LAS VEGAS -- David Baker and Mark Gregorich are professional poker players with plenty of experience playing for high stakes, but they excelled in another game this football season as they won the $435,623.20 first-place prize in the Westgate SuperContest, playing under the contest alias of ODBMG2.
Baker, 48, of Tucson, Ariz, and Gregorich, 50, of Las Vegas, went 54-26-5 (67.5%) against the spread while picking five NFL games a week against the Westgate’s contest lines. The SuperContest costs $1,500 to enter and drew 1,172 entrants this season. ODBMG2 clinched when its final pursuer, YUGO 77, lost with the Cardinals -2.5 in the late Sunday afternoon games.
The victory was a little bittersweet, as ODBMG2 also led the Circa Sports Million heading into the final day and could have won both. They ended up tying for second at Circa to add another $200,000 to their team’s winnings. Baker said he and Gregorich split the handicapping duties 50/50 but also had a third silent partner that shared in the winnings.
“It’s thrilling to win and we watched at the Westgate because we knew we had a better chance of winning [it],” Baker said. “Winning the grand prize just means so much.”
The SuperContest title also comes with a championship ring. Baker can add it to his jewelry collection as he has two WSOP bracelets (a $271,312 win in an 8-game Mix event in 2012 and a $161,139 Limit Hold’em title in 2019). The poker circuit led to the ODBMG alias. The “DB” and “MG are their initials, so where does the “O” come from?
Baker replied, “I was having a good amount of success in the poker world when another David Baker started doing well. The tournament officials want a way to differentiate us, so I said, ‘well, I’m the Original David Baker’ and the ODB nickname stuck.
“There’s a lot of similarities between this to competing in poker tournaments, but the big difference is this is so drawn out. In poker tournaments, you feel the thing out and you either advance or you don’t, but it lasts just a few days. But this lasts for months and is very taxing. We knew the whole season was leading up to these final five plays, [so it was] mentally draining.”
ODBMG2 started the SuperContest’s long grind by going 4-1 in each of the first two weeks of the season and then went 5-0 in Week 3 to take over the lead and added another 5-0 in Week 4 to finish 18-2 and win the $100,000 prize from the Westgate as the “1st Quarter” winner. They added $50,000 for tying for the second-highest 1st Quarter record (17-3) at Circa, so their overall winnings add up to $785,623.20.
“Of course I come from a gambling background and this was something I’ve always wanted to do since hearing about it on the Bill Simmons podcast years ago,” Baker said. “We’re not professional sports gamblers but we put in a lot of time. The fast start obviously helped us.
ODBMG2 led after every week the rest of the way, opening up a 3.5-point lead at one point before the race tightened up., though YUGO77 was half a point behind heading into Week 17 and three points clear of the rest of the field, so it basically came down to these two for the top spot.
In Sunday’s early games, ODBMG2 had the Ravens -12.5, the Steelers 9 and the Cowboys -1.5. The Ravens romped 38-3 over the Bengals, the Steelers rallied to cover in a 24-22 loss to the Browns and the Cowboys lost 23-19 to the Giants. Meanwhile, YUGO77 split 1-1 with the Lions 6.5 and the Jets 3. With a common play on the Panthers 6.5, ODBMG2 knew they just needed one of YUGO77’s remaining two plays (Packers -5.5 vs, the Bears and Cardinals -2.5 vs. the Rams) to lose in order to clinch the title.
“We had a couple of games where I really didn’t know what to root for,” Baker said. “We were still trying to also win the Circa contest and we actually had the Packers in that contest, so I was really hoping they would cover and we could still clinch with the Cardinals losing.”
That’s what happened as a pick-six by Arizona backup QB Chris Streveler late in the first half turned the game around and the Rams went on to win 18-7 and clinch the SuperContest title for ODBMG2.
Their Circa hopes still weren’t looking good as their play on the Seahawks -6 looked doomed with them trailing the 49ers 16-12 past the halfway point of the fourth quarter. But suddenly, Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for a 4-yard TD pass with 2:20 left and then a turnover led to another TD to have the Seahawks leading (and covering) 26-16 with 1:49 to play. However, the 49ers had enough time and C.J. Beathard got them back in the back door to end ODBMG’s dreams of a sweep.
“We were 23 seconds away from winning Circa if Seattle doesn’t give up that late TD,” Baker said. “That would have been great, but I’m still thrilled to win the SuperContest.”
YUGO77 held on for second-place winnings of $117,736 for finishing 54-29-2 (65.15). The SuperContest pays out the Top 100 finishers.
Other Westgate winners
BRETTFAVRE 444 was the first major prize winner on Sunday as he clinched the $360,000 winner-take-all prize in SuperContestGold (the $5,000 buy-in version of the SuperContest) by winning early with the Ravens -12.5 in their 38-3 rout of the Bengals and Lions 6.5 in their 37-35 loss to the Vikings.
That put him at 52-26-4 for 54 contest points (wins count for 1 point, pushes worth 0.5) and no one else could catch him. He finished 54-27-4 (66.7%) for 56 contest points and one point clear of INVISIBLE 1, who earns nothing for finishing second in this cut-throat contest.
BRETTFAVRE 444 knows how brutal the SC Gold format can be. He was among the leaders in the inaugural SC Gold contest in 2017. In Week 16’s Monday night game, he needed the Raiders 8.5 to take the lead. The Raiders were covering the whole game and it was still tied 10-10 at the two-minute warning before a Derek Carr INT set up an Eagles FG. BRETTFAVRE 444 and the Raiders were still covering, but then, with 3 second to play, the Raiders attempted a desperation lateral play with the ball ending up in the hands of the Eagles’ Derek Barnett, who took it in for the TD and a 19-10 win and cover for eventual Gold champion Stag Capital, who had the Eagles. In Week 17, Stag Capital was able to use all the line-move plays to secure the win while BRETTFAVRE 444 went with a contrarian strategy to make up ground and came up short.
***Beat the Books won the $100,000 “4th Quarter” prize that ran from NFL Weeks 13-16. Beat the Books went 16-4 to finish half a point of YUGO77 (eventual second-place overall winner), DANGER, CAL SLIM, SPECTRUM and WOLVERINES. Those five earned $7,000 apiece as they split the $25,000 second-place prize and the $10,000 third-place prize.
***BIRDIECARRIER earned $29,070 for winning the SuperContest ReBoot, which cost $500 and ran the second half of the season in NFL Weeks 9-17.