NBA's greatest ever bettor Haralabos Voulgaris, from pro bettor to Mavericks director | 10 PEOPLE WHO GOT RICH ON SPORTS BETTING

Haralabos ‘Bob’ Voulgaris

Bob has played a bit of poker in his time too. Credit: Jayne Furman

Bob has played a bit of poker in his time too. Credit: Jayne Furman

From the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s, Haralabos Voulgaris (a.k.a. Bob), made betting look easy, exploiting inaccurate odds on NBA points totals.

For five years, Bob made an absurd amount of money with a winning rate of almost 70% at a point in time. 

He found a flaw in the bookies prices where the total points for the first and second half of NBA games were simply half of the predicated game total.

Traditionally in any game of Basketball, more points are scored in the second half as teams use more fouls and time-outs, which results in further possessions and higher scores. 

Bob would take advantage of this edge, taking overs in the second half, especially when coaches Eddie Jordan, Byron Scott and Jerry Sloan were in action.

He read those coach’s every move, for him it was so easy it was a joke and it resulted in him staking over $1m USD on any given day of NBA fixtures. 

Bob made all of his sports betting fortunes from Basketball.

Bob made all of his sports betting fortunes from Basketball.

Losing a third of his bankroll in one month

After five years of success, Bob hit the wall in 2004 where he went on a long run of losses, losing a third of his bankroll in one month.

As his losses continued into the next season, he knew he had to change his strategy if he was to become successful again, and he did just that.

He employed a more grinding style of betting, using quantitative data to make smaller bets on edges over a longer amount of time.

Creating a game-changing model

Bob also took some time off betting and after trialling six different people he found a math prodigy who remains anonymous, but is more commonly known as ‘The Whiz’.

Together they built a model called Ewing, an algorithm that simulates a game of basketball between any two teams and creates a projected score.

After years of testing and adjusting Ewing, Bob returned to the betting arena in 2009 and crushed the second half of the NBA season.

Voulgaris’ confidence in his model has only increased since then, and has described Ewing as the “greatest thing ever when it comes to sports betting.”

Bob’s first dabble in the NBA

Soon after announcing Ewing’s profound success, Bob then took a break from betting to work as an advisor on player trades for an anonymous NBA franchise.

Arrogantly, after spending so much time watching and analysing Basketball, Bob believed he could put together a better squad than any general manager in the league.

Voulgaris at another Poker event. Credit: Danny Maxwell

Voulgaris at another Poker event. Credit: Danny Maxwell

Back to professional betting

Five months later and his time in the NBA was over, resulting in Voulgaris returning to the betting arena after he felt a sense of exclusion by the co-owner of the franchise.

Bob’s betting success continued through the use of Ewing, but he faced the same problem as some sharps face, the sustainability of his edge.

His ROI was slowly decreasing year on year, meaning he would have to take an even higher volume approach to his betting, but he felt he was delaying the inevitable. 

Bob is now working for the Dallas Mavericks.

Bob is now working for the Dallas Mavericks.

From maverick bettor to Maverick Director

As time went on Bobs’ goals changed, especially after seeing Tony Bloom take over EPL side Brighton FC.

Even though Bob has the aspiration to own a basketball team, he took on the role of Director of Quantitative Research and Development for the Dallas Mavericks in 2018.

Another chapter in the life of Bob, who is now working for Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban, in the hope of finding a statistical edge for the NBA franchise. 

Next week we take a look at Bill Benter, who came up with a model similar to Bob, but for Horse Racing.

Check out Article 1 of 10 People Who Got Rich On Sports Betting series featuring Brighton FC owner Tony ‘Lizard’ Bloom here!

Check out Article 2 of 10 People Who Got Rich On Sports Betting series featuring Brentford FC owner Matthew ‘Moneyball’ Benham here!