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How did you get into gambling?

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  • Kevin
    started a topic How did you get into gambling?

    How did you get into gambling?

    I saw a question similar to this somewhere else on the web and thought it'd be a good conversation piece. I love to read people's stories about what turned them onto sports betting. We're kind of a weird crowd ya know. I have tons of buddies who are into watching games but don't really bet on sports. I can't figure out for the life of me how these guys can be so interested in watching and be such diehard fans without having a little action lol. I guess I answered that myself though... They're diehard fans!

    So my story goes like this... My dad was cleaning out his office one day and gave me this book that said "ledger" on it. Being a young kid and all (I was probably around 12), I felt like I had to put something important in this ledger that had spots for addition, subtraction and record keeping. I had always been fascinated by sports so decided that I was going to try to pick the winner of each game and see how well I could do percentage wise. What's really funny about this is that at that point in my life, I had NO idea that people bet on sports. And of course, I had no idea what a point spread was or that they even existed for that matter.

    So I started keeping records for football, basketball and baseball. This made watching the games more interesting for me as I'm statistical by nature and it gave me something to root for. I can only imagine how square my picks were then as I was probably rooting for local teams within my state etc. lol. Oddly enough, I do recall having percentages up in the 70's for picking games straight up, which probably isnt bad in the big picture.

    So I did that for years. Moving along to the future.... One day I was in Reno, Nevada on a road trip with my buddy Ray. We were barely old enough (or maybe not!) to get into the Casinos. I remember walking to the sportsbook as fast as humanly possible to get my bet down. I think it was at a place called Cal Neva. I had no idea how point spreads worked and I think it took the guy at the counter about 15 minutes to get it through my thick skull. The plus and minus sign was really tough for me to figure out lol. I was excited to learn that a guy could bet on over/unders too.

    I was SUPER knowledgeable about sports. I could probably reel off every single player on every roster in every professional sport with exception of hockey. I was going to tear up Vegas and get RICH off of this venture. OH man, little did I know!

    I believe I won big my first time out, which made this new venture even more exciting. I can't remember the exact figures, but I won something like 16 out of 18 games. Ray and I were 100% sure that we were going to drive to Reno every weekend and be retired within a few years.

    So we're sitting there and we see this newspaper. It was totally devoted to sports betting. I had never seen anything so cool in my life! In this paper, it had a huge ad that said "ESB: SPORTS BETTING FROM HOME, CALL 1-800-????"

    I couldn't believe this was possible. We called it and sure as heck they got us signed up and we were betting on games every day.

    When I started, I was damn near betting every game. I had the fever. Eventually, the odds caught up to me and I busted out. I have to laugh about this, because now that I'm somewhat savvy within this arena, I'm lucky to find 2 or 3 games on any given saturday/sunday that I like. Betting every game on the college football board makes me wanna laugh my balls off. It is indeed hilarious.

    So as the story goes, I did ok for quite some time. Ok as in BREAK EVEN. I probably lost overall, but it progressively got better. Sometime around 1998, I started to get pretty good at picking winners, as I should of, as I was handicapping games for something like 18 hours a day.

    Losing taught me many lessons. It and reading countless articles on the web also taught me about money management and the need to be frugal. When it comes to sports betting, less is more. It is my belief that MOST games offer no value and are unbetable. I believe that a winning sports handicapper is one that acts like a sniper. You sit there and wait wait wait for the line value to be on your side and then you take your shot.

    Most games have many positive and negative variables. If all of the stars are not aligned, it's best to take a pass, otherwise your bankroll is going to take it in the shorts. This method has worked for me, as has changing my methods to focus less on fading public opinion and more on paying attention to offensive lines, defensive lines, field goal percentage and pitcher vs. hitter stats.

    That's my story. What's yours?

