The last of the old-time dice and card “mechanics,” Jack Farrell recounts his colorful adventures in and outside the mob, running crooked dice and card games all over the country and world.
Below is part of Hartford Courant reporter Jesse Leavenworth’s story on Farrell, his life and his new book. Read the full story on courant.com.
To hustle backroom gamblers as long as he did without ending up folded into a car trunk, you gotta have what Jack Farrell calls “the pump.”
That’s heart. Stones. The ability to cheat for hours in a rough-and-tumble dice game ringed with drug dealers, coke-addled pimps and degenerate gamblers. It’s adrenaline mixed with confidence locked into one goal: walking with the money.
Farrell’s recently published memoir — “Fast Jack: The Last Hustler” — describes his trajectory as a quick-handed game fixer, starting at a bar in his native Manchester and criss-crossing the globe. It’s a journey lined with close calls, ingenious and devious plots, rank suckers and greedy gangsters, including James “Whitey” Bulger (Courant reporter Edmund H. Mahony wrote a condensed version in a series of stories in 2009).
Farrell’s decades-long run as a sought-after dice mechanic and sleight-of-hand card player sputtered in 1989, when he was indicted on federal racketeering charges related to a mob-controlled casino in New York City. Farrell was sent to prison for 33 months.
It was legalized gambling, however, that finally knocked Fast Jack out of the deal. Now 76 and still living in Manchester, Farrell sat down recently for an interview about his book, his pride and regrets and his plans for the future.