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As I See It

22 February 2002

Before we get to tourney commentary, we must acknowledge an offshore operation that went belly up recently is the news of the day.

It surely is not an endorsement of any industry when one of its brethren has the shorts. You know the old axiom: do 20 good things and go unnoticed, but do one bad thing and the wolves are at your door.

Just winning is difficult enough, but having won and then not getting paid is the worst. Suffering that kind of calamity takes a long time to overcome, and according to some of the stories I have been privy to, a few lives have been changed.

I had no inkling of the dire straits this outfit was in, but then I did not have an account with it. Like most who follow line changes and their origins, I saw what was evident, that on many occasions they were a few moves behind. But initially, I simply took it for just not getting updated on time.

Eventually, it became a little more than that, and now everyone basically knows the unfortunate results of the story.

But the point I would like to raise is a simple one. As much as I hate to say it, this is part of the racket. It has happened in the past and, quite frankly, is likely to happen again.

The differences in today's market is that with all the websites and posting forums that reach our industry's participants, within minutes it seems, the info is out there for everyone to see. This makes it a little tougher to recover for startup books.

You don't need my speech of due diligence, but it is incumbent on each of us to take responsibility for doing some homework on where we are sending our cheese.

I have said many times in the past where I play and there is no need to repeat their names. Basically they are the ones who have been there, year after year.

Some of the forums I have been reading run the gamut from offering very astute opinions and observations to some which border on being childish. The truth of the matter is that no one really knows how much cash a guy has in his jeans on both ends of this merry go round.

Look for a rush of people pulling money out of their accounts, which will last about 10 days, until they start posting for the tourneys, because that is who we are.

This trend has happened everywhere since the beginning of time, and you can surely throw Vegas into the pot also. I was there when numerous independents, casinos or startup shops went south. Their demises were always accompanied by the same meaningless rhetoric about cleaning things up and getting people paid.

Back in the '70s, the Nevada Gaming Commission was famous for putting out that type of blather. Meanwhile, today there are still bettors holding winning tickets from the old Silverbird and other joints.

What the regulators finally did was to make the new groups post bonds, but this did not become SOP until years later.

I would not be surprised if in the not-too-distant future some framework of that type would be put in place to resolve the situations that arise with our friends offshore.

Of course, it is something that should already have been done to help show the industry's stability to the betting public. Then in turn, the jurisdiction where the shops are operating would post which books are bonded with a market-bearing account and, more importantly, which ones ARE NOT.

Once again, it is a tough spot, and I sincerely mean that if you lost money, but the games will go on. We already have conference tourney games next week with conferences like the Sun Belt and West Coast among others starting play. Check all sites because I believe there are still a few who start the first round on home courts.

Be careful. With the full schedule coming up, it is easy to overload your enthusiasm and give in to the penchant for over-betting simply due to the number of games that are available.

As far as the BMs are concerned, the more the merrier. Basically, from next week until early April, they figure the "churn" will get you, and in a lot of cases they are right.

But on our side of the ledger they have to do some more work also, which might leave a few spots that could turn that five-week span into about 58-60% winners. So do your basic 'capping, watch for back-to-back tough games, watch for little nicks in a game that might have some bearing on a quick turnaround. I look for OTs and some draining game that saw the loser go to a winner in the last possession. Tourneys do give that last glimmer of hope even for bad teams to put forth an effort.

And last but not least the usual suspects.

1. Look for games to bet under in the first half and over in the second.

2. Find a spot that offers you the opportunity to bet first halfs. For both the total and the side as sometimes they are slow to adjust to the movement of the game and you really at times find more value in that type of play as opposed to the whole game.

3. Do not rush because the games will be coming at you from all directions.

4. If you lose a tough one, take your kid for a walk or go to the car wash because in the long run that will be cheaper. You can always jump in when you are ready.

5. So stay in touch and let us see what happens.

Contact me at the Jimmy Vaccaro website.

Keep in touch, Jimmy V.

You know, the more that I think about it, the bond sounds like a good idea.

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