Tout Controversy Is Prompted By
Root Joining & Culver Leaving Vegas Insider
With the fat cats of baseball yapping to the media as they
try to justify their impending strike, and the desultory exhibition football
schedule priming the pump for the NFL season, sports bettors are slouching
through the summer doldrums looking for a distraction to pique their interest.
Thanks to Vegas Insider, we have a flap that should hold
our attention just long enough to make the dog days of August pass by
As announced by V.I. and Wayne Roots company, Global
Sports & Entertainment, the two are embarking on a joint venture in
which Roots picks will be available for sale at Vegas Insiders
This development occurred without acquiescence by the man
in charge of its handicapping staff, Russ Culver. Presented with the addition
of Root to his roster of cappers as a fait accompli, Culver promptly
resigned from V.I.
As quoted in the local papers, Culver said, Its
important for me to keep my standards and not be lumped with the Wayne
Roots of the world
I had no choice but to quit.
What Culver did was predictable, and in keeping with his
well established policies regarding handicappers. He has a bias towards
low-keyed cappers and he was adamant that records be kept publicly
at the site, so bettors could monitor for themselves just how well each
tout was doing.
Meanwhile, V.I. was also predictable in pursuing an affiliation
with Root, a marketing wunderkind who is perceived by many as a killer
salesman. Obviously, V.I. feels Root will bring a great deal of revenue
to the party.
We dont begrudge V.I. the right to add whomever it
wishes to its tout roster. Apparently whatever baggage Root has within
the sports gaming community and he does have quite a bit of negative
baggage it is assumed the vast market of squares that handicapping
services and sportsbooks alike all wish to capture, will be more than
receptive to Roots spiel.
However, where we feel that V.I. erred is in the way it
arbitrarily cut Culver out of the loop, by superceding his responsibility
for managing his own department. The corporate honchos simply did an end
run around him.
That is standard practice among corporations, but it doesnt
make it right or productive. Why not give Culver the right to veto the
move, then override him, and then let him resign?
Why is it that corporate suits invariably choose the low
road? The end result would have been the same, but the method in which
it would have been reached would have been more professional.
But of course, there is more to the saga.
Roots nose was decidedly out of joint after hearing
Culvers reason for leaving. So he responded with an utterly ridiculous
suggestion that only a jaded spinmeister could originate.
He accused Culver of resigning because of a lack of
faith on his part that he could compete with Wayne Root, according
to a quote in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Of course, Root couldnt
resist adding that his is the most recognizable name in the sports
That self-serving assertion regarding Culver is graphic
proof of the contempt Root has for the public, and his assumption that
he can sell anything, even a fallacious, bankrupt point of view.
Vegas Insider has never emphasized competition among its
handicappers. None of their cappers ever made points at anothers
expense. Using the standard technique of blowhards, Root challenged Culver
to a handicapping contest.
Culver displayed his ability to go for the jugular as he
dismissed Waynes challenge by saying when Root wins the Hilton Super
Contest, which Culver did two years ago, Ill accept his challenge.
Culver also threw down the gauntlet to Root to publicly
post all his selections at Vegas Insider, so bettors could track his record.
Roots lame response was that his picks are already
monitored by the Oklahoma Sports Monitor.
We doubt that Root will put up or shut up, as Culver challenged.
If it sounds like we are anti-Wayne Root, we beg to differ.
We are anti the b.s., hype and snake oil claims that are so evident in
If youre so damned good, Wayne, dont hide behind
a smoke screen. Post your plays so everyone can see them after the games
kick off. And please dont insult our intelligence with rhetoric
about your monitor.
We remember when Root was in the Stardust Handicapping Tournament
and went 1-6.
Of course, Culver has had his disasters also. And we dont
mean to imply that he is pure as the driven snow. As a bookmaker at Vegas
bet shops, and the head tout at V.I., he has had his share of critics.
We should mention that two years ago, in our annual magazine,
Players Guide to Sports Books, we did extensive coverage of Root
and his new (at that time) TV show and Internet website. In retrospect,
the space we allotted was probably a bit much, although well stand
by it since we focused on news coverage and scrubbed out all the grandiose
claims about his handicapping prowess.
Nonetheless, we took a fair amount of static for our coverage
It turns out that the most virulent criticism of Root comes
from other touts, not from his so-called victims. Apparently, his competition
is livid at Roots success in obtaining funding and in attracting
As a postscript, it should be noted that one of the cappers
at V.I. for whom we have the utmost respect, Dave Malinsky, reportedly
also resigned from V.I. due to Roots association with it. Subsequently,
we learned that Mike Lee and Tim Trushel also abandoned ship.
This little contretemps is peaking, and soon will flare
out like a Fourth of July sky rocket. But it is an interesting prelude
to the coming football season.
