One of the best sports bettors in the world is joining the Dallas Mavericks in an experimental role for the team.
Professional gambler and high-stakes poker player Haralabos Voulgaris will be the Mavericks’ brand-new director of quantitative research.
It seems unlikely a team would have hired someone from the gambling world as little as a decade ago but the rise of sports analytics has paved the way for minds such as Voulgaris.
Voulgaris, who is sometimes known as Haralabob or just Bob, is also a celebrated poker player and has played some of the biggest tournaments in the world, including the $1-million buy-in Big One for One Drop that took place in 2012.
The Greek-Canadian partially rose to fame on Twitter where he posts his thoughts on the NBA, sports betting and poker.
Hoops, Final Tables and Cryptocurrency
Originally from Winnipeg, Canada, Voulgaris began betting on basketball in the late 1990s and became one of the most prolific sports bettors in the world.
He was one of the early adaptors of analytics for betting sports and helped develop quantitative models to assist in placing wagers.
Relatively early in his sports betting career, he made two very large bets on the LA Lakers to win the title in 1999 and 2000. Those bets paid off in a huge way and gave Voulgaris a bankroll of over $1 million.
Over the years he got the attention of ESPN and Forbes, who produced numerous features on his considerable success in the betting world. He’s been a frequent guest on Bill Simmons podcasts over the years.
Like many world-class gamblers, Voulgaris eventually found his way to the poker table and played on GSN’s original High-Stakes Poker TV show in addition to some of the world’s biggest tournaments and cash games. He famously made the final table of the 2005 World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic.
For a short period of time, he even co-hosted a popular podcast about poker called Big Poker Sundays on the now-defunct Poker Road. He has over $3.01 million in lifetime live tournament earnings.
In recent years he also made a foray into cryptocurrency where he allegedly found more success.
Through his many endeavors he has always had his eye on an NBA job but his status as a sports gambler likely kept him from gaining entry into the industry at an earlier point. Thankfully for Voulgaris, most of the major sports leagues in the U.S. have begun to embrace sports betting.
Mavericks Go All-In on Voulgaris
It shouldn’t be a complete surprise that the Mavericks were the team that decided to give Voulgaris a shot.
The Mavs have consistently been one of the more progressive teams in the league. Owner Mark Cuban has also shown a predilection for analytics and forward-thinking in the past.
Cuban said that Voulgaris will be a strategic thinker for the team and help analyze on-court strategy in bigger ways.
It’s not the first time that an NBA team has shown interest in Voulgaris. In the 2009-10 NBA season, he consulted for an unnamed team.
It also doesn’t hurt that the NBA’s attitude about gambling seems to be softening as the league has started to embrace sports betting over the last few years.
The Mavs currently hold a 1-1 record in the preseason but you can always head over to our NBA home page to get complete odds for the upcoming season.