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Jason Halpin Wins Gaming Today's Bookies Battle

/EIN News/ -- Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jason Halpin, the manager of race and sports at Aria, is $1,000 richer today after winning Gaming Today’s 2019 Bookies Battle. Halpin, who moonlights as a comedian, beat 80 other competitors who had to pick every NFL game for 17 consecutive weeks. Halpin was correct on 57 percent of his selections, going an impressive 146-110 against the contest’s point spread.

“I kept waiting for that one bad week to kill me and knock me out, but thankfully it never happened,” said Halpin.

Finishing second was Brad Carpenter of DraftKings Scarlet Pearl in Mississippi, who was 143-113, three games in back of Halpin. Chris Jenkins of Wildfire Boulder was third with a 141-115 mark followed by Johnny Aitken of PointsBet USA at 140-116.

The quartet are expected to participate in the Bookies Battle Playoffs, in which $500 goes to the winner. Joining them in the 10-contestant field are Cindy Jo Ramirez of Fiesta Rancho, Rafael Figueroa of Borgata, Mike Guernsey of Joker’s Wild, the Rampart’s Duane Colucci, and Tom Blazek of the South Point, the property that was the presenting sponsor of this year’s Bookies Battle. 

The same rules apply to the playoff contest—pick all the games against the spread through the Super Bowl. Whoever picks the most winners, gets the money.

“It’s more fun,” Halpin said of trying to pick winners in the postseason in hopes of hitting a handicappers’ Daily Double. “Week 17 is basically a crapshoot. But with the playoffs, you know you’re going to get everyone’s best effort.”

He has been impressed by Baltimore and its quarterback Lamar Jackson. He also likes what Kansas City has done and the way the Chiefs are playing heading into the postseason.

“I think the Ravens and Chiefs will meet for the AFC championship and whoever wins that game will win the Super Bowl,” he said. “The NFC has some good teams, but I don’t think there’s anyone at the level of Baltimore and Kansas City.

When he was interviewed by GT back in early October, Halpin said he relied on his instincts for his selections. No analytics. No computer programs. No lengthy analysis. Just trust his gut.

The strategy worked. He was in or near first place early on and as the season went on, he stayed in the front of the pack. 

“I was tempted to study more as the season went on,” Halpin said of altering his strategy. “But I figured if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Not that there’s wasn’t a lack of effort from the other competitors in trying to unseat Halpin. Carpenter was doing well early, floundered a bit in the middle of the year then came on strong late. Jenkins was struggling early but he put together several strong weeks to get into contention and finished well late to make the top three.

“I was very excited and I did a lot of scoreboard watching Sunday,” Carpenter. “I watched a lot of games to get a feel for the teams and that seemed to work well for me.” 

The Bookies Battle contest is not easy to compete in. You have to have your selections in by Tuesday afternoon and the line doesn’t change once you submit your picks. So when the lines moved dramatically in some cases in Week 17, the contestants had to live with the number attached to their choices.

But that didn’t seem to bother Halpin. The 34-year-old managed to avoid any major pratfalls and now that’s he’s a grand richer, what plans does he have for the money?

“I haven’t thought about it but I think I’ll treat myself to something nice,” he said.

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About Gaming Today: Established in 1976, Gaming Today has been a staple for sports and gaming industry news in Las Vegas and across the country. It is the nation’s only newspaper dedicated to providing valuable up-to-date information on the casino industry and pari-mutuel race wagering. contains news and features, plus expanded coverage in key areas—race and sports analysis, picks, tips, and handicapping.


Howard Barish
Gaming Today