Not all bets have to be about money 

January, 26, 2012

Tina Wells loved the Arkansas Razorbacks. She loved going on cruises with her husband, David. She loved her three kids and her four grandkids and she even loved her first husband and his new wife, who came to her and David's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

She also loved data and metrics and the ways those numbers revealed hidden clues for gamblers. Once a month she and David, a fellow stat freak who attended Virginia Tech, hosted a poker night at their house in West Fork, Ark. On many nights the two of them pulled all-nighters at the Native American casinos in Oklahoma. In February 2010, the Buffalo Run casino offered a Break the Bank contest in which the winner had to solve a puzzle using numerology. They won it together.

The two were married in November 1999 -- his third marriage, her second -- and every couple years they would hightail it for Vegas, looking to cash a few tickets there. Eventually they would wander over to the sports books and, like every loving couple ought to do, they stared at the big board together. Both were amused by prop bets, the crazier and more difficult to calculate the better. They theorized about what Super Bowl propositions they would like to see.

"Things like the over/under of the Wonderlic score of the person who scored the first touchdown in a game, or the over/under of age of the wife of the person to score the first touchdown," David wrote me in an email. "Casinos were a hot part of our lives."