Jimmy Vaccaro Isnt Excited About The Super Bowl

On Jan. 26, 1986, the Chicago Bears beat the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX. That year, the fearsome ’85 Bears had become “more than just a really good football team,” Chicago native Chuck Esposito, the race and sports book director at Sunset Station casino, told me. They had iconoclastic quarterback Jim McMahon, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, and the best defense in NFL history. “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” the novelty record they cut, even peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard chart.7Amazingly, the song was nominated for a Grammy.At the time, Vaccaro was running the sports book at the MGM. His rise was swift. He’d cut his gambling teeth as a kid in his 1.4-square-mile hometown of Trafford, Pennsylvania, and in Youngstown, Ohio, where he attended but never finished college. He spent his young adult life playing cards, shooting dice and backing pool players. “Betting was in his veins,” Sonny said of his brother.In 1964, at 18, Vaccaro went to Vegas for the first time. He said he spent the next 10 years “coming back and forth. Going broke, going home, going broke, going home … ” He didn’t officially move to the city until 1975, when casino magnate Michael Gaughan gave him a job as a blackjack dealer at the Royal Inn. Soon Vaccaro was helping Gaughan open the hotel’s race and sports book. When Gaughan opened the Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino in 1979, Vaccaro was tabbed to run the new establishment’s sports book. Six years later, Vaccaro left for the MGM.Even then, bookmaking had not yet become the creative enterprise that it is today. Prop bets existed, but they were rare. In his 2013 article about the now ubiquitous medium, SB Nation writer David McIntire relays a story about the time in 1980 when the late bookmaker Sonny Reizner put up odds on who shot J.R. Ewing during the season finale of “Dallas.”8Cowboys coach Tom Landry was also a suspect. The odds on him were 500-1.“The person who pulled the trigger turned out to be the sister of J.R.’s wife,” Reizner, who died in 2002, later told the Los Angeles Times, “and she was my 7-to-2 fourth choice in the odds.”The Nevada Gaming Control Board forced Reizner’s Hole-in-the-Wall Sportsbook to take the bet off the board — it reportedly ruled that the show’s creators had already determined the shooter and might leak his or her identity — but the stunt drew plenty of media attention.It’s unclear whether the “Who shot J.R.?” prop influenced the Vegas bookmakers, but by the 1980s, they’d begun to look for ways to grow their business by piquing the interest of the general public. Vaccaro said that in January 1986, several of his colleagues gathered for lunch and discussed the possibility of creating a wager that might do just that. They wondered: “What if we put odds on whether William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry would score a touchdown in the Super Bowl?” During the regular season, the gargantuan Bears defensive tackle had three TDs, all on plays where he’d line up as a fullback. Still, with Payton in Chicago’s backfield, there was no way The Fridge would get the ball in the Super Bowl.The Fridge prop is often credited to Vaccaro, but in hindsight he thinks fellow bookmaker Art Manteris of Caesars Palace was the first to offer his customers the odds on Perry scoring. (“If I had to make a bet,” Vaccaro said, “I’d say it was Art.”) At the MGM, Vaccaro opened it at 75-1, but so much money poured in that the line moved to 5-1. “Who the fuck would’ve thought a defensive lineman would score a touchdown?” Vaccaro said with a smile. Sure enough, with the Bears on the 1-yard line late in the third quarter, McMahon handed off the ball to Perry, who barreled into the end zone.