Last week, Mike Hook, one of the Pregame â€śPros,â€ť was accused of fraud by a Pregame customer.
According to the customer, Hook asked him to set up an account at his bookmaker. Hook then lost over $9,000 using that account over the next month and hasnâ€™t paid a dime of the losses. After he made this complaint, we interviewed the Pregame customer to better understand his complaints.
Q. How long have you been active on Pregame?
A. 4 years
Q. How many Pregame pros have you purchased picks from and how much, in total, have you spent on those picks?
A. I have dealt with 6 or 7 pros, and spent about $1,000 on 50 â€“ 75 plays.
Q. When did you first purchase a pick from Mike Hook? How much in total did you pay for Mike Hookâ€™s picks?
A. I first started playing with Mike about 2 years ago, and purchased a few of his football picks. Mike would also post in the Pregame Forum about â€śOther Playsâ€ť. These plays were primarily comprised of Tennis, Golf, and MMA. He would post in the forum because Pregame didnâ€™t have a way to purchase those plays from him for about 6 months. During that time period we won some money. The posters and I felt that Mike should get money for these plays and would make those comments online. Mike contacted me and said that I could Paypal him some $ if I felt that strongly about it. I felt at the time it was worth it. I would paypal him a few hundred dollars for his MMA & Tennis plays. I feel that know one should work for free, and we were winning. But all good things come to an end and I stopped playing for a while.
Q. How did you first start a relationship with Mike Hook outside the boundaries of the Pregame communication channel?
A. He contacted me via the message board and gave me his personnal email address. He was at the hospital visiting a friend a lot, and didnâ€™t have time to check Pregame Forums and give away free plays. So emailing and texting were the best way to get his plays in time.
Q. When Hook asked you to set up an account for him with your local, what rationale did he provide?
A. He said that he had 2 accounts already open, but was looking for more ways to make more money.
Q. Were the bets he made the same ones he was selling as picks?
A. Noâ€¦He played about 12 plays a day. He really did go nuts!
Q. Have you heard from Hook since you wrote your story on Pregame?
A. Nopeâ€¦and I donâ€™t think I will.
Q. Has anyone at Pregame offered to compensate you for this or offered to help you try to get your money back?
A. No. I even offered to send RJ the information but Mike Hook pretty much hung himself, so I guess it wasnâ€™t needed. Pregame has done nothing to help at all.
We reviewed emails exchanged between Mike Hook and the customer. And we confirmed that the emails from Hook were sent from an email address that was listed as his on Pregame.com. At first, Hook asked to borrow $500 which he needed within 24 hours. In exchange for the $500, he said he’d pay back the $500 over the next two months and give the customer the rest of his picks free for life and a new set of golf clubs.
Unsurprisingly, despite the customer providing Hook with his emergency $500, no golf clubs ever showed up.
After the emails, we reviewed the betting account that was established for Hook. Over a 9 week period, Hook made over 400 bets on baseball, basketball, tennis, UFC, soccer, rugby, WNBA and pre-season football. During the first week, Hookâ€™s average bet size was ~$125 and he won $571. In week 2, the average bet size went up to ~$250 and he lost $38. In week 3, the average bet size increased yet again: up to ~$350 and Hook won $1,950 that week.
Then the wheels came off.
Hook lost $3,038 in week 4. He lost $808 in week 5. He lost $478 in week 6. He lost $159 in week 7. He lost $1,089 in week 8. He lost $3,181 in week 9. And, in the last week his account was left open, Hook lost another $3,000.
It was in this final week that Hook took a $2,100 shot on a -700 favorite in rugby only to have the Gold Coast Titans upset the Canterbury Bulldogs. And then he bet $900 on an alternative run line play where he took the Blue Jays +2.5 runs (at -260) against the Oakland Aâ€™s. The Jays lost 5-1.
The grand total of Hookâ€™s 10 week betting spree on someone elseâ€™s account: -$9,270.
Weâ€™ve looked at a lot of sports betting accounts. And weâ€™ve reviewed a lot of touts and the picks they sell. Based on our experience, thereâ€™s a rather obvious conclusion here: the person putting the bets in on this account is not at all very ‘sharp.’ And he may well have a gambling problem.
The volume of bets; the type of bets; the rapidly increasing bet size to chase losses. Those are all worrisome signs, frankly. And no ‘sharp’ player, who has recently asked a virtual stranger to set up an online betting account for him, makes hundreds of plays across eight different sports over a ten week period.
Another remarkable part of this story: Mike Hook had beenÂ one of the better performing Pregame “Pros” according to an independent analysis of 33 Pregame pick-sellers posted at SportsBook Review.
Now, Mike Hook is gone from Pregame. And while Hook claims his side of this story hasn’t been told, he did not respond to our request for an interview.