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“Fast Cash, Big Swings”

Cage

The ever evolving world of casinos and gambling have gone through major changes over the last 10-20 years. As players learn more about the games and become more knowledgeable, casinos have had to change gaming formats to maintain their house advantage to remain profitable.

This has not been more evident than with the sports books and the poker rooms in most casinos. The internet and the large amount of data, video, and information available to sports bettors at their finger tips has made sports book managers have to change their business models.

One sports book manager for the M Resort and Spa has employed a stock trading model using algorithms. This model has been most widely used in the new daily fantasy sports model. The website format, the payout structures, and overall layout for these new fantasy sports sites were mirrored after online poker sites of the mid-2000’s.

The man that is most credited with designing this format for daily fantasy sports is Taylor Caby. Taylor came from a poker background and also founded Cardrunners and managed Hold’em Manager.  Once the federal government shutdown the online poker industry in America in April 2011, Taylor designed and started a company called Draftday.

taylor-caby

Three years later, there are several sites catering to the daily fantasy sports bettors now, and it is completely legal in all 50 states. Sites like Draftkings, Draftday, and FanDuel offer daily miniature fantasy bets.

Using the tournament poker format, a bettor finds a contest within their bankroll, than picks their daily lineup. Their players are then scored against the other bettor’s lineups and the top 10% normally “cash.” The winner pays the most on down to the last person to “cash.”

Draftkings

                At the height of the online poker boom, the best players in the world who put in volume were only cashing roughly 20% of the tournaments they entered. A great online poker player will only win 3% or less of the tournaments they enter. Using the same poker model, this lends itself to large bankroll swings for daily fantasy bettors.

This form of sports betting is still in its early stages, and there is plenty of room for innovation when it comes to ways to evaluate the contests. Will steady cashing help with decreasing bankroll variance or will out-right wins pay better in the long run? Are you a better MLB or NFL daily fantasy bettor? Try your hand at this new style of sports betting.

 

The End of an Era?

The time has come. The NBA playoffs are here and not a minute too soon. The NBA playoffs always offer up tons of story lines but let us not be fooled. The Heat 3peat is absolutely the most intriguing. The Heat limped into the playoffs this year, and do not look like a team that is primed to make a Finals push. Yet still somehow they are frontrunners to get it done.  

Whether the Heat win or lose most believe that this is the last stand for the The Big 3. With an aging D Wade and role players that have become fairly predictable this team just does not scare people anymore. Of course what they do have is LeBron James and if he is playing at his highest level anything can be done. 

People did not like the way this team was put together. Some say it ruined basketball. I am not here to make those judgments. What I do know is that is has been beyond exciting wondering what this team will do next. If this is the end it has been a great ride. The NBA playoffs are here. Can you feel it?

Remember the 90s? Yeah, So Do We…

If in November you would have told me that the Chicago Bulls would finish the season winning 8 of their last 10 games, and finish the season with a top half seed in the league, I would have laughed. Derrick Rose’s injury seemed to spell the end for any hopes of a title in Chicago this year.

Miraculously, the Bulls have put together one of the most astonishing and brilliant performances from a team most people can’t pick out of a lineup. D.J. Augustin? He should be a long-shot to see the court for most teams, but has led the scoring charge. Jimmer Fredette? The applause he received for his first three-pointer with the Bulls was more expected from LeBron James than a player who had been cut just days before from a non-playoff team.

Now I want you to close your eyes. Ok, well, don’t close your eyes (you wouldn’t be able to keep reading). But, imagine for a moment what happens when the playoffs begin. The Bulls, the 4th seed, take on the Wizards with home court advantage. The Wizards put together a team that took them where they never would have been four years ago. The Bulls though, playing their usual style of grinding out games, take the series in 6 games. On to the next level we go.

Assuming things go as planned for the other teams in the Eastern Conference, the top seeded Pacers will have won their series with the Hawks. That means a divisional clash between one of the resurgent rivalries in basketball. This is where the predictions get bold and brilliant. The Pacers have had a hard time scoring down the stretch of the regular season, and Frank Vogel has struggled to get much of anything to go right for him and his team that was supposed to contend with the Miami Heat for dominance in the conference. What better matchup is there for a team with offensive struggles than the best defender in the game and his team which has held opponents to a league best 91.8 points allowed per game?

Bulls pacersThe Bulls and the Pacers go a full 7, but with the constant fire of the Bulls and the struggle to find the hole for the Pacers, this game could be stolen by the charging Bulls.

