Professional handicapper Brendan Future offers inside look at the murky world of Twitter gambling

When you’re sitting with Brendan Future, you better pay attention. He talks fast, probably won’t say the same thing the same way twice, and is just as funny as unpredictable. Free Cappers are all over the Twitter gambling world, but few are as real as Mr. Future.

So many internet personalities seem real but turn out to be just another egg. This is not the case with Mr. Future as he and I have a past. I recently sat down with him over some Genny Lights and a bottle of whiskey. We chopped up the past, had a few good laughs, talked about how Thomas Vanek threw a series to cover his debts, remembered people that drove us insane, and joked about how a rookie cop almost shot him in the face outside of Potsdam, New York.

A History with Future

I cannot recall the year, or the month for that matter, but I distinctly remember driving Brendan Future’s car, from the passenger seat. I had my hands gripped tightly to the wheel, my eyes secured to the road, while he worked the gas and brake, searching for a lighter, then his phone, then he casually hung out the window.

Driving through a city this way, and after a few adult beverages, is a hell of a way to get around. It was exciting, daring, and to Brendan seemed completely normal. He was oddly at ease, even while I sweated through my shirt, through red lights, and past gawking onlookers.

Everything was going OK though and I was handling my duties as wheel man exceedingly well, until he slammed on his brakes and yelled, “Parking Spot”!

The one he was referring to, was a tightly jammed spot between two new SUVs on the opposite side of the street of the bar we were headed to. He crammed the car into reverse and stepped on the gas. My hands furiously worked the wheel while I cursed him out relentlessly. He giggled through the whole experience.

Somehow we didn’t hit either car or the curb.

I hung my head in a moment of reflection. By the time I looked up, the car door was slamming and I was looking at the back of Mr. Future as he headed into the bar.

Mr. Future evades another picture. Source: Anthony Norman White
Mr. Future evades another picture.
Source: Anthony Norman White

The bar was busy as hell, but he already had two fresh beers in his hand by the time I found him. I wanted an explanation but needed the restroom first. When I returned, Brendan was gone and so was the car I had just half driven there.

I counted my losses and walked home.

“It’s Like Vegas on Crack”

In the online gambling community, and more specifically on Twitter, you can bet on games up to the second. Bets are slung through offshore gambling companies, debt lines set and paid, up to the minute cash outs, and constant contact with an entire community of people in the same boat.

“I’m old school. I love going through bookies. It’s like, ‘just run me a tab and come see me when I owe 2,000. If I tell him to go pound salt, he’s coming to my house.”

The online gambling community has only just begun to take off. With more and more offshore companies placing bets and bookies joining in the malaise. Problem is, the Twitter community is thirsty for it. Who takes your money is a gamble all in its own. Inexperienced gamblers are getting hosed daily.

“If you’ve got a credit card I could open you five accounts right now.”

These offshore accounts are usually a nightmare to get your money back. You could set your line at $500 and when you try and cash out, they drag it out over the course of weeks. In the meantime, the typical Twitter gambler knows he or she has a positive balance and starts gambling again, only to lose all the money anyway.

Free Cappers versus Touts

Brendan is a Free Capper. Every single day he posts what his picks are and sometimes why. He does not ask for money and he does not place bets for people. He is simply interested in sports betting and likes to discuss it online. You can follow his picks or not. He doesn’t care. Just don’t blame him for your losses.

Touts sells their services. They are always claiming they are on a hot streak, always proselytizing, acting like the carnival barker of the twitter gambling world. People sign up for these services and get picks personally sent to them from someone who is “connected”.

Doing well as a gambler usually means that after the year is through you come in over 50%. Mr. Future, in 2016, rang in at 58%. Any Tout that says he or she has a higher statistic is probably talking about a streak they hit and nothing more. Vegas is still there because Vegas is good at what they do. Nobody knows how to “Beat the System”.