  • DukiesBaby
    My 4th or 5th Birthday my uncle brought me a signed herschel walker football, he told me he got it signed at a GI Joes in Seattle Washington. From that day on i was a Philadelphia Eagle fan for life. I remember watching late 80's early 90's football games on tv, about the age of 11 i was taken out to multnomah greyhound park with my great uncle and uncle to go watch the dog races and they would ask me which dog i liked each race and bet it for me, if i won i got to keep the money at the end of the day, i also remember they used to hand out fanny packs too or wallets with money in random ones.. anyways my great uncle used to bet on dogs and Sports action. (in oregon u could bet on Nfl games with set spreads and could do this at pretty much any 7 eleven) every week my great uncle would show me his bets and then i started asking my dad if i could bet. every week i used to mow the lawn for $10 wash the cars $5 each. so by sunday i had $20. sports action here i come! i started with 4 spots and i started getting good. by age 14 i was in fantasy football leagues in my moms work and betting sports action on the regular. by sophmore year in high school i started my own fantasy football league, and got my buddies hooked on sports action and fantasy football. i remember back then just playing fantasy football and adding stats every week with pen and paper before it came to the internet, gave us what seemed a huge advantage in betting. my senior year in high school my most memorable loss was 3 friends and i took $25 each and made 50 14 spot $2 tickets. these 14 spots had a rolling jackpot prize and i remember this particular one was over 15k. we had 3 tickets finish 13 of 14 and the one game we lost on all 3 tickets was the Denver Broncos when corey dillion ran for the single game rushing record.. i remember denver was in our minds a lock that week.. after turning 18 out of high school i found 5 dimes and bookmaker, the new available bets we could make... team totals teasers money line wagers player props, i could not express how much joy we had when we found this out.. we literally killed it betting sports the first 3 years online, i think due in part to having to always cap games at just the fixed spread only really benefited us. from that day on sports gambling and gambling just became apart of me.

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  • Thor24
    Nice Topic...Great Stories...

    As I had said on here before..I grew up a Coach's son playing any and every sport I could..Starting at the age of 6 watching film (Old 16 MM) of Football games listening to him talk and break down the game..what to look for what to do..what to adjust..Got to even draw up plays for High School Football team..Thought I was the next Johnny U...then in High School started picking NFL games and group of my friends would put money in and who picked most right won the $$..Remember I live in WV country area so that was about it until after college I started working as a Pharmacist in larger city...Parley cards were brought into my store cause it was the "Meeting Place" for Local Football boosters every day cause in the 60's and 70's they won a lot State Titles..My Tech would want me to pick teams for him..after a year or so like that He told me I needed to start Picking Straight Up..Monster was born...Been pretty good to me and my Family that even now my Dad will ask me who I like in a game..Feels GOOD when your dad Respects your thoughts and who you think wins or many stories and good times thru the years..been to Vegas twice..Goal one day on a Big Football weekend to spend it in Casino..Old School like Golden Nugget..and Pick and Play non Stop...LOL..

    Really have been Blessed at other old site and Here to allow me to Post plays and my thoughts about ball...Much RESPECT..just wish I had more Time to do 63 Hours each week..Once again wish all here the Best....Hammer em..!!

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  • joepa66
    Love these stories......I have to say I got into it through my cousin and his best friend while we were in junior high! The friend's uncle owned a small deli/neighborhood grocery on the poorest side of a small town and we would go there on Sunday to see what his "uncle Joe" was cooking up.

    Joe was a slender elderly Italian man who made his money buying groceries under the table and reselling them at a regular store discounted price while also making some tidy profits. He also had these "football schedules" on the shelf being the checkout counter and my cousin and his friend would also play them.

    They showed me the ropes and I was off betting $1 3-team parlays. It was exciting and I learned a lot during the season. Around Christmas time we were sitting on a bench next to the pot belly stove which was the only source of heat in the place and located adjacent to the counter. I was sitting there warming myself and going over my parlay for the day when I saw a sheriff's vehicle pull up and double park outside the store entrance at the traffic light.

    A huge burly sheriff's deputy got out of the car and approached the door. I saved the day by leaping from my seat and grabbing a huge stack of parlays from the counter. Wheeling around I grabbed the white-hot door handle of the pot belly stove and stoked the fire with those parlay sheets.....not only saving "uncle Joe" from prison, but also saving me and my buddies from a trip to juvey! The evidence was destroyed.....or so I thought!