The dream doesn’t end there. Last season, a team that wasn’t supposed to do well made a run against the Heat in the second round. Why not a third round attempt?

Again, assuming the Heat pull off wins in their first two series, we should expect a Bulls vs. Heat rematch from last year. This time, though, the teams are in very different places than they were a year ago. The Heat have won their second championship, but have struggled all season to remain motivated against the constant pressure of being a daily Goliath. The Bulls, on the other hand, have continuously played with a chip on their shoulder, as if they have something to prove. This matchup will be the toughest for the Bulls, and will most likely be where things end. But maybe, just maybe, there is another upset left in the tank.Bulls, heat

The Eastern Conference has been abysmal this year. A team with a losing record is backing it’s way into the post-season, and even the teams at the top have seen their share of struggles. That leaves the door wide open for a team to swoop in and steal the show. To do that, a team would need some young talent, dedication, and, most importantly, resilience. No team embodies that better than the 2013-2014 Chicago Bulls. The road to the NBA Championship won’t be easy, but the possibility is right there.

There is always the risk that whoever makes it to the NBA finals gets wiped out by the far-more dominant Western Conference. The Thunder look hungry for a ring, while the Spurs could practically taste it the last time they were there. But with what it takes to get to the Championship series, any team has the chance to make something of themselves.

Josh Freeman…A New York Giant

When you hear the phrase New York Giants quarterback who pops into your head? Well talking in the year 2014 the auto response is Eli Manning. Now asking about the backup to the younger Manning some responses may be David Carr, Curtis Painter, and Ryan Nassib. There is now a new backup QB in town now that Josh Freeman has signed with Big Blue.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Minnesota Viking QB Josh Freeman.

      

Last year was not the best for the six year veteran who was cut from the Bucs and picked up by the Vikings later in the season. There were rumblings of locker room issues while at Tampa Bay including missing of team photos and he wasn’t voted team captain amongst his peers. This is alarming since he was the first string quarterback with no competition in sight. Click here for more on the drama that was 2013/14.

The last time Freeman faced his now team was in his first season as a Viking. And it wasn’t a pretty one. While falling to the Giants on Monday Night Football he threw for 20 of 53 pass attempts and 190 yards. Touchdowns? Nope, not even one. This was also against a struggling New York team.

So in the big scope of things will Freeman hurt or help the Giants.

If all goes well with Eli Manning’s surgery (which it looks that way) then he can’t hurt the Giants. Tom Coughlin and the rest of the organization are too tapped in to let Freeman’s drama get in the way of their goals. Now if Freeman does see field time it could be a good thing. Former Packer’s quarterback coach Ben McAddo is now the Giant’s offensive coordinator which could help Freeman from his rollercoaster consistency.

Either way the Giants have many more issues than just a quarterback one, so fans should not worry until the first snaps take place in the preseason.

Splash Brothers vs. Lob City

With the basketball playoffs getting under way, I figured it would only be right to discuss the Southern California vs. Northern California rivalry. The bad blood between the 3rd seed Clippers and the 6th seeded Warriors should make for quite the first round matchup.

Klay Thompson was first to shake things up with his comments about Blake Griffin saying, “He is like a bull in a China shop”. Well I agree with you on that one Klay, Griffin does flop a lot but he also happens to get beat up more then your average power forward. Secondly Klay, I think Blake has proved a lot more then you have, so I would keep the talk minimal until further notice.

Anyways, this series should be one of the most fun series to watch in the first round. Both team boast very respectable records in a tough western conference, the Clippers at 57-25 with the Warriors not far behind at 51-31. Injuries could be a huge factor; the largest for the Warriors being the most recent injury to starting center Andrew Bogut who is out indefinitely with broken ribs.

In four games this year between them, the series was split and each game had its own dynamics. In one game we saw Draymond Green throw an elbow at Blake Griffin, and in another we saw Jermaine O’Neal get into a squabble with some Clipper foes.

Some Keys To Watch: the three points shooting from both the Warriors and Clippers. Obviously we know about the Splash brothers (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson), but the Clippers must contain them and do their part to keep pace. In addition, the point guard matchups will be extremely exciting. Chris Paul is arguably the best true point guard in the league these days, with the newer style Curry dropping three’s like they are layups.

The Warriors took game 1 in a very close game, but I would not expect them to keep that up. This should be an awesome series that will most likely go to game 6 or 7. My prediction is that the Clippers will win this series, but I really hope they do not.