“I think we won overall on the game but we lost a quarter-million on that prop,” Manteris later told the Associated Press. “I sold it to the people upstairs by saying we got a million dollars in PR out of it.”Vaccaro said the MGM lost $40,000 on the Fridge prop. At the end of the night, Vaccaro didn’t curse out The Fridge or celebrate the publicity. “I’m a passive person,” he said. He climbed into his Jaguar, drove 6 miles on Interstate 15 to his house, ate a tuna-salad sandwich and went to sleep.But after the Super Bowl, reporters started calling. “It was the best money we ever spent,” Vaccaro said. After all, he adds, “We’re talking about it today.” This week, Vaccaro and the rest of Las Vegas’s bookmakers will turn their attention to Super Bowl XLIX. “The money that comes in on the Super Bowl is dominated by the betting public,” Kornegay said. “Not the sharps, not the so-called wise guys or professionals. It’s the public’s money.”And the public is spending more than ever. Last February, gamblers at Nevada casinos bet a record $119.4 million on one of the most lopsided title games in NFL history. Note that that figure doesn’t include the absurd amounts of cash bet via online sports books, office pools and your friendly neighborhood bookie.A chunk of that will be wagered on things that go beyond the outcome of the game. These are called proposition bets, and they’re everywhere. No place in Vegas offers more than the Westgate SuperBook, where you can bet on, for example, whether Russell Wilson’s first pass will be complete (-170) or incomplete (+150), or whether Tiger Woods’s fourth-round score at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (-5.5/-110) or Patriots receiver Julian Edelman’s number of receiving yards4The casinos stick to props decided on the field of play, but if you peruse some online betting sites, you’ll find things like: “How many times will ‘deflated balls’ be said during the game?” and “Will Marshawn Lynch be fined for actions on media day?” (+5.5/-110) will be higher.Oddsmakers don’t haphazardly toss these wagers up on the board; they try to approach them empirically. When Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports for MGM, recently tried to determine the over/under on Tom Brady’s total yards in the Super Bowl, he pored over the Patriots quarterback’s statistics in the regular season and the playoffs; considered the quality of New England’s opponents; applied his personal formula that he uses for yardage props to the data; and came up with 278.5.5Every sports book comes up with its own odds. But bookmakers aren’t automatons. There’s always a little psychology involved. Because “the public thinks Seattle is a defensive team and New England is an offensive team,” Rood said, he knows he can project “most of the Patriots statistics a little higher than the math says, and vice versa.”And though he’s equipped with ample information and institutional memory, Rood calls Super Bowl prop-making “exhausting.” Why? Because the sharps have caught on. And if the line on a prop isn’t made with care, they’ll pounce. “They no longer think they’re a gimmick,” Rood told Sports Business Daily. “They think it’s a massive opportunity to try and cart money out of the casino.”Devising multi-sport props is even trickier. Take the Woods/Edelman example. For it to work, the golfer’s typical single-round score must be in the same numerical range as the receiver’s typical single-game receiving yards total. Two incongruous options could create liability for the casino. As props become more esoteric, they get riskier.“You try to keep putting up more and more and more,” said Johnny Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas, “but sometimes you go so far out of the box, you put yourself in a situation where there’s a prop that’s advantageous to the player.”The mundane props can also burn a book. In Super Bowl XLVIII last year, Seattle opened the scoring with a safety. The odds in Vegas of a safety occurring at all were about 8-1; the odds of a safety being the first points of the game were 50-1. “We lost $62,000 12 seconds into the game,” Vaccaro told Bloomberg News. “A sizable scream went out when it occurred.”6It was the third straight Super Bowl in which a safety occurred.For bettors, the allure of prop bets is simple. Even if the odds are lousy, it gives them the ability to plunk down a little money to have the chance to win a lot of money. “The public really enjoys low risk, high reward,” Kornegay said. “It doesn’t matter what it is. You know what? You can say, ‘Will Elvis come down on the field and do the coin flip?’ One-to-one odds. It’s a good bet.”Vaccaro helped start the prop bet revolution with something nearly as ridiculous as that. Jimmy Vaccaro, the dean of Las Vegas bookmakers, leaned back in his chair and kicked his black loafers up onto his desk, revealing the tube socks stretching between his shoes and his dad jeans. The NFC championship game was on his flat-screen television, and outside his office at South Point Casino there was a crowd filling a sports book the size of a state school lecture hall. Grown men in Packers and Seahawks gear,1In addition to Seahawks, Packers, Colts and Patriots gear, I saw a Joe Montana jersey, a J.J. Watt jersey and a Ben Roethlisberger jersey. My favorite fashion choice, however, was what appeared to be an authentic circa 1994 Stan Humphries Chargers jersey that went down to a scruffy dude’s knees. many of whom had money on the action, were screaming at stadium-grade video boards and sucking down Bud Lights. Vaccaro, on the other hand, was sipping Pepsi through a straw.“You wouldn’t know who I’m rooting for,” he said. His ability to stay calm during a major sporting event is a point of pride. “Once it starts, I can’t control it.” This Sunday, millions of people will realize the same thing. Betting on the Super Bowl has become, according to some estimates, a multibillion dollar affair, infiltrating the culture to the point where offshore gambling sites are offering odds on things like what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach.The guy who helped it go mainstream — the one who was in the room when Super Bowl betting went from niche to zeitgeist — is Jimmy Vaccaro, the kid from tiny Trafford, Pennsylvania, who made good in Vegas.Since moving here permanently in 1975 — “40 freakin’ years” — Vaccaro has run more than a half-dozen race and sports books. “He was spearheading the movement,” said Jay Kornegay, vice president of the 30,000-square-foot2The Westgate Las Vegas, which everyone still calls the LVH (depending how old you are, it’s short for the Las Vegas Hotel or the Las Vegas Hilton), claims it has largest sports book in the world. Westgate SuperBook.Vaccaro doesn’t drink, smoke or go to strip clubs. He even refuses to dress up, keeping an overstuffed cardboard box full of his signature all-white sweatshirts near his desk. Only New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick owns more hoodies. Vaccaro still makes calls on a flip phone, can count the number of visits he’s made to the East Coast over the past four decades on one hand, and is twice divorced. “I’m married to this,” he said.Vaccaro is the guy who helped destigmatize sports betting. He did it not only by being an expert linesmaker (which he is), but also by being a levelheaded booster of a supposedly illicit activity. When the media needed a no B.S. kind of guy to talk about the odds on a big game or a big fight, we called Jimmy Vaccaro.3For a live special called “Springfield’s Most Wanted”, “The Simpsons” asked Vaccaro to tape a segment touting fictional odds on who shot Mr. Burns. He agreed to do it, although he’d never seen the show. We still call Jimmy Vaccaro. And he’s here, 40 freakin’ years in, at an off-the-strip resort, still plying his trade.“Who’s the most famous bookmaker of all time? Jimmy ‘The Greek.’ ” said his older brother Sonny Vaccaro, the former sneaker company executive who signed Michael Jordan to his first Nike deal. “What did [the Greek] do? He publicized himself every time he took a shit. He craved publicity. My brother is the anti-showman.” By the time Vaccaro began running the sports book at the newly opened Mirage in 1989, prop betting hadn’t exactly taken off. But it had become more common. Leading up to Super Bowl XXIV in January 1990, a guest at the Mirage bet $5,000 on 4-1 odds that an extra point would be missed. After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana hit tight end Brent Jones for a 7-yard touchdown in the first quarter, kicker Mike Cofer’s ensuing attempt was no good. The unidentified man collected $27,000, prompting Vaccaro to tell the San Francisco Chronicle that “it gave him more money to bet with us on the halftime line.”A string of blowouts — NFC teams won 13 straight Super Bowls beginning in January 1985 — forced the bookmakers to get creative. “It really took off in ’95, when the 49ers and Chargers met in the Super Bowl and it was a 19.5-, 20-point spread,” Kornegay said of a game that San Francisco won 49-26. “So we were just trying to devise propositions to keep everybody interested in the game by the time the second half rolled around.”Over the past 