Michael Konik is an American author, television personality, jazz singer, improvisational comedian, blackjack player and poker player. Konik has a degree in Drama from New York University. Konik currently resides in Hollywood, California.
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It's been more than 30 years now, three decades of dabbling in everything. I've published 10 books, recorded and produced jazz albums, performed improvisational comedy at Second City Los Angeles, and travelled Europe with my dog Ella for a book and Animal Planet show. Before that, I founded the 80's hardcore punk band The Clitboys. I've provided commentary for numerous FoxSports poker broadcasts and hosted a weekly jazz show in Hollywood with my Tasty Band. I’ve been on Jeopardy, and I was a phone-a-friend life-line on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (and gave the wrong answer). I come from Wisconsin, and I don't eat cheese.
For 10 years I wrote the golf column for Delta SKY magazine, and for 5 years I was the original gambling columnist at Cigar Aficionado.
My first book was a collection of short gambling stories that the Wall Street Journal considers of the Five Best Gambling Books of All Time, “The Man with the $100,000 Breasts” (1999).
My current novel “The Termite Squad” is about America's secret political assassination program, transforming hospice-bound elderly women into suicide bombers. Today, I'm making the e-copy available to anyone on reddit today for just $4.
My novel Year 14 won the Barrelhouse Prize and will be published in 2017.
More about me on my website at http://www.michaelkonik.com
Ask me anything about gambling, golf, travel, dogs, marijuana, social justice, jazz, nature, progressive politics, poetry, sports, yoga, zen -- and everything in between.
Just remember, Billie the Dog ain’t talking. At least not in English.
My Proof: http://imgur.com/z7S6lNZ
What's your opinion of the scene over at r/sportsbook? There seems to be a lot of solid cappers (and many pure amateurs) who deliver better picks for free than most of the so-called "pros" selling their picks or those selling ridiculously expensive "systems".
There is real talent everywhere, but it's mixed in with real charlatans. Figuring out the difference is the challenge.
What do you think one needs to have (great knowledge of the sport? discipline? big bankroll? luck?) to realistically believe they can make money off sports betting? Make money meaning at least enough to live.
ALL of the above. But there's one more: an algorithm, whether computer- or brain-based, that's somehow sharper than what everyone else half-sharp has.
What's your opinion on paying for sports picks? It seems like an awfully bad idea for bettors with a small bankroll since overcoming the juice and transaction fees is extremely difficult let alone the price of the picks.
In my first book, "The Man With the $100,000 Breasts," I wrote a story about a "handicapper" who secretly had his young child make the picks, more or less randomly. The story was called "1-900-NFL-SCAM." Are there good guys out there. I'm sure there are. But the really good ones don't sell picks, they BET their knowledge.
Sounds like you've had quite the life. There's lots of things I could ask, but I guess what piqued my interest most is being a phone-a-friend on WWTBAM... so, are you watching the show as they call? Are you in a studio? Or are you just living your life and all of a sudden get a call from Regis? What's the process??
Here's how it works: While the show is being taped live in the studio, you're at home or work or wherever. A producer calls you when taping starts and asks that your phone remain available. If/when you're a lifeline, the phone rings and Regis Philbin is on the line. Slightly surreal.
How many marijuanas have you injected today?
Zero. I don't like needles.
Just getting into sports betting. Been enjoying doing spread parlays with football and basketball, then o/u parlays with soccer? Would you recommend this or throw some MLs in there too? Thanks for the advice.
I advise you to avoid parlays in general, since the take-out, or vig, is much higher than if you simply bet moneylines.
Before you went on jeopardy were there categories that you hoped to hell weren't going to be in the game? How long did you study to prep for the game?
I was super prepped and ready for anything -- except the buzzer! Subsequently, contestants have learned to train to click at the right time. I didn't and got locked/beaten a lot. I will say...American Presidents and Moon Missions weren't really my best cats.
lol awesome. I even posted a TIL about your book a few weeks ago.
Without confirming or denying anything, I will say: impressive sleuthing.
How does anyone call Jill Stein credible at this point?
If she or Bernie were actually credible they would have stuck to their true principals and in no way shape or form endorsed a candidate like Hillary Clinton
I, too, was very disappointed -- OK, shattered -- when Bernie endorsed and campaigned for HRC. His reasons/motives have been discussed widely, and I'll not rehash them here. That decision did indeed call Bernie's credibility into question; but the way he conducted himself at the DNC and on the trail convinced me that he's in it for the long game, and the principles he's embraced for his entire career are still in place -- no matter how putrid his HRC endorsement.
What's your favourite book of all time?
One answer: the next one I'm going to try to write. Another answer: Huck Finn.
Preferred method of blazing?
Old school. Roll a j.
And I've got a lovely blue glass Meerschaum (Sherlock Holmes) pipe that works well with a pinch of nuggage.
You wrote an essay claiming that "Bernie Sanders will be the next President of the United States!" How do you feel now that this is not the case? What do you think happened?
I feel sad. We had the chance to elect the most honest, principled, BEAUTIFUL politician of my lifetime. And we blew it. It reminds me of post-Berlin Wall America: we were beloved and at peace and we had the chance to spread goodwill throughout the world. And instead we engaged in bullying and belligerence, starting our epoch of endless wars. We blew it. But they say 2020 is hindsight...Maybe it will be foresight, too.
