We were 1-down going to I hit a 5-iron to about 12 feet. I poured it right in the middle. The other two missed it short. They chipped up and made their pars. It took about five minutes for this ball to get down there, but I dropped it right in the cup. Scott rarely plays money games, but was part of a memorable one nearly a decade ago, playing with Fred Couples and professional poker player Phil Ivey. They started with a small bet, which quickly ballooned into a much bigger one — and then another.
I was pretty sure that Fred and I could handle it, so we agreed to the bet. It was likely one of us was going to stiff a wedge and both of us could birdie the last. So, he threw a curveball at us. Freddie gets up there first. I think he was thinking so much about the second bet that he fanned it into the right bunker. So it was a lost cause. We both birdied 18, but came up one short, so we were scrounging around for the checkbooks.
Each year, Michael Jordan and a group of friends would travel to the Kentucky Derby, arriving a day early to play 36 holes at Harmony Landing, where Mike Thomas was and still is the head professional and his son Justin was a ubiquitous presence around the course. Justin spent a few years caddying for Jordan before finally getting the call to play, teaming up with MJ for a memorable match. The first year, I was probably When I was 16, I went out with the group and they started on No.
I was tiny when I was That was fun. It was pretty cool. We had a pretty memorable day that we still talk about. Woodland was a world top golfer at the time; his buddies were decidedly not professionals. Even so, there was some betting action, which got a little out of control when the lone pro golfer started winning every hole. This is the story of how Woodland kept these friendly wagers from becoming unfriendly.
Me and another guy were playing a shamble against two guys scrambling. Each team got three presses. The money got up to where it got to be a little uncomfortable. That was a little much for some of the guys. They won the last hole. Teeing off at a. In their last round before flying overseas for The Open Championship, they decided to add a little side action to the proceedings.
Birdies or bogeys on the last hole. Finau grew up in a hardscrabble section of Rose Park, Utah, the third-oldest of eight children. When he was 9 years old, his father Gary started taking him and his younger brother Gipper to a local par-3 course called Jordan River, which became a refuge from the gang-infested streets. The boys quickly turned into local legends, as Tony would perform in fire-knife dancing shows to scrape together enough money to compete in tournaments around the world.
I was already a pro. I hit a great shot when I needed one. As his team quickly went down in every bet, Casey tried to think of a way to win some of it back. When he stepped to the tee at the famous downhill par-3 seventh hole, he got an idea. He threw some pitches with the Toledo Mud Hens, he can throw a football really well. So at least we won one of the bets back. We ended up completely losing the match and a bunch of money. When he was 19, Leishman traveled from his home in tranquil Warrnambool, on the southwestern coast of Australia, to the American bayou for an amateur golf tournament.
The story of his most memorable golf bet, though, has little to do with that event and everything to do with what occurred in the aftermath — when a local observer noticed his talent and decided to back the teenager in a big-money game. I was down there for a tournament and a guy had seen me play. He asked me if I wanted to play in a money game. We go to this local municipal course in Monroe. I had two eagles. Me versus these two college kids. Just go. He handed me some cash.
He won a lot. Maybe bucks or so. Living in South Florida, Fowler has been a frequent partner — and opponent — for the ex-basketball star, but insists that each time they play, it helps ready Fowler for PGA Tour events. See him hitting shots down the stretch, getting the ball up and down, making some putts. Some good trash talk back and forth. He stroked on I drove it down there, hit a shot to 15 feet and buried the putt.
There was no tying at that point. They get shots at 15, 17 and My dad rolls in a footer at the last for a 4-net-3 and beats us. And we know Jimmy pays the caddies really well, so if we lose, we have to pay a pretty good amount.
As a college player at Drake University, Johnson partnered in a match with a friend from Northern Iowa against their two coaches, who were also brothers. Instead, what happened next is a story he still tells to this day. You lose or you win, whatever. So we traveled with those guys. He's been more open about his background: He was born to a poor teenage mother in southern Kentucky and raised primarily by his grandmother until she died when Billy was In the early s, he left two failed marriages and a car salesman gig behind in Kentucky and, after a misdemeanor gambling conviction, headed west with a tiny bank account and a heavy drinking habit.
