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Last week I was on vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada and spent many hours in what is perhaps mans greatest creation, the ultimate man cave known as the ‘Race and Sports Book’. Some even call it Heaven on Earth.
Before I share my adventures from the past week, let me fill in those of you who have never been to the sin-city on what you’re missing. You can legally gamble and/or on any sport and every horse race across the country, you can play video poker, and you can have attractive women serve you drinks, food, and give you massages.
When you walk into a sports book in Vegas you might be a little intimidated at first, as there are countless TVs and endless electronic boards flashing different team names, scores, and odds. Rest assured knowing you can ask any of the employees working behind the counter any question. Trust me, they’ve heard any question you can think of before and whether they want to or not they will probably hear it again. If you don’t understand something, ask. They may look at you as if you’re stupid, but they will answer you because they want your money. The sports book will take bets on everything from college to professional sports, from NASCAR to UFC. If the information is scrolling across the screen too fast, just pick up one of the many odds sheets that the casino has printed. Often these sheets have good information on the teams and players recent performances. Once you have your pick, take your selection and money to the counter, place your wager and they will give you a betting ticket. Look your betting ticket over to make sure they printed it right and then you can sit down, watch your game, and react as loud or as quietly as you’d like. No on is going to tell you to be quiet because the kids are asleep or “it’s just a game”. Now, it’s more than just a game. A bet can make any game seem interesting since you have money riding on it. Insider Tip #1: Put your betting ticket in your pocket and protect it like it’s gold, because after your team wins you will turn that ticket in for your money back and your winnings.
If you want to gamble more while your game is being played, you can sit at the bar inside the sports book and play video poker. Most casinos will serve you free drinks at the bar if you are playing a quarter machine (so long as you’re playing the max bet which is usually 5 quarters). This is a great way to get your game face on without having to pay an arm and a leg for a beer (assuming you don’t lose a bunch). Insider Tip #2: always ask for a double if you are ordering a mixed drink because they won’t put much alcohol in a regular drink.
Whether you’re playing the video poker machines or just sitting back enjoying the big game, you can always order food and drinks from (typically) attractive women. The nicer of the casino and sports book you go to, most likely the nicer the wait staff. They can provide you will your adult libations, plenty of food from the kitchen, and a lot of them offer on the spot back and massages. Insider Tip #3: if you see a woman slowly nursing a drink, playing one quarter at a time, while she’s constantly looking around at the various men in the building; STAY AWAY, because she might want some financial considerations for her company. Believe me, she’s not staring at you because she thinks you’re cute, like the casino, she wants your money.
Now that we have covered the basics you can appreciate my experiences of the past seven days.
Wednesday afternoon I had a dead winner because I knew that Detroit was heating up and going to beat the Royals. So I sauntered up to the window at 12:30pm for the 1:05pm game and asked if I could put $20 on the Tigers. The guy looked at me funny (remember what I told you earlier about them hearing everything before) and said the game had already started. I asked how was this possible and before he could answer I slapped my forehead like I was Homer Simpson and remembered that Las Vegas is in the Pacific Time Zone. Sure enough Detroit won 5-4. Strike One. I then decided instead of walking away empty handed, I would bet on the Yankees. New York lost to Boston 9-5. Strike Two.
Thursday was much better. I put $25 (at the proper time) on over 57 in the UNLV and Wisconsin game. The Badgers and Russell Wilson torched the Rebels 51-17. Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner. The best part of the night was watching a guy get escorted out of the building because he started cursing at the guy who sold him his betting ticket. Apparently he wanted the #6 horse in the 4th race at Yonkers Raceway (or something to that affect. I truly can’t tell you what any of that means because I know nothing about horse racing) and the horse won as a big underdog. Thinking he had just won several hundred dollars, the man became irate when he went to cash in his winning ticket, which turned out to be the #5 horse. This guy didn’t look at his betting ticket after he bought it. Although it cost him a lot of money at least he made a couple new friends who showed him the door to Las Vegas Blvd.
Friday was a wash. I hit over 52 in the Baylor and TCU game, but I lost a straight wager on the Horned Frogs, thinking TCU would cover by 3.5 (and they would have if the kicker had not missed 2 field goals, the final was 50-48). To top things off: the hot blonde at the bar was probably way too expensive for me plus my wife would’ve been mad at me if I suggested we take her back to our hotel room.
Saturday was horrible. I had a sure thing with Michigan giving up 14 points. It was a dead winner until lightning and storms halted the game late in the 3rd quarter while the Wolverines were up 34-10. Per Las Vegas betting rules all NCAA football games must go at least 55 minutes. The pain didn’t stop there as my big play of the week, South Carolina –20.5, was crushed by a late touchdown and a 56-37 final score. While this memory may make fellow blogger Chris Johnson happy, please take into consideration I still have my wager on the Gamecocks to win the BCS Championship alive and well, a bet that will pay 12 to 1 odds.
Sunday ended my sports picking on a positive note with the Texas A&M Aggies crushing SMU 46-14, easily covering the 15.5 point spread. Even though I finished with a 3-5 record, I hit 4 of a Kind on a poker machine while watching the Texas A&M game, and that paid off more than all of the money that had been lost in the sports book the entire week.
Monday night, after a lot of fun, I came home to my own slice of heaven (my kids), knowing I still have an outstanding betting ticket stuffed in my wallet. And you never know, if South Carolina runs the table, I will have a great reason to go back to Las Vegas and spend more time with the fine people of the sports book.