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Who the hell
is J. R. Miller?

 

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A Crash Course in Vigorish

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Successful Professional Gamblers
Famous pros talk about their lives & how they win!
 

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A very important thing to know

Are You Geared to Gamble?

Binomial Distribution & You

Bob McCune on Sports Betting

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How To Spot NFL 'Positive Universes' 
R. J. Miller tells how to find winning NFL situations!

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Endorsements

Handicapping
Begin with common sense

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Something I Learned from Sonny Reizner  Las Vegas'  premier sportbook manager tells how the "house" can lay 75 to win 100! - By J. R. Miller

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Check this book!

How Professional Gamblers Beat the Pro Football Pointspread!
Now in paperback!
 

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When Lady Luck Turns to Ice
How you handle losing streaks will determine your success as a gambler
 

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Letters from Gamblers

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The Social Impact of Gambling

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

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Test Your Sports Betting I.Q.

Track us

Trends, Schmends

"What's Your Record?"

Winning Percentages

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A Crash Course in Vigorish

A very important thing to know

Are You Geared to Gamble?

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Can You Stand the Ride?
There are losing streaks always lurking...
 

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Debunking the Kelly criterion

Handicapping
Begin with common sense

How to Beat NFL Preseason Games

How to Spot Key NFL Lines

How To Spot Positive NFL Situations

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Order Page

Sample newsletter

Should We Keep Arizona?

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Track us

Trends, Schmends

Home Page & Index

A Crash Course in Vigorish

Are You Geared to Gamble?

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Binomial Distribution & You

Debunking the Kelly criterion

Handicapping
...Begin with common sense

How to Beat NFL Preseason Games

How to Spot Key NFL Lines

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Official PayPal Seal


GAMBLING STORIES

If you stick around long enough, you'll see some very funny stuff

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      I love gambling stories. They often have an insider's perspective that only other veteran gamblers can fully appreciate. They can be disastrous and funny at the same time. They can be about everything from bad beats to near misses to insights into human nature. If you gamble long enough you'll surely collect stories of your own. Here are a few of mine...

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The   Ex-Gambler
     In Week Eleven of the 1995 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers were 9-point underdogs at the Dallas Cowboys.
        I was in line to place a bet at the Mirage sportbook in Las Vegas. The fellow ahead of me finished placing a bet, stepped aside, and paused to put his ticket in his wallet. A woman who had to be this guy's wife stepped up and confronted him. She was scowling, obviously disapproved of his buying the ticket.
        She hissed sarcastically, "After last week, I thought you were all finished gambling on football."
       The fellow unconsciously stroked his wallet, and answered, "I'm getting the 49ers plus nine points...You can't call that gambling."

(...Sure enough, the 49ers beat the Cowboys outright, 38-20.)

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Keeping Your Money Separate
       Sonny Reizner tells about the fellow who borrowed $100 from him to buy groceries.
       Sonny loaned him the $100, then spotted the man stepping up to place a football bet.
"Hey," Sonny said, "You told me you needed grocery money. Why are you placing a bet?"
     "Oh, I've got gambling money, alright" the guy answered. "I was out of grocery money."