    The deputy sheriff, also with an Italian last name, burst through the door and asked, "Hey Joe, I don't have much time so where are the parlays at?"

    Uncle Joe was frantic looking behind the counter for a parlay. Moving papers, lifting up boxes and he finally asked, "Did anyone see the parlays that were here?"

    After what seemed an eternity, I sheepishly approached the counter and told Uncle Joe that I had tossed them into fire. He asked why the h@!! I would do such a thing, and I told him that I was scared and didn't want to get him into trouble. The sheriff's deputy exclaimed, "What! Boy, I ought to take you to jail anyway!" Joe, the sheriff's deputy and my friends all got a good laugh.

    I was so remorseful and embarrassed, but Uncle Joe made it all better when he handed me a cold 7-up and came over to sit with me by the fire with a homemade meatball sandwich. After we sat for a few minutes, he was on the telephone getting updated game lines which he scratched on the back of a paper grocery bag. He used an old notepad to record people's wagers by writing down the wager position and would call them in to the bookie.

    That day seems like yesterday but Joe died about 2 years ago. He was a lifelong friend and community do-gooder and he is missed by everyone. Once we persuaded him to let us "sell" parlays at school. We had a pretty good business going and would give Uncle Joe all the parlays and money until one day someone turned in a 10-team parlay with a $5 wager on it. We decided to keep that one! Almost a big mistake!

    The parlay had hit on 8 of the first 9 plays with one game left to go! Hitting 9 of 10 would pay 300/1 which is certainly better than the 600/1 payout for hitting all 10, but we didn't have money for either. It was the Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions and a miracle hail mary catch at the end of the game by Bobby Moore, aka. Ahmad Rashad saved the day and we were off the hook. I just remember being so nervous that I kept kicking people off the telephone so I could call my cousin and his friend to get game updates and plan our escape from town. I thought the mafia was coming to my house for sure. This was the end of our parlay scheme, but not the end of my wagering.

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  • Badger
    Love the topic gentlemen!

    It is so ironic to hear how similar all of our stories are, basically starting with sports geek-dom!

    My first taste of the sweet action was in baseball believe it or not. My dad di the standard football office pool at work. I used to keep track of the NFL draft each year in a three-subject notebook till I was about 16. But it wasn't until my junior/senior year of high school that I actually started betting on my own.

    Like many of you, I had a friend who somehow got hooked up with a bookie. One summer afternoon he was looking at the card in baseball that day and because I played baseball and he knew I knew a lot about the teams and players .... he started asking me questions. "What do you think about so-and-so pitching against this team?" "How many runs to you think this team will score going against this pitcher?"

    Long story short, I started making him some money because of my knowledge. He started asking my "opinion" every day and a few weeks into he actually asked me if I wanted to bet for myself. That first summer we were golden! We won so much that after about 15 weeks the bookie stopped taking our bets! We we're totally high rollers in high school. I bought a Sega Genesis, a bunch of new clothes ... we took girls to the movies and out to dinner all the time. About a month or two into the whole high-roller act my Mom finally came to me and asked me where I was getting all of this money I was flashing. She knew I wasn't gettig it from her, and she knew I didn't have a job. So I sorta fessed up to what I was doing ... to her disproval. That was my first lesson in not being so cocky and flashy about winning.

    That next football season ... lost my ass!! Baseball was so easy, so I (we) thought it would be the same with football. Lesson learned.

    Been doing it in some form or fashion ever since.

    And like Jerbeek and the others have stated ... its allowed me to meet a bunch of cool guys who share the same desires. I've met Jerry, Kevin, JoePa, Boiler, Yo, Queenie, Horfin and others on Vegas trips and swilled many a drinks with them. Made life-long friendships thru Predictem ... all because we all share that degenerate chromosome!

