Welcome to another edition of The Social Media Player Profile. This week we’re going to detail arguably the face of “Free Handicapping” The Vegas Refund (@VegasRefund). The Vegas Refund post’s his plays absolutely free for everyone to see and tail and has garnered over 20,000 followers on twitter. His NFL and NCAA last season records can be found below, although he handicaps just about every sport.
1. You have become one of the premier faces of free handicappers within Twitter, amassing over 20,000 followers. So, let’s start from the beginning as how the concept of Vegas Refund came from as to where it is today, and why you chose that over your “real name.”
2016 NFL & CFB Results: 🏈 pic.twitter.com/l3cX8314Ua
— The Vegas Refund (@VegasRefund) August 1, 2017
I wish I had some elaborate story but the truth is I was sitting on my couch going through games for that week. The H&R Block commercial came on with the old guy screaming “It’s refund season, get your billions back America!” which sparked a light bulb moment for me to make “The Vegas Refund.” I thought it was a great concept and a chance to build a brand within the community of “Gambling Twitter.”
The thing about Twitter is that most people who give out free picks use an alias. It’s one of those things that I don’t look at it as hiding behind a screen name, it’s just a brand that you can grow. If you’re looking for exposure for more “legitimate” websites, you should use your own name, but where as I wanted to just build a following, I thought making a stand alone “brand” was much more beneficial. I guess I just don’t see the upside in having my “identity” public. Way more can go wrong than can go right by not being anonymous. There’s also a sense of security that allows you to post freely without having to worry.
2. One of the things I love most about your twitter page is that it isn’t just a place to go for picks, it’s also a news outlet where you RT basically everything about sports gambling. Was that always the plan?
No, but I never really had a plan going into it. I think it became part of my “brand” after I had an awful day, I think I got reverse swept actually. Someone tweeted at me saying something along the lines of “I’m only going to keep following you for all the good info you Retweet.” I guess that made me realize these RTs can add some offsetting value for when I do go on a cold streak.
It’s also fun being able to channel my inner Adam Schefter by being the first one to RT some breaking news. I just want to add as much value as I can to the user who has me on notifications or is scrolling through their timeline who isn’t a fan of more corporate accounts that aren’t as favorable to gambling.
3. You started and have exclusively used Twitter what do you like about it that you haven’t branched out into other social media platforms?
Twitter is just faster and more up to date than all the other platforms. The thing that I love the most about twitter exclusively is it has a real gambling community/presence. Most of what happens between handicappers is behind the scenes via direct messages or group chats that most recreational bettors don’t see. It’s all about building a network, everyone has their own strengths within twitter and specific sports.
4. People have asked you for what seems years now to break into the tout community, outside of a few paid projects you’ve done you’ve never made the leap. What’s the reasoning?
I do have a full time job that has put me in a position where I’m fortunate enough to not have the need to sell picks. What I enjoy most about the whole twitter experience is being able to interact with other people in the community, and I do feel that a lot of that interaction opportunity is eliminated when someone goes tout (sells picks) due to the fact that your value diminishes by a major percentage. It means a lot less people are paying attention to your content which equals no interaction. I would never want that.
I do have some projects that require a ton more time and effort, mostly collaborative projects that are for sale, but there has only been maybe twice I have done that. I have nothing against anyone who sells picks, everyone has the right to earn a living and if that’s how you do it then good for you. I just value interaction a bit more.
5. As a picks provider, especially a free one, you open yourself up to tons of, lets just call them trolls. How do you deal with them?
I’m human after all, at first they bothered me. I guess I realized you have to develop thick skin and realize they’re just as important as a fly on the wall. No one has ever seen me respond to a troll. It’s not worth my time and I don’t need any of my followers seeing that garbage on their timeline. I just block and move on. The thing is that’s one of the great things about being free. All I’m doing is sharing my plays, if you don’t want to know what I’m playing or like my content, don’t follow me.
6. There is no way to know how much money you’re influencing on a day in or day out basis within your Twitter following, does it ever actually hit you how much money can be won or lost for people simply by sending a tweet of your plays?
I think about it sometimes. I guess I think about it more often after I have an awful day than a good one to be honest. A huge example is when I gave out Deshaun Watson to score first the first touchdown of the game at +1700 last Thursday. That was one of the cooler moments I’ve had on here thinking about how much I might have won some people, and how much I might have helped them too. Realistically I have no idea though, which is kind of scary too.
7. Do you have any goals as to where you want to take Vegas Refund as a brand in the future? What do you feel is the current temperature of social media regarding handicappers?
To be honest, not at the moment. I really do enjoy Twitter and appreciate everyone that’s been along for the ride so far, especially the ones that show appreciation whether it’s a good or bad day. As far as the temperature goes, I think there’s a saturation with the touts, which is just a natural progression from last year after the “free capper boom.”
I think that resulted in there being a lack of quality free guys now. Personally, I just enjoy the community, but there will always be trolls in the same way there will always be good and bad handicappers on here. I don’t really have a “plan” for the future, I’m just enjoying the ride at the moment. Cheers to good things ahead.
Vegas Refund can be found here on Twitter: @VegasRefund