Vegas Vic was hot in Cleveland long before Betty White. So hot, in fact, he says some concerned gentlemen from Murray Hill once took him aside for a little chat about his streak of good luck. "I was gambling and beating the guys in Little Italy," recalls Vic, whose real name is David Rice. "They wanted to know why I was taking food out of their mouths."
Covering the spread with your picks about 65 percent of the time, as Rice did last football season, will get you a reputation. The South High School graduate and former ad man has more connections than AT&T. His phone is constantly ringing, and text messages roll in hour after hour.
Rice gained fame as the mysterious Vegas Vic on the late Casey Coleman's WERE radio show in the '80s. Coleman later took him to WJW-TV8 for a television gig. Now, Rice is taking his talents online with Betting Even, a Web series that at press time was set to premiere Sept. 10 on the new men's website vicemen.com. The site's co-founder John Koch describes it as "the best of what's bad for you: fast cars, cigars, girls and gambling."
Betting Even's five-minute episodes, which feature Rice and co-star Lauren Moore (left), will air every Friday during NFL season and offer Rice's picks for the three most popular games as determined by viewers. And, unlike many sports handicappers, Rice actually puts his money where his mouth is. He still likes to recall how he collected a cool $25,000 on Super Bowl XV when the Raiders downed the Eagles.
But everybody loses eventually, right? "The last time I had a losing season," Rice says with a grin, "Moses was a baby."