Bring freeze back in hoops, not in bets

Mar 18, 2008 6:00 PM

Getting Rich with Saber by Richard Saber |The road to San Antonio begins this Thursday. Few things in all of sports last as long as March Madness and are more exciting.

At one time I just loved to sit at home and watch as many games as humanly possible. Now you can sit in your favorite sports book and watch all the games. Times have sure changed, but I’m not sure for the best. I liked college hoops a lot better before the three-point play and the shot clock, I loved to see teams go into the freeze.

Back in the mid ’80s during my Stardust days before cell phones and the Internet, there were players that just owned college basketball. Now everyone seems to have all the same info readily available on the internet or ESPN, none of which you had back then.

If you wanted info you needed sports sections from all over the country. Certain bettors would go to that length to get such info, but they were few and far between. I will just mention two, which I both followed and made money on.

You have to remember this was in the 80’s and I was betting either 50 or 100 bucks a game. That was no small potatoes at the time. The first such player that I came to know about was a guy by the name of "Sam the Plumber." My first year dealing hoops, several big bettors came to me and offered me money if I could get them "Sam the Plumber’s" plays early.

I didn’t even know what they were talking about, but Scotty Schettler (my boss at the time) told me about the legendary Sam. One month before college hoops started Sam would lock himself in his house, put on his pajamas and never leave til it was all over.

He actually sent his wife out to make his bets. The only time he took his favorite PJ’s off was on laundry day. I thought this was some kind of joke until we would let Sam’s wife sneak in and make the plays. I started to follow them with my 50’s and 100’s and bought a new Lincoln that year. I never met Sam, but thanks.

The other bettor I will mention (but not use his name) was a guy by the name of PW. Now some of you that are still kicking and remember the lottery back in the ’80s will know exactly who I am talking about.

Anyway, this guy was so good that we made a deal with him so he could bet first. However, it could be for $500 a game. Back then before the big corporations took over the hotels, all the books were stand alone and could actually do things like this.

Now it would be against gaming to let someone bet first, thinking they may have an advantage. In this case he did, but we had a bigger edge. We would adjust the games that he played and force the bettors on the other side. If he won, the house would win – and the house won!

I also won, going out on break and betting the games at the old Castaway book next to the "Dust" where Tom and Sonny presided. Tom was very sharp and caught on right away so as soon as I bet my 100’s he would move the line.

One Saturday about three weeks before the Madness, PW played 17 games. I went out and bet all 17. Later that evening I went into the book and checked my tickets. Lo and behold I went 17-0 – and that’s against the point spread!

No new car that year, but I did have a great two weeks at Del Mar that summer.

You are probably wondering whatever happened to these guys. Well after the NCAA put in the three-point shot and the shot clock, and cell phones and the Internet came into being, it was all over. They were never able to duplicate or even come close to what they did in the past. So they are long retired from betting baskets with nobody to follow.

My car is now eight years old and I may not have enough money to buy gas to get to Del Mar this year.

Expect a lot of upsets, so take those points especially with teams that can light up those threes.

If I were to make a bet, I’d take Tiger Woods. Only thing is he isn’t in the Dance. But, can he tango!