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The Chargers, J. R.?
     There was a fellow called Limpy who used to hang out at the Stardust sportbook on Sundays to watch NFL football. Each and every Sunday, Limpy would risk precisely $20 on a 10-team NFL parlay card. (A 10-team parlay card at that time paid 850-for-one, making Limpy a $16,980 winner if he won.) 
       Trouble was, Limpy never had a clue which ten teams he liked. To help him decide, he prompted advice from a regular group of professional-level handicappers. Limpy valued these men's opinions and he'd form his own opinions from what they had to say.
       I was one of those honored advisors. In those days, the Stardust was one of my favorite sportbooks, and I could easily be found at my favorite station, watching for line moves. Every Sunday, sooner or later, here would come Limpy, and he'd ask me which teams I thought he should put on his ten-banger.
       I always took the time to do my best for Limpy, even though I discouraged his ten-teamers. The payoff actually wasn't all that bad, but the wins figured to be too far apart. At 850-for-1, you can expect your present wife to divorce you and your dog to die before you hit a winner.
       As luck would have it, I got on a pretty good streak for several weeks - (or, at least, Limpy perceived me to be on a good roll) - and finally one Sunday Limpy decided I should have the honor of picking all ten of his bets.
       So I did.
      Whaddayouknow, the first six games were early games and all six were winners. Then, in the four late games, three were early blowouts in Limpy's favor.
      Wow. Limpy was coming unglued. He was giggly and excited, talky and nervous. His hands were trembling and he was sweating and he paced back and forth, chain smoking and shouting orders at the various television screens. He'd sit, he'd stand, he'd pace, he'd sit, he'd recheck the total amount he planned to win, he'd order another Mountain Dew from the cocktail waitress and pace some more...
      Sure enough, the three blowouts went on to win, making nine of the ten games winners. My picks were 9-0, leaving one game still in the air, the Chargers -3 at home against the Raiders.
      The Raiders finally beat us, 12 - 7.
    Limpy was crushed. Another losing Sunday. Another $20 lost and gone. Another $17,000 winning ticket down the drain. He sat slumped in his chair with his head bowed, sullen and withdrawn.
      I approached him with a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. He angrily swatted me away, angry as hell, and shouted, "The Chargers, J. R.?!...How the hell could you pick the Chargers?!"

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        "Gambling is not as destructive as war or as boring as pornography. It is not as immoral as business or as suicidal as watching television. And the percentages are better than religion."   - Mario Puzo

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Overheard at  the Mirage sportbook: 
"I don't mind losing the bets, but I hate losing the money." 

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Email to our website:
     "...(During my 1-month subscription to Professional Gambler Newsletter) Mr. Miller had 4 days of NO PLAYS. According to my records, I should have 3 additional days remaining on my subscription..."

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The Unluckiest Lucky Streak
       After retiring at 76 years old, Bob McCune sold his luxurious home in Las Vegas and moved to Lake Havasu, Arizona.

      He drives to Nevada regularly to place bets. It's a 45-minute drive to Laughlin, Nevada, from Bob's home.
       ...But just before Week 7 of the 1999 NFL season, Bob decided to skip a week and lounge around the  house.
       Meanwhile, the local newspaper in Lake Havasu had a weekly football handicapping contest. Participants picked 20 games, both college and pro, against the published pointspreads. It's a simple contest, done to promote the paper's circulation. There is no entry fee. Whomever calls the most winners against the pointspread wins $150.
       Bob passed the time one evening by marking off his choices and entering the contest.
       The $150 was definitely not his motivation. Never mind how much Bob, himself, risks on bets, that's not our business, but pro handicappers at Bob's level generally risk at least $1,000 or more per bet. With 20 bets for the day, you can expect a pro to risk upwards of $20,000 - $40,000. Suffice it to say that the $150 contest was nothing more to Bob than a way to relax for an hour or so.
       He went 20-0.
       Did you get that?.....Twenty and Oh. Those are odds of more than a million-to-one. (1,048,755-to-1 to be exact.) By not driving to a sportbook that week he cost himself tens of thousands of dollars.
       Bob called me the next day. The whole thing struck him as funny. In fact, his reaction to the "unluckiest lucky streak in history" is testament to Bob's character. He picked up the check at the newspaper office before he called. "...And do you know what they asked me?" he laughed. "They wanted to know what I planned to do with all that money."

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     "The only business in the world bigger than gambling is religion...but gambling is not nearly so corrupt."   - J. R. Miller

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Email to our website:
"...I'm thinking about signing up to get your newsletter...Please send me a breakdown of your last 5k to 8k bets..."

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"I hope I break even today...I need the money." - Phil Harris

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Overheard at  the Mirage sportbook: 
"The trouble with betting ten dollars is, you can only win ten dollars."

