Johnny inherited the "family business" of taking bets on superhuman battles from his father Lester, a compulsive gambler himself. Setting up shop at New York City's Bar With No Name, he found eager bettors in many of the city's costumed criminals and established a network of sources and informants in the underworld. Due to his inexperience and incompetence, however, he failed to replicate his fathers success, and soon found himself deeply in debt to Lester.
When he excepted bets on a fight between Spider-Man and neophyte criminal Overdrive, he lost a large sum of money, and subsequently failed to recoup his losses by taking wagers on the origins of the cocoon that contained the mutated Freak. Desperate to get out from under his fathers thumb, he bailed the media-savvy super-criminal Screwball out of jail and hired her to impersonate Spider-Man in a stage battle with his other hireling Basher. When the real Spider-Man arrived, the Bookies, deception was revealed, upsetting criminals like Scorpia, and Lightmaster, but neither of them were as angry as the Enforcers' OX (Raymond Bloch), Montana (Jackson Brice), and Fancy Dan (Daniel Brito). The trio kidnapped Bookie and took him to Conney Island, where they terrorized him until he was rescued by his father and Spider-Man.
The Bookie became resentful of Lester, when he learned that his own father had laid odds on the outcome of his abduction. Spider-Man persuaded Lester to give the winnings to charity, the Bookie revealed to Spider-Man that the so-called "Spider-Tracer Killings" had actually been deaths by natural causes. Spider-Man demanded Bookie to come forward with any information, he had on the perpetrator that was framing him. The Bookie pleaded ignorance, but continued to take wagers on the identity of the "Killer". The Bookie accused J. Jonah Jameson of being the "Killer," but Jameson convinced him to look elsewhere. Ladue eventually figured out that there was no "Killer," and that a group of policemen had been framing the web-slinger for murder; before he could go public, he was apparently murdered by police officer Quentin Palone.