Michael Pizzolla’s Handicapping Rant:
I Called My Aunt From The Race Book!
From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla
Las Vegas, Nevada
August 23, 2008
On August 21, 2008, the Nevada Gaming Commission lifted the ban on cell phones in Nevada race and sports books.
I can’t tell you how many times I get a call from family when I’m in the middle of handicapping, and about to put several complicated wagers on two or three races, putting the Fulcrum horse in the middle of 5 other horses, getting all the numbers straight, figuring the logistics of getting to the right window with a ticket writer who can handle the bets at the speed I will have to call them (heck with 20 minutes to post, someone who has to wear a helmet all the time can do it with enough coaching), and, of course, watching the board.
And then Mom calls.
I can tell because there’s her picture popping up on my iPhone, looking happy and well.
This, my friends, is a difficult choice.
On one hand, my wonderful mom, calling perhaps with good news, perhaps with an emergency, perhaps calling to find out if I’ve gotten her latest note.
On the other hand, a bet that I had possibly winnowed out of hundreds that day, that had to be made right then and there.
If you’re reading this Rant, you know what my choice is.
Bet first, then call mom.
Hey, what can I tell you? I’m sure she understands. Because we’ve discussed it! She knows I’ll call her back in 5 minutes, balancing my laptop in one hand, notes in the other, iPhone wedged between my ear and trapezoid muscle.
(Can you imagine the hardships up with which I must put? They wouldn’t even let me wear my elegant Apple Bluetooth earpiece, because I might be talking on the phone. Brutal.)
Well, guess what?
Now I don’t have to choose.
I can be chatting with Mom about her latest juice recipe (mmm, fresh celery, carrot, and beet…what’s that, it’s good for the digestive system…wow, Mom, that sounds great) and betting at the same time (hold on a second, Mom…Evangeline Downs Race 7, 10 cent superfecta box 3-4-9-10-13, repeat that 5 more times…Mom, hi, sorry, do you peel the beets, or just put them right in the juicer?…)
In fact, I called my aunt last night right in front of the race book supervisors who smiled that their good customer was happy.
Life is good.
Now, I’ve got to tell you that there is a possibility of abuse, and I’m really sensitive to that. The Vegas race books (other than the one that previously didn’t allow laptops) have been very good to me. Yes, I’m a good customer, and probably pay some salaries, I’m really low maintenance, don’t ask for special treatment, and they take my bets, bring me Perriers, good strong coffee, and give me a really comfortable environment to watch and wager.
I don’t have a phone account for wagering, nor do I have an online account, much as I would like to, because it’s not legal to do that from Nevada.
I understand that.
The casinos pay a tremendous amount of overhead to keep the writers, satellite signals, accounting departments, etc. of the race book, and the very least I can do is support them by betting there while I’m there!
My hope is that during this one year trial period during which the lifting of the ban will be evaluated by the books and the Nevada Gaming Board there will not be abuse of the privilege.
I can see some low lives without the scratch to make a bet calling their illegal bookie. If that gets widespread, no more phones. The Gaming Board has already said that they’ll be sending agents to monitor the situation, and I know the race books will be as well.
So, I’ll use it to answer calls from family, get updates from the Post Time staff, you know, the usual stuff of cell phone calls.
But I think there’s more good news.
In the news reports of the lifting of the ban, the details were sketchy.
So I did a little research.
Before I tell you about this, here’s an important disclaimer:
I am NOT giving legal advice. Although I’m an attorney, I’m not admitted in Nevada, and the last thing I want anyone to think is that I’m giving legal advice when I’m not supposed to.
Having said that, let’s read the source materials together, as race fans.
Here’s the letter from the Nevada Gaming Control Board dated yesterday, August 22, 2008:
August 22, 2008 Carson City
Fax: (775) 687-8221
TO: ALL NONRESTRICTED RACE AND SPORTS BOOKS AND OTHER
SUBJECT: REPEAL OF NEVADA GAMING COMMISSION REGULATION 22.135
On August 21, 2008, the Nevada Gaming Commission voted to repeal Gaming
Regulation 22.135, which prohibited the use of communication devices in Race and
Sports books. While approved, Gaming Control Board and Commission members
expressed various concerns over the long term effects of this repeal, in the end,
recognizing the value of licensees policing themselves, as well as, the necessity for the
Board to closely monitor the books to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and
Therefore, the Gaming Control Board will continue to be aggressive in its
observations within the books and will conduct both overt and covert observations to
ensure that licensees and patrons are complying with Federal Statutes pertaining to the
transmittal of wagering information, State statutes regarding messenger bettors, and
gaming regulations concerning such areas as Book Wagering Reports, Messenger
Bettors, the Structuring of Wagers, Wagering Communications, Suspicious Wagers, and
House Rules, among others. In addition, the Board may, at its discretion, periodically
assign agents temporary duty in the books, pursuant to Nevada Gaming Regulation
While the Board anticipates that all Race and Sports books will continue to take
their regulatory responsibilities seriously, it wants to ensure all concerned that the repeal
of Nevada Gaming Regulation 22.135 does not signify relaxing of standards in any way;
we remain committed to maintaining strict compliance with all relevant statutes and
regulations pertaining to race and sports wagering.
Randall E. Sayre
It seems to me that as long as everything is being used for legal purposes, everything’s fine.
Here’s the exciting part.