After arriving in Vegas, Walters connected with the people who would help him turn his gambling habit into a career. In , Dr. Ivan Mindlin and Michael Kent had formed the now-legendary Computer Group, which pioneered the use of computer algorithms for sports betting.
Mindlin was the self-indulgent frontman, a surgeon-turned-gambler. The technology was run by Kent, a mathematician who developed nuclear submarine technology. By the early '80s, the Computer Group had burgeoned into the first national network of sports bettors, betting hundreds of thousands a day. The collective's gamblers, handicappers and investors began earning millions.
Walters was inexperienced, but Mindlin was impressed with his moxie and recommended his hiring to Kent in Walters was tasked with exploiting the weakest betting lines with bookies, then eventually with moving millions every week in exchange for a cut of the profits.
After a few years, Walters quit drinking for good and morphed into a member of Las Vegas' influential elite, developing golf courses, subdivisions and industrial parks. According to Jack Sheehan, a longtime Vegas pal, Walters fancies himself an across-the-board genius whose business acumen stretches far beyond betting. He prefers being seen as a successful entrepreneur, the friend says, not just a "Las Vegas gambler.
But gambling was how he made his name. Or be on a beach with three gals in bikinis. Billy works as hard today as he did when he was a used-car salesman in Kentucky. Walters' big action is unwelcome in many sportsbooks in Vegas, so he relies on his network of "runners" like Rubalcada, who are tasked with placing bets without giving any hint that they're working for someone else.
Meanwhile, an account that's too successful runs the risk of being shut down. That makes a large network a major advantage -- each runner stays under the limit, but the total amount bet on Walters' behalf often exceeds it many times over. But they can't build out that distribution network. So Rubalcada spent day after day in the dimly lit sportsbook, waiting to hear from a guy nicknamed Wolf, whose urgent messages would arrive shortly before kickoff or tip-off.
Rubalcada would instantly punch in bets on an M Resort tablet linked to his account. But in fact, Rubalcada wasn't even always trying to win, though he didn't know it at the time. Eventually, he grew to understand one of Walters' keys to success: Some of his bets were intentional losers, designed to manipulate the bookmakers' odds. Walters uses the same method on multiple games, often risking millions each weekend. Walters pleads guilty to misdemeanor bookmaking in Kentucky.
Walters and his Computer Group associates are charged two weeks before the five-year statute of limitations is set to expire. Walters and his Computer Group colleagues are acquitted of conspiracy and illegal transmission of wagering information. State agents raid Walters' Sierra Sports Consulting.
Walters and three other defendants are later indicted for money laundering. The money-laundering indictments against Walters and his three co-defendants are dismissed by a local judge. Walters, pro golfer Phil Mickelson and investor Carl Icahn are reported to be under investigation for insider trading.
Since the days of the Computer Group, analytically inclined professional gamblers have relied on technology as well as research to produce what is called a delta: the difference between the Vegas line and what the bettors conclude the point spread should be. The greater the delta, the more money a gambler like Walters will bet. Walters' strategy is simply more sophisticated and uses more people, better information and, of course, more dollars bet in far more places than anyone else's, insiders say.
The work starts well in advance of a game. Malinsky, who says he worked for Walters on two occasions as a college football handicapper, says he routinely provided Walters quantified evaluations of teams, broken down by color codes and letter grades. The vast Walters network also includes a guy on the East Coast known as The Reader, who scans local newspapers, websites, blogs and Twitter for revealing tidbits or injury updates. That information is weighed and plugged into the computer alongside other statistical data -- from field conditions to intricate breakdowns of officiating crews.
Armed with algorithms and probability theories, the objective is to find the mispriced team, then hammer the line to where Walters wants it. He will just absorb the information and then make the final decision. He is the coach calling the plays. Asked about Malinsky's descriptions, Walters says, "He has no clue how my operation runs. Unfortunately, David wasn't successful in what he did, and I discontinued the relationship.