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  • yomonte
    Originally posted by Horfin View Post
    I grew up outside of Dallas Texas. Horf!n
    Hey Horf!n I lived less than a mile from Dallas Reunion Arena where I worked in the early 90's. You could see me during every Mavericks game on TV. I worked for a contractor but my boss was a city employee and after all his years, never knew he was on TV till I showed him. Our contract was over and I was gonna be out of work. Ringling Bro's and Barnum and Bailey was our last gig and I left with them. That's why they mess with me all these years about Circus Circus. I ain't...LOL

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  • gadfly36
    I've been playing cards since my teens but didnt get into sports betting til my mid twenties, started with football pools at work and progressed from there. The funny thing is I wasnt even a football fan til i got stationed in Tampa in 1979 the year the Bucs went worst to first and made it to the nfc championship game. I thought we would be great for a long time, lol.

    Still wasnt a big sports bettor until the internet came along, I played the football pools at work and occasionally bet others on games. I didnít know a bookie so that was the extent of my action. Then a buddy at work told me about online betting and we partnered up for a few years. I think Wager mall was our first web site, we would get together and handicap the games and then make our own bets. The one piece of advice I tried to give him was donít bet the rent money. He didnít listen and had to refinance his house the first year when he had lost over 25k on football. I had always believed that old adage, but that really drove it home. It is also one of the first things I taught my son about gambling. Not to say that there havenít been times that I have gone overboard but not to anywhere near that extent.

    Today I still like to gamble, obviously or I wouldnít be here, but do it recreationally instead of trying to live on it. I always say I can watch a bowling tournament or even a soccer game if I have a couple of bucks on it. To me its more the thrill of the win then the amount, even though when I hit a good size bet thatís a thrill too. Now I stick primarily to baseball and football and tournament poker, but occasionally will bet other sports. We have a local casino but no sports betting so 98% of my gambling is online.

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  • yomonte
    I really never got into gambling till I was in my forties. No casinos where I grew up. I started out playing parlay cards and I don't think I ever hit one. I delivered Wonder bread and on my route delivering was this guy handing out parlay cards and after football was over, had nascar parlay cards. Never hit one so it seemed lucrative to be on the other side. So I decided to run parlay cards in my area. Also took straight bets. I had a bookie that if we had to much action on one side, we would trade bets as to work off juice. Nascar and football together was a year round gig. Then my buddy Kenny (nic5) whom some of you have met, introduced me to sports forums and off shore casinos. I actually met snowman long before UC and Predictem. The first time I went to Vegas was with Kevin and my brother where we actually met snowman in person. he was the manger of the sportsbook at the Hilton and got us in the cave for the first time. The cave only had red recliners at that time and I think Kevin farted in his like a hundred times. I never was a big gambler and bet small mostly and was only successful the first few years betting nascar. I won a contest at predictem that I was entered in because a donation for toys for tots. Played it for 6 years. I'm not going to mention pitching pennies in kindergarden LOL

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  • Daws1089
    great stories men!

    I can see some similarities with a few of you. When I was 8 or 9 I would watch every football game I could and copy down players names, jersey number, and positions for every team I could and became a little obsessed with record keeping. I knew just about every player in the league. I tried to memorize my lists of players. In high school, the world series of poker started to be televised on espn and my friends and started playing a lot of hold 'em. We played before school, in study hall (secretly), after school and on weekends. I was pretty good- but not anything great. I suppose it was a natural progression to start betting on sports. I was on intertops betting dumb parlays and taking fav moneylines. I learned the hard way for sure, and continued betting in college. I had some unbelievable streaks in college winning between $10-$15k a couple years. I was betting with money I didn't have, but the hot streaks were unreal. Eventually busted with an unreal cold streak when I was a junior and made sure I would learn from it. Been betting ever since and don't think I'll ever stop.

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  • Horfin
    I grew up outside of Dallas Texas. I was a HUGE Dallas Cowboy fan and Dallas Mavericks fan. I would get home from school everyday and HAND COPY the box score from the mavericks games into a Binder that I had. (I would watch games on TV and hand tally points/assists/steals/turnovers/etc). I was such a dork.

