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Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 in Blog, Las Vegas, Sports Betting, World Series of Poker | 2 comments

Sportsbetting with God



Poor Sam.

Ask him a question and he’s always got an opinion.¬† About everything.¬† And especially on sporting events.


I.  The Set-Up

I won’t use his real name.

Let’s just call him “Sam.”

If you play at the World Series of Poker, then you probably know Sam.¬† Which is why we’ll keep his identity a secret.

A few weeks ago, Sam made a big sports wager.  He bet $45,000 to win $10,000 on the San Antonio Spurs moneyline in the playoff game against the Golden State Warriors.  His reasoning was a follows (his exact words):

1.¬† There’s no way San Antonio will lose this game.¬†¬†

2.  This is a sure-fire way to pick up a quick $10,000.

Doing¬†some basic math, this game represented a whopping¬†$55,000 swing.¬† That’s the¬†actual financial¬†risk based on the outcome.

Basketball fans will¬†instantly recall¬†the game I’m talking about.¬† It was a¬†comeback for the ages.¬† San Antonio overcame a 16-point deficit with four minutes left, forced double overtime, and ended up winning the game in a shocker.¬† It wasn’t a miracle.¬† It was way beyond that.¬† No NBA¬†team in history ever came back from such a huge margin¬†in¬†such¬†a short¬†amount of time.¬† Since Sam bet Spurs on the moneyline,¬†that meant he simply needed¬†his team¬†to win the game.¬† He wasn’t laying points.

Yesterday, Sam described the course of events that took place while he was watching that epic game and the amazing comeback by the Spurs.  Sam spent most of the game at home pacing the floor, just as many sports bettors do.  He was about the turn off the television in disgust, sickened by what he was watching.  He was about to be stuck 45-thousand-dollars.

His angst was made much worse by this being a game Sam had no intention of betting on.

II.  The Back Story

Remember the scene in The Sting where the bad guy played by Robert Shaw gets shut out?

He’s got a “sure thing,” only to see his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity shattered when some oaf cuts into the line at the betting window and blocks Shaw from making his wager in time.

Of course, the bet would have easily won.

That’s what happened to Sam.

The night before, Sam got wind of an MMA fight as close to a lock as there ever was.  Once the bell rang, the beast destroyed his opponent, just as predicted.  Trouble was, Sam missed getting down his bet on time.

Still stewing from missing the gift of free money, Sam decided that he’d “get the¬†$10,000 back” by flooding the betting window with a boatload of cash on the sure-thing Spurs who were unblemished in the playoffs and were playing at home.¬† San Antonio couldn’t lose.

Could they?

And so, Sam made that $45,000 wager to win back $10,000 based on the moneyline number at -450.

“A lock,” Sam thought.

III.  The Comeback

It was hopeless.  San Antonio was stuck by 16 points.  Only four minutes to go.  By that time, Sam had used up every profanity and combination he could think of.  He had resorted to making up new curse words as he watched his money about to go down in flames.

Then, it happened.  The Spurs began a wild run.  Did they ever.  A three-pointer, and another three-pointer, several misses by the seemingly lost Warriors, followed by a number of fouls and free throws cut the deficit from 16 all the way down to 4, with about 30 seconds left.

Anyone who bets on sports understands that this is a riveting moment of immense psychological proportions.¬† For¬†an action¬†gambler, probably the closest thing one can get to a “high” without actually ingesting an intoxicant.¬† Sam’s mental pleasure zone was¬†punched into¬†overdrive.

The ending of that game almost defies description.¬† San Antonio somehow took an all-too-brief lead.¬† But the Warriors made a quick lay-up and took the lead back with something like 1.8 seconds remaining.¬† Then, San Antonio somehow in-bounded the ball, tossed up a prayer, and tied the game — forcing overtime.

Sam was bouncing off the walls.  He told me that he dived onto the bed and did a snowman.

Fucking ecstasy.

IV.  The Promise

Passing on the obvious transitional quip here that prayers uttered¬†inside the casino are far more sincere than those mumbled in a church — if asked and answered truthfully — most gamblers would confess that¬†they’ve prayed while watching a game.

Even I’ve prayed before — usually when losing and stuck big.¬† Which happens more often than I care to admit.

And that’s when Sam started praying.

