The following piece was originally published May 13, 2016
Back from the grave, that is.
Ken "The Shrink" Weitzner, the phony psychiatrist and degenerate gambler who started two popular websites about sports betting and then killed himself, is one of the stars of a new movie about sports betting that premiered last week.
The movie is called "The Best of It" and is a two-hour documentary produced and directed by veteran television producer Scott Pearson Eberly.
The film focuses on the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament and the betting action surrounding it in Las Vegas, following around four professional sports bettors as they bet the tourney and experience the highs and lows of wagering on March Madness--the featured gamblers are Weitzner, Lester "Lem" Banker, Alan "Dink" Denkenson and Alan "Boston" Dvorkis.
Weitzner committed suicide just weeks after the March Madness scenes were filmed and that tragedy is duly noted in the film.
According to a blurb on the film's p.r. website, www.bestofitmovie.com, the documentary "takes an unflinching look at the life of a professional gambler. The character-driven documentary focuses on the lives of Boston, the Shrink, Dink and Banker, who all chose to make a living betting sports. A gambler selects this profession despite knowing the life they fancied tends to chew up and spit out even the most seasoned gambler, an all-too-common tale in Las Vegas. A feud between Boston and the Shrink develops after accusations are made about gambling debts, but a gambler’s actual bank account balance is often based on rumors and half-truths. The outcome of a gambler is as unpredictable as the the games they bet."
Another blurb on the site, specifically about Weitzner, notes that he "became a therapist of sorts on the message boards. He also brokered relationships with offshore sportsbooks back before the government cracked down on citizens betting sports offshore. His motto was to always get the best of it, proclaiming that money management is vital to the longevity of a gambler."
Weitzner in the late 1990s started one of the Internet's first websites devoted to sports betting, called The Prescription.
The site featured news and information about wagering on college and professional sporting events, betting odds, ads for offshore sportsbooks and a posting forum where anonymous posters could swap betting tips, blast slow-paying or crooked books and make other comments.
Weitzner eventually sold the website to a sportsbook operator in Costa Rica for a reported half-million dollars, and then promptly built a palatial mansion in suburban Virginia for he and his wife, Jackie.
Weitzner then started another sports betting-themed website, called Eye on Gambling that competed with The Prescription for sportsbook ad dollars, as The Prescription's new owner, stunningly, had neglected to make Weitzner include a no-compete clause in the sale.
On both websites, Weitzner portrayed himself as a practicing psychiatrist who went by the nickname "The Shrink."
However, not long after The Prescription debuted online, a sports betting newspaper, the Las Vegas Sporting News (LVSN), exposed Weitzner as a fraud, revealing that although he did attend medical school, he flunked the medical boards twice and never was certified as a doctor of any kind, and never legally practiced psychiatry or any other form of medicine.
LVSN also revealed that Weitzner was a Federal informant, having turned in a doctor for Medicare fraud in order to save his own skin after he was arrested for writing prescriptions for painkillers for Jackie without having the medical authority to do so.
The paper also revealed that Weitzner was a degenerate sports bettor who had lost much more money than he won, that he was a deadbeat who 20 years after attending med school still owed the government for student loans, that he was a diagnosed manic depressive who was on prescription anti-depressant medication and that he was a hard-core alcoholic who had been arrested nearly a dozen times for drunken driving.
Over Easter weekend in April of 2010, Weitzner and his wife Jackie were found dead inside their home, next to a turned on gas barbecue grill that had been brought inside in order to execute a stunning double suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning.
A suicide note was found at the scene but it didn't explain why the Weitzners had offed themselves.
Speculation throughout the gambling community at the time suggested that Weitzner had suffered heavy losses gambling on March Madness, but nothing was ever proved.
Now the film "The Best of It" may reveal how March Madness became the worst of it for Weitzner and led to his suicide.
For more information about the movie, or to learn where to view it, visit the film's website at www.bestofitmovie.com.
In the meantime, Gambling 911 in the next few days will be talking to the film's producer/director, Scott Pearson Eberly, about the film.
Look for that story next week on Gambling 911.
By Tom Somach
Gambling 911 Staff Writer