Platis Produces Pari-Mutuel Pool and Poker

Harry Platis is known for his timing. He once garnered the nickname "Hard-way Harry" by rolling a hard ten at craps (two fives) and then letting his winnings ride on that bet and rolling the same thing again! Generally, it's hard to argue with the choices he has made in life. An accomplished pool player who has the respect of every stick he faces, Harry has not relied on the cue to earn his keep. He is a well-respected attorney in Seattle, Washington. As he told us: "I played pool when I was a kid. Then I went to school and I was still playing pool and I flunked out of college. So I started all over again and went to night school. I went from night school into law school and worked during the day."

"I didn't play pool at all seriously again until around 1980 when Richie Florence started his tournaments. Those tournaments, at places like Lake Tahoe and the Tropicana, were a lot of fun. A lot of the fun revolved around the fact that at that time they were setting the book on the matches. Billy the book and Armstrong were putting odds on the games."

"It made the games exciting. The bookmakers were there and the bettors were there and they could bet fifty or a hundred dollars and take two on the wire and they really enjoyed it. When I got married I brought my wife down to Vegas and she saw all that action and she thought it was exciting."

"Then, they attempted to legitimize pool. They took all the gambling out of the game. In so doing they took the audience out of the game. All those who had come to the matches to put fifty bucks on this guy with a game on the wire, they took them out of it. At least that is my observation, but you can see how the crowds have dropped off at the pro events."

All of which had Platis yearning for the old days when it was a lot more fun to sit in the stands and sweat the matches with a few bucks hanging in the balance. He took his thoughts to an old friend. "So I had discussions with Gregg Sullivan of Diamond Billiard Products and a few others. The way that we have seen gambling coming back, as gaming now, well, the appeal is obvious. And the way to do it is through a pari-mutuel pool. Gregg agrees that the ring game lends itself to pari-mutuel wagering. That's wagering like on a horse race. No bookmaker sets a line or odds. The bettors determine the odds by the amount of betting on a particular favorite. So there's no way to cheat the line as the line moves according to the wagers. So I patented 'pari-mutuel pool' and I've been working on it since. The software for that is now under development. The software for the companion feature, pari-mutuel poker, is already complete. You can go to and see how the site for pool will work."

"I'm working on another gaming system that revolves around pool tournaments that have a large field of players. A person gets to bet on any letter of the alphabet and if a player whose last name wins then they win. In other words, if you bet on 'B' and either Bustamante or Basavich wins then you would win the bet."

"Working in my favor is that Nevada has now legalized using credit cards to bet on pari-mutuel horse racing. This just passed October 25th. So I came to Nevada to apply for a pari-mutuel pool and a pari-mutuel poker gaming license and at first they said they wouldn't do it because poker is not a sport. But then they took a look at the fact that the Sporting News and other publications are writing up poker and interviewing their players. So now there is a strong possibility that I will be able to get a Nevada Gaming license."

"I want to take the pari-mutuel pool to the large operators like the IPT and the BCA Pool Leagues and use it on those large tournaments. At the BCA spring event you have a perfect set-up for it. You have teams, men, women, scotch doubles, all sorts of formats to find a favorite in. And in these tournaments that have lots of players like these there is no way to stack the deck. A player can lose out anytime and the betting pattern determines the odds."

"I think it will help revitalize pool and make for some stunning payouts. For instance, I came up with a twenty-five million dollar pool that someone can win if they can come up with the names of the final six players at the poker table at the World Series of Poker. A pick-six bet. I bought an insurance policy from Lloyd's of London to cover it. You can do the same thing with pool."

The pool world has seen this approach work before. Huge numbers of bets are placed legally every year with European bookmakers on events such as the World Nine Ball Championships and the Mosconi Cup. One bookmaking firm, Stan James, now sponsors an entire tour, the Stan James Canadian Nine Ball Tour. So Harry Platis may just be on to something here, and his timing appears to be right. It wouldn't be the first time.