Iconic oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro spins tales, offers insights and tells us why he left Las Vegas after decades of helping build the place. Coming home to Pittsburgh had much to do with it.
Vaccaro, now at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, tells us why he was the only oddsmaker to put a line on the Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson fight, and how he ended up on The Simpsons. It’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame interview that will be worth your time.
Jimmy Vaccaro Time Stamps:
14:59 – On coming home to Rivers Casino Pittsburgh:“I knew if I didn’t try it, I would never do it again. …. I didn’t want to come here with nothing to do. I’m 73 and I feel good and hopefully I can help them.”
19:35 – On old school oddsmakers becoming ever-valuable as sports betting expands:“I think it’s a good feeling …. part of this success, if people deem it success, what I've done, is you learn as you grow …. There’s personal side of me, I’ve been waiting a long time for this. … I am glad I am still a part of it.”
22:45 - On staying viable:“Like any other business in the world, you must keep reinventing yourself.”
29:32 - How and where were you when you knew you could do this? (There's a '56 Chevy story)“I always had a feel for it. … I did this all with just me and growing up in a place on the East Coast … Everything was going good and everybody had a little bit of money …. I was around that and I knew what it meant. …. I like things before they kicked off …. I never had a job until I moved to Las Vegas. That doesn’t mean I knew what I was doing.”
33:00 - On the glory days.
35:48 – On putting odds on what was supposed to be another Mike Tyson massacre:“I never even knew Buster Douglas …. All I knew was, he’s fighting [Tyson], so let’s put odds on him. So I put up 27-1. Went to 42-1 ….. We got all the publicity and we ended up with about $400,000 off it. Not a bad night.”
38:29 - On appearing on The Simpsons.
Conference Tournaments Begin; Interview Anti-Jinx
Trey Killian of Bookies.com joins Brant James and Ryan Butler to break down the NCAA men’s conference basketball tournaments that really matter and ponder why any beer poured near Madison Square Garden must cost $12.
And the podcast crew takes credit for Josef Newgarden winning the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IndyCar race.