20 years, prop betting has gone mainstream. So has betting on sports in general. Is there anyone left who doesn’t fill out an NCAA tournament bracket? “Everyone in America likes to bet sports,” Nick Bogdanovich said. “It’s not like the old days when people painted it as a bad thing. Look, now all these college-educated kids want to work on formulas and crunch stats and algorithms.”On the day after the NFL conference championship games, Jimmy showed me his sports book’s intricate digital database. Employees can monitor global betting lines, check exactly how much has been wagered on specific events, and even access what Vaccaro calls the “What if?” screen. “Right now you could punch in, ‘Patriots 35-10,’ ” he said, “and it tells you exactly what we’re gonna win or lose.”Running a sports book is different than it was in 1975. “There’s no guessing anymore, which makes it so much easier,” Vaccaro said. “You know where you’re at on everything. It’s not hard. It isn’t like the old days when we were hand-writing everything.” More information is at his disposal, but his philosophy toward how he sets the line remains the same. “It’s a general feeling that it’s the right number.”That’s why, 40 freakin’ years in, his temperament hasn’t changed. He’s never too high, and he’s never too low. On Super Bowl Sunday, he’ll be in his office with his feet up on his desk, drinking a Pepsi and watching the action unfold. He’ll probably be rooting for someone, but don’t expect him to wear his emotions on the sleeve of his white hoodie.“I understand what it’s like to make a relatively big score, and I know even better what it’s like to get your ass kicked and broke and go through bad times,” Vaccaro said. “I’ve never gotten crazy with either one.” read more

Which Countries Medal In The Sports That People Care About

What if medals were awarded in proportion to a sport’s popularity? Related: Hot Takedown Lithuania21251012 Ukraine6592022610 India02460134 Fencing202100.4 Montenegro01010303 Brazil359178271146 SPORTVIEWER HOURS (MILLIONS)EVENTSMEDAL MULTIPLIER Synchronized swimming11321.1 Taekwondo**8880.2 Basketball80428.0 Hong Kong00110011 Qatar00220011 Iran453121214 Ethiopia31373137 Kuwait00110000 Modern pentathlon3220.3 Trampoline6720.7 Sweden14380516 Singapore00220055 Romania25292428 Indonesia01120000 Algeria10011001 Judo**443140.6 Source: Sports-Reference.com Puerto Rico01120011 Spain310417115420 Azerbaijan226101124 Grenada10011001 Volleyball51925.1 China also gets a modest boost, thanks in part to its gymnastics and table tennis prowess, while Brazil — great at soccer and volleyball, not so good at the individual sports — gets a large one. The country that suffers the most is Great Britain, which used its home-nation advantage to rack up medals in some of the more obscure sports. Nations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which win lots of medals in relatively unpopular events such as weightlifting and wrestling, also suffer to some extent. Afghanistan00110000 Botswana01010101 France11111335915832 Venezuela10010000 The Subtle (And Not So Subtle) Dominance Of U.S. Swimmers And Gymnasts * Golf and rugby are new Olympic sports for 2016. Viewership is estimated based on regression analysis.** Boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling award two bronze medals in each event. As a result, they have a lower medal multiplier for bronze medals: 0.3 for boxing and judo, 0.2 for wrestling and 0.1 for taekwondo.Source: Olympic.org Team sports almost invariably wind up with large medal multipliers, including soccer (12.9), basketball (8.0) and even water polo (1.9). Swimming (0.9) and track and field (1.0) hold their own; they’re very popular, but also medal-rich, so there isn’t much need to adjust their numbers one way or the other. Gymnastics gets a boost, though, as does diving (1.9). But many of the more obscure individual sports, such as shooting (0.4), sailing (0.2) and taekwondo (0.2), have low multipliers.How would these adjustments have affected the 2012 Olympic standings? Among other things, they’d have helped the United States, which already led the way with 46 gold and 103 overall medals in London. A lot of those medals came in team sports, such as basketball, volleyball and (women’s) soccer, which have high medal multipliers. Thus, Team USA’s adjusted medal count is 78 golds and 