First time luck. Second time not surprising. Third time dynasty?
“Let’s say it would be legendary,” said Cannery’s Joe Porrello who recently became the first person to win back-to-back titles in the 33-year history of the prestigious GamingToday Bookies Battle contest, co-sponsored this year by Pregame.com.
Last year’s victory went right down to the wire. In fact, Porrello said he had to go 14-2 to pull it off. This year he enjoyed as much as a 10-game cushion in a field of 41 of the nation’s best race and sports oddsmakers/handicappers.
“It’s tough to be consistent that way two years in a row,” said Porrello a native of Cleveland and staunch supporter of the Browns. “I always followed sports. As long as I am up, I am working. I couldn’t go an entire day without sports.”
In other words, Porrello is one of us – a grinder who is passionate about sports both from a betting and business side.
“I came to town in 1989 to work at the Las Vegas Hilton,” Porrello said. “I was employed in the sports book until 1998 when I had a quick stop working for Richard Saber (longtime GT analyst) at the Excalibur. Those were real fun times.”
Porrello went on to The Venetian and Rampart for short stretches before settling in at the Cannery. He’s been at the Craig Road site for 11 years, the last four as race and sports manager. Porrello received the $1,000 prize last week in the GT offices and has been hearing it from his proud company.
“Last year at one of the all-employee meetings they had my picture on the wall,” he said. “This time it was a round of applause. I gave up most of the $1,000 last year to charity. I think winning the $1,000 again, the charity will be a vacation at Santa Anita. I am a horse player.”
No surprise that Porrello wouldn’t give away any trade secrets when asked about his success at picking winners against the spread.
“I tried to be consistent with the handicap strategy I used,” he said. “I had certain guidelines. I would work it down to maybe six games that I have to actually pick.”
When asked for a Super Bowl scenario, the fan in Porrello emerged.
“I’ve always liked Peyton Manning,” he said. “I hope the Broncos go through. It would be a strong handle if Peyton was there to play Green Bay.”
And as far as a 3-peat in next year’s 34th Bookies Battle?
“A 3-peat would be really tough, but for those who say it’s not a big thing, I say, try to do it.”
Joe will be the only one eligible for that honor next season.
TOP 5 FINISHERS
Joe Porrello (Cannery) 152 wins
Richard McInerney (NY-NY) 149 wins
J. Morton (Eastside Cannery) 146 wins
Johnny Spot (Bill’s Gambling Hall) 142 wins
Glen Meadows (Boulder Station) 140 wins
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].