    One day during football season when I was about 9 or 10, I opened the paper and I saw a magical thing....a weekly contest, you would circle the winners of NFL or College games and mail in your entry to the Dallas Morning News and include a self addressed stamped envelope. If you won they sent you a check for like $100.00. The only entry fee was postage to and from. So I entered. At first I kept it a secret from my parents, because the rules said you had to be 21, but I entered anyway. Well one week, I went like 12-2 and I won the 9 years old (maybe 10). So that Monday I ran home from school opened the news paper and there was my name in first place. I won $100 betting on footbal at the age of 10(?). Then I realized I had to tell my parents because I broke the rules.

    I told my dad and he thought it was pretty cool and we received the check and cashed it and I probably bought some football cards with the money.

    Eventually they stopped the contest. Fast Forward to me being 16 I had moved to Kentucky and met my eventual wife (who was from NY). Her dad was big into Horse Racing. He worked at Keeneland and Red Mile. Well it didn't take long for us to hit it off. He and I would go to the track and he taught me alot about horse racing.

    He and I had dreams of creating a website for gambling and offering free picks.
    Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly and that came to a halt.

    A year later I stumbled upon Kevin, Kevin filled that gambling void in my life and the rest as they say is history.


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  • Jerbeek
    Great idea for a topic!

    When I was young I remember getting the newspaper and sitting on the toilet and they would have the full schedules of every NFL team. I remember comparing schedules and thinking oh this team beat so and so by 14 and the other team beat them by 7 so that means they must be 7 points better. I would watch games with this in mind. I grew up in a religious home so gambling was somewhat taboo so I really didn't have much exposure but when I got out of high school some buddies and I started playing cards for small stakes. Of course it progressed during the college years to where we played cards almost every night. I think my parents thought I would never find a girlfriend - LOL. I think it was my last year of college I had some older friends that were going to Vegas for March Madness, it was amazing to be able to watch all the games and bet on them. When I got back it didn't take long to look for a bookie to bet some football with. I started out thinking I knew everything and would listen to shows with these tout gurus. I made the mistake of subscribing to SCORE with a buddy on mine and realized that touts suck!

    I guess I should add that even before sports betting I was in on fantasy, which of course my family thought was nothing more than gambling. Our first football league was in 1983 and that same group of guys are still together. I remember my first baseball league and actually counting all the stats every day out of the newspaper. It would take about an hour a day to figure stats. Wow, the internet has made things so much easier!

    My forum posting began at Bettorsworld. They offered lots of contests and I would also enter them. I rarely won but was usually good enough to get 2nd or 3rd. I remember my first big win was on a March Madness contest where you had to pick games. I would also post my picks on Saturday night because I had church on Sunday. One of the Sundays the site was down and I was the only one to get my picks in so it was an easy win. I think I won a free account for $2,000 at some sportsbook. It was my first time of gambling online and it was awesome! I think this same contest may have been when Kevin and I first crossed paths. It was a few years later when he contacted me about buying baseball picks from him and then shortly after that when he started UltimateCapper and asked me to join as a moderator. It is hard to believe that thru that Kevin and I have become great friends and are families have went on vacations together. It has truly been life changing!

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  • Q-Unit
    I am Asian. I think there's an automatic gene for gambling lol.

    Believe it or not, I bet on sports before I gambled blackjack and what not in a casino. Actually, given the Internet, that is very believable.

    We were 18 and in college and instead of doing cocaine, we did intertops and pinnacle (OH THE GOOD OL' DAYS!).

    Like most things in life, we were too young and stupid and it was just fun. It's still fun, but I definitely manage money better than I did back then.

    Plus, it gives you a very astute appreciate for the game in general. Most gamblers, at least the non-stupid ones, have seen it all. So when you're watching with a group of friends, you're usually the voice of reason in the room in never, ever, ever, declaring a game over until the last second ticks to 0.

    I agree with you Kevin, having action on a game, especially ones that don't involve your favorite team, makes it that more enjoyable.

    Plus, I get to feel like a part of a virtual family here at PE. And once in a while, Joepa66 will email me pictures of his home-cooked pho. :thumbs:

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