He wasn’t asking for much.¬† Just a San Antonio Spurs’ victory.¬† A one-point victory would do just fine, thank you very much.¬† Would that really¬†upset some great galactic blueprint for the universe?¬† What’s the difference to god if the Spurs win or the Warriors win?¬† Just let Sam cash¬†a winning ticket.

Then and there, kneeling down in front of his television and before the almighty lord, Sam made a solemn promise.

“Let me win this game and I won’t bet another basketball game the rest of the season,” he vowed.

Reading between the lines is important here.¬† Note that Sam inserted the caveat that the deal only applied through the conclusion of the current NBA season.¬† Sam wasn’t about to make a promise he couldn’t keep, such as “never betting another NBA game again.”¬† Even god wouldn’t fall for that line of bullshit.

Who knows if it was a god or Tim Duncan or just a bad Warrior’s defense, but San Antonio did indeed end up winning the game.¬† Sam’s pact with god was signed, sealed, stamped, and delivered.¬† He won his bet, picked up $10,000, and avoided an utter catastrophe.¬† Now, in exchange for the verbal agreement, Sam isn’t permitted to bet on another game the rest of this NBA season.

V.  Cranking Up the Heat

Poor Sam.

Ask him a question and he’s always got an opinion.¬† About everything.¬† And especially on sporting events.

Sam is now absolutely convinced the Miami Heat will win the NBA Championship.¬† A few days ago, he wasn’t crazy about laying the high moneyline price in the current series with San Antonio.¬† But that didn’t matter.¬† Given his pact with Sky Daddy, he wasn’t about to¬†bet it¬†anyways.

Then again, some temptations are just too great.

Sam watched last night’s game won by San Antonio, a bit of a surprise.¬† Now, Sam remains even more convinced Miami will come back and win the series.¬† Just nod here.¬† Go along with the story.¬† There’s no point in arguing with a man on a mission.

When the adjusted moneyline price was released following Game One, Miami moved from being a decisive favorite to a slight underdog at plus-110.

That number seemed way too good for Sam to pass up.  Still expecting the Heat to be favored for the series, instead, Miami was now actually getting a bonus price as the underdog.

It was time to get creative.

Really creative.

¬†VI.¬† Sam “the Loanshark”

Sam fully intends to keep his word.¬† Breaking a verbal pact with god — that would be a pretty low thing to do, making a vow and then breaking it.

So Sam searched for a loophole.  And that loophole became me.  Yours truly.

After telling me this long story, Sam came up with the following idea.¬† He wants to “loan” me $10,000 in cash.¬† Funny, I don’t even remember asking him for money.

Sam plans to loan me $10,000 with the caveat that I wager that bundle on the Miami Heat to win the series, at +110.¬† That means I’d be posting $10,000 to get back a total of $21,000 (the original bet plus the amount of the win).

The agreement is for me to pay Sam interest.¬† A ridiculous amount of interest.¬† Like in excess of 100 percent over the course of just two weeks.¬† Sam insists that the loan will cost me exactly¬†$10,500.¬† I essentially get to keep $500 — if Miami wins the series.¬† A nice little score for what amounts to ten minutes of stepping up to the betting window and plunking down $10,000 that wasn’t even my money.

Of course, should Miami lose the series, my “loan” will be written off completely.¬† I will owe nothing.

Sam is happy.¬† I’m happy.¬† The pledge is kept.¬† How can god complain?

As the current NBA championship series continues heading into Game Two and beyond, something tells me Sam will do so more praying.

I’ll say a little prayer myself.¬† In fact, I pledge that if the Miami Heat wins the NBA Championship, I won’t make another bet the rest of this NBA season.¬† You can be sure that’s a promise I will keep.


  1. God knows this is a bullshit workaround and will smite your asses big-time for playing Him for a sucker. I wouldn’t be surprised if you and Sam get a nice electrolysis treatment in the form of a random lightning strike in the middle of the Amazon Room. Degens repent!

  2. Wow. I find this so hard to believe that in an age such as ours people still hold silly, irrational superstitious beliefs. Does Sam really believe that his prayers will be answered? He is ignoring all of the evidence before him and clinging to an outrageous beliefs.

    Do Sam a favor, and return his money to him before it’s too late. That’s what a good friend would do.

    Imagine, a grown man who is so out of touch with reality as to believe that his prayers will be answered and the Heat will win the NBA title.

    There is no foundation for him to believe this. A rational man would never do such a thing, especially after that first bet where it was CLEARLY demonstrated that god is a Spurs fan.

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