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Sonny Reizner

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An important article by Bob McCune, adapted from his classic book, "Revelations In Sports Betting!"

SOMETHING I LEARNED FROM SONNY REIZNER

How would you like to be laying 75 to win 100?

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Sonny Reizner spent many years as a professional-level sports bettor before switching sides of the counter. He gained world-wide fame as manager of the "Hole-In-The-Wall" sportbook at the old Castaways Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Many things about sports betting that we take for granted today, Sonny was instrumental in helping design and/or implement. For example, he helped develop contests wherein handicappers compete for prizes and recognition. 

I first met Sonny in the late 1980's while doing research for the first edition of my book, How Professional Gamblers Beat The Pro Football Pointspread. Until I began the book, I avoided getting to know anyone behind the counter at a sportbook. The reason is, I regard sports betting as something akin to a war game, - like chess, perhaps. To me, every dollar won or lost is a 'soldier' in my make-believe war, and getting friendly with the 'enemy' is not conducive to a winning attitude.

At that time, like most veteran sports bettors, I thought I had an understanding of what went on behind the counter, but, like most veteran sports bettors, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I more or less went along with the idea that all 11-10 bettors paid 4.55% vigorish, (which is not correct),  that posted lines were more-or-less intended to be predictions, (which also is not correct), and that all sportbook managers tried to balance the money risked on both sides of the same proposition.

...That's not correct, either. Despite what your friendly sports tout claims, sportbooks only rarely balance their risks.....And it doesn't matter.

For my book I wanted input from the other side of the counter. Sonny was the first person to come to mind because he's one of the most respected men in the industry. Sonny Reizner is a class act.

As I talked with Sonny I was reminded of something written by Mark Twain. Twain meant it to apply to religionists, but it also applies to gamblers: "It's not what we don't know that hurts us; - it's that we know so much that ain't true." Sure enough, like most sports bettors, I "knew" a lot of stuff that just isn't true.

One fallacy concerns the bookmaker's need to balance his risk. It's thought that in a bookmaker's ideal world, bettors would risk exactly the same amount on both sides of a pointspread. By getting an equal amount bet on both sides, the bookmaker is not forced to bet on one side or the other with 'company' money. Sounds reasonable, and for small bookmakers who are often strapped for financing, it's pretty much true. After all, a bookmaker is not in business to gamble. His job is to act as a broker, much like a Realtor or a stock broker.

    As I talked with Sonny I was reminded of something written by Mark Twain. Twain meant it to apply to religionists, but it also applies to gamblers: "It's not what we don't know that hurts us; - it's that we know so much that ain't true."

However, Sonny explained why that perception doesn't apply concerning big-time bookmakers with plenty of working capital. Bookmakers with deep pockets are in a wholly different position than your friendly neighborhood bookie. As Sonny explained to me, big-time books aren't so concerned with balancing their risk; they merely need to get 'enough' action on both sides of a proposition. Here's what I learned from Sonny...

Suppose a total of $11,000 is risked by bettors to win $10,000 on a favorite, but only $5,500 is risked by bettors to win $5,000 on the underdog...Look what happens:

If the dog wins, the book makes a profit of $6,000. (He keeps the $11,000 risked by bettors on the favorite, and pays the underdog bettors their profit of $5,000.)

If the favorite wins, the bookmaker loses $4,500. (He keeps the $5,500 risked by bettors on the underdog, and pays the favorite bettors $10,000 in winnings.)

Essentially, then, in that example, the bookmaker is risking $4,500 in order to win $6,000. In that particular case, he actually breaks even if he can win only 42.9 percent of his 'bets.' Rather than laying $110 to win $100, as is the case with sports bettors, the bookmaker is in effect laying only $75 to win $100! Those are very, very  big odds in favor of the house. To the house, when bettors have risked twice as much on one side as the other, every bet is +133! In order for you and me to win $6,000 we'd have to risk $6,600 - not $4,500.

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To learn more about Sonny Reizner, check this article:
Pro Gamblers

 


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Successful Gamblers
Sonny Reizner, Lem Banker, Bob McCune! How they live! How they began! How they keep winning! The "real" world of professional gambling!,

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How Professional Gamblers Beat the Pro Football Pointspread
- J. R. Miller
$24.95

How to Profit from Parlays
Sent to you attached to email as a WORD file.
$19.90

Successful Gamblers
Sent attached to email as a WORD document (".DOC" file)
$12.00

Insights Into Sports Betting
- Bob McCune
$29.95

Revelations in Sports Betting
- Bob McCune
$29.95



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