"If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time"


William Bill Graham was born in San Francisco in 1888. As a man looking for adventure, he passed through several mining and saloon towns like Nevada's Virginia City and Gold Hill but settled down in Millers, where he sold stock for George Winfield and others. He did well but found what he wanted when he reached Tonopah in 1915. Graham loved the town and its Casino Athletic club which had a boxing ring and workout facilities. Goldfield and Tonopah had featured boxing matches like the Joe Gans and Oscar Nelson fight Graham read about as a boy, and he found plenty of boxers plying their trade in the mining towns. He was there when future Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey fought Johnny Sudenberg on June 13, 1915, and had no intention of leaving anytime soon. George Wingfield, former resident and now Reno socialite, asked Nick Abelman to put Graham to work at the Tonopah Club and make him a partner. Nick obliged. Graham took quickly to the faro and poker games, and Graham turned out to be as tough on the drunks and cheats as the boxers were on their lesser opponents, but he had other qualities too, such as a long list of friends who could provide favors. When prohibition was passed, Abelman and Graham took advantage of his friends in Millers, stocking years worth of booze in the small town. According to the book, The Roots of Reno, in 1919 they were stopped on their way back to Tonopah from Millers by Capt. Hendricks and two State police cars filled with officers. They were arrested and driven to the town where the men were arraigned before the acting Tonopah Justice, who released them on $1,000 bail. Abelman's lawyer worked the case for months, eventually drawing a reprimand and a $2,000 fine per man.

"The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling. "

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