BlackJack Fletcher: What I Learned at the 2018 Gambling Olympics

BlackJack Fletcher: What I Learned at the 2018 Gambling Olympics article feature image

Pete Manzinelli and BlackJack Fletcher

  • The 2018 Gambling Olympics featured some high stakes and a stacked field of competitors.
  • I did not finish where I wanted, but I learned plenty from an awesome group.
  • The one thing I was happy about? I took home the gold medal in the sports betting competition.

Earlier this week, some of the greatest minds in the gambling world, including yours truly, gathered in Las Vegas for the first Gambling Olympics.

Our purpose was a simple one: Gamble — a lot — on selected events of skill and chance and crown an ultimate champion. Now, many of these events were slightly unusual: Lodden Thinks, Connect Four and a daily fantasy contest consisting of just one WNBA game. There were also more traditional contests, such as sports handicapping, blackjack and poker. The competitors were dialed in, the stakes were high and the venue was simply spectacular.

The house helped lighten the mood a bit, but make no mistake: This was serious business. There was a lot of money — and pride — on the line. I think at least four of us hurt our hands from playing Rock-Paper-Scissors. No joke.

The competitors were the best. Aside from the various Action Network folks in attendance, we had Scott Blumstein, former World Series of Poker Champion; Pete Manzinelli, crypto savant; Joey Ingram, who took time to just “exist” on Tuesday night; and Brandon Adams, former Harvard professor and quite possibly the smartest human being I’ve ever met.

Brandon literally had every move of his Rock-Paper-Scissors match planned out before it began … and we were playing to 21. Just talking to him and watching him for two days made me smarter.

I have to say, I did not finish where I wanted to in the Gambling Olympics. It was a disappointing overall showing. But when I look at it a few days removed, I can be a little more objective and a little less emotional.

I don’t play much poker. I haven’t played Connect Four or Yahtzee in maybe a decade. I’m a cash guy, not a crypto guy. Sure, I like to play some blackjack, but ask Peter Jennings about the dealer we had for both days of the event.

The one thing I do on a daily basis, is gamble on sports. That’s our bread and butter here at The Action Network. So that was the competition I had my eye on. I needed a good showing there to be able to walk out pleased.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering: Where did BlackJack place in the handicapping event? First, of course. Gold medal, baby!

There was no shot I was beating two WSOP competitors in poker. And kids’ games? Sheesh, I’m a man, not a child. As far as I’m concerned I won the event I needed to and couldn’t be happier.