Football by The Numbers

Poker room managers are pressed by casino owners to keep their tables filled and their dealers working. That is why they come up with so man cash benefits for players which the players, of course, pay for out of the pots.

Most poker rooms offer splash pots and cash for high hands or aces cracked. But some of the most interesting perks involve football, baseball or basketball pools. Especially football which is probably one of the most popular perks.


I like the football pools and thoroughly subscribe to them. This where all the players in the poker room are given a ticket with two numbers on it. The tickets are scattered face down on the poker table and players pick out the ones they want.

All the tickets correspond to a pre-selected professional football game. Payoffs are made at the end of each quarter if your numbers match the scores. For example, if the score at the end of the quarter is 7-0 and your numbers are either 7-0 or 0-7, you are a winner. The exact score pays double the reverse score.

The perk is paid for by a dollar cut from each pot over $20. At the end of each quarter, players are given another ticket good for the following quarter. On this second ticket, there are no reverse winners. The numbers must match up exactly and the bonus payoffs are smaller.

I have been playing the football pools at Talking Stick Casino near Scottsdale, AZ. They are featured on Sundays, Thursdays and Mondays. For the exact score, Talking Stick pays $300 and for the reverse score, the payoff is $150. The quarter bonus tickets pay from $100 to $300.

Over the past two months, I have collected $900 on winning football tickets.

Most of the players love the promotion. Some complain when the dollar is cut but they are in the minority.

Watching the game is exciting and it takes the players' minds off poker. The players don't care who wins the game. They just care about field goals and touchdowns that match their tickets.

The best numbers to draw are 0-0, 0-3, 0-4, 0-6, 0-7, 0-1, 1-4, 3-4, 3-6, 3-7, 3-9, 4-1, 4-3, 4-6, 4-7, 4-9, 3-3, 4-4, or 7-7. Numbers with a 2, 5 or 8 in them are usually but not always losers.

I have a poker-playing friend named Joe Pizza who owned and operated a nightclub in San Juan, Puerto Rico for 10 years. Joe's guests included Sylvester Stallone and other celebrities who would visit the beautiful island for some rest and relaxation.

He and I came up with tickets containing the same numbers, 0-4, on a Thursday. We hit two winners and walked away with $600 each.

We both play poker and shoot dice, which gives us a lot to talk about. Joe has been working on a book about his method of winning at the dice tables. I have no doubt his system has merit. Joe is a veteran gambler and in cowboy parlance, this ain't his first rodeo.

I can't wait for him to finish the book so I can read it. I may even help him write and edit it since I am a professional ghostwriter with two published books under my belt.

We are both concerned about the devastation Hurricane Irma wreaked on Puerto Rico. The island will eventually recover its beauty and services, but it will take time and a lot of work to get the job done.

Until that happens, Joe Pizza and I will continue our lives as carefree happy gamblers with those occasional setbacks no gambler can avoid. I can only wish him happy numbers. May they all turn out to be winners.

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