Are you a gambling man?” Vera asks me. She hands on an envelope to a bartender at the Meatpacking District as she sips on a whiskey and ginger ale. The envelope includes money for one of its own clients. Vera’s a bookie and a runner, and to be apparent, Vera’s not her real name. She’s a small-time bookie, or even a bookmaker, one who takes stakes and leaves commission them off. She publications football tickets and collects them out of bars, theater stagehands, employees at job websites, and sometimes building supers. Printed on the tickets which are the size of a grocery receipt are spreads for college football and NFL games. At precisely the exact same time, she’s a”runner,” another slang term to describe somebody who delivers cash or spread amounts to some boss. Typically bookies are men, not women, and it’s as though she is on the chase for new blood, searching for young gamblers to enlist. The newspaper world of soccer gambling has shrunk in the face of the wildly popular, embattled daily fantasy sites like FanDuel or even DraftKings. “Business is down due to FanDuel, DraftKings,” Vera says. “Guy wager $32 and won two million. That is a load of shit. I want to meet him.” There’s a nostalgic sense to circling the amounts of a football spread. The tickets have what seem like traces of rust on the edges. The faculty season has finished, and she did not do that bad this season, Vera states. What’s left, however, are swimming pool stakes for the Super Bowl. Vera began running numbers back when she was two years old at a snack bar where she was employed as a waitress. The chef called in on a phone in the hallway and she’d deliver his stakes to bookies for horse races. It leant an allure of young defiance. The same was true when she bartended from the’80s. “Jimmy said in the beginning,’I’m going to use you. Just so that you know,”’ she says, remembering a deceased supervisor. “`You go in the pub, bullshit with the boys. You’re able to talk soccer with a guy, you can pull them , and then they’re yours. ”’ Jimmy died of a brain hemorrhage. Her next boss died of brain cancer. Vera says she overcome breast cancer herself, even though she smokes. She underwent radioactive treatment and denied chemo. Dead managers left behind customers to conduct and she would oversee them. Other runners loathed her in the beginning. They couldn’t understand why she’d have more clientele . “And they would say,’who the fuck is this donkey, coming here carrying my job? ”’ she states just like the guys are throwing their dead weight about. On occasion the other runners duped her, for example a runner we’ll call”Tommy” kept winnings he was likely to hand off to her for himself. “Tommy liked to put coke up his nose, and play cards, and he enjoyed the women in Atlantic City. He’d go and provide Sam $7,000 and fuck off with another $3,000. He informs the boss,’Go tell the broad.’ And I says, ‘Fuck you. It is like I’m just a fucking wide to you. I really don’t count. ”’ It is obviously forbidden to get a runner to devote winnings or cash intended for customers on private vices. But fellow runners and gaming policemen trust her. She never speaks bad about them, their figures, winnings, or names. She whines if she doesn’t make commission. She says she could”keep her mouth closed” which is the reason why she’s be a runner for nearly 25 years. When she pays clients, she exchanges in person, never leaving envelopes of money behind bathrooms or under sinks in tavern bathrooms. Over the years, however, she’s lost up to $25,000 from guys not paying their losses. “There is a lot of losers out there,” she said,”just brazen.” For the soccer tickets, she funds her very own”bank” that is self-generated, nearly informally, by building her value on the achievement of this school season’s first few weeks of stakes in the autumn. “I ai not giving you no more figures,” Vera says and beverages from her black stripes. Ice cubes turn the whiskey to some lighter tan. She reaches for her cigarettes and zips her coat. She questions the recent alterations in the spread for the weekend’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos and squints in her beverage and overlooks the bartender. Her moves timber, as her thoughts do. The favorability of the Panthers has changed from three to four four-and-a-half to five quickly in the past week. She wants the Panthers to win six or seven to allow her wager to be a victory, and forecasts Cam Newton will direct them to a double-digit triumph over Peyton Manning. Outside, she lights a cigarette before going to a new bar. Someone she did not need to see had sat in the initial one. She says there is a man there who will frighten her. She continues farther north. At the next bar, a poster tacked to the wall past the counter shows a 100-square Super Bowl grid or”boxes” “Have you been running any Super Bowls?” Vera asks. To win a Super Bowl box, in the end of each quarter, the last digit of the teams’ scores will need to match the number of your chosen box in the grid. The bartender hands Vera the grid. The pub lights brighten. Vera traces her finger across its outline, explaining that when the score is Broncos, 24, and Panthers, 27, from the next quarter, that is row 4 and column . Prize money varies each quarter, and the pool just works properly if pub patrons purchase out all the squares. Vera remembers a pool in 1990, the Giants-Buffalo Super Bowl XXV. Buffalo dropped 19 to 20 after missing a field goal from 47 yards. All the Bills knelt and prayed for this field goal. “Cops from the 20th Precinct won. It was 0 and 9,” she says, describing the box amounts that matched 0 and 9. But her deceased boss wasted the $50,000 pool over the course of this entire year, spending it on rent, gas and cigarettes. Bettors had paid installments throughout the entire year for $500 boxes. Nobody got paid. There was a”contract in his own life.” The bartender stows a white envelope of cash before attaching an apricot-honey mix for Jell-O shots. Vera rolls up a napkin and spins it into a beer which looks flat to provide it foam. “For the first bookie I worked for, my title was’Ice,’ long before Ice-T,” she says, holding out her hand, rubbing where the ring along with her codename would fit. “He got me a ring, which I lost. Twenty-one diamonds, created’ICE. ”’ The bookie told her he had it inscribed ICE because she had been”a cold-hearted bitch.” Read more: