At an early age I was introduced to the beautiful world of gambling. When I was 7 years old my grandfather taught me the basics of playing poker. We’d play games like baseball, 5 card stud, Omaha, 31, but when it was my turn to pick the go to was always 5 card stud 2s, 3s, and one-eyed Jacks are wild. I crushed that game, still would if a casino would pick it up. I’m talking 5 of a kinds like you’ve never seen.
Poker is and always will be my number one. However, when I was 10 my aunts boyfriend had a job where the parlay tickets flowed like wine, where middle-aged men with high blood pressure flock like the salmon of Capistrano, I’m talking about a little place called the factory floor of any and all distribution centers. Dumb and Dumber I remember walking into elementary school with my books, pencils, colored markers (the scented ones, that’s the benefit of being middle, middle class) and two parlay tickets awaiting my 4 picks on each of them. I’d spend all day going over my picks thinking, “USC -38? They are easily 41 points better.” Once I got all my picks in order I’d go under my bed and punch the code into my mini safe and pull a crisp $20 bill out from my previous birthday, the last step to the plan was making up a bullshit excuse of why I had to go to my aunts that night but all I was really doing was dropping off my parlay ticket to her boyfriend. My mom never even suspected it.. what a dip shit.
This developed into regular sports gambling elementary school edition. Pepper and I would call one another on the phone each with our local newspaper in hand and we would be in the sports section looking at the “Culver Line” which was the spreads for each of the weeks NFL games. My Sunday’s consisted of church, getting home, throwing my McNabb jersey on and hopping on the house phone and calling Peppers house, “you ready?” “Yeh your moms not on the line is she”, “no we’re good”. We would go through each game and switch back and forth between one another on who got to pick that game with the exception of the Steelers and Eagles game it was understood that each week he would get the Steelers and I would have the Eagles. Each game had a $2 bet on it and the way I remembered I crushed it. Pretty sure I never got paid from any of that. I would’ve hired the “big kid” to snap his pencils until he paid me, but he was that kid.
Fast forward to 2015 and I am in my third year of college, my parents told me I needed to get a job to be able to pay rent each month, and just to have money to survive. Fortunately, for me I turned 21 that Summer and I had no desire to juggle classes, a girlfriend, and a job. Instead I became a regular at the casino 20 miles up the highway from school. With playing I managed to pay rent (typically on time) and the $2,100 of tuition I owed a semester. About 6 months ago I went on a streak of tournament wins and happened to get noticed by someone who meant something in the poker community. I am now fortunate enough for him to pay all of my buy-ins for bigger sized tournaments that I would typically never had played myself, but a majority free buy-in and hotel room for that night is pretty hard to argue with.
Sports gambling on the other hand is impossible especially, on a college football Saturday that you role over hung over in the morning and see Ohio State is less than a two touchdown favorite and that just reeks of a steal. It’s not a steal at all they end up in overtime with fucking Maryland and nearly lose the game outright. I am not bitter about it at all. Not even a little bit. The house can’t lose so yes of course I do the classic move of having people run bets through you as the “middle man” and reap the benefits of only putting about half of them in. So, my college football gambling season consists of betting far more than what I have and banking on other people having shitty weeks just to break even and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Other than maybe winning a couple.