142 medals overall, towering over the competition. Rhythmic gymnastics9220.9 Beach volleyball78127.7 Golf*9420.9 Denmark24391337 COUNTRYGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTALGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTAL USA dominates adjusted medal count We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.Because the Summer Olympics occur during presidential election years, I have to pick my viewing opportunities carefully. I won’t always have the time or patience to watch much water polo or beach volleyball, sports that involve a lot of buildup — dozens of preliminary matches — all leading up to a gold-medal match that I’ll probably forget to watch anyway.1The Winter Olympics are another story: MORE CURLING, PLEASE. Instead, I’m mostly interested in sports such as swimming and track and field, which provide plenty of bang for the buck, with somebody (probably an American) winning a medal pretty much every other time you look.Not everyone agrees with this philosophy, though. Track and field and swimming are indeed very popular, ranking as the top two sports for Olympics TV viewership, followed by gymnastics in third. But soccer ranks fourth. It awards just two gold medals, one each for the men’s and women’s champions, while sailing awards 10. And yet — even if people don’t care as much about Olympic soccer as they do the World Cup or the Champions League — soccer has 15 times the Olympics TV audience that sailing does.So, what if Olympics medals were awarded in proportion to how much people actually cared about each sport, as measured by its TV viewership? To reiterate, I’m talking about TV viewership during the Olympics, specifically. Tennis (as in: Wimbledon) is presumably the more popular spectator sport under ordinary circumstances, but in 2012, people actually spent more time watching table tennis (as in: pingpong) than tennis at the Olympics.The data I’m citing here comes from the IOC’s International Federations Report, which listed the total number of TV viewer hours in each sport during the 2012 London Olympics. People around the world spent a collective 202 million hours watching Olympics fencing in 2012, for example. The list of the most popular sports is less U.S.-centric than you might think: Badminton, not very popular in the United States, gets a lot of TV viewers worldwide.There are just a couple of complications. First, some Olympic federations cover more than one sport, as people usually define them. FINA, for example, governs swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming2Technically the Olympics committee calls diving a discipline, which is organized under one sport, aquatics., and the IOC’s report aggregated their TV viewership together. I used data on London Olympics ticket revenues as a proxy for the relative popularity of these sports, in order to split the TV audiences accordingly.3Specifically, I used data on ticket revenues, excluding tickets sold to residents of the United Kingdom, on the assumption that this would help to correct for sports that are more popular in the U.K. than they are worldwide. Second, golf and rugby are new to the Olympics this year, so I estimated their TV viewership using regression analysis.4The regression was based on the revenue tier in which the IOC ranked each sport — golf and rugby are in the lowest tier along with modern pentathlon — and the number of ticketed sessions for each sport. Ticketed sessions is a proxy for the overall number of broadcast hours available. A sport like handball can slowly accumulate viewers, even it doesn’t have very many of them at any one time.Otherwise, the analysis is pretty straightforward. I calculated a medal multiplier for each sport, such that the value of medals is proportional to the amount of time people spent watching it. Gymnastics, for instance, represented about 4.5 percent of the medals awarded in 2012, but around 9 percent of the TV viewership. It therefore needs a medal multiplier of 2 to bring things into proportion.5For boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling, which award two bronze medals per event, I use a smaller medal multiplier for bronze medals. Estonia01120011 Gymnastics1,442142.0 Tennis37151.5 Great Britain2917196517101845 Boxing**302130.5 Australia71612353121833 Badminton56252.2 Triathlon10021.0 Water polo19421.9 