Barista Wins Westgate SuperContest For Nearly $900k

Posted By Jessica Welman on January 5, 2017

[toc]Sports bettors often like to sweat their bets and watch the game. Damon Graham did not get to enjoy that luxury.

Instead of watching Week 17 action to see whether or not he was going to win the Westgate SuperContest, he had to go to work. At Starbucks.

The Las Vegas barista had to wait until his lunch break to check the scores and confirm he won the prestigious football betting contest. He earned $895,481.

He played under the team name Pops2008 and went 58-24-3 over the season.

Graham came to Vegas to be a poker pro

In an interview with the Associated Press, Graham said he initially came to Vegas a decade ago with hopes of being a poker pro. He saved up enough money to buy two entries into this year’s SuperContest.

In the final week of play, he picked opposite sides of five games on his respective cards, hoping one would finish in the money. Turns out the entry that had what he thought would be the losing sides of games went 5-0 to lock up the title for him.

The 32-year-old is the latest amateur to win what was once a contest dominated almost completely by professional bettors.

The contest requires each entry (which can be an individual or a team) to submit five picks each week of the NFL regular season using points spreads provided by the Westgate.

The picks must be turned in to the sports book. The recent emergence of proxies in the contest allows many participants throughout the country to take part even if they are not in Las Vegas.

This year’s SuperContest drew 1,854 entries

The field in this year’s SuperContest came in at 1,854 entries. It is the largest field in the contest’s history.

The contest was started in the 1980s. Ten years ago, the contest drew 342 entries. In 2011, the contest jumped to over 500 entries and has grown by the hundreds ever since. The SuperContest eclipsed 1,000 entries for the first time in 2013.

The top 50 finishers all earned a payday this year. There was a 13-way tie near the bottom of the payouts which resulted in 51 places being paid.

The minimum cash was worth $2,985.05. The top six finishers all earned six figures.

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Graham’s performance ranks highly historically

Graham’s 58 wins and three pushes is not the best performance in SuperContest history.

That honor belongs to the 2014 team which, included Justin Green and Andrew Leff, which managed to go 64-20-1. The team is the only one to surpass more than 60 correct predictions.

The next-best performance has been 59 correct picks. Graham ties for third with several others who managed to predict 58 games correctly.

Graham has not said whether or not he intends to keep serving up lattes or putting his winnings to use as a bankroll to return to poker or pursue sports betting on a more full-time basis.

Image credit: Iryna Liveoak / Shutterstock.com

Jessica Welman Avatar
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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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