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My email friend Big Al who has a ranch in Texas (geez, we all should), is a bigtime gambler and suggested I catch the new CNBC reality series “Money Talks.”

I missed it a couple of times, but did manage to make a note of it last week. And it was surprisingly candid about the selling of selections to clients.

In other words, they didn’t edit out the losses.

The show focuses on Steve Stevens, described in the CNBC release as “a hyper-charged fast-talking handicapper behind VIP Sports.”

Stevens has been picking games professionally for the past 15 years and claims he gets it right more than 60 percent of the time. 

Stevens real name is Darin Notaro, and he has an “interesting” past, but I’m not going to get into it. That’s for you guys to look up if you’re interested. Just remember, before you invest your money anywhere you should always do research.

What I will say is the episode of this show did correctly portray the hard sell approach VIP Sports and many others around Vegas use to get clients to spend more money than they should on a “can’t miss winner.”

Ted Sevransky, a GamingToday contributing writer, was prominently featured last year in a documentary about the sports handicapping business and I can say personally he was being totally honest.

I know a lot of people in the business and have worked all sides of it. There’s an honorable part involving those who actually do their homework and are successful.

And there’s a dark faction that just wants your money. They could not care less personally about the client, just about his wallet and credit card.

There is a “Mr. B” who the show featured as the super client of Stevens. You can speculate on who that unidentified whale is.

The marketing of sports handicapping is intoxicating. I totally get it – the rich lifestyle with fancy cars, million dollar homes, beautiful women, VIP treatment in a city that flaunts the image.

But success does have its price and you can go from rags to riches to rags in the space of just a couple of losses. If you like adrenalin rushes and living on the edge, this occupation is for you.

Just note the plunges are deep and often lethal. You will hear talk about money management on one side of their mouth, while on the other they want you to spend all the cash you can so their commission goes up.

Just like the old trick of selling a pick to those east of the Mississippi River, while backing the opposing side to those in the west. That way half the country wins and the other half looks to double up next time.

I am lucky enough to have my selections available both in print and online. The difference is it’s very affordable and my record is documented for all to see daily on the GamingToday website.

It used to be you paid for information, but now so much is available on the Internet. So the business is much more like insider trading and there is always the perception not everything is above board.

And that is the biggest obstacle every time the subject of legalizing sports betting comes up. Never mind that all the pro leagues consult Nevada officials every time there is suspicion of a fix. Much like the government hiring hackers to expose other hackers planting computer viruses or stealing our identity.

As for “Money Talks,” give it a watch and make your own judgment.

Encore: Radio personality Ken Thomson is now heard across the country on Yahoo Sports Network. His show airs from 7-10 p.m. Monday thru Friday and originates from Lagasse Stadium at the Palazzo. Unfortunately, Vegas doesn’t get the 9-10 p.m. hour. Hopefully that mistake will be rectified. Vegas needs more sports radio shows like Ken’s.

Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].

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