Monday, July 28, 2014
The Long Con of @RJinVegas: Bet Like A Pro (Part Two)
RJ Bell is the founder and CEO of Pregame.com, a sports betting website that includes forums, odds, contests, and picks (both of the free and for purchase varieties). It is one of the most successful sites of its kind, in no small part due to the popularity of Bell, who has accumulated over 80K Twitter followers and established himself as the mainstream media's go-to "expert" for stories involving gambling on sports.
An American success story if there every was one. That's only one side of it, though. In some corners of the internet (including this blog), there is a feeling that Bell has not found his success in a legitimate way. This is the third post in a series detailing the reasoning behind that particular feeling. If you'd like to start at the beginning, it's here.
The folks at Pregame love to talk about Steve Fezzik's "network" of "sharps". For example, from the same classic thread we delved into last time:
This supposed "network" comes up a lot, but they usually keep it pretty vague. Which is generally a good choice when you're hawking a product you know to be worthless.
However, in a wonderful turn of events, Johnny Detroit and Fezzik decided last March that it would be a good idea to have a conference call with Bet Like A Pro (BLAP) subscribers and post it on YouTube. And wouldn't you know, the first question was about this very topic:
BLAP Subscriber: I would like to ask Fezzik, how does it really work with him and his network of cappers? Is he really trading his NFL picks for their basketball expertise? How does it really work in Vegas, with sharing advice on games?
What kind of person would be dumb enough to trade valuable information for the NFL picks of a guy who hasn't won in years? Well:
Fezzik: Basically I try not to have anyone work for me. What I really try to do is I try to exchange information with people, where it goes as far as, like I'm friends with Bryan Leonard, so when Bryan has a play, he'll send me over his play, his analysis. And there's several guys like that, and I'll send back feedback in the same [way].
Source #1: Fellow touts he is friends with, the most notable being another Pregame employee.
Fezzik: And I'm also constantly on the internet. I don't really want to go into everybody that I follow, either on Twitter or that has publicly available information.
Source #2: People who post their picks for free on the internet, including Twitter.
Fezzik: I buy some guys' picks as well, don't mind saying that, and even some guys at Pregame.
Source #3: Fellow touts he is not as close friends with, so he has to buy their picks.
On the conference call, Fezzik goes on to talk about how he's like a mutual fund manager, in that his role is to interpret the information he gathers from various sources, and figure out what it all means. Which is both nonsense, and a common talking point at Pregame. These trends don't tell you much on their own, but the trick is to consider ALL the trends in the appropriate fashion, then you'll win money. These touts' records may not look impressive, but you should still buy their picks and consider them as PART of your handicapping.
Detroit then asks a question about whether folks in Fezzik's "network" get annoyed that he takes their information and uses it as part of BLAP, and that's when we really go off the rails:
Fezzik: No, these guys are great, like with the Tuesday group, we're all friends. And frankly, a lot of them are really small bettors. They're doing it much more for the recreational aspect of it than really making money. That's not to say that they couldn't make lots of money doing this, it's just not something that they...they're just not risk-takers. It's almost like a fantasy league guy that could be winning $5,000 leagues, and plays in $50 leagues, more for the love of it than really to make a lot of money.
Not that there was ever any doubt that Fezzik's "network" is just a bunch of losing touts who don't even have enough confidence in their abilities to bet significant amounts on these games themselves, but now there REALLY isn't any doubt.
JD, are you seriously going to Pregame's most famous tout expose how worthless he is with these comical descriptions of his "network"?
Detroit: Yeah, I used to know, my friend Mario who used to be at 5Dimes, at one point he was technically Tony's right-hand man. And he told me that he had a guy from California that literally was betting like $50-$100 on boxing matchups, and they would move and sharpen their lines off this guy. He wasn't a big bettor, but he just knew how to win, and to him, grinding it out with a couple hundred dollar bets, he was content with it. And you know I've heard a lot of stories from like offshore guys, that they'll find these guys you would think would be betting a lot more considering they consistently win, and they're just happy to grind out their percentage.
Okay then, I guess the world of sports betting is filled with guys who could be filthy rich but would rather just crush $50 at a time for the love of the game.
Previous Long Con post: Bet Like A Pro (Part One)
Next Long Con post: Bet Like A Pro (Part Three)