Billy Walters: Legendary Sports Bettor-Interviews and Stories
On Sunday January 16, 2011, CBS’ “60 Minutes” aired a rare interview with legendary sports bettor Billy Walters.
Walters has been called the “most dangerous sports bettor in Nevada” by oddsmakers. And it’s no wonder: The conventional wisdom holds that “he’s never had a losing year”—though as you’ll read in the interview with him in this collection, he lost plenty before he moved to Las Vegas and had his epiphany about gambling.
While notoriously guarded about his wagering activities, several Huntington Press titles contain coverage of the legendary advantage player and we’ve brought them all together for this first-of-its-kind eCollection.
First up is a chapter from an unlikely source, the first edition of Burning the Tables in Las Vegas, by blackjack superstar Ian Andersen. Even most gambling experts aren’t aware that Andersen’s second and final blackjack tome on cover play contains a 10-page chapter titled “Computerized Sports Betting.” It’s Andersen’s recollections of the “Computer Group,” of which Walters was a founding member, along with Michael Kent and Dr. Ivan Mindlin. While Walters isn’t mentioned by name, this 1999 account is one of the earliest in-depth descriptions of that mysterious operation.
We couldn’t disclose it at the time, but Walters is the subject of the second section of this collection: a chapter from Telling Lies and Getting Paid by Michael Konik, titled “The Line Mover.” The title refers to Walters’ big bets that force bookmakers to adjust their lines. It was written in 2001, after Konik struck up a friendship with Walters that led to his direct involvement in Walters’ sports-betting operation, which he describes in deep detail in his book The Smart Money.
Huntington Press didn’t publish The Smart Money, so we can’t excerpt it. However, Deke Castleman wrote a long review of the book when it came out in 2006, and we’ve included it here in section three, along with the Las Vegas Advisor’s take on the true identities of the book’s “disguised” characters, some of whom were big-time Hollywood types.
Finally, section four contains the epic 2002 interview with Walters from Gambling Wizards—Conversations with the World’s Greatest Gamblers, by Richard Munchkin. For our money, we’d rate this 38-page page interview as the mother lode of access to Billy Walters. With the interview conducted by Munchkin, an expert gambler in his own right, and edited by James Grosjean and Anthony Curtis, a more in-depth (and instructive) look at Walters probably doesn’t exist. For those interested, another of the nine interviews in Gambling Wizards features Stan Tomchin, who was also a member of the Computer Group.