Man, this is kind of crazy... I came across your book, Smart Money, a couple months ago. So, did writing all that stuff about Ashton Kutcher, Bruce Willis and Billy Walters burn any bridges in your career?
The Smart Money was certainly one of the more delicate publishing adventures in my career. I agreed to keep everyone's indentity secret, and I think I've honored my end of the deal without fail. Some folks seem to "out" themselves every now and then, but that's their business. So, no, very few bridges burned -- except with the bookie community!
Do most of the worlds best bettors side with Vegas since house never loses in the long run, or actually have tools to have an edge over Vegas' lines? Because anyone that's been betting for a while can figure out what side Vegas wants as they'll fade the cowboys and NE if they can get an enticing line that 80% of the public gets on... but it seems like the best edge would be to have a savant or Algos that can predict the outcome of the game better than Vegas ... in the event Vegas is wrong, as they have been a lot of this NFL season
Most of the best bettors have an edge over the Vegas line. They can see the pointspread more clearly. So they're not really siding with the House or the Public. Smarties are their own thing, and the Vegas casinos wish they were always on the same side as the sharps. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.
Yeah. He is pretty beautiful.
The fact that he's clearly not in politics to enrich himself is rare, refreshing and increasingly required. I'm a BERNIECRAT.
Do you occasionally enjoy betting on teams that you hate...so that it's a win-win situation? I didn't want Djokovic to complete a career grand slam so I bet a few thousand that he'd win the french open(he did).
When you're betting professionally, you don't love or hate any particular team. You have no allegiances. You don't root for the hometown club. One week you bet the Packers, the next you bet against. No emotional connection. Merely commodities to be traded.
. . .although I do like the idea of "buying insurance" against outcomes you don't want.
I am also curious about your current novel, "The Termite Squad." How do you think our senior citizens will embrace your concept of elderly women turned into suicide bombers? Do you think this concept devalues their worth in our society?
Quite the contrary. Turning hospice-bound seniors into National Heroes -- with statues and plaques and family annuities -- increases their worth to society. Instead of consuming massive health-care resources in hospice, these women become American Legends. I hope many seniors will consider serving our great country in their golden years.
Is it your intention to claim that when a human being is terminally ill that they are of no use to the society?
No, that's not my claim. They're not NO use, just less use. When termites get old and feeble, they find a weak area of their nest and blow themselves up through the abdomen, sealing nest cracks in their death. If folks could join The Termite Squad instead of lying in bed attached to a ventilator, we might be able to Make America Great Again much more quickly.
Your sports betting book was written in 2006. Surely a lot has changed in the last 10 years? A lot of brain power that used to be headed to Wall St is now headed there instead. Do you still keep up with the scene? What are the most notable changes?
The biggest change, I think, is the almost complete migration of the the industry/business away from Las Vegas and toward foreign destinations. Vegas is almost irrelevant to serious sports bettors. Also, the information flow -- with up-to-the-second updates -- is far faster and efficient. The sports markets work more like the financial markets now, only cleaner and with less fraud.
If Bernie Sanders does not run in 2020, I hope he will, who are you hoping will lead the Progressive Movement? Any top 3?
I'm less interested in personalities than ideas. Tulsi Gabbard, Nina Turner, Jill Stein -- these are all credible leaders. But it will be compelling ideas that change the game, not necessarily politicians/brands.
Tripped out. Thanks for the response.
Also, they give the contestant as much time as he wants. So I was sitting on the phone with Regis for about 15 minutes while my friend agonized.
How does one go about making an algorithm or system to predict point spreads and game results? I don't even know where to start
Me either. That's why you need an ALGO ANDY.
I have no teams that I root for,...only teams that I hate (Patriots especially).
Apparently you are not alone.
How do I go about building an algorithim? I have some very basic statistical literacy from University. Any textbooks/online sources you have with the nitty gritty of how to? Any particular applications?
Truth: I have no expertise in this area. My betting group had access to an MIT savant (Algo Andy in "The Smart Money") and he handled all that stuff. We just had to help him understand what a "safety" was in the NFL!
How would you describe your new novel "Year 14?"
The first adjective that Barrelhouse Books, the publisher of YEAR 14, used to describe it is "hilarious." That's important to me, because it's meant to be moving, heartbreaking, uplifting and all the other things that make us human. But I wanted it to be funny. At heart I'm a satirist, I guess. The book is a very simple story that a teenager could understand. It's the most "timeless" book I've written. (And probably my favorite. Don't tell the other 10!)
Any picks for tonight?
Sure. Let me get my coin ready for flipping. . .Say's here: MIAMI laying anything less than 3.
That sounds very interesting! I read something online that it is both hilarious and terrifying and current. Can you share a little something about the plot?
An editor at the state news agency risks his life to report on the amazing events that occur in his country during the 14th year of autocratic rule.
So essentially, Jets +3?
If you want to go against my Magic Coin, take the Jets plus the points.
So you are betting that Miami will not win by less than 3? I'm not familiar to lay betting
Laying the points is taking the favorite. We're giving (laying) the underdog the pretend points before the game begins.