Belarus255122338 Japan71417384281648 New Zealand625132125 Netherlands6682075416 Jamaica4441244412 Egypt02020101 Mongolia02350112 Taiwan01120000 Archery16240.8 Handball26522.6 Greece00220011 Hungary846186129 Italy891128351220 Mexico1337135321 Croatia31263036 Germany1119144414161141 Table tennis46142.3 Field hockey23322.3 Latvia10121089 Cyprus01010000 Rowing196140.3 Thailand02130101 Guatemala01010101 Canoe/kayak195160.2 Portugal01010000 Colombia13481214 U.S.462829103783925142 Weightlifting320150.4 Shooting215150.3 Argentina11240224 Malaysia01120224 N. Korea40262013 Armenia01230011 Ireland11351113 Cuba536142226 Tunisia11131113 Track and field2,300471.0 Soccer1,300212.9 Sailing87100.2 Dominican Rep.11021102 Slovenia11241113 ORIGINAL 2012 MEDAL COUNTADJUSTED FOR SPORT POPULARITY We’ll check in on these numbers again at the end of the 2016 Rio games. They may even make inexplicably popular beach volleyball — medal multiplier 7.7 — worth your time to watch. Diving78481.9 Rugby*14121.4 S. Africa32162204 Norway21143014 Slovakia01340011 Swimming1,509340.9 Belgium01230011 Bulgaria01120000 Gabon01010000 Georgia13371113 Finland01230011 Bahamas10011001 Russia2426328225233280 Czech Rep.433102226 Turkey22151102 Morocco00110011 Uzbekistan10230011 Trinidad and Tobago11241124 Moldova00220011 Cycling564180.6 S. Korea138728861731 Uganda10011001 Switzerland22042204 Tajikistan00110000 Bahrain00110011 Kenya2451124511 Serbia11240022 Poland226101124 China38272388503020100 Kazakhstan715134116 Canada151218122124 Equestrian18160.6 Wrestling**318180.3 Saudi Arabia00110011 read more

WCTV To Host Food Drive At Market Basket This Saturday February 9

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Community Television is holding its annual food drive — Donations From The Heart — on Saturday, February 9, 2019, from 9am to 1pm, at the Market Basket in Wilmington.WCTV staff and youth volunteers will be setting up a table inside Market Basket. Volunteers will be at the doors of the store handing out lists of food most needed by the Wilmington Food Pantry. If you are shopping at that time, please take a list and purchase one or two of the items off of it. Then go to the table in front of the store and drop off your donation. Volunteers will pack up the boxes and bring them to the food pantry.——Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWCTV To Host Food Drive At Market Basket On February 11In “Community”Wilmington Food Pantry Is In Need Of Canned Protein DonationsIn “Community”WILMINGTON GIVES: WCTV To Host Food Drive This SaturdayIn “Community”last_img read more

New planetarium show puts audience in center of extreme storms

first_img About admin ShareCONTACT: Lia UnrauPHONE:(713) 348-6778EMAIL: unrau@rice.edu AddThis center_img NEW PLANETARIUMSHOW PUTS AUDIENCE IN CENTER OF EXTREME STORMSImagine feeling theforce of a major hurricane up close, seeing the power that a tornado unleashesas it swirls around you and experiencing the eruptions of solar flares on thesurface of the sun. The latest in computeranimation is bringing a force 5 hurricane, a violent tornado and an explosivesolar storm to the Houston Museum of Natural Science starting June 8, allowingaudiences to step inside the storms, creating a sense of how it would look andfeel if you were standing amidst the fury. A special kickoff event will be heldJune 15.At the Burke BakerPlanetarium, the 22-minute “Force 5” – the world’s first Earth and space sciencefull-dome computer animated show – will feature storms created from real moviesand NASA-based images. “Planetariums generallyallow the audience to look up and out at the sky,” says Patricia Reiff,professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University and collaborator on theshow. “With Force 5, we invite theater-goers to turn and look down at the Earthfrom above, and we put you inside the storm – you get to experience everythingshort of the raindrops.”Force Five is funded byNASA’s Museums Teaching Planet Earth project at Rice University and by the ImageSpacecraft Mission, on which Reiff is conducting experiments. The show isproduced by the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Sybil Media. Following itsdebut in Houston, the show will travel to planetariums worldwide. Contact: Patricia Reiff,professor of space physics and astronomy, at 713-348-4634,reiff@rice.edu.last_img read more