SUPER NUMBER: $207,000
I received a direct message on Twitter at 11:41 EST on Jan. 1. It was from @4RichardStand and read: "In Vegas to see how this all plays out."
For those who haven't been following the blog, @4RichardStand is also known as Richard Stand, which is the pseudonym for the guy who entered the final weekend of the NFL season leading the Las Vegas Hilton's Supercontest, the premier handicapping contest in the country. More than 300 contestants paid $1,500 to pick five games against the spread every week. The winner earned -- and after a season of agony, there is no doubt it is earned -- $207,000.
Richard went into the weekend with a one-game lead over a guy named Wisky. Rather than sit in his Boston home pacing the carpet and trying to avoid his wife and young son, Richard hopped a flight to Vegas with friends to spend the weekend watching the drama unfold live. But he didn't want to stay at any of the standard Strip hotels. He checked into the new Mandarin, the only place in Las Vegas that doesn't have a casino. "I wanted some quiet," he told me. "I wanted to think about my options."
Richard wasn't just there to sit back and hope things went his way. One way or the other, he was walking away from Vegas a winner of some very large dollars. Before he hit The Strip he withdrew $75,000 in cash -- his kid's college fund -- to make some hedge bets. He's not crazy and he's not a degenerate; he knew he'd be putting that money back, either as the contest winner or as the winner of his hedges.