Flyers Game 2 Preview

The Flyers dropped Game 1 to the Rangers 4-1 this past Thursday. Although the game was tied going into the third period the Rangers dominated the game. The Flyers turned the puck over often and looked the furthest thing from sharp.

With Mason out again for Game 2 the Flyers will look to get the win with Emery between the pipes. While Emery has a great record against the rangers in his career (7-2-1) he struggled in the 4-1 loss to the Rangers during the regular season and lost game one 4-1.  The four minute double minor in the third period really hurt the Flyers and Emery as the Rangers capitalized and scored two goals and then added another thereafter essentially putting away the game.

 

emerymason-slideshow-ap

 

Mason has been the clear cut number one all season long his 33-18-7 record speaks for itself and his 2-1 record vs. the Rangers this season is better than Emery’s now 0-2 record. But Emery does have the upper hand in playoff experience. Last year he served as the back up for the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, and in the 06-07 season he played goalie for the Ottawa Senators who reached the Stanley Cup Finals. Mason’s lone playoff series came in 2008-2009 season when Columbus got swept in the first round. Getting Mason back would be huge for the Flyers but for Game 2 they will have to stick with Emery.

The one thing the Rangers have done really well against the Flyers this season is shutting down their number one line. In Thursday’s loss the Rangers held the Flyers top line to just two shots and zero points.  The regular season included the Flyers top line has only scored one goal in five games against the Rangers. If the Flyers are going to win game two they will need to create more chances/shots. In game one they only got fifteen shots and one in third period almost a season low. The Flyers will look to turn things around Sunday and bring the series back to Philadelphia tied 1-1.

 

Fall Down 7 times……. Stay Down

Dwayne Wade started his carer with a never before heard of campaign. Fall down 7 times, stand up 8.” It was a testament to how his relentless play and daredevil antics on the basketball court never stopped him from getting up after he was knocked down. It was catchy and it made him look like he had a super hero element. One that we had not seen in quite a while. Almost like a new age Michael Jordan. Anytime a player gets a Jordan comparison, automatically he is in rare air (pun intended). 

 

So here we are 11 years and 3 championships later and Dwayne Wade is still falling down. The only difference is he’s not getting up as easily or as frequently. It is not secret that LeBron James is the best player on the Miami Heat. But Wade is sort of the glue that holds the franchise together. The pass few season it has been very obvious that Wade has lost a step but this year he has missed more time than ever and a lot of Heat fans are wondering just how far the Heat will go if he’s not healthy. Only time we’ll tell but Heat fans everywhere are hoping that Wade can pick himself up just one more time.

 

Kosher Athletes

When any Jewish man or woman makes it big in sports, it is somewhat of a big deal. Coming from a background with many Jews in it, most of us were not born with supreme athleticism.

Anyways, with Passover taking place yesterday I decided it would only be fitting to honor some famous Jews who have had the luxury of enjoying some California sun.

This one must be quite the shocker but first comes the man who sat out game on of the World Series because it was Yom Kippur, Sandy Koufax. Koufax won 3 NL MVP’S, 3 pitching crown awards and the 1963 National League MVP. As a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers for 12 seasons, Koufax led his team to 6 pennants and 4 World Series. At age 36 he was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame becoming the youngest member in history.

sandy-koufax

Next is a fellow Hoosier and arguably the best swimmer of all-time, Mark Spitz. Coming from Modesto, California I am sure he did quite a bit of swimming during the hot summers. Mr. Spitz set a world record for the most gold medals received with 7 during the 1972 Olympic games. Mark Spitz overall won 24 AAU championships, 8 NCAA titles (while at Indiana University), and set 32 world records.

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This one is a little different, but I felt I could relate coming from two different backgrounds. Pete Sampras is of Jewish decent from his mother’s side, but is also Greek from his father. Pete currently lives in my hometown in Westlake Village, and obviously would be upset if I did not mention him.

Lastly, winning 64 career titles and 762 career wins, Sampras is one of the best tennis players of all time. Holding the number 1 ranking in the world for almost 6 years, he held the most total Gram Slam wins until Roger Federer broke that in 2009. Sampras’s career record of 203 wins and 38 losses made playing against the pros look quite easy. Cheers to Pete, his 7 Wimbledon’s and 5 US Opens, what a treat you were to watch.

Pete-Sampras_1

Although this list only consists of a few top Jewish athletes, it is great to see some Jews conquering at the pro level. So happy belated Passover to you fellow Hebrews out there, and always keep it kosher.