As I plopped down my $1,500 entry fee for the SuperContest for the first time, I couldn’t help but think back to 2003.
In that year, a Tennessee accountant named Chris Moneymaker won the main event at the World Series of Poker and changed the game forever. Seen by most as a regular guy who would “come over to your home game, maybe hang out, have some beers”, him winning an event with 839 players in 2003 led to a poker explosion that saw a whopping 8,773 players enter the main event just three short years later.
The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is the place where you sign up for the SuperContest. Without being too hyperbolic, the event is simply the most decorated NFL handicapping contest in the world.
Starting in 2017, much more of the world will know about it. The Vegas Stats & Information Network transported its studios for three days, from the South Point on the southern end of the Strip to the Westgate, to do live programming during SuperContest weekend. In the past, people would fly in to sign up, go to seminars and play golf on Saturday. This year, there was still golf. But VSiN shows held reign over the course of 17 hours and three days in the SuperBook, which is the largest and probably nicest sportsbook in town.
VSiN is partnering with the Westgate this fall to break the news that those in the betting community want to know more than anything. The standings will be released on Tuesdays during the afternoon. The contest betting lines, which remain static all the way through the games that weekend, will be released on Brent Musburger’s show “My Guys In The Desert” at 3 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time each week.
The deadline to submit picks for the SuperContest is Saturday morning at 11 PDT. Shortly thereafter, the Westgate will release, through VSiN, the consensus best bets for the weekend. Some people like to bet on those sides themselves, while others like to go against them. Either way, folks in the sports betting community have taken notice of them for years. It should be recognized that Dave Tuley has done a superlative job of covering the SuperContest for years – something Vice President of the Westgate Superbook Jay Kornegay has noted multiple times on VSiN appearances.
With the legalization of sports betting on the horizon and seemingly imminent in states outside of Nevada, the amount of attention that this contest gets will only grow by leaps and bounds. The 2016 contest featured a Starbucks barista as the winner and an Illinois farmer who ran second – something eerily similar to what happened with poker in 2003.
Registration broke a record last year, and there will assuredly be at least 2,071 entries in 2017. That is what it’ll take for the winner to pocket a grand prize of at least $1 million. The top 50 contestants all earn money. The format is simple – pick exactly five NFL teams each week to cover the house spread. Winning selections are worth a point and pushes earn a half-point. There are 85 plays over the course of 17 weeks, meaning the average bet is less than $18. Many winners in recent year have played with partners or on teams, lowering the investment even further.
The Westgate added a $5,000 winner-take-all SuperContest Gold this year for the first time, and could get 50 or more entries into that, as well. With this being the first year of VSiN coverage, expect things to really take off in 2018 with the SuperContest. The poker boom is over for now; a sports betting boom is coming. And the SuperContest will reap the benefits from it, now and for years to come.