- Paul Lo Duca is one of the participants in the inaugural Gambling Olympics.
- He’s a former MLB catcher who made four All-Star teams despite being drafted in the 25th round.
- He’s had a successful second career as a horse racing analyst and is one of the early favorites in the sports betting event.
The 2018 Gambling Olympics is a two-day, 12-person contest taking place in Las Vegas on July 9-10. The buy-in is $2,500, and the winner gets $10,000.
Before, during and after the Gambling Olympics, we will provide extensive coverage via participant profiles, event breakdowns and live in-person analysis. Be sure to follow all the action in the Gambling Olympics section of the site.
The All-Star Catcher
Paul Lo Duca is no stranger to competition. He was forced to attend community college for two years after not drawing interest from Division I schools. After college, he was a longshot to make the big leagues as a 25th-round draft pick, but he did anyway. In his 11-year MLB career with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets and Nationals, he made four All-Star appearances and was a fan favorite. After baseball, Lo Duca dove headfirst into a different passion: horse racing. He now works as an analyst for the New York Racing Association and The Action Network.
Lo Duca was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us heading into the inaugural Gambling Olympics.
Q: How did you first get involved with gambling?
Lo Duca: Got into gambling with my father. I used to read the lines to him every morning from the local paper.
Q: What qualifies you to participate in this prestigious tournament?
Lo Duca: I qualify for this tournament because I’m by far the best athlete of the group. Not remotely close.
Q: What is your proudest “degen” moment?
Lo Duca: I left my high school prom to go to a dog track.
Q: What do you feel will be your strongest and weakest events?
Lo Duca: My strongest event is everything. I have no weakness.
Q: How many hours of prep are you putting into this?
Lo Duca: I’m prepping more than Saquon Barkley can squat. That much.
Q: Who do you think is the favorite to win?
Lo Duca: I am. Everyone should bet on me to hedge, even though hedging is for trimmers.
Q: Who is your pick to finish dead last?
Lo Duca: Tough question. I’ll be 12 beers deep holding my trophy, so I won’t really notice who will finish last.
As a die-hard Mets fan from Long Island, I might struggle with objectivity when it comes to Lo Duca, but even I have to acknowledge that he’s an underdog heading into the Gambling Olympics. Even so, he should have an edge as a sports bettor, especially since the only major sport in season is baseball, and he also might look to use his knowledge of the ponies to capitalize on some longshot exotics. Additionally, as a former Arizona State student, Lo Duca might know his way around a beer-pong table.
But his ability in the rest of the events is unknown. I’m not sure if Lo Duca has bought into the crypto boom, played much poker or delved into the analytics behind Connect Four, Lodden Thinks or Rock-Paper-Scissors. Throughout his career he proved that he could put together a winning game plan as a catcher. With the right game plan in the Gambling Olympics, he just might be able to pull out an unexpected victory.
How Lo Duca wins: He uses his MLB and horse racing knowledge to take first place in Sports Betting. Former catcher that he is, he studies his opponents, learns their tendencies and sets them up like malleable batters, calling strikeout pitch after metaphorical strikeout pitch in Rock-Paper-Scissors, Lodden Thinks and Connect Four. He gets a little lucky in some of the more random events such as Blackjack and Acey-Deucey, and in the final event, he channels his inner Sun Devil to win Beer Pong and the entire tournament.
How Lo Duca loses: He finds himself outmatched in some of the more analytical events and can’t make up the difference with his Sports Betting and Beer Pong performances. After the tournament, he challenges every competitor to an arm wrestling match and beats them all.