Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lungfish's Greatest Plunders and Worst Blunders, vol. 2

A gambler is always looking for an arbitrage situation, or to put it simply, a guaranteed chance to make a profit without any risk (see, my economics degree isn't totally useless). One such situation emerged back on a Friday in March of 2002 quite unexpectedly. March Madness was just beginning, and Michigan St. was supposed to play Indiana in that evening in the Big 10 tournament. However, due to an impending snowstorm, the game was moved to an earlier start. The game started at about12pm, and by 3pm, Indiana had won easily. My co-worker, who was an even worse degenerate gambler than myself, was browsing the the online sportsbook and saw that the Michigan St. vs Indiana game was still posted, with the original tip-off time, and still open to be bet on! [Editor's note: This was in the good ol' days when companies didn't block websites, and allowed unfettered access to the internet]

He called me over, and we both couldn't believe our eyes. George Clooney in "Ocean's Eleven" says:
"...the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes. The house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet and you bet big, then you take the house."
Well, the house had slipped up, and we were going to punish them for it. We both emptied our accounts and got our bets down as fast as humanly possible, lest the folks at the sportsbook wised up suddenly and delisted the game. Even after we placed our bets, we were still anxious. These offshore gambling sites were unregulated, and kind of like the wild, wild West. What if they invalidated our bets... or worse, what if they saw this as grounds to suspend our accounts and freeze our funds? All of the sudden, what were both sweating out what was supposed to be a sure thing. We already knew the outcome of the game, we just didn't if know we were going to slip one by the house.

Straight Wager 03/08/02 15:11 ET
261.78/237.98 (paid 499.76) Result: Wager Won
MichSt 56
Indiana 67 03/08/02 (23:30 ET)
Indiana -3

Well, it worked! They actually graded the game before we had even left work. At happy hour, we partied like George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The caper we pulled off wasn't quite on the scale of an Ocean's Eleven, but it was at least a "Lungfish's Two".

Do you know what's worse than drunk dialing? Drunk gambling- it's why casinos ply you with free alcohol, and how they can afford to spend millions of dollars on a replica of the f'n Eiffel Tower in the middle of a desert. When I got home, I flipped on the computer and logged on to my gambling account again. I saw another arbitrage situation. Cincinnati had already played Marquette that day, and they still had a prop bet up on the amount of points that their point guard, Steve Logan, was going to score against Marquette. I checked the box score, and saw that he scored less than the over/under. I poured my money in on the under, and phoned my buddy to do the same. What was going on? This website was going to go out of business if it continued to operate in such a careless manner, I told myself as I went to sleep.

When I awoke the next morning, I went to read the newspaper, and pulled out the sports section.... to my horror, under the TV schedule, there a time listed for a Cincinatti-Marquette game in about 30 minutes! This wasn't a mistake by the sportsbook, the 2 teams were playing on back-to-back days, in the regular season finale, and then for the opening of the conference tournament. I immediately called my friend and told him of my alcohol-induced error. He must've been drunk, because he was going to let the bet ride. I had sobered up, and was going to just eat the vig and hedge by placing a bet on the over. I had to make a $500 deposit into my account, having emptied it on this foolish bet.

Straight Wager 03/09/02 11:04 ET
500.00/525.00 (paid 1025.00) Result: Wager Won
Steve Logan (Cincinnati) Total Points - Must Play
Points 26
Points 0 03/09/02 (11:40 ET)
Over 22.5 (+105)

Straight Wager 03/08/02 23:57 ET
500.00/454.55 Result: Wager Lost
Steve Logan (Cincinnati) Total Points - Must Play
Points 26
Points 0 03/09/02 (11:40 ET)
Under 23 (-110)

As it turned out, it was a good thing I had covered myself. My friend was not so lucky.

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Steve Logan was drafted in the 2nd round by the Golden St. Warriors. He was soon traded to the Dallas Mavericks and cut from the team. He since has played professionally in Poland, Israel, and Venezuela. He has never played a game in the NBA.

[fade to black]

Lungfish and his former co-worker continue to battle their addiction with gambling. Despite their best efforts, they have both gambled while drunk since.

[fade to black]

1 comment:

  1. i remember being such an idiot and only having, like, $20 on the indiana game. i sleep at night by telling myself that a larger, proper bet, would have raised too many red flags and ruined it for others. the panicked phone calls during the logan debacle were priceless. "oh, btw, sean, they're actually playing again tomorrow." WTF?!? quickest reload by young bruno ever.