A closer look at PredictIt and political betting markets, where users trade shares on potential results of political events. Interestingly, this world of political gambling might be the last space in American politics where the truth actually matters.

Since January 2021, Iabvek—in real life, a Catholic conservative from Arizona—has made, by his own account (one I partially verified with public sources), $200,000 trading political futures. On election nights, he breaks down to-the-minute vote totals in a Zoom war room with his thinking partner, SharkoRubio, a 20-year-old from New Zealand who was trading political futures on his dad’s account before he could drive. With a combination of data modeling and qualitative analysis, the two make a killer team, and despite their youth—or, perhaps, in part, because of it—they’ve achieved minor celebrity status in the forecasting scene thanks to a run of jaw-droppingly accurate predictions that began, ironically, in an election that was already over: the race to become New York City’s next mayor.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.