Bet On It: Meet Todd Fuhrman, the Vegas Nightlife Keeper

LAS VEGAS — Todd Fuhrman’s journey to sports betting fame began in the passenger seat of his father’s blue Cadillac en route to hockey games in Northbrook, Glenview and Park Ridge.

At the start of those fall Sundays, Todd was picking an NFL team, from the lines of this newspaper, leaving Mark, a commodity broker, on the other side. Then Mark selected, then Todd, etc. Buck a game. Todd was 8 years old.

Confidence pools, via a buddy’s pop, became “the real sweat,” says Fuhrman.

At boarding school outside of Boston, he involved hockey teammates and friends in free website contests that awarded prizes to the biggest weekend shadow funds.

The school administration, however, balked at Fuhrman’s request to start a sports betting club, similar to the more common chess or foreign language groups.

In his senior yearbook, his peers called him the most likely to become a bookmaker. He adds: “More likely to win or lose a million dollars too.”

In college, Fuhrman thrived betting on offshore venues. Those forays would blossom at the University of New South Wales in Australia, where he studied as a senior.

He was monitoring the movement of money from the country’s National Rugby League games on offshore lines, then walking a block from his Coogee Beach pad to the Coogee Bay Hotel and his TAB store, the retail outlets of Oz, to make bets.

Nearly half of the country’s 4,400 outlets are in New South Wales, and those Coogee suppliers were moving like snails.

“These guys thought I was a rugby scholar,” says Fuhrman, 40. “I was following the line movements, watching the steam move the much more reputable offshore books and was able to take advantage of some of the Australian bookmakers.

“[They] just weren’t used to moving [lines] based on what was happening in the Caribbean. It certainly paid off a few beers. And when it comes to liquor tax in Australia, every extra dollar counts. »

TAKE A MILE

Even with all that budding interest and knowledge in sports betting, Fuhrman was about to use his economics degree from Wesleyan University in Connecticut to break into Wall Street as an investment associate. .

Until Susan Fuhrman, her aunt, returned from an African safari, where she had met an executive from Caesars Palace. With maybe half a toe in that door, Todd jumped into the arena.

He submitted a resume, passed a battery of tests, and two months later, in March 2006, began working as a financial analyst for Caesars Entertainment.

“She was extremely helpful in giving me a boost,” Fuhrman says of Aunt Susan. “Any time a family member vouches for you and creates an introduction, you never want to let them down.

“With a Type A personality, it was, ‘OK, I was given a thumbs up; now I have to go a mile. As a seventh-round draft pick or someone who didn’t get drafted, someone gave me a chance, and I won’t let it slip through my fingers.

Immersed in budgeting and market analysis, involving the table games side of the house, he wandered into sports betting and befriended fellow Chicagoan Chuck Esposito, who taught Todd about risk management .

“How to reserve for faces, much of what has gone into the daily machinations of mobile numbers,” Fuhrman says. “He was an integral part of my development.”

Fuhrman would slip into the Caesars book, spending Saturday and Sunday there as a supervisor, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in international player development.

“A revelation,” says Fuhrman. “No matter how much you think you know about sports betting, until you think about it from the bettor’s perspective, behind the counter, you don’t understand exactly what’s going on in the process.”

Pressed to elaborate, Fuhrman says sophisticated bettors know the strengths and weaknesses of each book, when new staff starts, who they might be able to bully for bigger limits, and when, early in the morning or late at night.

“You really have to develop a backbone,” he says. “Hey look! Here are our limits. You’re not going to let anyone talk nice to you. They will have one from time to time, but you learn. Until it continues.

“A trial by fire.”

ALMOST SEMI-PRO

However, let’s go back. Fuhrman didn’t just skate, pass the puck and throw bazookas from the blue line down the ice.

He was a goalkeeper.

When reviewing what prompted him to leave Wheeling High after his second year at a northeast boarding school, Fuhrman immediately thanks the financial aid and laughs at himself.

“There was a lot of endowment money for a kid who could read and write,” he says, “and who was dumb enough to put his face in front of hockey pucks.”

At these youth tournaments, he had heard about the academic and athletic benefits of a boarding school. He would leave his friends, his parents Mark and Wendi and his sister Hallie for the prestigious Groton School in Massachusetts.

