Sep 25, 2016

NFL Week 3: November 4, 2001

I know the Browns will be bad this year - but it's good to see they will be providing episodes of lost leads and choking down the stretch, just like every year! I want to thank many of you for texting me in the 1st quarter - when the Browns were up 20-0 and then 20-2 - asking me how the Browns will blow it. It's the first quarter! There's plenty of time for a slow, gradual descent into defeat with no real dramatic moments ..... and that's what came to pass.

One of you texters said: "Ha! This loss has to be in the top 10 of Browns defeats!" Um, no. It's not even in the top 20 for this decade. When you lose games at the buzzer on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown (in prime time, no less), these standard 1 pm blown leads are just like the UTH dealer hitting an inside straight. You know it's coming, you are just preparing for the disappointment for 2 hours until the end.

Now, for truly crushing regular season losses, you can't really beat a 10 month period from 2001-2002. We will be talking about 3 separate games from that span on the blog this year. The coach for those years was Butch Davis - still widely believed as the best game coach the Browns have had since the return. He is also the last coach to take us to the playoffs.

2001 was the third year after the re-birth; recall our record for 99-00 combined was 5-27. There wasn't much in the cupboard for Butch to work with. Nonetheless, he got us off to a great start in 2001 and we were 4-2 heading to a game in Chicago against the Bears. The Bears had an even better start and were 5-1. This game was a late start (4:15) and I think Jim Nantz was on the call.

I missed most of the game because we were at our regular small group for church; I do remember exactly whose house we were at. I think we left around 6, 6:15 pm (our group were all families with infants, so young Freddie - 9 months old at the time - had to get home); by then it was the 3rd quarter and the Browns had gotten out to a 14-7 lead. (For those of you keeping track, Timmy was our QB for this game). Late 3rd quarter, Timmy hit Kevin Johnson for a 55 yard TD and we had a 21-7 lead.

I watched the 4th quarter at my house; our defense was holding the Bears. (Shane Matthews was the Bears' QB). The Bears started a late drive at their own 20 with 2:00 left; they went on a 9 play, 80 yard drive that ended up in a TD with :28 remaining to make it 21-14.

To be completely honest, I never chalked this game up as a win while it was going on. The CBS crew cut to the sidelines to show the Browns celebrating and packing the equipment up in the cases.

Of course, you all can guess what happened next. Onside kick - recovered by the Bears; 2 plays later they are at the Browns' 34 with :08 left; Matthews then throws a long pass into the end zone where it is batted and caught by James Allen. Touchdown. Tie game. 14 points in 30 seconds to tie.

Bears win the toss in overtime; we stop them! We get the ball back at our 20; 3 plays later Couch throws a pick 6 to Mike Brown and we lose, 27-21. This was the second straight week that Mike Browns of the Bears ended the game with a pick 6. The Bears ended up that year 13-3 (does anyone remember that???)

Freddie was sleeping nicely in his swing in the TV room when this all happened; of course there were lots of profanities yelled; he woke up and started crying; Janice came downstairs to find Freddie in his swing crying and Eric laying in front of the TV crying as well. Instead of a 5-2 start, we were now 4-3 and the momentum of the season turned.

So when you have losses like that, plain old vanilla losses like last week don't hurt anymore.

On to the games:

Az 23, Buf 21. This game looks too easy, and I'm running away from it. There should be no way the Bills hang with them - but (as we always see), home teams that are 0-2 are always dangerous. This is Rex's last chance for a good coahcing game.

Car 23, Min 20. How much more impressive can the Vikings defense look? And I am not completely sold that Carolina is back - they let up a lot of points & yards to the 49ers last week.

Cin 23, Den 13. Cincinnati will try to establish the run - eating the clock; and I think the Cincy D will control Simien. If the Colts D can handle the Broncos' offense, then I think the Bengals will be fine.

GB 31, Det 20. Yes, I can't help myself. The Green Bay trap. Home opener for the Packers, and the Lions lack mental toughness (I've seen it in both games).

Jax 27, Bal 17. Can we stop and understand what the Ravens have done? They only scored 13 vs. the Bills and they let us take a 3 touchdown lead. Their secondary is slow and the Jags will take advantage.

NYG 23, Was 17. The Giants have a classic bend-but-don't-break D to let up a lot of yards, but will force Cousins to make decisions in the red zone - and we know that's not his strength.

Oak 24, Ten 20. I think Tennessee will control the tempo here, establishing the run game first  - game will be at their pace, but they just don't have enough offensive weapons.

Sea 20, SF 17. The 49ers defensive line is decent (see teh Rams game) and they should get plenty of pressure against Wilson and the horrid Seahawks line. If Gabbert can limit the mistakes (big if), the Niners have a chance to actually win this.

TB 31, LA 13. I'm sorry, I think the Rams are worse than the Browns. They don't have a passing game yet, and if therir D line can be netrualize, their secondary is not good. Tampa should put up lots of points.

Ind 23, SD 20. Desperate 0-2 team at home; this is purely a "spot" play, as I think SD will have a let down here.

KC 27, NYJ 20. I think the KC pass rush- one thing they do well - will be able to disrupt the Jets' offense. I see the Chiefs trying more of a passing game here to get around the strong Jets' run D.

