How Vegas Dave Turned A $10K Student Loan Into An Empire

By Jake Brown

We have all gambled in some form or another in our lives, especially if you’re a sports fan. Whether it was for a dollar, $100, having to wear another teams jersey, dinner, etc, sports and betting are synonymous with each other. Making a career out of it is almost nonexistent, and somewhat improbable.

Dave Oancea, better known as “Vegas Dave,” has turned sports handicapping into a career, and a quite successful one. He made 2015 a year to remember. In November, he cashed in $2.5 million on the Royals on a futures bet he made before the season for them to win the World Series. Two weeks later, he put $20,000 on Holly Holm to beat Ronda Rousey. That upset earned him $220,000.

Vegas Dave joined us on the Brown and Scoop podcast to talk about his remarkable story, which as he tells, started with a $10,000 student loan that he put all on red in roulette and turned it into $20,000. Then, everything changed.

“From there, I built my bankroll through gambling,” Oancea, 39, said. “I don’t even play table games anymore. I stick to what I’m good at.”

What he’s good at is mastering baseball and football bets. He doesn’t mess around with hoops. His website says he has a 125-3 system record for MLB in 2015, a 12-0 college football system record, and a 9-1 system record. He says baseball is by far his best sports and the easiest to handicap. For gamblers out there, he also tells us the run line is for suckers, and to bet the money line.

With so many high wager bets, you wonder if a couple go wrong, what could happen. Will it all come to an end?

“No, I bet within my means,” Oancea said. “If I lose, I don’t chase. That’s the key thing. A lot of people chase and want to beat the books every week. That’s impossible. I play very selectively. Maybe one, two games a week, while other handicappers play maybe eight to 10 games a week, which I think is very tough to do. I like to find mismatches and hammer them pretty big with good sums of money, but I make sure I can gamble what I can afford to lose. So far, knock on wood, I have done very, very well for myself. I’m very disciplined when I bet, so I don’t chase. I don’t foresee those problems happening again.”

Those problems he speaks of is when he hit rock bottom three or four times. Oancea had to check himself into gambling anonymous because he was losing so much. He couldn’t manage his money.

“I learned I could pick winners. I just had to manage my money. That’s where I transcended more into a professional sports bettor when I learned how to have some discipline in money management.”

It started young for Vegas Dave. In his teenage years, he would buy baseball cards and then sell them for a profit. He was making thousands a month doing that.

“I always had the vision in sports, plus I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” he said. “So I put two and two together and had a career out of it.”

A $10,000 student loan became an empire. Oancea is now focused on the Super Bowl. He’s not picking any of the NFL Wild Card matchups, but his Super Bowl futures bets that he placed in Week 1 are looking quite already. He predicted a Broncos-Cardinals Super Bowl and his backup is Chiefs-Packers. Both those scenarios are possible, and the first one is very possible.

Take your pick, but I know if I’m making a bet, I’m going with Vegas Dave’s pick.

Jake Brown is the Digital Program Manager at CBS Sports Radio and a columnist for CBS Sports Radio, CBS Local Sports, and CBS Local. He hosts the Play.it podcast Brown and Scoop, which is a Sports and Entertainment podcast that features weekly shows and daily interviews with some of the best guests in both fields. Jake lives in Queens, NY and has struggled living the life of a Mets, Knicks, and Jets fan. 

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