“Even more shocking, on some level, [Groton] had relatively strong ties to the church,” he said. “So being Jewish in a middle-class family in suburban Chicago and going to an Episcopalian boarding school was a bit of a culture shock in itself.

“Without doubt the most difficult two years of my entire life. I’m the ultimate cliche poster: anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Against arch-rival Groton Brooks, as a senior, Fuhrman faced almost 60 shots but only allowed one by him. Groton only attempted six or seven, all soft, in a 1-0 loss.

In the handshake line, Brooks’ coach apologized to Fuhrman. Groton did not win a game that season, but Fuhrman earned all-league honors and received a Division I scholarship offer.

Hoping to get more DI attention, he played one season for the Green Mountain Glades, in Burlington, Vermont, of the Junior Hockey League East. He lived in an apartment with two Groton buddies and worked as a barista at Starbucks.

“We all had jobs, and it felt like a semi-professional athlete,” Fuhrman says. “You had to show up for team training and lifting sessions, and you had to pay your bills. Add to that two years of boarding school and I grew quickly.

He is pragmatic. At 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, he had no pro-hockey ambitions. The sport was a passion and he saw the EJHL as a test.

In the sports betting industry, he would just as wisely learn the importance of versatility.

SOURCES OF TRUST

Caesars let Fuhrman field requests from Sports Chat and other media to talk about plays, spreads and line changes. He was rushing to Barbary Coast or Bellagio to make bets. His social media profile has grown.

He would leave Caesars for a consulting position in the sports department of Don Best, learning from Kenny White. The video work there, for overseas clients on American sports, further refined its pacing, delivery and timing.

In 2014, along with Payne Insider, Fuhrman started the ‘Bet the Board’ podcast, which has 26,000 Twitter followers, a NASCAR affiliation and regularly provides a wealth of information.

He’s written for Fox, appeared on its show “Lock It In” (he and host Rachel Bonnetta won’t be returning for a fourth season), and has had a steady relationship with CBS platforms. Fuhrman is a regular guest, as a Vegas insider, on national talk shows.

As states legalize sports betting, I ask him about the many big-mouthed frauds that seem to metastasize every week.

It is, he says, the right word.

“Metastases – the perfect representation of it,” says Fuhrman. “To a certain extent, there are a lot of cancers in space. When something proliferates, there are more opportunities.

“But the stark reality is that there aren’t enough qualified people to fulfill much of the media’s obligations.”

There are only a limited number of bona fide bookmakers, a limited number of bona fide handicappers, he says, and people in a hurry are just trying to find someone they can present as an expert.

It’s deeper, for him and others who have dedicated their lives to the nuances of brutal, cutthroat business. There is frustration about ignorant and irresponsible counterfeits whose “advice” can be costly.

“You hope, over time,” he says, “that casual fans understand who they can trust for information, versus other people who just want to go out and talk about the game but don’t stick around. completely immersed in this world 24 hours a day.”

THE HAPPY GUARDIAN

Fuhrman says his last six months of sports betting have been “extremely profitable”, so all the moving parts of his career are working efficiently.

It does not take its unique perch for granted.

“It’s about developing these relationships and creating a symbiotic dynamic with the [books] in town,” he said. ”I never want to do anything dirty or deceptive. If I want a little more about an event, I’m in a privileged position.

“I can send a note to some of them. Hey, do you need a little more on this side? Can I know a little more about “this” future? If they work with me, I’m just as willing to work with them. This allows for success. »

The Park Ridge-born, Wheeling-raised kid, however, never liked the Bears. It’s all about New York – the Knicks, Rangers, Yankees and Giants.

At the start of the summer, he bet less than 6.5 for the Bears’ season win total, tied. At the Westgate SuperBook and South Point, disinterest in Chicago reduced that total from 6.5 to 6.

The Bears, he says, have an incomplete roster and tougher days ahead of them.

“[Fans] should just want to see modest improvement from Justin Fields,” Fuhrman said. “Most importantly, he doesn’t get fired more than 50 times like Joe Burrow during the season.”

With everything he juggles professionally, Fuhrman has managed to have a personal life — he and his girlfriend Nicole Russo recently got engaged. An online service suited them, but they could easily have crossed paths when he worked at Caesars; she worked two doors away for the World Series of Poker.

Fortune continues to favor the guy who willingly put his face in front of so many pucks.

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