Octopus retires as oracle


Bad news for bettors hoping to lure Paul the Oracle Octopus to Las Vegas to predict NFL games this fall.

After picking eight straight winners in the World Cup, including Sunday's final, the octopus from Germany is retiring from the handicapping racket.

"He won't give any more oracle predictions. ... Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh," said Tanja Munzig, spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, home of the 2-year-old octopus, who made his picks by choosing from two containers of food lowered into his tank, each with a national flag on it. The container Paul opened first was regarded as his pick.

Besides forecasting Spain's victory over the Netherlands in the final, he predicted Germany's five wins and two losses in the tournament.

Many Germans wanted to publicly grill Paul after he picked Spain to beat Germany in the semifinals, so Sea Life installed extra security to protect him.

But most people loved the octopus, and many of them piled up profits from his picks, said Graham Sharpe, spokesman for British bookmaker William Hill.

"Bettors around the world made small fortunes based on Paul's uncanny picks," he said. "We had people coming in asking who Paul had picked before they placed their bets.

"It's one of the finest tipping feats ever."

Sharpe said anyone who placed 10 pounds, or about $20, on Paul's picks from the start of the World Cup tournament and let it ride would've won about $4,500.

He estimated the odds of picking eight straight winners at more than 300-1. Most Las Vegas sports books pay 160-1 for an eight-team parlay.

For his reward, Paul was presented with a replica of the World Cup, which was garnished with three mussels.

■ OUT OF JUICE -- Former baseball star Jose Canseco continues to embarrass himself in what can only loosely be described as boxing matches.

In 2008, the 6-foot-4-inch admitted former steroid user was knocked out in the first round by Vai Sikahema, a 5-9 former NFL player.

Last year, in an equally pathetic performance, Canseco "fought" former child actor Danny Bonaduce to a draw.

On Friday, the 46-year-old Canseco dropped a decision to 60-year-old Gary Hogan, an assistant athletic director at Arkansas-Little Rock who used the fight to raise money for the boxing gym where he trained.

Canseco, who earned close to $50 million in his 17-year career, apparently just needed the money. He was paid between $10,000 and $30,000 for the farce.

■ REDNECK GAMES -- The ceremonial beer can torch. The mud pit belly flop. Bobbin' for pigs' feet. Hub cap hurling. These were some of the actual events at Sunday's 13th annual summer Redneck Games in East Dublin, Ga.

The games also featured "redneck horseshoes," in which contestants tossed toilet seats back and forth.

BY TODD DEWEY LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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