The NFL playoffs are rife with stories about bettors winning (and losing big). Here’s another tale to add to the mix, though we won’t know if this particular story has a happy ending or a really, really horrible one.
According to ESPN, there are two bettors – Brian Yankelevitz and Russ Axelrod – who decided prior to U.S. Thanksgiving to make the Green Bay Packers their team to wager on. Their original bet was $300, with Yankelevitz kicking in $100, while Axelrod – who lives in Vegas – putting in $200, based on a last-minute decision made at the ticket window.
Thanks to the Packers 34-31 last minute win over the Dallas Cowboys, that winning ticket is now worth $28,213.60 – and the pair say they have no plan to cash out. Seriously. They’re going to let it all ride.
The Packers play the Atlanta Falcons next on Sunday and a win there would turn their ticket into a $76,176.70 windfall. Like many gamblers, however, they’re not going to leave on a winning hand – even though they’re playing with (mostly) house money. If the Packers make the Super Bowl, they’ll keep riding the streak – though that decision hasn’t been wholly popular.
Both said they get mixed reactions from friends whether they should cash their ticket or let it ride.
“Brian and I are lifelong gamblers, the story is as good as winning the money,” Axelrod said. “We won’t pull a dime off the table, and there’s no hedging on Super Bowl.”
At least the two seem to be on the same page about their (current) winnings.
Yankelevitz, 43, and Axelrod, 40, who are lifelong friends from Bayside, New York, said they’ve never considered cashing out or hedging their bet.
“It’s more about the journey,” Yankelevitz said. “Texting friends and conversations with friends than winning the bet.”
If the Packers end up winning the Super Bowl, Axelrod told ESPN he would donate a portion of his winnings to charities supported by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and kicker Mason Crosby.
“They’ve earned it,” he said.