Poker Pro Hired by Mavericks

By Ben Hamill - October 11 2018

Marc Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks

Marc Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks has hired pro poker player and expert sports bettor Haralabos ‘Bob’ Voulgaris as the team’s newest director of quantitative research and development.

Voulgaris is considered to be one of the world’s most successful sports punters, especially when it comes to the NBA. His signing by the Dallas Mavericks has come as solid evidence of changing attitudes towards betting from within the league, as well as in the United States in general.

Cuban is now expected to use Voulgaris as a ‘strategic thinker’ who will help the team to examine its on-court strategies. Quantitative research is the close analysis of observable patterns using mathematical, statistical and computational methods – areas in which Voulgaris has plenty of valuable experience.

A Unique Approach to Data Analysis

The poker pro and bettor has made millions of dollars crunching his numbers on NBA games, devoting his life to spotting flaws in bookies’ logic and profiting off them if he can. He has also created a sophisticated predictive model specifically for NBA tournaments, which is known as ‘Ewing’.

The 37-year-old Canadian native was at one point wagering $1 million a week on games by the time he had turned 25. He has gained a massive fan base of hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, most of who aspire to follow in his footsteps. He has also grossed winnings of more than $3 million while playing in live poker tournaments.

In an interview back in 2013, Voulgaris revealed that a large portion of his early NBA betting success stemmed from understanding how three coaches thought and reasoned. These three coaches were Eddie Jordan, Byron Scott, and Jerry Sloan. These, he said, were the coaches he ‘nailed perfectly’, knowing exactly what they would do in any given scenario.

Taking Risks Essential for Success

Now, the Mavericks are keen to utilize this understanding to their advantage. The idea of an NBA team hiring one of the world’s biggest sports bettors has illustrated how different the league’s perceptions of betting are now compared to how they were a few years ago. However, Cuban did not become a billionaire by shunning new ideas, albeit that quantitative sports research is nothing new.

Cuban also quickly realized that the liberalization of sports wagering would benefit the NBA greatly, ‘integrity fee’ or none. Commenting on the Supreme Court’s abolishment of PASPA, he noted that it ‘doubled the value’ of pro sports franchises instantly. He also believes that it will increase interest and add to the happenings inside arenas and stadiums, not to mention increasing viewership for leagues’ online and TV presences.

In the meantime, Voulgaris will be bringing a gambler’s understanding of data analysis to the Mavericks at a time when the legalization of betting has raised the question of how league data should be utilized and monetized. According to the pro punter, the key here is to be willing to take risks in order to boost one’s chances of stumbling across a successful approach.

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