SuperContest History and Past Winners
Deemed “the ultimate pro football handicapping contest,” the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, or simply the SuperContest, is the world’s preeminent sports-betting competition.
How the Las Vegas SuperContest Works
Every year, football fans, casual sports bettors, and professional handicappers enter for $1,500 buy-in to compete in the SuperContest. Each week, participants attempt to pick winners against the spread for NFL games. Scores are tallied on a weekly basis throughout the entire NFL regular season and participants are ranked on the SuperContest leaderboard.
The SuperContest’s host venue releases weekly contest lines for the weekly NFL games, and competitors select five of those games to submit for entry. Each winning pick against the spread results in one point earned, and a tie with the spread is worth half a point. Losses are worth no points.
At the end of the season, the participant with the highest point total, earned by correctly picking the most winners against the spread, is crowned that year’s SuperContest champion and awarded the giant first-place prize.
A Few Different Names, But the Same Great Sports-Handicapping Contest
The SuperContest’s current home is the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, hence the name Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, but it’s had a few different names changes throughout the years based on the venue’s name.
Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino was originally opened as the International Hotel in 1969, and the property was the largest hotel in the world at the time. In 1970, the International Hotel was sold to Hilton Hotels Corporation and the property was renamed the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971.
In 1986, the race and sports book was added to the property and became the largest in Las Vegas. By most accounts, this was two years before the SuperContest was born in 1988. With this, the SuperContest was originally called the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest, or Hilton SuperContest for short.
Following some more shifting of assets throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, the property was renamed again in 2012, this time to LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. This came following the termination of a franchise license agreement with Hilton.
The resort was then sold to Westgate Resorts in June 2014, and the property was renamed the Westgate Las Vegas. Under the resort’s new ownership and name, the competition was renamed the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest.
For more on the history of the SuperContest, listen to Westgate VP of Race and Sports Operations Jay Kornegay on the Gridiron Gamble podcast with Donnie Peters and Rich Ryan.
Growth of the Las Vegas SuperContest
Although the SuperContest is said to have been established in 1988, information prior to 2004 isn’t available. In 2004, the SuperContest began to generate increased buzz that extended beyond a small community of handicappers and the city boundaries of Las Vegas.
From 2004 to 2011, the SuperContest attracted more than 400 entries on average, with a peak of 517 entries in 2011 during that period. In 2012, the SuperContest field increased by more than 44 perfect when 745 entries were generated. Since this big bump, the field size has grown greatly each year.
The field reached 1,000 entries for the first time in 2013 with 1,034 participants, and growth continued to 1,403 entries in 2014 and 1,727 entries in 2015. In 2016, the SuperContest attracted 1,854 entries. In 2017, the SuperContest soared to 2,748 entries.
SuperContest Entries By Year
2004: 411 entries
2005: 505 entries
2006: 416 entries
2007: 342 entries
2008: 350 entries
2009: 328 entries
2010: 345 entries
2011: 517 entries
2012: 745 entries
2013: 1,034 entries
2014: 1,403 entries
2015: 1,727 entries
2016: 1,854 entries
2017: 2,748 entries
With the great growth in entries came great growth in prize money. In 2004, “LetItRideSports” won $131,520. To put that number into comparison, that was less than $15,000 more than what places four, five, and six received in 2016.
Like the number of entries in the SuperContest, from 2004 to 2011 things were rather steady for the first-place payout. During those years, “Sans Souci” took home the largest prize at $310,200 in 2011. This was the start of the great growth period for the SuperContest, and the first-place prize was representative of that, as the $310,200 was more than $100,000 greater than the year before.
Starting in 2012, when the number of entries in the SuperContest began to increase by big amounts each year, the first-place prize skyrocketed. It hit $447,000 in 2012, $557,850 in 2013, $740,325 in 2014, and then a massive $914,175.
Hopes were extremely high heading into the 2016 Las Vegas SuperContest, and a record turnout of 1,854 entries was achieved. The 2016 first-place prize dipped back to $895,482, though, which was due to the Westgate Las Vegas taking an eight-percent “administration fee” on the prize pool. But in 2017, when the SuperContest saw another massive uptick in entries, a prize pool of nearly $3,800,000 was generated with first place set at $1,327,284.
Incredible Back-to-Back Runs of Steve Fezzik
If winning the Las Vegas SuperContest gave a contestant sports-betting stardom, winning it twice launched them into sports-betting immortality. That was the case for Steve Fezzik, who conquered the Las Vegas SuperContest in back-to-back years.
Fezzik played under the team name of his last name and topped 350 entries to win the handicapping competition in 2008 for $210,000. Unthinkably, Fezzik returned to the winner’s circle in 2009, topping a slightly lesser field of 328 entries to win $196,800. That gave Fezzik a two-year winning total of $406,800. In 2008, Fezzik’s winning SuperContest record was 54-26-5. In 2009, he booked a record of 53-29-3.
Fezzik was a known professional sports bettor from Las Vegas, but even the sharpest tool in the shed would have a tough time dealing with the volatility of picking five NFL games for 17 straight weeks in the SuperContest. What Fezzik did spanned double that, 34 weeks, in what may go down as the most incredible feat in SuperContest history.
SuperContest First-Place Prizes and Champions By Year
2004: $131,520 – “LetItRideSports”
2005: $303,000 – “Blue Team”
2006: $249,600 – “Jarhead”
2007: $205,200 – “Ptshverj Gaffney”
2008: $210,000 – Steve “Fezzik” Fezzik
2009: $196,800 – Steve “Fezzik” Fezzik
2010: $207,000 – “Richard Stand”
2011: $310,200 – “Sans Souci”
2012: $447,000 – “Al Sr.”
2013: $557,850 – David Frohardt-Lane
2014: $740,325 – “CH Ballers”
2015: $914,175 – James “Rounding Again” S.
2016: $895,482 – Damon “POPS2008” Graham
2017: $1,327,284 – Briceton “Granny’s Boy” Jamar Branch
Appetite for More Leads to SuperContest Gold
In 2017, the Westgate launched a new sports-betting contest to run alongside the SuperContest. The new contest came with a pricier buy-in of $5,000 and all the money went to the prize pool, with no administration fee taken out. The most unique facet of the new contest, which was called the SuperContest Gold, was not the price tag or the lack of rake, though. The SuperContest Gold was a winner-take-all sports-handicapping contest.
The first year of the SuperContest Gold drew 94 entries and saw “Stag Capital” take the title and the winner-take-all first-place prize of $470,000. The team wasn’t just one person, but rather a group of three college buddies – Mike Hall, Chris Lewert, and Andy Traba. The addition of the new contest was deemed a success and the SuperContest Gold returned for the following year.
The time is now to get in on the Las Vegas SuperContest! Learn how you can play the Las Vegas SuperContest today.