SBR interviews Fernando from Hollywood Sportsbook: Legendary NY Bookmaker Gone Offshore; Part I
This Interview with Fernando -Head Linesmaker of Hollywood Sportsbook- is part of the series of interviews by the SBR team. The questions are posted by SBR Bill Dozer, a seasoned player and industry expert. In order to provide our readers with a deeper contextual comprehension of this legendary figure in the industry-onshore and offshore-, the SBR team would like to offer a brief preface on Fernando's trajectory in the bookmaking industry:
Fernado's reputation precedes him. At his early 50's, this is a man that has been bookmaking since the early age of 17 years. For him, bookmaking is a passion and the only life-style he would pursue. This seasoned and shrewd bookmaker started booking over 30 years ago in New York City. He's seen it all there's to see as a bookmaker, he has been there when the doors used to be blown off their hinges on a Saturday morning right before the kick-off of a college football game. He's the man that used to work from 3 different apartments, just so he could lighten up his tracks.
During the decade of the 80's there was not one single line being dealt in the NY area, that had not been influenced by Fernando. His legend was consolidated when he took over the hockey market and proved that he had the ability to set the opening numbers for the entire NHL betting market. Soon after that, he became the source of the most reliable opening numbers for NHL in the East Coast and other bookmakers would always come to him seeking advice. His reputation was further built by his extremely sharp opinions in football, especially for the 2nd half time lines. From there on, his legend grew.
Today, as the Head Linesmaker and Chief Odds Analyst of Hollywood Sportsbook, he has reaffirmed his position as one of the strongest opinions and line originators in the offshore industry. Under his direction, Hollywood Sportsbooks posts some of the most original lines in the offshore industry. SBR has interviewed this man and has asked about his bookmaking policies, bankroll management and his abilities to offer reduced juice (-107) on every bet, on every game, every day.
INTERVIEW, Part I
SBR BillDozer: Fernando, how did you become a bookmaker?
Fernando: Well, years ago while I was in high school I started betting on sports... then one day I said well: “I have a lot of friends and we all liked sports if I can just get like a $1000.00 on each side I could make myself $100 bucks…” So I started taking some bets using the newspaper lines in those days. Back in those high school days, I was just taking $50.00-$40.00 bets and small bets like that…
SBR BD: So you how old were you, 17-18?
Fernando: I was probably about 17-18 taking bets (chuckles)
SBR BD: Do you remember your first wager?
Fernando: Yeah, the first time I bet on sports I was in a bowling alley… And I heard some guy giving a tip on a game... Archie Manning was the quarterback... so, I went and bet $55 on Mississippi vs. California , not sure what year it was but it was some time in the early 70’s probably.
SBR BD: So you heard a tip and you decided to make use of it?
Fernando: I lost the bet (laughs out loud). The spread was 6 and they won by 8, if I remember correctly…
SBR BD: Were you always good with numbers as a kid? Were you a math whiz?
Fernando: Oh yeah, I was always good with numbers. As a matter of fact, I was very good… it was the only subject that girls would sit next to me so that they could copy my math tests. I was always very good with numbers
SBR BD: Was math your favorite subject in school?
Fernando: For sure. Did I mention the girls used to copy my tests? (chuckles).
SBR BD: Fernando, would you be able to share any crazy or funny anecdotes from ‘way back in the day’? Do you have any interesting stories from your early booking days or since then?
Fernando: For sure, I remember one year during a hockey playoff game… We had 3 partners and we had a $10,000 decision on a hockey game… I was sweating up the whole room… my partner told me I was stinking up the whole room…(laughs) and I was sweating it out… pacing the floors… Funny enough, the year after, during the hockey playoffs I had a $30,000 decision and we were losing and there I was laughing!!!
That just shows from year to year how things can change… so it’s like this year, you are sweating like crazy on 10K and then you’re losing for $30,000 and you’re laughing the next year…
SBR BD: Fernando, many players have heard of your name for years before you came to work for Hollywood . You have been booking for over 30 years now…Where was your office previously to working with Hollywood?
Fernando: I worked out of New York . Worked out of apartments, once in a while we rented an office, but mostly apartment buildings…
SBR BD: Did you change offices for each football season?
Fernando: Well, we always had 3 apartments and we would have all these places, just so we could bounce around every month; every month we would bounce to another spot.
SBR BD: No kidding, that was to keep the heat off you?
Fernando: Yeah, not to be in the same spot all the time; so we just kept bouncing around…
SBR BD: Fernando, one thing that I was curious about and I don’t know how you want to expand on this, if at all, but it might be interesting for our readers to know… Can you say anything about when you were switching offices back in New York , or the heat you felt from the Feds, or whatever, can you comment on that kind of life at all?
Fernando: Yeah, sure. Back in New York most offices had a back-up place to work and some places had not only one backup, but two backups. It was just common that every couple of months you would just jump places just to switch the number… cool down the phone number and just to cool the neighbors down from seeing a bunch of guys walking in and walking out at the same time every day. We probably didn’t need to do it, but it was just something that we did, it made us feel better probably.
BD: Gotcha…Were there days when your nerves were on edge and you were scared wondering if they were going to try to put a stop to what you were doing?
Fernando: Oh yeah. There were always rumors that the heat was on, from some other places getting grabbed and also during football playoff times… With the big events coming up, there was always added heat. So it was on your mind every day but it was part of going to work every day. You knew the door was going to come down, and it did come down plenty of times.
SBR BD: What influenced your decision to go offshore, and how did you get involved with Hollywood ?
Fernando: Well, I was spending some time in Argentina , and I got a call from a friend of mine that used to own a sportsbook… and he asked me if I was interested in coming to Costa Rica , in order to work for Hollywood … and I said: “sure, I will come down and take an interview”. And I came down and took the interview… I’ve been here since then; this is 2 years later…
*You can read Part II and Part III of this interview by clicking on the following links: Legendary NY Bookmaker Gone Offshore, Part II; Legendary NY Bookmaker Gone Offshore, Part III. Explanatory side notes by the SBR Team will be italized.
Read other interviews by the SBR Team, conducted by SBR Bill Dozer.
SBR Writer, Analyst, and Sportsbook player. Helps other players avoid scams and provides advice in dealing with offshore sportsbooks. For more information visit http://www.SportsBookReview.com or send an email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org