If one person came in over 80% for a lifetime they’d bring down the beast. But the thing is, it’s never happened and it never will. Touts are looking to line their pockets so they can continue gambling.

Free Cappers do it because it’s fun, it’s life, it’s conversation. They’re the cornerstone of the Twitter Gamblers, the bartender you suck suds with or the water cooler banter with the one guy in the office you think you can trust.

In the last four years, this community has expanded and divided. When Twitter began, there were a few guys talking sports and trading picks. Now it’s millions. The Free Cappers and the Touts were born and most people don’t know the difference. It’s supposed to be about having fun and enjoying the sports and the sport of gambling.

For Brendan, maybe even indulging and imbibing a little too much.

“I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve woke up after West Coast games and thought ‘Did I really do that? Did I really bet on that?’ It’s just because San Diego State College Hoops was the last game on the board. I don’t even bet college basketball.”

Too Close to Death

Wrapped up like a mummy in his own clothing, Brendan was quietly sleeping just off the side of the road, in a mangled car wreck. He woke up to some rustling and was suddenly staring down the barrel of a gun, attached to a shaky, red faced, rookie cop, his twitchy finger ready to pull the trigger.

Mr. Future did not get shot in the face. He did, however, survive a car wreck that he probably shouldn’t have. He decided to crawl into the back seat to sleep off the chemicals in his blood, where the mosquitoes had him for dinner. He wrapped his own clothes around himself to keep the bugs away.

“That cop who found the wreck in the morning probably figured it was a mob hit. At least he didn’t shoot me.”

Mr. Future finds this story charming and adds a laugh at the end that’s harrowing and disconcerting.

For some, this could be a life changing experience, setting them on the straight and narrow. For Brendan, it just seemed to raise up concern that life is ephemeral, and living close to death is the only way to feel alive. Life is a gamble; sometimes you take the odds and sometimes you don’t.

Thomas Vanek Tanks a Playoff Series

As one of the top goal scorers for the Minnesota Wild from 2014 to 2016, Thomas Vanek was instrumental in the team getting in to the playoffs both years he was there. But his third year was quickly bought out by the team.

In 2014, Vanek showed up on list seized during a police investigation into an illegal gambling ring based in Rochester, New York. Some rumors have Vanek indebted over $500,000. One of the leaders of the ring was sent to prison. Vanek denies any wrongdoing.

Vanek had an incredible 2014-2015 season. Right up until the playoffs where he went on to score exactly 0 goals in 10 games. The Wild slipped past St. Louis in the first round and then proceeded to get swept the next round by the Blackhawks.

Vanek played the worst he’s ever played.

“I stared telling everybody that would listen; bet against the Wild if Vanek is on the ice.”

Brendan did just that. But he knew ahead of time there was something crazy going on.

“My guy (bookie) disappears into Texas and burns his phone and computer. I knew he (Vanek) was going to tank the series and I was right.”

Brendan Future calls Rochester, New York home, even if he’s not always living there. Some of the guys caught up in that investigation were friends of his; gamblers and betters trying to make a living. The ring leader caught some time, Vanek received no repercussion of course.

For the Love of Sports

Betting and gambling can turn a mundane night of watching a little MLB into a nail biting experience. Once you start, it’s like a drug; you need more. You can’t go without it. Watching a sport you love without having a little wager down on it makes you start to believe you would rather not watch it.

Don’t just bet on anything. Bet on what you love. If you see a Tout on Twitter betting on nine different sports, chances are he or she is a just a money hungry scammer. No one has that amount of time to track every sport, every player, every stat, and every turn of events.

“For me it started with hockey. I love hockey. I understand it. I only bet on two sports; hockey and baseball. Two sports that play almost year round. I have no off season.”

For Brendan it’s passion and fun that drives him. He sure is passionate about fun, too.

“Not for nothing, but there’s a certain amount of satisfaction that comes with winning. If I’m making money then I want to share that. It’s a huge spider web, this community. We’re all connected.”