Oracle octopus gets own World Cup for winning streak

Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:25pm EDT
 
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Paul the oracle octopus was given a replica of the World Cup on Monday as a reward for his perfect eight-for-eight record in picking matches as bettors worldwide collected their winnings based on his selections.

The two-year-old octopus with possible psychic powers turned into a worldwide celebrity for accurately predicting the winner of Germany's five World Cup wins as well as their two defeats. Paul also tipped Spain to beat Netherlands in Sunday's final.

"We've had a lot of offers for Paul but he will definitely be staying with us and returning to his old job -- making children smile," Sea Life spokeswoman Tanja Munzig in Oberhausen told Reuters after presenting Paul with the World Cup replica.

"There's no rational reason why he always got it right."

Bettors around the world made small fortunes based on Paul's uncanny picks, said Graham Sharpe, media relations director at William Hill in London, one of Britain's largest bookmakers.

"I've seen a lot of things in my lifetime but this is the first time I've ever seen people making their picks based on what an octopus tells them," Sharpe told Reuters.

"We had people coming in saying they didn't know how to place a bet but heard about this German octopus and wanted to bet with him. It's ludicrous. But he kept getting it right," said Sharpe. "It's one of the finest tipping feats ever."

Sharpe said that anyone who had placed a 10-pound accumulator bet on Paul's picks from the start of the World Cup would have won 3,000 pounds ($4,500) by the end of the tournament.   Continued...

 
<p>Germany's so-called oracle octopus Paul, swims in front of a mock soccer World Cup trophy in his tank at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen July 12, 2010. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay</p>