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Which Score?
      My brother, R. J., was known for his ability to concentrate. That's an asset in the long run for a professional-level sports bettor, but as with an absent-minded professor, it can have strange and often funny consequences.
        R. J. and I were at the Barbary Coast watching the closing seconds of a late NFL game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. The pointspread winner of the game had long since been decided. The underdog Seahawks had a commanding lead, 28-14, and had the game won outright. My brother and I were still interested, however, because we were both on the 'under' bet. The over/under line on the game was 48 1/2 points.
      Of course, with the score 28-14 and time running out, we seemed to be in good shape, having bet the game 'under' 48 1/2 points.
      Trouble was, Denver and their Superquarterback John Elway had the ball, and they were driving against Seattle's dreaded "prevent defense." The Seahawks, meanwhile, had already begun to celebrate their unexpected victory. It was a situation very familiar to over/under bettors.
       While we were watching the game, a fellow came wandering up from the casino area and began watching the game with us. He'd probably noticed our interest in the game and wondered what was going on.
        After watching awhile, this fellow asked my brother, "What's the score?"
       Without missing a beat and without moving his eyes from the screen, R. J. answered abruptly, "Forty-two."

(...The Broncos went on to score, by the way, losing 28-21 and beating us by half a point.)

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Overheard at the Stardust sportbook:
        "I can't win when I bet on home teams and I can't win when I bet on visitors... I don't know who else to bet on."

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        "If you don't bet every day you might be in the middle of a winning streak and not even know it."   - R. J. Miller

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Murphy's Law & Sports Betting:
       Sometimes the wheels come off a team, and there's just no explaining what happened.  All the emotional and subjective factors in the universe seem to converge and cause awesome consequences. On February 27, 1998, the NBA Portland Trailblazers were visiting the Indiana Pacers. The 'Blazers were getting 4 points. We handicapped the game in our usual way, and finally decided the 'Blazers were a good betting opportunity at +4...
        Portland ended up losing the game, 124-59. We lost the bet by 61 points; two more points than Portland scored.

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Email to our website:
"What's the best way to beat football and basketball? Please answer right away."

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That's Odd, - I Don't Feel Lucky
         Veteran gamblers just plain think differently than nongamblers. They march to a different drummer. If you're a nongambler you might not even understand this little story, but if you're a veteran sports bettor it may sound all too familiar.
          My brother, R. J., and I were watching pro football on the big screens at the Rio when R. J. decided to go to the Gold Coast to play blackjack. I still had several NFL bets in the air, and they were going badly, so I didn't want to leave. (It always helps your bets if you watch them on television and root for your side.)
         R. J. and I agreed to meet later for dinner at a new restaurant we hadn't yet tried.
         I went on to get buried by my football bets. It was one of my worst weekends ever against the NFL, and I certainly didn't feel like having dinner. Never mind how much I lost; - call it plenty. I drove straight home.
       When my brother got home I apologized for not meeting him at the restaurant. "I'm sorry," I said, "but I got killed after you left. I lost every bet...I didn't feel like eating."
         "You're lucky," my brother shrugged, "their food sucks."

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Email to our website:
        "Jim Feist's book costs less than your book and it's got more pages. Why would I want to buy your book?"

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Overheard at the Gold Coast sportbook:
     "The Patriots won?...The Patriots? How the hell could the Patriots win? They weren't even favored!"

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Email to our website:
        "...I'm thinking about getting your newsletter...Could you send me a few issues for free so I can win enough money to pay for it?..."

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Email to our website:
        "...I'm considering becoming a professional gambler...Please send me whatever information you have..."

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The Baseball Expert
       One September years ago, R. J. was flying to San Diego from Las Vegas and found himself seated next to a baseball bettor who was on a very bad losing streak. This fellow spilled his heart out, describing in painful detail having several losing weeks in a row.
      "Nothing seems to help," the fellow whined. "Sides, over/unders, home teams, visitors, dogs, favorites...I'm losing everything. Good pitchers have bad days, bad pitchers have good days...It's the worst losing streak I've ever had."
       After listening to this dreadful tale for what seemed like 'way too long, my brother finally suggested, "Maybe you should switch to football."
       "Football?!" the guy moaned disgustedly, "What the hell do I know about football?!"

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Email to our website:
        "...A friend of mine subscribes to your newsletter...and gave me your baseball picks yesterday...Your picks went 3-7...I thought you were supposed to be a professional. You don't know shit...."

