THE BEST OF IT takes an unflinching look at the life of a professional gambler. The character driven documentary focuses on the lives of Boston, The Shrink, Dink, and Banker who all chose to make a living betting sports. A gambler selects this profession despite knowing the life they fancied tends to chew up and spit out even the most seasoned gambler—an all too common tale in Las Vegas. A feud between Boston and The Shrink develops after accusations are made about gambling debts, but a gambler’s actual bank account balance is often based on rumors and half-truths. The outcome of a gambler is as unpredictable as the the games they bet.
BOSTON has been betting sports in Las Vegas for over 30 years. He's an iconic college basketball betting guru in the gambling community who puts in countless hours handicapping. He's gambling's version of a gym rat. Boston is 'Old School' and proud of it; while other gamblers have switched to analytics, computers and numbers, Boston bets as much with gut and feel as he does using his personal power ratings that can be found in a three-ring binder. His obsession for the game fuels his legendary notebooks filled with his power rankings for all 347 Division 1 college basketball teams that he updates daily.
Boston is also know for being harsh, honest, a true colorful personality with a short fuse who is known as much for his temper and unpredictability. Behind the gruff exterior though is a sensitive side who loves his dog, has a strong passion for film, watches "American Idol," still bemoans the cancellation of "Freaks and Geeks" and talks candidly about how loss at an early age sent him down the seductive path to living the life of a gambler.
DINK loves to gamble. He also loves to enjoy life away from the long hours and the daily grind while being holed up in his office gambling seven days a week. You can find Dink at independent wrestling shows in Los Angeles, producing his own wrestling shows, the racetrack betting the ponies, playing with Alex the hamster or Irving the dog, and eating dinners with his wife, Gayle. But even though Dink will tell you he likes time away to enjoy other things, when he's doing those other things he still checks scores every 5-minutes much to the chagrin of his wife.
Dink credits much of his gambling success to his days as a bookmaker in Queens. In his 20s he regularly got cleaned out by 'Wise Guys' (successful professional gamblers), which taught him valuable, albeit costly lessons. He learned the intricacies required to be successful in the sports betting world and the fine line between a winning 'Sharp' and a broke 'Square' can be razor thin. After serving time in a halfway house for bookmaking Dink moved to Las Vegas and vowed to do everything on the up-and-up; he was determined to become a winning sports bettor.
21 years later Dink gambles on sports year-round from his home in a gated community in Las Vegas, specializing in hockey. In 2013, Bruce Willis portrayed Dink in the movie LAY THE FAVORITE.
THE SHRINK got his name from his time he spent going to school pursing a career in psychology. Although he never found himself examining the mind in a professional sense; he did build the biggest sports betting forum site in the 90s and became a therapist of sorts on the message boards. He also brokered relationships with offshore Sportsbooks back before the government cracked down on citizens betting sports offshore. His motto was to always get 'The Best of It' proclaiming that money management is vital to the longevity of a gambler.
LEM BANKER came to Las Vegas when the town was still run by the mob. Lem quickly became connected to many of the unruly types that ran Vegas upon his arrival to the desert in 1953. Banker ran a couple of sportsbooks and became good friends with Lefty Rosenthal the man Robert De Niro's character is based on in the film "Casino."
But Lem didn't truly make his mark as a gambler until the 1980s behind a team of bet runners and a network that made him privy to inside information on injuries well before the bookmakers could adjust their lines. When Banker would receive injury information he would pounce and hit Vegas Sportsbooks and bookies across the nation--getting 'The Best of It.' Lem will point out what he did then couldn't be done today because of all the social media and Don Bets software which allows sports books to copy betting lines eliminating a lot of the bargain shopping that Banker parlayed into riches.
Although, Banker was a highly successful gambler, the film demonstrates the perils and pitfalls for a lifelong gambler.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal listed Michael "Roxy" Roxborough number two on its list of most influential people in sports of the 20th century, as well as one of GQ magazine's '50 Most Important People in Sports.'
Roxy came to Las Vegas romanizing about living the life as a professional gambler in 'Sin City,' but in his 30s he wondered if gambling was sustainable as an actual career? So, in 1982 he founded the world's top oddsmaking firm, Las Vegas Sports Consultant. Roxy also became part of the team that set the opening line for the Stardust, the most import and influential betting line in the 80s.
Roxy serves as a instrumental voice in the film not only framing the life of a gambler, but communicating America's view towards gambling and how technology has changed the game for the gambler and the sports book.
Today, Roxy splits his time between Las Vegas and Thailand. He runs his families investments, gambles on sports and horses mostly wagering via exchange betting, and remains a trusted voice in the sports betting world.
SCOTT PEARSON EBERLY has worked for CNN, ESPN, Midwest Sports Channel, Bravo, DirecTV, NBC, and FOX. But it was his decade as TVG's (horse racing network) senior features producer when he told over 600 stories filming at racetracks around the country. But he quickly noticed the biggest personalties weren't in the game, they were betting on it. Eberly got to know the gambler. He started to differentiate the distinction between the recreational bettor and the professional gambler. He became intrigued with the professional gambler and how exactly one could make a living totally reliant on his R.O.I. (return on investment), or in simpler terms--a winning bankroll.
In 2010, Eberly had an initial agreement to sell the sports betting themed reality show titled, "The Book." The project, however, would be cancelled before shooting the pilot, but by that time Eberly already had setup time to film a group of gamblers in Las Vegas during March Madness. Eberly went to Las Vegas by himself and shot the initial footage on a prosumer camera that he bought after hitting a superfecta bet while filming at Churchill Downs--he thought this must be kismet. A year later Eberly would start to embed himself with the gambler, filming over 1,400 hours of footage, spanning five years, which resulted in Eberly's directorial debut with his feature film THE BEST OF IT.
THE BEST OF IT: In sports betting, any bet where your expected value is positive.
Every bettor considers it essential if you expect to win in the longterm. For some it's a badge of courage; The Shrink once said, "I'd almost rather lose than not get 'The Best of It.'
EXAMPLE: If you played Notre Dame on a Tuesday as +2 point underdog and the line closed at kickoff on Saturday with Notre Dame as -1 point favorite--you got 'The Best of It!'
A SPORTSBOOK is where a bettor goes to gamble on a sporting event. In Las Vegas most Sportsbooks are associated with casinos and prefer to take action from hotel guest and recreational gamblers. Many books view the professional gambler as the enemy and have been known to reduce their betting limits or even refuse them the right to wager at their establishment.
A WISE GUY is a winning professional gambler who's reputation is so big that he has the ability to influence the betting market. Wise Guys often play games with the sportsbooks mixing decoy bets with real bets; this often gets the Wise Guy a better price on the substantial bet. Billy Walters is considered the Godfather of all Wise Guys; every professional gambler has a story or a tale about Mr. Walters.
A BETTOR must lay 11/10 when making a bet, this is called the Vigorish, Vig, or Juice. If you bet $100 on a team you must pay $110 to win the $100... you only pay the Vig if you lose the bet. The 11/10 edge of the bookmaker means if you are hitting games at a 50% clip that you are losing and the bookmaker is winning.
THE BEST OF IT reveals the vulnerable tightrope a professional gambler must walk if he so chooses sports betting as a profession. There are no paid vacations or 401k. There's always the danger of being stiffed when betting on credit, or a losing streak that eats up that month's rent. There's even the problem of being too successful and having your betting limits reduced or worse yet being kicked out of a sportsbook. A gambler needs as many outs as he can find; the more betting outlets allows the gambler to shop for a better price.