Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * “An insightful read…Walters is a larger-than-life character.” —Sports Illustrated * “This book is going to become the sports gambling bible…The formula’s in the book.” —Pat McAfee
The wild and massively entertaining autobiography of Billy Walters—“the greatest and most controversial sports gambler ever” (ESPN)—who shares his extraordinary life story, reveals the secrets to his fiercely protected betting system, and breaks his silence about Phil Mickelson.
Anybody can get lucky. Nobody controls the odds like Billy Walters. Widely regarded as “the Michael Jordan of sports betting,” Walters is a living legend in Las Vegas and among sports bettors worldwide. With an unmatched winning streak of thirty-six consecutive years, Walters has become fabulously wealthy by placing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in gross wagers, including one Super Bowl bet of $3.5 million alone. Competitors desperate to crack his betting techniques have tried hacking his phones, cloning his beepers, rifling through his trash, and bribing his employees. Now, after decades of avoiding the spotlight and fiercely protecting the keys to his success, Walters has reached the age where he wants to pass along his wisdom to future generations of sports bettors.
Gambler is more than a traditional autobiography. In addition to sharing his against-all-odds American Dream story, Walters reveals in granular detail the secrets of his proprietary betting system, which will serve as a master class for anyone who wants to improve their odds at betting on sports. Walters also breaks his silence about his long and complicated relationship with Hall of Fame professional golfer Phil Mickelson.
On a typical weekend gameday packed with college and pro sports, Walters will bet $20 million. It’s a small sum for someone with his resources today, but an unbelievable fortune for the child who was raised by his grandmother in extreme poverty in rural Kentucky. By the age of nine, Walters became a shark at hustling pool and pitching pennies. As a young adult, he set records as a used-car salesman, hustled golf, and dabbled in bookmaking. He eventually moved to Las Vegas, where he revolutionized sports betting strategy and became a member of the famed Computer Group, the first syndicate to apply algorithms and data analysis to sports gambling. He built a fortune while overcoming addictions and outmaneuvering organized crime figures made infamous by Martin Scorsese’s film Casino.
In Gambler, Walters shares everything he’s learned about sports betting. First, he shows bettors how to mine the information we have at our fingertips to develop a sophisticated betting strategy and handicapping system of our own. He explains how even avid bettors often do not grasp all of the variables that go into making an informed wager—home field advantage, individual player values, injuries or illness, weather forecasts, each team’s previous schedule, travel distance/ difficulty, stadium quirks, turf types, and more. Variable by variable, Walters breaks down the formulas, betting systems, and money-management principles that he’s developed over decades of improving his craft.
A self-made man who repeatedly won it all, lost it all, and earned it all back again, Walters has lived a singular and wildly appealing American life, of the outlaw variety. Gambler is at once a gripping autobiography, a blistering tell-all, and an indispensable playbook for coming out on top.
Praise for Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk
“This book is going to become the sports gambling bible . . . The formula’s in the book.”
—Pat McAfee, The Pat McAfee Show
“Over the last thirty-five years Walters has built a sports-betting empire. . . . He’s got all kinds of algorithms and methodologies, which—delightfully for us, and shockingly to many in his business—he presents in careful, mathematical detail for nearly 50 pages of his boisterous new memoir. . . . His life is the kind of success story that’s inimitable no matter how many times you read his book, no matter how many of his betting truisms you follow. But you can be like him in one way—by remembering this truth above all others: The harder he worked, the luckier he got.”
“An insightful read . . . Walters is a larger-than-life character, one who many would enjoy sitting down with for a beer. His book is perhaps the next best thing.”
“To call Billy Walters a character would be an understatement. . . . Now the world’s most famous sports bettor is sharing all the secrets of his success, a mini master class within his book. . . . You’ve got to read the book, you’ll hear about playing pool, you’ll hear about roulette, you’ll hear gambling adventures, you’ll hear run-ins with the mob. The man, the only way I can say it, he has lived a life. And it’s a survival story, it’s inspirational. . . . I think everybody can find something in that story that you can learn from.”
—CBS Saturday Morning
“Walters is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and, above all, a risk taker. His new book, Gambler, recounts his amazing life and provides fresh details about the government’s troubling insider-trading case against him. The book is a fascinating look behind the success, failure, and redemption of one of the greatest gamblers and entrepreneurs of our time. He provides insight into his life and openly admits many shortcomings on his way to building an incredible business in real estate, golf courses, and car dealerships—oh, and yes, gambling.”
“Billy Walters, perhaps the most notorious sports bettor in the world . . . has a saucy new book out. . . . The book tells Walters’s rollicking and edgy life story, from humble roots in Kentucky and being penniless to becoming someone who at times oversaw more than $1 billion a year in bets. . . . Phil Mickelson’s rumored gambling habits have long been the stuff of legend, and one of the reasons this book has been hotly anticipated is that Walters was part of the action. The details he presents are nothing short of staggering.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Walters has long had sports gambling advice to give. . . . Two of the book’s twenty-eight chapters are presented as masterclasses specifically aimed at both FanDuel dilettantes and longtime enthusiasts.”
“Walters is a complicated character. . . . He has spent a lifetime among pool hustlers, card sharks, Vegas charlatans, down-on-their-luck gamblers, and desperate addicts. He has been beaten, cheated, left for broke, chased by law enforcement, and busted by ill-fated decisions, bad bets and, once, by a jury of his peers.”
“He’s the Michael Jordan of sports betting.”
—Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN)
“If there’s a Mount Rushmore of sports gambling, there’s only one face on the mountain and that’s Billy Walters. No one else is close.”
—Jack Binion, longtime owner of Binion’s Horseshoe Casino
“There’ll never be another Billy Walters. He changed the world of bookmaking and betting.”
—Jimmy Vaccaro, legendary Las Vegas oddsmaker, Sports Gambling Hall of Famer
“I can tell you nobody has ever approached sports betting with as much analysis, as much technical capability, computer analysis. And he has a work ethic that is just ridiculous. . . . Billy works as hard today as he did when he was a used-car salesman in Kentucky.”
—Jack Sheehan, author of The Players: The Men Who Made Las Vegas
“He’s a shark and a whale. He’s a great white. . . . He’s the most dangerous sports better in the history of Nevada, history of the world.”
—Kenny White, Las Vegas oddsmaker and sports analyst for CBS Sports
“Is he the greatest handicapper of all time? Maybe. Is he the greatest bettor of all time? Unquestionably.”
—Michael “Roxy” Roxborough, renowned Las Vegas oddsmaker, Sports Gambling Hall of Famer