NBA Finals, Internet Gambling, Lake Charles, and Vegas

The NBA Finals start Thursday and my Dallas Mavs are in it so I'm sure you expecting that I have money on the line. I do, Mavs win I walk away $46.50 richer. What you probably didn't expect is that is if the Heat win I still walk away up $10.50. I've found my gambling specialty, betting on championships.

Two summers ago I read Bringing Down the House. I have never been a big reader and I definitely have never had a book that I could claim to not be able to put down. The book is about a team of MIT engineers who learn to play blackjack and take Vegas for a ride. I was hooked. I ran simulations on my computer, dealt myself hands, I couldn't wait to turn 21 for a reason totally opposite of the normal college student.

My first gambling experiences were at the lovely casinos on Lake Charles in Louisiana on Thursday night trips last summer while I was working in Houston. Since those Louisiana trips I found my new favorite city in the world. I've been to Vegas twice in the past year. On these trips I played mostly blackjack, craps, and roulette and the success has been up and down.

With the school starting I realized that my casino trips were coming to an end. The upside was football season was starting up and I discovered the greatness of the offshore sportsbook that is Intertops.com. I started off hot. I was doing tons of research into betting strategies and college football and I was developing strategies of my own.

I had two faults that severely hit my bankroll. The first fault was not staying disciplined with a 1-3 unit betting system and randomly placing large bets on games I was sure on. The second fault was betting on OU. I just looked it up, I put money on OU 7 times and I lost 7 times. Half the time I picked them to cover, other times I picked against them, didn't matter. The eighth time it hurt the worst. Oklahoma was a four point favorite on Big Monday against a very bad Texas Tech team. A four point spread was solid money so I smartly put down thirty-five large. I tune in with less than 5 minutes and OU has a solid double digit lead which they promptly piss away to a one point win. This is why rivalries and school hatred exists.

I finally found my groove betting on extras, in particular futures bets. My first project was the NFL East right before Thanksgiving. The Redskins were favored to win the division so utilizing Excel's Goal Seek function (if you don't know how to use it, learn to) I put my money so that if Washington won I would break even but if Dallas or New York won I'd be up. If the Eagles won I'd be very screwed.

This streak continued when I put money on Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Denver early in the playoffs, although most of my profits dwindled when I hedged my majority position with Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl with a lot of prop bets on Seattle.

I really knew I was on to something when I put money on five different College Basketball Teams to win the National Championship on February 6th. The earlier in the season you put money on a championship the better odds you get. Those five teams (Texas, Florida, UConn, Memphis, and West Virginia) included Florida who went on to win the whole thing.
But those were little victories compared to how hard I whipped them in the NBA. On January 23rd I placed bets on Miami(6.5:1) and Dallas(14:1). Two weeks later I piled more on Dallas and Miami and put some on Phoenix and hedged my bets by putting a small bet on San Antonio. I started to get cold feet at my bold feeling that neither the Spurs nor the Pistons would make it back to the Finals.

If I had half an instinct about baseball I'd be placing futures for the World Series now. College Football futures are already out and I have to be honest Ohio State(5.5:1), Notre Dame(6.5:1), Florida(11:1), and LSU(14:1) look awfully appealing.

Go Mavs, MFFL!

-hj

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