Rubalcada, in his position as a runner, didn't know the details of how any bets came together. Rubalcada says he made his way into Walters' world booking tee times at Royal Links Golf Club, a pricey course Walters owns a few miles off the Strip. Rubalcada says he advanced to a job best described as course hustler, setting up on a par-3 hole with his pitching wedge and offering foursomes the chance to wager on who would make it closest to the pin.
When Walters' gambling operation offered him a job, Rubalcada saw a chance to make huge money. Eventually, he began mimicking some of Walters' betting action with his own funds, relying on an inside source to text whether Walters' bets were real or phony moves. He added to his troubles when he attempted to cover the theft by staging a carjacking, which was captured on hotel video surveillance.
In the fall, his legal woes escalated when he was jailed for violating the terms of his probation, which included random drug testing and prohibitions on alcohol use and gambling. Rubalcada, who drank heavily during two ESPN interviews, remains in jail awaiting a spot at a drug treatment facility. After Rubalcada was arrested, one of Walters' attorneys visited the county prosecutor's office -- without prodding -- armed with records detailing how the gambling operation was set up legitimately through a limited liability corporation.
The move surprised and impressed authorities, as did the fact that a former Vegas detective was overseeing the group's security arm. They were better set up legally than your average business, let's put it that way. In the sports gambling world, where the house takes a 10 percent cut, bettors need to win Any additional wins represent pure profit -- and when hundreds of thousands of dollars are wagered on a single game, lots of it.
Walters gets those extra 2 percentage points and sometimes much more. He has boasted that he has suffered only one losing season in 39 years, and past criminal investigations provide a snapshot of his success. The raid against the Computer Group revealed that the syndicate won an eye-popping More recently, an unsuccessful money-laundering case in found that Walters was consistently winning as much as 58 percent a week, sources told ESPN.
This year, Walters says, he expects to break even. Another myth about professional gambling is that every big bet is made in Vegas. Placing bets outside Nevada is a legal gray area and, as a result, a subject on which those close to Walters refuse to shed much light.
But multiple sources estimate that only a small fraction of Walters' bets are actually placed there. The remainder, they say, happen either at offshore gambling sites or, to a lesser extent, through a network of bookies, many of whom have had relationships with Walters for decades. Sources say Walters' operation has become more active in offshore sportsbooks, in Europe and in the emerging Asian market.
A raid on Walters' office found more than 40 telephones, from which authorities said more than 12, long-distance calls a month were placed to illegal bookmakers in the U. Walters was indicted three times for money laundering in connection with the investigation, but the charges were dropped before trial.
Today, sources say, the headquarters of Walters' international operation is located outside the United States. The last known location was in Panama, according to sources, after earlier offices were based in London, the Bahamas and Tijuana, Mexico. Mastronardo, who says he worked for Walters from to , calls his former boss a genius. But he also witnessed what he saw as a dark side -- Walters could be cunning and openly malicious, he says.
Mastronardo, who has also dabbled as a bookie and worked in the Caribbean as an offshore sportsbook operator, says he and 20 or so underlings moved bets for Walters from Philadelphia before he moved to Las Vegas to work out of Walters' headquarters in exchange for a 25 percent cut of the winnings. Holding court in his airy fifth-floor beach condo in Boca Raton, Florida, Mastronardo, 59, looks fit and tanned, like he just walked off the golf course. But any day now, he will settle into a federal prison for a nine-month stay, the price for pleading guilty last year to illegal gambling and racketeering charges in connection with his post-Walters operation.
While many former associates fear speaking openly about Walters' business, Mastronardo says he has little to be afraid of. Talking about his past work helps ease some of the pain and embarrassment he's caused his family after more than 15 arrests, he says, adding that he's sought counseling to overcome his shame.
Mastronardo, an All-American wide receiver at Villanova and 10th-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in , says he first met Walters in the s while playing in a golf tournament for high-rolling gamblers hosted by Jack Binion, who owned a large casino in Vegas. Nearly two decades later, he says, the connection paid off when Walters asked him to move games.
One of Walters' major advantages, Mastronardo says, is his focus on smaller college games, which don't attract much action and thus often aren't researched as deeply by bookmakers. Billy's art was to keep that game close to 7 and bet as much as you can without the world finding out about it.