Major Event. In an age of excessive hype, with which we
all must endure the inevitable disappointment of ballyhooed events that
simply lay an egg, it was a genuine delight to attend an affair recently
that not only lived up to its advance notices, but exceeded them by a
We are referring, of course, to the dinner at The Palm Restaurant
in Las Vegas thrown by MajorWager.com, and sponsored by WSEX.com, with
participation by two other offshore sportsbooks, Platinum and Bowmans.
The dinner had been a topic of conversation on the M-W posting
forums for several months. Freddie, a partner of M-W, aka The Devil, told
us he originally envisioned a small gathering, perhaps a dozen or so,
over bowls of spaghetti at a locals restaurant.
But when he mentioned it to Jay Cohen, the founder and former
head of Antigua-based World Sports Exchange offered to pick up the tab
at The Palm, one of Las Vegas most popular and prestigious steak
houses. And so the wheels were set in motion in which posters and friends
of M-W would enjoy face-to-face communication.
A private room in the Palm was set aside, and promptly at
9:15 p.m. the guests started arriving. There is always a risk that up
close and personal contact among folks who have never met might not live
up to happy expectations.
We can report that the 50 or so sports bettors who showed
up for this gala were convivial, compatible as well as properly boisterous.
The sartorial mode was decidedly dress down, with a few stalwarts, including
The Devil, in sports jackets. Every fashion statement from preppie to
biker was represented, with hairstyles running the gamut from shaved domes
to pony tails.
Despite the visual variances, there was a common denominator:
there were no phonies or loudmouths present. This gang bets on sports
and is committed to getting their opinions out via the M-W posting forum.
The top of the food chain showed up for this affair.
Freddie must be proud that he and The Major, aka Russ, have
been able to attract such a strong representation of quality bettors to
their site, and to have them attend a function like this. The best way
to sum it up is that there was a whole lot of schmoosing going on. What
we found extraordinary was the utter lack of commercialism by the host
Freddie worked the room like the pro he is, but never did
he proselytize for his website. And Jay, who it was obvious everyone liked
and respected, was the perfect low-key host, simply thanking everyone
for coming, and then picking up the considerable tab.
In his pre-dinner remarks, Jay suggested that there would
be another gathering next year.
Jay didnt wish to publicly discuss his status as he
awaits starting to serve his sentence, but noted that he still has several
options which are being explored by his legal team. His fighting spirit
is intact, and we can report that despite several years of being harassed
by the government, they may have won their case in court, but the feds
lost big time in trying to discredit Cohen. No one that we spoke to felt
that Jay had anything to apologize for. Indeed, prevailing opinion was
that the government drones who went after him are the ones with the black
hats, while Jay is wearing a white hat.
We didnt get a chance to speak with everyone who attended,
but wed like to acknowledge at least a few: Tax Man, Total Square,
Pete K., Philosopher, and Unitas. We did get the opportunity to speak
at length with Krackman, who lived up to our high opinion of him based
on his posting style.
Our evening actually started about an hour before the dinner
when we hooked up with D.T. Colen, who handles marketing chores for Betpci.com
(Players Club International, based in the Dominican Republic), and Stephen
Nover, who writes for Players Choice and The Prescription. We had
drinks at Spago, which is just across from The Palm in the Forum Shops
mall at Caesars Palace.
D.T., a native Vegan, rose to prominence at Las Vegas Sports
Consultants and Vegas Insider. When the opportunity to move offshore and
direct the marketing efforts of a major and well regarded book like Players
Club came his way, he packed his bags and was off to the D.R.
Something of a local legend for his success in hanging out
at the singles scene at the Hard Rock in Vegas, and rarely leaving solo,
D.T. showed in a chance encounter with a lovely miss that in his time
away he had not lost a step.
We will be hosting an Internet handicapping show sponsored
by Betpci.com, featuring Novers NFL selections. The show will be
streamed live over the Net and also archived at AudioVegas.com.
More details as we get closer to the shows debut,
Vegas Sucks. Thats the strong opinion of a regular
visitor, a high roller of sorts, who thoroughly enjoys most aspects of
gaming. However, despite being a card counter in black jack, he has a
well paying day job and is hardly a professional. He is, in fact, a square.
But that didnt stop security at a Strip casino from
deciding that he was a threat based on surveillance of his play. It barred
him from the tables. Not only from playing, but he was advised that he
would be subject to arrest for trespassing if he sets foot on any of its
The player is outraged. The casinos ineptness, paranoid
and presumptuousness is costing them good business: Hell, Im
a net loser, he asserted.
Apparently the casinos decision was based on evidence
gleaned from the eye in the sky. It turns out that not only are players
watched, but their action is analyzed based on their play vis-à-vis
the richness of the deck. The interpretation in this players case
is that he is a threat to the casino. If they determine youre a
counter, security officers are authorized to take strong, irreversible
action, he told us.
So this is what Las Vegas has come to, said
the barred player. What a shame the inmates have taken over the
asylum. I enjoy black jack, but I am a frequent loser, and for them to
make such a major mistake in my case
how far behind the curve must
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