Ron Wall almost lost his life over bullion. On June 26, 2010, he walked into Room 129 of Whiskey Pete’s Hotel in Primm, Nev., to buy gold and silver from a man with whom he had done business before. But when Wall crossed the threshold, the man and his accomplice jumped him, beating him with various objects: a toilet-tank cover, a clothes iron, a lamp. Craving a bounty put on Wall’s head, the bandits hog-tied him with duct tape and phone cords, but Wall managed to escape. He was out $137,000, but he considered himself lucky.
It’s unclear why someone would want this 60-year-old poker player dead, but he isn’t just any old gambler. Known as “the Duke of Fremont Street,” Wall haunts the casinos of Las Vegas, his adopted hometown. Regulars recognize him by his old-fashioned wardrobe, which evokes the 1930s, his adopted era. A double-breasted suit capped by a fedora is his usual look. He even plays cards in the old style, good-humoredly intimidating his opponents by placing wads of cash held together by gold clips on the table. When the game’s over, he puts his money back into a violin case, hops into his 1936 Cadillac La Salle, and drives off into the sunset.
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