Rolling With Vegas Dave
Dave Oancea — aka “Vegas Dave” — began building his sports betting empire in Sin City years ago, and he isn’t quite done yet.
Dave Oancea has always played his cards right, and money seems to constantly flow his way regardless of the odds. Even before he was a teenager, he was netting upward of $5,000 a month buying and selling baseball cards. Recently, he even made a cool $3.93 million after auctioning off a signed rookie card of Major League Baseball star Mike Trout.
“I went all in for this card,” says Oancea, a former island resident and memorabilia collector who works as a sports information consultant these days.
Two years ago, he purchased the rare Trout card for $400,000, and to say he caught heat for his decision would be an understatement.
“I showed the world I bought it (on Twitter), and people thought I was crazy,” recalls Oancea. “They called me stupid, and an idiot; they said it was just a piece of cardboard. I said, ‘Mark my words, this will break the record.’”
And it did.
Of course, that wasn’t the first time Oancea risked a lot to earn a huge payday.
While attending Leeward Community College, he rolled the dice and moved to Las Vegas, telling his parents he was going to enroll at University of Nevada.
Turns out only half of that was true. Oancea did indeed jet off to Sin City, but instead of using his $10,000 loan for his first semester, he confidently marched into The Palms and bet it all on red.
The gamble paid off big time, and Oancea used his winnings to start his sports betting empire in Las Vegas. After years of trial and error, Oancea found his groove as an elite sports handicapper and deservedly earned the moniker “Vegas Dave.”
In 2015, he won $2.5 million after betting on the Kansas City Royals to win World Series — the franchise’s first in three decades. The next year, Oancea earned $2.3 million when the Denver Broncos captured the Super Bowl. Then, in 2017, he netted $2 million when the Atlanta Falcons ran off with the NFC Championship. (He could have pocketed $3 million if the team won the Super Bowl that year, but the New England Patriots prevailed 34–28 in overtime.)
Yet football isn’t the only arena where Oancea excels.
He also took home $240,000 in 2015 by betting on underdog Holly Holm to beat champ Ronda Rousey in a riveting UFC bout. The following year, he decided to bet against Holm, predicting that Miesha Tate would win. Naturally, he was right and walked away with $300,000.
Despite the huge wins, Oancea’s career hasn’t always been a smooth ride.
“In 2016, when I won over $10 million, the Vegas casinos didn’t want to pay me,” he says. “After that run, the casinos were like, no more.”
What resulted were legal actions that caused Oancea to change course.
He was charged with 19 felony counts — none of which stuck —and wound up being banned from every major sportsbook in 2019.
Despite the ruling, he says he has no regrets. While betting in Vegas casinos once netted him tens of thousands of dollars each month, today, as the owner of Vegas Dave Money, Oancea typically rakes in $1 million — and that’s just in a bad month. Indeed, he’s found a way to parlay his talents into helping others find success in the world of sports betting.
“I got the best biz in the world,” he shares.
With little to no overhead — he just uses his phone, computer and home office, corresponding mainly through text or email — this one-man operation is quite the money-maker. In fact, as of late August, Oancea’s income totaled $1.5 million.
“I charge a lot,” he admits. “A thousand dollars a pick.”
The price seems steep, but those who appreciate Oancea’s acumen understand how valuable his insights are in the realm of sports betting. But it’s not just luck that makes him one of the best in the business.
“It’s hard work,” he admits. “People don’t know the sacrifice. They only see me marketing myself online.”
On average, he’s already hustling at 5 a.m. and usually doesn’t start getting ready for bed until after 11 p.m. “I watch every single game; I have several monitors,” he says. “My clients trust me, and I need to give them 110 percent. I have a very good intuition, but hard work trumps it all.”
While profiting off of sports betting often gets a bad rap, Oancea has done a lot of good with his earnings, especially for Hawai‘i people. He’s donated bicycles to keiki in Waimānalo and sent a local father and his son to the Super Bowl, paying for their $10,000 football tickets, airfare and hotel stay.
Recently, when Pearl City native Kai Kamaka III made his UFC debut in Las Vegas, Oancea was in the crowd and was among the thousands cheering when the young athlete won not only his bout but the Fight of the Night accolade. Oancea was so impressed with the 25-year-old that after the match, he generously gave the fighter $10,000 to further his training.
“I invested in him because I respect his work ethic,” he explains.
Oancea is always looking ahead. Aside from some real estate investments, he’s also planning on releasing a documentary and book on how he beat Vegas, and in a few years the public can expect a movie based on the same narrative.
“The movie script is done already,” he teases.
In the meantime, he’s keeping busy with his sports information consulting and inspiring others to work hard to achieve their dreams.
“Have an open mind and think outside the box,” he shares. “There are people that do and people that don’t. Find a skill and put the work in.”
VEGAS DAVE’S 4 PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESS
1. BET WITHIN YOUR MEANS
“Don’t wager $5,000 on a game if your bankroll is $10,000,” shares sports information consultant Dave Oancea on his website, itsvegasdave.com.
2. DON’T CHASE
“Don’t double up on a televised game because you are down for the day and want to win it back,” he adds.
3. MONEY MANAGEMENT IS CRUCIAL
“Lack of money management is the single reason why people don’t make it in this industry,” Oancea says.
4. TREAT IT LIKE A BUSINESS, NOT A HOBBY
“There’s money to be made, but you need to be smart and disciplined,” he concludes.