Friday, January 28, 2011

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. (A plea for honest jai-alai?)

An old friend who knows of, shares, or even betters (bettors?) my love of jai-alai sent me some links in email that I am, in turn, sharing with you.

Beautiful Minds at the Fronton

My heart goes out to contemporary jai-alai players who must constantly answer a rather irritating question from casual observers: “Isn’t your sport fixed?” The stars of the circuit have gone to great lengths to assure the public of jai-alai’s credibility, but it’s still tough to overcome some of the extreme shadiness that dogged the sport in the ’70s and ’80s.

Bonus: at the other end of this link, the author has cued up a grainy Miami Vice episode to a fronton scene. Tubbs: "I never bet on anything that can talk."

The Spreading Scandal in Jai-Alai (from the Vault)
Having the betting printouts gave the Miami Syndicate a huge advantage. With access to them, the Miami Syndicate immediately knew what other bettors were doing. The printouts, which showed how many bets had been placed on each of the 336 trifecta combinations, allowed Syndicate members to stay away from the heavily played numbers and to bet on those that were less popular. Moreover, as it turned out, the printouts permitted the Miami Syndicate to spot other systems bettors and drive them out of the game by wagering so heavily on their numbers that the payoff on them was minimal. The Miami Syndicate had such total control and such an acute sense of how to "tune" the odds that members were even able to bet just enough on a trifecta so that a win would pay less than 300 to 1. By keeping the payoff to less than 300 to 1, Syndicate members could pocket all their winnings, instead of having the IRS withhold 20%, as it automatically does on all winning tickets on payoffs of 300 to 1 or more.

Headline: Jai-alai players charged with fixing games.

Say it ain't so. The superfecta was superfixedup. 

Using Control Charts to Corroborate Bribery in Jai-Alai

Even when it's seedy, I enjoy reading about jai-alai. Big thanks for sending along the links!
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