Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, has hired the legendary NBA sports bettor, and oft-time high stakes poker player, Haralabos Voulgaris in a bid to revitalise his side’s flagging fortunes.
Tony Bloom earned a mint creating the perfect football betting system, and used his profits to buy his beloved Brighton & Hove Albion. Eight years later, and the Seagulls flew into the English Premier League (EPL) finishing 15th in their first season.
Haralabos Voulgaris has a lot in common with Bloom.
They have both earned a fortune betting on sports.
They have both appeared in front of the headlamps of the highest stakes poker tournaments in the world, unstartled.
They both want to buy a sports team.
Bloom had achieved his dream.
“I want to buy a basketball team.”
Meet The World’s Top NBA Gambler
An 18-year-old, Voulgaris, moved to Las Vegas with his father for a two-month stint, and as he wasn’t old enough to gamble, he spent most of his time hanging around in the Caesars Palace sportsbook, watching, learning, soaking it all in.
If you would have asked him right there and then what he wanted to be when he grew up, I am sure Voulgaris would have said, “One of those guys,” and he wouldn’t be pointing at anyone standing on a court.
As the 90s evaporated into the ether like the steam of a freshly roasted pot of coffee, Voulgaris got his big bankroll break turning an $80,000 bankroll into more than a million after placing two massive bets on the LA Lakers.
Then in 2002, Voulgaris spotted a loophole with how bookies were setting their half-time totals; exploited that loophole, and began wagering up to 350 bets a day, totalling a million pounds each 24-hour period.
Pretty soon he was washing his dirty bits in rose water, and taking regular nightcaps of Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac. Then in typical gambling fashion, he did his nuts after the bookies found the loophole and closed it.
A few years later, Voulgaris realised he needed an algorithm to take up the slack. He found a math wizard smoking reeds on a mountain somewhere, drafted him into his one-man band, and together they created Ewing.
Ewing debuted in 2018.
It was a success.
The money rolled in.
The wizard became a partner.
Then Voulgaris quit becoming a consultant for one of the top teams in the NBA, albeit in a shroud of secrecy.
It didn’t last.
The buzz kept calling.
Voulgaris couldn’t resist.
The Maverick Joins The Mavericks
Many years, and a deluge of bets later, it’s happening again, only this time it’s out in the open for everyone to see.
Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, has appointed the 43-year-old Canadian to the position of Director of Quantitative Research and Development, in the hope that Voulgaris’ keen statistical eye can help find his darling Mavericks an edge.
And they need it.
The Mavericks haven’t won jack-diddly-squat since 2011.
It’s a bold, ballsy but brilliant move by Cuban, showing how the American sports public is warming up to the thought of sports betting becoming a new appendage for the major sports leagues. Voulgaris once told ESPN that during his heyday he knew what head coaches Eddie Jordan, Jerry Sloan and Byron Scott was going to do before they did it.
“It was a joke, it was so easy,” said Voulgaris during a 2013 interview with Scott Eden.
Cuban will be hoping for more of the same.
Voulgaris doesn’t play much poker these days, preferring backing rather than folding, but he has won $3,091,797 playing live tournaments. He has twice come close to becoming a World Poker Tour (WPT) Champion, losing to Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi when heads-up in the 2005 LA Poker Classic, and finishing third in the 2007 WPT Borgata Poker Open. His most significant score came in the 2017 $111,111 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller for One Drop at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) finishing fourth for $1,158,883. He has also competed in the $1m buy-in Big One For One Drop.
Mark Cuban took control of the Mavericks in 2000, after buying out H. Ross Perot Jr., for $285 million. Cuban achieved notoriety during his appearances in ABC’s The Shark Tank, and in 2015 invested heavily in the cryptocurrency, esports betting platform, Unikrn.