Back in the day, they were known as touts. Then they became wise guys, and slowly they evolved into insiders. Who are we talking about? Why, sports betting experts, of course. They’re the people who go beyond the odds and help you pick the winners.
Those picks come at a nominal price, of course, and for “Vegas Dave,” aka Dave Oancea, those picks have helped make him rich. As of 2023, Vegas Dave has an estimated net worth of $20 million. The majority of his wealth has come from making savvy moves in the memorabilia market.
The 46-year old was born in Saline, Michigan, and grew up in Ann Arbor. Oancea moved to Hawaii, which was where he first fell in love with sports betting. Once that happened it was inevitable that he would wind up in Las Vegas.
Dave told his parents he would be attending the University of Nevada, but instead Oancea took out a student loan for $10,000 and put it all on red during a night at a casino. He claims to have doubled his money and started his bankroll with that bet.
Early Hard Times
Unfortunately, his luck didn’t last. Within a year, Oancea filed for bankruptcy, and according to the court documents he filed, he had $820 in assets that included $20 in cash.
That didn’t stop Oancea from betting, though. Dave allegedly placed a number of sports bets under false social security numbers, and in 2010 his home was foreclosed on and he was arrested for DUI.
Oancea also got into an altercation with his girlfriend that led to a charge of disorderly conduct when he finished counseling. Oancea says “it’s all false” when he’s asked about the incident.
From Oancea to Vegas Dave
Given his early track record, it seems unlikely that someone like Oancea would have any kind of major success in life, but if the phrase “lucky in cards” applies to anyone, it’s Vegas Dave.
He sold a rare Mike Trout rookie card for almost $4 million, and he hit the jackpot with his sports gambling business in 2015 when he collected $2.5 million on a futures bet that the Kansas City Royals would win the World Series that year.
He also scored big in the 2016 Super Bowl, scoring a potential $2.3 million payday when the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers.
Unfortunately for Vegas Dave, he couldn’t be called on that one because the government was investigating him at the time for 19 felonies in which he allegedly used other people’s Social Security numbers.
In 2019, Oancea pled that number down to a misdemeanor and forfeited a half million dollars, and was banned from the Vegas sports book for three years. His sports betting picks have been consistently questioned, and many in the industry consider Vegas Dave to be a simple hustler who charges $200 for his daily card and nearly $1,000 for his game of the week.
Vegas Dave scored big in his personal life when he married Holly Sonders, an attractive former Fox Sports Analyst whom he met via Instagram. But they parted ways in 2020, and while Oancea has stated that he’s “still there for her,” they don’t seem to be close to a reconciliation.