2018 Gambling Olympics Participant Profile: Brandon Adams
- Brandon Adams is one of the participants in the inaugural Gambling Olympics.
- He has more than $3 million in live poker earnings and is one of the best players in the DFS industry.
- He taught undergraduate economics courses at Harvard for nine years.
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.
B.A. in Gambling
Brandon Adams has the pedigree. He’s a professional poker player with more than $3 million in live earnings and an accomplished DFS player. He lectured for nine years at Harvard, teaching undergraduate courses in game theory, behavioral finance and international macroeconomics. He’s also written two economics books. He’s as sharp as anyone in the competition.
On top of that, BA has a wealth of prop betting experience. He’s played a series of high-stakes matches against former tennis pro Stephen Bass, and last December, he took on Jonathan Bales and Adam Levitan in a one-mile race, smoking them with a 5:33 performance. He reportedly has great stamina. No events in the Gambling Olympics are physically strenuous, but the schedule is full. BA will be as equipped as anyone to handle the strain of the long two days. The guy is the total package.
Adams was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us heading into the Gambling Olympics.
Q: How did you first get involved with gambling?
Adams: I started playing poker in 2001.
Q: What qualifies you to participate in this prestigious tournament?
Adams: Extreme prop bet experience and handicapping skill.
Q: What is your proudest “degen” moment?
Adams: Taking down Bales/Levitan in the one-mile prop in Miami.
Q: What do you feel will be your strongest and weakest events?
Q: How many hours of prep are you putting into this?
Adams: Limited. Need to play Yahtzee and Acey-Deucey for the first time. Also need to fortify mental game ahead of Levitan tennis prop and engage additional action at a more reasonable line of -10 games -130.
Q: Who do you think is the favorite to win?
Adams: CSURAM88 (Peter Jennings) is the favorite. I’m not far behind.
Q: Who is your pick to finish dead last?
Adams: The Manz (Pete Manzinelli).
It’s hard not to like Adams in the Gambling Olympics. His poker and DFS skills are well-documented, and his mental acuity should give him an edge in some of the wide-open events. He could have near-optimal game play in Blackjack, Acey-Deucey and Yahtzee, and his poker background should help him read his opponents in Lodden Thinks and Rock-Paper-Scissors. Adams lists Beer Pong as his biggest weakness, but almost no one is listing that as a strength, so he could still be competitive there. He might be the most balanced competitor in the field.
The biggest concern with BA might be his motivation. He’s playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event, which could provide a much bigger payout than the Gambling Olympics. He also appears to be prioritizing his tennis prop with Levitan, whom he has to beat without dropping a single game. Considering his legendary prop-betting proclivity, he could wind up having significantly more money riding on that and other side bets than on the Gambling Olympics. Once the event starts, he’ll give it his all, but it’s possible that the majority of the field is putting in more work than he is to prepare. Adams has the ability to win the event running away, but his self-reported lack of preparation makes him vulnerable.
How Adams wins: He has top-four finishes in every event except for Beer Pong, where he has a bottom-four performance. Even without preparing specifically for the event, he is carried to victory by his intelligence and years of betting experience. He also sweeps Levitan in tennis and grabs his first World Series of Poker bracelet before the Gambling Olympics, completing a truly dominant month in Vegas.
How Adams loses: He never gets comfortable with Acey-Deucey or Yahtzee, finishing in the bottom two in both events. He also has some bad breaks in DFS and Poker, finishing behind Manz in both. He still manages to sweep Levitan in tennis, which is more than enough to cover his entry fee. Even in a loss, the guy still wins.