Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Future is Now

If there is one thing I love, it's sports. I can watch and follow just about any sport you care to mention; I have been known to watch lawn bowls, darts, billiards (despite not really knowing the rules), World's Strongest Man competitions... almost anything. This is just one reason why I love the Olympics, as not only do I get to watch the highest level of competition in a lot of sports I already know and love, but within two weeks I become a rabid expert on the finer points of such sports as the biathlon, the luge, water polo, and handball. Having said that, I do have some standards. I draw the line at synchronised swimming and curling, two sports that I would only watch if my Significant Other (stop laughing!) or a family member was competing, and even then I may have to be threatened with physical violence.

If there are two things I love, it's sport and gambling. The gambling thing I am sure is no secret (this is ostensibly a poker blog, after all), though it reaches beyond mere poker variants. Anyone who was at the WPBT Winter Classic could vouch for that if they witnessed my performances playing Blackjack, Pai Gow, or (especially) craps. The craps example is a good one, as craps is a game I had avoided during my entire casino-going career, yet after some simple deception lessons from the Princess and Joe Speaker I morphed into a total craps fiend. I am hoping to make the next WPBT Summer Classic, and if I do my resolution is to play more hands of non-electronic poker than I did at the Winter Classic... which means I need to play at least one.

If there are two great tastes that taste great together, it's sports and gambling. I am a little hesitant to put horse racing into this category, as I believe that the "sport" part is firmly manufactured to allow the "gambling" part, but I fear the Boy Genius' wrath. This is an example of a "sport" (imagine me using air quotes) that I could care less about, except for the fact that you can gamble on it. Even better, the form guide presents a nice collection of numbers that I can pore over and pretend to glean some knowledge from. Hell, I (somehow) managed to pick the winner of the Melbourne Cup (Australia's premier race) despite only having a single paragraph to go on.

Now if I get this excited about gambling on a sport I profess to know nothing about, what about a real sport (sorry BG!) that I actually enjoy without the gambling part? Yes, it can get a little crazy when that happens. Gambling on the NFL is where I have plied most of my trade, though I stunk up the joint horribly this year once I returned to the US (for some reason both my NFL picks and gambling took a huge nose dive when I came back from Australia... somehow being on the wrong hemisphere allowed me to clean up). I have only bet on a couple of MLB games, have no idea about the NBA (though if I wanted to bet I would probably follow the picks of J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas - look for their "Book It!" posts), and I am just plain scared of people who bet on NHL.

"But what about College, Garthmeister J?!" I hear you cry. I have historically steered clear of College Football, which may have something to do with Michigan State (my adopted College team) being generally mediocre. As for College Basketball, the only gambling I have ever done is through the ubiquitous Bracket Pools. I actually have the distinction of winning my office's March Madness pool before I actually started working for the company (my boss' boss and I spent 20 minutes of my interview discussing my selection rationale).

Now is the time of year when everyone starts thinking about those magical days in March when everyone starts to think about the Big Dance. It may have not escaped your attention that ESPN has been showing games featuring the likes of North Texas and Arkansas State, a harbinger of the Madness soon to come.

Which brings me (eventually) to my point: this past Sunday I was chatting to a friend of mine, who happened to mention a way to gamble on the NCAA tournament that I hadn't heard of before: futures. That's right, it is actually possible to buy and sell NCAA Final Four futures - that is you can buy and sell futures in a particular College making it to the Final Four. The site my friend informed me about is called TicketReserve (full disclosure: I am NOT getting paid for this, I just think it's cool - and it's highly possible other sites have similar offerings, this is just the one I know of). The site has set up the futures (which they call the gag-worthy "FanFORWARDS") for tickets to the Final Four; if you hold futures for a particular team that makes the Final Four you have the right and obligation to pay face value for tickets to the game.

Naturally this provides a method for people to attempt to get Final Four tickets, while at the same time allowing Action Fiends and Deviants of All Kinds (such as myself) to speculate like crazy people.

I haven't yet taken the plunge and registered an account, but I may do so in the near future. First I felt I had to let y'all know about it.

Your welcome, Miami Don.

UPDATE: My friend tells me that this was mentioned on ESPN Radio this morning. So there you go.


  • How'd you get to Michigan State as your adopted team? Man, am I sorry for you.

    Horse racing isn't a sport? The jockeys aren't just riding, but I can tell you that I wouldn't be a fan without the betting...

    By Blogger BG, at 8:30 PM  

  • Short story of how I became an MSU fan: a girl.

    Long story: I became a MSU fan by being a sports mad fresh-off-the-boat Australian who didn't have a College team he followed, which made caring whether Texas beat Alabama a little difficult... until the first girl I started seriously dating turned out to be an intern from Michigan State.

    She went back home after her internship, and though we stayed in touch we dropped back to just being friends. Even when she and her old boyfriend (who also went to MSU) got back together, and they both moved to DC to attend American University. So we all try and go out to catch a game together every so often.

    By Blogger Garthmeister J., at 8:41 PM  

  • Hmm...and I thought it was because MSU played like a bunch of girls.


    By Blogger StB, at 11:25 AM  

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