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A Wiseguy's Odyssey
Part 7 - Winding Down Baseball
Here Comes Baskets, Football & Hockey!
Towards the end of the baseball season Stan introduced us to another contact of his. He told us we could move for this independent guy "Domino" with the same compensation of 10% net profits at agreed intervals. This guy was a whole new concept for us. He was an extremely bright and streetwise young individual who had worked as an analyst for some of the established groups in the past.
At a certain point he decided it would be more lucrative to go it alone. His central strategy was based on the concept of "value". If the Yankees were a painted -170 and Domino saw them for -150 at one particular out, he would load up on that "discount" line. Handicapping played a much smaller role in Domino's style of wagering. The lines he had access to through his myriad outlets made the decisions in a large part for him. There are many subtleties, but that's the underlying principle.
It was a difficult transition to go from the Poker Player's style to Domino's. Where we had now become accustomed to receiving specific plays with a super early call, we now had to scour all lines at our disposal and report back to Domino on a regular basis.
We would read back the lines to Domino and he would immediately select the value. "Take the +120, Lay the -170...etc., etc.". We'd go back get down what we could and get back to him again with the confirmed wagers. This was much more labor intensive. Domino also came to us with plays other than pure value.
He followed the other major group's steam. He was hooked up with computers, monitors and phone lines like a trader on the floor of a stock exchange. He could watch the live line movement at all the major casinos and had a dedicated assistant to keep constant track of many other sets of lines.
This assistant had a huge grid pad on which she recorded all these lines. Domino also had many sources of info such as injuries, trades, teams deprived of sleep because of some airport screw up, etc. He had runners too. Guy's who relayed the word on the street to him as well as got down action at the places where Domino didn't have a phone account. Needless to say, we had a much tougher time beating the line movement with Domino's (following) plays, than we did with the Poker Players (originating).
Even though this was not as pleasant as our past work, word was that Domino knew how to make serious money. We figured on cashing in on some of that for ourselves. After all, cash is what this thing is all about. So we plugged ahead and did an even larger volume that we had in the past. Volume was up, but unfortunately we couldn't say the same for profits.
Our balance sheet was in the red going into football. Football was a new experience for me and as I was to learn the biggest party in the gambling world. The outs at which we had to beg to get down a couple of dimes at for baseball & baskets, thought nothing of taking $5,000 and $10,000 wagers on football. I still remember the first time I executed one of Domino's $10,000 wagers at Bowman International. I could barely hear the phone rep over the pounding of my heartbeat.
It was not uncommon for us to have $50,000 of future wagers down at Bowman alone before the weekend. We were moving up to $200,000 a week at some points. That's what made it hard to accept that we weren't making any money after all this responsibility and hard work. Hell, we were even in the whole with our expenses and what we were putting down for ourselves.
At one point Domino's figure dipped to $100,000 in the hole. He was honorable as all hell and always supplied us with adequate bankroll and then some. This was In keeping with all the Vegas pros that I have worked with. Needless to say our 10% commission was not looking too pretty and we had to force ourselves to persevere.
Funny thing was that Domino was ahead everywhere except with us. He told us it was just a matter of time before things turned around. He really didn't sweat his losses raking in the dough through us. In fact he saw many opportunities in the various deals we were able to get with our outs. Things like CFL football, NHL Hockey money line, discounts on the board of favorites in baseball, and off lines. He often suggested that we let our outs know that if they wanted to even their action out, he would take large positions if he got a break on the line.
To Domino's credit, he did break even by the end of the NFL season. What a roller coaster ride it had been. I heard through contacts that it had been a million dollar year for him. That's what discipline, smarts, and many, many hours of hard work can do for you in this business.
One of the hardest aspects of staying ahead is avoiding stiffs. Obviously Domino had managed pretty well to stay clear of that pitfall. We had also been pretty successful up to that point. In fact I can say without a moment of hesitation that each "client" we had worked for knew we gave it our best shot and was pleased with our performance and integrity. That goes equally for "Jim" and "Ross" who Stan hooked us up with a little after we started with Domino.
Next in the series: Part 8 - House Of Cards