Haralabob is NBA bound! Haralabos 'Haralabob' Voulgaris is often spotted sitting courtside for NBA playoff games. If you were ever wondering, "Who's that dorky guy sitting next to Jay-Z?" Well, that's Haralabob. One of the greatest professional sportsbettors in the world.
The ex-pro bettor has a new day job. The Dallas Mavericks offered Haralabob the chance of a lifetime to lead the Mavs analytics department.
The Canadian-born gambling wunderkind watched more basketball than the majority of scouts in the NBA. Over the last decade, Haralabob developed a system for predicting game totals (a.k.a over/unders). Haralabob created a special algorithm to track every player and every possession. He named the program, Ewing, after New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing.
Haralabob and Ewing crunched NBA data to generate predictive outcome models of games. Haralabob looked for games where he had the best edge. Ewing's mapping system was near perfect and Haralabob's bankroll swelled into the millions. That's how he was able to afford redonkulously-priced courtside seats for the NBA Finals, build a swanky beach house from scratch, and date models that you'd only see while scrolling through Instagram.
HOW A CANADIAN BAGGAGE HANDLER WON $500,000 ON THE LAKERS
All superheroes have an origin story and Haralabob has one of the best I've ever heard. Haralabos Voulgaris grew up the son of Greek immigrants in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Haralabob's father gambled a ton on the ponies and other sports. Haralabob learned what not to do by carefully watching his father and other gamblers.
Haralabob's last "square job" or day job was at the airport as a baggage handler. He endured his share of frigid winter months hauling luggage. After hours, Haralabob watched non-stop basketball. He taped as many games as he could and studied nonstop.
Haralabob saved up money from his day job and combined it with his sportsbetting/poker bankroll. Approximately $80,000 USD. He bet his entire savings on the L.A. Lakers to win the 2000 NBA title. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss hired Phil Jackson to coach the team. Haralabob also loved the tandem of Shaq and Kobe. The Lakers were 6.5 to 1 odds to win the championship. This was several years before he developed the infamous Ewing algo, but Haralabob more than had a hunch. He knew it in his heart and loins that the Lakers were going to win the NBA championship. Haralabob put his money where his mouth is. All $80,000 of it. If the Lakers won, he'd win over $520,000.
It was a heck of a sweat during the 1999-2000 NBA season, but when the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers in 6 games to win the NBA title, Haralabob was instantly a half-million dollars richer. The former skycap quit his job and moved to Las Vegas to pursue his passion full time. The rest, as they say, is history.
Haralabob won an undissclosed amount wagering on NBA totals. He typically bet six-figures on a single game and up to $1 million on a total. Haralabob stuck to the regular season and did not bet NBA playoff games, but he admitted to wagering on a series winner from time to time.
According to a dual report by Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe at ESPN, the Mavericks tapped Haralabob to run their analytics department. We're in the era of Big Data in pro sports and Mavs don't want to miss anything.
According to the article, "Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is expected to utilize Voulgaris as a strategic thinker who will help examine on-court strategy in big-picture ways. The state-by-state legalization of sports gambling has inspired the NBA and teams to better harness information and betting expertise to create revenue, and advance the gathering of information."
Mark Cuban feels Haralabob's knack for predicting outcomes is their special weapon. It's a perfect match. Cuban can only spend so much money on player salaries, but the billionaire had unlimited funds to hire coaches and a top-notch staff. Typically, NBA teams only have three assistant coaches, but Cuban employed an entire team of coaches. There were so many that they required a second row of seats to sit behind the bench.
It's no surprise that Cuban wanted to look outside of the box to improve the Mavericks. After all, the Mavs are in the toughest conference in the NBA and the West is loaded with talented teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and the San Antonio Spurs. The top teams have the top players, but the Mavs are hoping that Haralabob can pull off a Moneyball type situation in which he utilizes Ewing algo to determine the optimal lineup. It's up to Haralabob to help the Mavs compete against the best in the West.
HARALABOB BUSTS DONKS, TOO
Like many of you, I first encountered Haralabob on the poker circuit. I quickly learned Haralabob was also a serious sports bettor. Sure, almost every poker player gambles on sports... with an emphasis on gambling... but Haralabob was not a degen. He was the complete opposite. Haralabob was as sharp as they come. For one, he didn't waste his time betting on sports he didn't have a firm grasp on... just to have action. Haralabob focused on the NBA, which he knew every intricacy and coach's tendency.
When I first moved to Las Vegas in 2005, my friend Shronk had a side gig logging data for Haralabob. That's when I first caught a glimpse of Haralabob's vast operation that included several other diehard basketball fans and computer geeks working endless hours to tweak Haralabob's algo.
Check out Haralabob's Poker Life Podcast with Joey Ingram.