sky Masterson on this gambling man.

Thompson was also present at the death of Arnold the Brain Rothstein. He played a game against him in New York on the same night this crime boss died. It is also said Thompson played Minnesota Fats in a game of pool. If Thompson had not gone for the hustling games he probably could have been a professional golfer making quite a bit in income that way. Of course, a professional golfer made $30,000 in a year and he could make that in a week hustling the rich.

He was rumoured to have killed five men in his lifetime for cheating or trying to hustle him in a game. The nickname according to Thompson came from 1912. He was in Joplin Missouri at the time about the same time the Titanic sank. A reference to the Titanic was made that he could sink “everybody.” Thomas was changed to Thompson in a different situation with the papers.

Comments are closed.