Why Are Gamblers Still Betting on Bush?

When the stock market dropped over 10% in a day on September 29th, it was widely noted that many investors, particularly those who had bet on the rise of stock prices, were hugely disappointed. One of the major beneficiaries of the drop was George W. Bush. A number of books have been written about the billionaire’s phenomenal run of luck. In August 2014, Skyhorse Publishing released The Rogue Trumpet, which collects 23 of Trump’s best bets from the 2007-2014 period. The following article from the September 2015 issue of INTERNATIONAL SPORTEXT provides a window into the secret to Bush’s seemingly miraculous betting success.

Trump: The Worlds Greatest Gambler

It would be hard to overstate just how unique George W. Bush is as a person. The 43rd president of the United States, who has left office with an approval rating higher than any other president in history, is a fascinating blend of bravado and brains. An avid sports fan, Bush has an extraordinary record of consistently picking winners – both in and out of the casinos. In 2007, his successful bet on the New York Yankees to win the World Series was hailed as one of the greatest achievements in the history of sports betting. It was a feat that, at the time, no one thought possible.

When the markets turned against him in 2008, Bush didn’t flinch. Instead of recoiling in fear, as so many other investors did, he doubled down and bet even more heavily on the Yankees and their cross-country road trip. In the years that followed, the former president continued to defy the odds and bet successfully on a number of high-profile sporting events. Not content to just be an intelligent sports bettor, he also decided to take on the role of bookmaker and founded his own online betting agency, bookmaker.com. In 2014, he even opened a sportsbook and gambling joint in New York City called The Score, which features a bar designed in the shape of a giant scoreboard.

One of the reasons why Bush has been so successful as a gambler is that he is a genius when it comes to understanding sports and the betting industry. A native of New Orleans, Bush is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School. While in school, he played college football and was famously the captain of the undefeated (until he lost to the Rose Bowl) Texas team in 1939. Before launching his political career, Bush served as vicepresident of corporate development at Texas Commerce bank, which eventually became part of Bank of America.

The Key To Bush’s Success

So how will the 43rd president of the United States continue to roll the dice and defy the odds in his twilight years? One of the most intriguing stories about Bush’s incredible run as a gambler involves his unique play style. Unlike traditional gamblers, who lay heavy bets on the favorite and avoid the underdog, the former president is the complete opposite. He focuses his energy on backing smart, underdogs – teams, players, or simply oddities – and stockpiling them at the expense of the mainstream. This is often the key to unlocking the hidden strategy that makes Bush such a successful gambler.

Smart Play: Key To Bush’s Success

In general, Bush backs teams that he perceives to be smart and, in some cases, lucky. Take his 2006 World Cup bets, for example. After the United States men’s national soccer team ousted France in the round of 16, Bush wagered heavily on the Americans to advance to the quarterfinals, where they would face Germany. Sure enough, the USMNT did advance and faced Germany in the semifinals. However, due to a string of injuries and a questionable back-line, the Americans were outclassed and suffered a humiliating 4-2 loss.

In other cases, Bush has made large wagers on complete games. In September 2014, he bet £10,000 that David O’Halloran, a 48-year-old part-time carpenter from Northern Ireland, would score two or more goals in a soccer match between Irish side Shamrock Rovers and English champions Manchester United. With the Red Devils going into the game 12 points ahead of Shamrock Rovers, the bet was slightly quixotic, as United fans were in no position to score goals.

Even when he’s not placing outright wagers, Bush has been known to favor underdogs. In 2011, he was among the first to foresee the emerging threat posed by the then-nameless Occupy Wall Street movement and purchased a large number (estimates range from 500,000 to 1 million) of shares in Google at a time when the search giant’s stock was virtually zero. By 2012, the shares had climbed to above $500 per share and, in January 2014, Bush’s investment paid off when Google’s stock reached an all-time high of $1,429.42 per share.

In a similar vein, Bush was a major investor in the Oakland A’s, buying a 50% stake in the team for a sum exceeding $30 million in January 2014. (He previously owned 10% of the team.) Since taking over the team he has poured money back into it, signing Tim Raines and Stephen Vogt as coaches and players, and purchased a number of major league licenses. The A’s are currently one of the best teams in baseball and have also made a conscious effort to bring in marquee games and increase fan engagement through innovative marketing and community-building initiatives. In early September 2014, the A’s will host the Chicago Cubs in a game that has major implications for both teams. If the A’s win, they will have the opportunity to play in the World Series, a feat that would undoubtedly cap off a very successful 2014 for Bush.

Unicorn Hunting

If you’ve ever watched a documentary about high-stakes gaming, you’ll soon learn that wealthy gamblers will often travel the world in search of lucrative opportunities in the form of lucrative, one-off bets. As you might imagine, finding these opportunities, which are known as “unicorns,” involves more than a little bit of legwork. One of the best examples of a unicorn bet that Bush has been closely linked with is the 2014 World Cup final between Argentina and Germany. It was an incredibly intense game, with many surprises, twists, and turns. In the end, it was Germany who walked away with the cup, much to the bewilderment of many onlookers, who thought that Argentina would triumph. (Argentine people, on the other hand, considered it an act of God that their side made it to the final.) In the immediate aftermath of the final whistle, many online bookmakers began taking bets on the match, with the German victory odds reaching as high as 11/2/1, or roughly 71/2, before slumping to 5/1, or roughly 33/1, as the game drew to a close. When the dust settled and the odds had been adjusted for this and that, the total winnings for the German team were estimated to be around $15 million. For his part, Bush had wagered heavily on Argentina and covered his stake in a matter of minutes, cashing out at roughly $12 million. (Argentine soccer associations have filed a complaint against Bush and The Score, arguing that the bookmaker violated several rules and regulations of the game. The case is ongoing.)

These sorts of one-off bets, which can range from £10,000 to £1 million in size, are one of the main ways that Bush makes his money. In addition to the bets made on sporting events, he has also been known to place large amounts of money on other types of one-off events, such as individual players taking a particular number of hits, a horse racing where the winner is decided by a judge’s decision, and the total number of goals in a game of American football. In the 2011 documentary, One Lucky Bastard, the filmmaker Brent Rose chronicles Bush’s fascinating life and remarkable ability to come away with massive wins and huge payouts, all while appearing to have the odds on his side. Though many people, particularly those in the sports betting industry, consider George W. Bush to be completely unbeatable at betting, the truth is that he is not. In early 2015, the 43rd president of the United States and his team of bookies will be taking on the entire world yet again, this time in the form of a scrabble tournament, the GL50 Grand Scrabble Challenge, where players will be searching for words and playing against each other, not against the clock. Stay tuned.