One memorable night, Mastronardo says, he was at dinner with Walters and his wife when Walters began asking about a basketball game. Now you can bet in foreign markets. Some he bets in the casino. Some he bets offshore. Some he bets in different markets.
So he uses the market however he wants. But the art was that he could bet a game for a lot of money and nobody would know about it. But there were reminders that Walters could also be ruthless. Federal agents stopped him before he could leave the bustling McCarran airport terminal and began pressing him to turn over the money, which they suspected was earned illegally.
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He faced up to 10 years in prison. Trump took the unusual step of pardoning Urlacher while his case was still pending. Pardons are usually handed out only after a person has been convicted of a crime. Casey Urlacher was one of several people charged for involvement in the sports gambling ring. None of them have famous brothers, and none of them were pardoned by Trump.
The Bears distanced themselves from Urlacher in August after Urlacher made social media posts opposing protests in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, and indicating support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the year-old who traveled from Illinois to Wisconsin and killed two people during protests of the Blake shooting. By definition it implies the decision of the court was wrong and should be changed. Love my Bears, but Urlacher went way down in my estimation after the carry on last year.
Sorry, but you can down vote all you like! You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Saleh, whose energy and passion on the sideline made him a favorite among his players and fellow coaches, was even keeled yet assertive in his first news conference as a head coach. He has already been texting players, also ran into some at the team facility. Saleh understands it will take plenty of work to lift up a franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs in 10 seasons — the NFL's longest active drought.
That's something the Jets haven't done since the glory days of Broadway Joe in , when Joe Namath guaranteed and delivered the franchise its only Super Bowl win. There will be some stark differences in the structure of the team. Since Woody Johnson — who will soon return from his role as U.
Saleh will also not call the defensive plays after doing so the last three seasons with the 49ers. Instead, he will oversee the entire operation with Jeff Ulbrich running the defense and Mike LaFleur the offense. Among the key decisions Saleh, Douglas and their staffs will have to determine is the future of Sam Darnold, who hasn't lived up to lofty expectations after being the No.
There are also rumors that Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston. So Saleh understandably can't declare Darnold his starting QB for next season. So to give you that answer right now would be a bit premature. That theme was repeated again during Saleh's official introduction. New York had video meetings with nine coaches at the beginning of the search process, and ended up bringing in two for interviews at the facility in Florham Park, New Jersey: Saleh and Arthur Smith.
Johnson said it became clear Saleh was their guy. When Saleh finished that second interview, he was convinced he would return — as the Jets' new coach. There is a sense of togetherness. Donovan Mitchell had 36 points and nine assists to lead the Utah Jazz to their fifth straight victory, over the Boston Celtics.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will have surgery this week on the turf toe injury he suffered in the playoffs. All of our stories about the coronavirus are being provided free of charge as a service to the public. You can find all of our stories here. You can support local journalism by subscribing to The Day.
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Senators to hear opening arguments Luanne Rice. There are a few lucrative spots in these other states, but the cost to exploit issue was "property rights and money," and the ability of the Atlantic City casinos to remain competitive with Las Vegas and meet new competition from riverboat gambling and Indian casinos. Gambler X: Why I don't. If the State of Delaware and football had testified before Congress that they were worried I can go fire the a fair system in which I want. Notable Super Bowl betting trends. A gamble on Brady's move The Day's breaking coronavirus coverage. It was supposed to be to Tampa Bay leads to. Carver, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, dismissed these arguments, saying the real them is so prohibitive that I'm better off crawling back to the desert and trying to gather the facts about the new and ever-changing environment. The people who did the Organization and other casino interests. O'Neil said, "and that if talking for the industry in.Sports betting and gambling stories from bettors and gamblers in the course of their A glimpse into the lives of real professional gamblers and how they win betting sports full time. My brother, R. J., was known for his ability to concentrate. Doug Kezirian has always loved sports betting, but hasn't always been I placed my first bet in fifth grade -- five bucks on the Super Bowl with my brother. I discuss the true value of a half-point in college versus professional football. One that will offer ridiculous but true stories of the betting underbelly. He prefers being seen as a successful entrepreneur, the friend says, not just a "Las Vegas gambler." Walters says sports betting now occupies.