The letter says that Regulation 22.135 is repealed. Let’s look at that regulation
22.135 Use of communications devices prohibited. Except for the use of a mobile communications device used as part of a mobile gaming system, a book shall not allow a person to use a communications device within the premises of the book. The premises of the book shall be considered any area where race book or sports pool wagers are accepted. A person who is found to be using a communications device within a book’s premises must be advised to immediately discontinue use of the device or be escorted off those premises. Communications devices include, but are not limited to, paging devices, cellular telephones, radios and computers that are being used to transmit or receive information.
(Adopted: 11/98. Effective: 1/1/99. Amended: 3/06.)
Did you see what I saw? The Regulation deals with ‘communication devices’, and that includes…computers that are being used to transmit or receive information.
My reading of that (and again, this is only my NON-LEGAL opinion, just a good citizen reading the law and wanting to be in compliance) is that since that regulation has been repealed, computers are allowed in the race books!
That means when you visit Nevada, you can open up your laptop and use your handicapping software and Post Time Daily 2.0 and handicap to your heart’s content.
Not only that, I have a cellular broadband card that allows me to connect to the Internet. This might be stretching it, but wouldn’t I be using a ‘computer that is being used to transmit or receive information’. I think it might.
That means I should be able to surf the web at my desk in the race book. Again, I would never use it for any non-permitted purpose, but I’d sure like to go to Macrumors to see when the newest accessories for my MacBook Pro is going to be released.
It would certainly make the waiting between good value plays much more enjoyable.
That’s what we value handicappers get paid for, you know.
It’s the WAITING, the patience to wait for those superior value bets. Finding the bets is one thing, and the handicapping Wizards using the Black Magic Ultimate Handicapping Software have a tool that allows you to go through the 183 races today (those are just the ones that are booked in Vegas) quickly to ferret out those juicy opportunities.
Once you’ve done that and have a nice list of 8 or 14 or 20 races (depending on the day) that might offer value, then comes the hard part.
A successful handicapper must WAIT for those.
You know with handicapping software, there’s a readout for EVERY race. Not many of them offer value. And even the ones that you thought might may not be playable because of the odds. Or scratches.
Speaking of scratches, both Post Time Daily 2.0 and Black Magic have automatic scratch features where you can connect to the Internet and the software will automatically download and apply the scratches. What a time saver.
And if my (NON LEGAL) reading of the repeal of the regulation is correct, I may be able to do that right in the race book!
What a time saver!
Just as the white space against which these letters appear is as important as the letters themselves, so are the races you pass as important as the races you play.
As the betting maxim goes, ‘it’s not the bad beats that cost you most, it’s the bad bets’.
Me, my mom, and my aunt, are all very happy with this new development!
On other fronts, the Black Magic Wizards’ Forum has been an unqualified success. Wizards are offering their race analysis, betting structure, getting their questions answered pronto, and having a support community that is unparalleled in racing, and maybe anywhere!
One of the things that I find most fulfilling is seeing the light bulbs go off!
I did a two-part DVD on what I call Handicapping Praxis (that’s a fancy word for putting theory into practice). Every month, the Wizards get a full length DVD from yours truly explaining fine points of using the Black Magic software, wagering strategies, looking over my shoulder while I handicap, and so forth.)
Just a few days ago, a Wizard posted that after watching these, he knew that my handicapping was not ‘mystical, or unapproachable, but that the calls I made, he could (and did!) make, and they made perfect sense to him.
Did I provide earth shaking new techniques and new numbers?
I simply talked about what I have been teaching for the last 20 odd years: Find opportunities where there are horses you like that the public shouldn’t.
And I showed, step-by-step on the DVDs, how I put that into practice.
This Wizard, and many others, ‘got it’.
It’s a mystery, you know. You can hear the same thing over and over, sometimes for years, and one time you hear it, you ‘get it’, ‘grok it’, internalize it in a way that it becomes a living piece of knowledge for you. It’s not something new, but something mysterious happens where you realize you now KNOW something at a deep level that before you had only intellectually understood.
It is so gratifying to me, and makes all the time I’ve spent teaching, and lately supporting the Forum so worthwhile.
Well, that’s it for this Rant.
I’m going to pack up my laptop, my cell phone, and perhaps my wireless broadband card, and head to the race book.
This is going to be fun!
In the meantime, if you need information about how to get the free Post Time Daily 2.0 software and the free video e-course that comes along with it, go to posttimedaily.com
Many of you have asked about getting Black Magic Ultimate Handicapping Software. It’s not on the web, and that’s on purpose. It’s a select group, and I want to keep it that way. So, if you’re interested, give the office a call at 702-889-2814 and speak with Doug, Warren, or Brian. They’ll be able to send you information, and some introductory DVDs.
For those of you who are just getting started and want the basics, Post Time has put together a digital version of my original Handicapping Magic book. For some reason, the originals have been going for hundreds of dollars on eBay and elsewhere. In the digital edition, you get the entire text of the book in the original format, plus 150 pages or so of new chapters, plus videos showing you the techniques in action, plus some ‘banned’ writings on handicapping I did many years ago. If you’re interested, you can go to http://posttimedaily.com/hm3/HM3.html and read about it.
If you’d like a copy, don’t order from the website. Call the office at 702-889-2814, tell them you’ve read this Rant, and they’ll take $20 off the price as a thank you for being a subscriber to these Rants.
I hope this finds you well, and as always, I welcome your comments, and always look forward to hearing from you.
Drop me a line at Michael@posttimedaily.com if you have any questions or comments, or just to let me know how you’re progressing.
The best of luck to you today and always,
© Copyright 2008 by Michael Pizzolla. All Rights Reserved.