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"Find out what you're doing wrong and stop doing that."
- Bobby Knight

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Overheard at the Rio sportbook:
        "I doubled up today to press my winning streak; - now I have to double up  tomorrow to get even."

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Fernando Valenzuela's Revenge:
          Dodger's ex-manager Tommy Lasorda is a friend of HEE-HAW producer Sam Lovullo. I was one of the writers for HEE-HAW and I met Tommy when he visited our set in Nashville. 
          When the Dodgers' Mexican pitching great Fernando Valenzuela was negotiating for a new contract, I asked Tommy how much it was going to take to get Valenzuela signed.
          Tommy answered, "He wants Texas back."

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The Bad Beat of the Decade
      It was the 1999 MLB playoffs. It was the bottom of the 15th inning between the Braves and Mets. The game was tied, 3-3. The bases were loaded and my friend Adrian from Singapore was on the "Over" 9.0 runs. With the score 3-3, he needed to catch a longshot break to win, of course.
       Whaddayouknow, with the bases loaded Robbin Ventura came to bat and hit a grand slam home run!
     Adrian was ecstatic, of course. A final score of 7-3! "Over" 9! His sportbook credited his account with his winnings and all was right with the world.
     ...But wait....Or was it? The fans flooded the field, the players piled onto Ventura, and there was instant chaos. Ventura was swept off his feet before he could run the bases.
      Finally, the officials decided it can't be a home run because Ventura failed to touch all four bases. They took away the homer and called the homer a "single." Rather than the game ending with a score of 7-3, it was offically scored as 4-3!....."Under" 9. Adrian's sportbook took back their money and Adrian got the Bad Beat of the Decade Trophy.

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Top 10 signs your 11-year-old son might be gambling....

10. He's been rolling his brother's blocks and yelling "Seven-come-eleven!"

9.    His backyard merry-go-'round has the numbers 1 through 36 written on it, plus a 0 and a 00.

8.    While playing "Go Fish" he tried to double down.

7.    He posted a line on his 6th grade spelling bee.

6.    While the rest of his class is learning multiplication tables, he knows how to convert moneylines into must-win percentages.

5.    The Stardust sent him free airline tickets.

4.    The last time your family ate at McDonald's it was comped.

3.    He recently bought a $800 sportcoat.

2.    He knows way-y-y too much about NFL yards-per-point differentials.

And the Number One sign your 11-year-old might be gambling....

1.    He's dating a showgirl.

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          The last 5 words a Major League Baseball pitcher wants to hear is, "You've been traded to Colorado."

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"There are a lot of bookmakers in Nevada, but probably not as many as in Cleveland." - R. J. Miller

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Overheard at a Gold Coast blackjack table:
"I've been counting the cards...There's 52 of them."

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I Dunno, - Whadda You Think?
       
There's a stockbroker I met – I’ll call him “Charlie” – who retired to Las Vegas and now passes his time betting on sports. The trouble is, he needs somebody else's input before making any betting decisions. He's forever having second thoughts, doubts, misgivings about every bet, both before and after he lays it. It’s incongruous that a stockbroker can’t make decisions, but I never met a man who could so easily be touted.
       Charlie and I met for coffee at Terrible Mike's restaurant in the Gold Coast and, as luck would have it, we were talking about his inability to stick with a decision. He'd been betting on my opinions for a couple weeks, and I'd just had a few losing days. Charlie was ready to trash the whole idea of getting my opinions. He thought we should try some other System Of The Week he'd heard about.
       I knew the losing streak was a common phenomenon. I reminded him of our long-term record and tried to shore up his resolve. Of all people, you'd think a stockbroker would understand short term fluctuations, but not Charlie. Moreover, he denied having any sort of problem with indecision at all. So far as Charlie was concerned, if I had three or four losing days in a row I should try using somebody else's opinions.
       As we talked, Charlie offered to buy both of us a fish sandwich. "Try one, J. R.," he said. "They make great fish sandwiches here."
    
 I passed, citing my diet, but Charlie left for the counter to get one of his own.
      When Charlie came back he was carrying a hamburger sandwich.....Somebody touted him off the fish.

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      "Los Angeles is one of two major cities without a professional football team...The other city is Cleveland."  - Unknown

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