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Columbia Journal logoVolume Nine, Number Two    April 2004    www.columbiajournal.ca

    Dr. Dave in Las Vegas North

    John Hughes

    The idea of rising tuition fees as an impediment to obtaining a decent education is not such a big a challenge if you are resourceful. I’m not talking about having well-to-do parents who pay the whole shot while shiftless, ungrateful offspring/students laze about and then launch frivolous leadership campaigns in the federal Conservative party. No, this method of raising money requires only ice-in-the-veins-cool, a bit of start up cash, decent intuition and not a little bit of recklessness. Of course, I’m talking about sports betting. A good handicapper can make up a good chunk of a year’s tuition by knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

    BCIT broadcast journalism student Dave Stanger epitomizes this gambling spirit. He will not reveal the places where wagers are accepted, but admits sports betting is rife in Vancouver. He says he has won more than he has lost and is doing more than just playing with someone else’s money. He has paid a portion of his tuition with money won off the backs of millionaire athletes. In 2003, while taking a year off of school, Dave cashed in on $5,000 on professional football alone, which enabled him to pay for all of 2004’s education expenses. Nice work to be sure. And it is work. Stanger says that from finding a bookie, to making the right bets and steeling himself against the ones that do not pay off, gambling is honest-to-God, in the trenches work. Even so, the allure is strong. How does Dr. Dave do it?

    SportsStanger adheres to a tight set of rules that enable him to laugh all the way to the bank. First rule; never bet on your own team. The emotional appeal of winning cash through the good offices of the home team provides temptation, but as Stanger puts it, betting with the heart is for suckers. The only time he will put money on his beloved Utah Jazz or Philadelphia Flyers is when he concludes through cold calculation or knows through raw intuition that that is where the smart bets should go. The second rule is never bet more than you can afford to lose. Rule number three is never get greedy. The bullet-proof feeling that comes after a big win will all too often evaporate if the rules are forgotten and avarice leads to stupid betting. Rule number four is never force the issue - if you lose, leave it lost for now. Even when you bet for the right reasons, it is best to assume you will lose going in; that way the desire to bet again to try and win your money back is reduced.

    These offerings are sage advice, but even if these rules are never deviated from (Dave hints that it is nearly impossible not to bend the rules on occasion) they are not much use without a sports background. Knowing when to take the Penguins over the Avalanche is an inexact science at best, and one that requires a honing of both reason and intuition. Stanger says to “go with your gut” but that is only possible if all the facts are known. He reads the sports section religiously, picking up injury reports and taking note of hot streaks. Hours of watching sports at the bar is also de rigueur - in order to be good at gambling, it helps to like the lifestyle.

    Stanger offers a couple of tips for the neophyte handicapper: take the Calgary Flames more often than not, especially when they play the Canucks. Their gritty style confounds skill teams like the Canucks. This is reflected in the standings and on bank ledgers. After the basketball Grizzlies left Vancouver and caught a southbound train to Memphis they have been winning all the games Stanger bets on. The Grizz have never been known as a great team but they get the nod as a ‘sleeper’ bet. Avoid the New York Islanders at all costs, they are as unpredictable as a porcupine on lithium and have lost money for Stanger just about every time he has put money on one side or the other of them. Above all, says our betting guru, only make bets that instill confidence. Even a moment of waffling over which team to take should cross that particular game off any ticket. Having now been schooled in Dr. Dave’s betting primer, I’m taking the Canucks in six over the Senators for the Stanley Cup. Do I hear a detractor or two out there? Wanna bet?     

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