Pit 28, Phi 20. Let's not crown the Eagles just yet. They beat the Browns and Bears. I know Wentz looked good, but those are teams without much of a pass rush. I expect the Steelers to confuse Wentz.

Dal 24, Chi 23. this line should not be a touchdown. Period. I have faith in Brian Hoyer to keep this close, especially against a weak Dallas D.

NO 34, Atl 20. The Saints could really be 2-0; the emotion will play a big part of the game here for the Saints.....oh, who cares. No one will be watching this game. Not even people in New Orleans. They'll watch and see the Mark Cuban/Gennifer Flowers antics in the first row of the debate.

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 5-7; overall: 15-10-1
Min +7
Cin -3.5
Den/Cin under 42.5
GB -7
Jax +1
NYG -3
Was/NYG under 46
SF +10
TB -4.5
(SD/Ind under 51.5)
KC -3
Pit -3.5
Chi +6.5
NO -2.5

Eric's Supercontest picks: Last week: 3-2; overall: 6-4
Jax pk
NO -3
KC -3
Chi +7.5
SF +9.5

Team Supercontest picks: Last week: 4-1; overall: 7-3
NYJ +3
Jax pk
Oak +1.5
NO -3
SF +9.5

Sep 18, 2016

NFL Week 2: January 4, 1986

As we continue our look back at painful Cleveland losses, we move forward exactly 5 years to the day from Red Right 88 to this game, which has largely been forgotten in Cleveland lore - the 1985 NFL playoff game vs. Miami.

You could see the foundation starting to be built with the Browns around this time. In the 1984 season, the Browns fired their head coach, Sam Rutigliano, in mid-season and promoted a coordinator to take over the reins for the last 8 games in '84. That new coach, of course, was Marty. He took a team that started 1-7 in '84 and finished the last 8 games at 4-4.

We did need a quarterback, however, Paul McDonald was just not going to cut it. So we "finagled" the supplemental draft (there were some controversial maneuverings done) to land Bernie as the #1 pick in the supplemental.  He was immediately named our starting quarterback.

The '85 season was - let's face it - mediocre, as the team grew both offensively and defensively. this is the year that Byner and Mack broke on to the scene with their 1,000 yard rushing seasons. A positive was that we were playing in the AFC Central, which proved to be horrible that year. The Steelers were in transition and getting old after their Super Bowl era; the Bengals were also old after their first Super Bowl 3 years earlier, and Houston just plain sucked. It was anybody's division to win; the Browns went 4-2 in the division and finished 8-8, one game above Pitt and Cincy and we won the division. At the time, it was the worst record for a playoff qualifier ever. (Pro Football Outsiders called this team one of the worst ever in history to make the playoffs.) The media hated us, as the darling Broncos and their gap-toothed idiot quarterback went 11-5 and missed the playoffs, but we made it.

As a division winner, we actually got a bye and the divisional playoff game was in Miami - Miami went 12-4; this was the height of the Dolphins with Marino , Clayton, Duper, etc. This was the team that gave the Bears their only loss of 1985. And we had to go into Miami and play them.

I remember having an indoor soccer game that afternoon at the Hereford High School old gym - to you Marylanders, is the old gym still standing now? That gym was horrible even in the 80s. (As an aside, I have plenty of memories from that old gym - which is the location for me breaking an arm playing dodgeball in high school - yes, I was a great athlete. Oh - and can't forget our great PE teacher who told me that my broken arm was nothing - "get back in there"...... I'll give you all two guesses on who that teacher was. God, I hated PE at Hereford.)

Anyway, I remember Dad waiting for me after the soccer game; I went over and asked him what the score was.

"It's 21-3...."

Oh...well, I never expected to beat Miami, so that's ok.

"No, the Browns are winning!"

Our running attack ran wild against the Miami defense, and Byner had a 66 yard run early in the 3rd to make it 21-3. Our defense was somehow stopping the Dolphins' passing attack. We rushed home, listening to the radio on the way home and turning on the TV.

I don't have to tell you how this ended. As soon as I started following the game, the Dolphins came to life; scoring two touchdowns in the 3rd to make it 21-17; our offense sputtered as they started stopping the run. The Dolphins scored with about 4 minutes left to take a 24-21 lead; we couldn't get in position to kick a game tying field goal and that was the final score.

At the time, it was the second-greatest comeback in NFL playoff history (behind an obscure 1957 game between Detroit and San Fran). Thank God the 1993 Bills-Oilers game completely obliterated the record book on playoff comebacks shortly after. The game was painful at the time - since we were up 18 - but in my heart, I knew we were the inferior team so it wasn't that big of a deal. I may have said something like .. "this team will only get better, and we will get back to the playoffs many more times and have big wins........right? Right???"

Looking back in retrospect, however, this was a missed chance. On the other side of the bracket, the wild card Patriots went into Oakland and won; that means New England went to Miami for the AFC Championship that year. However - if we would have held on to beat Miami, the Browns - a division winner at 8-8 - would have hosted the Patriots in the AFC Championship. That would have generated all time low ratings for NBC.

(And what if we would have beat the Patriots? We would have faced the '85 bears in the Super Bowl. The 8-8 Browns vs. the Super Bowl Shuffle Bears. Line on that game? 26.5 ?)

Anyway, on to the games; I promise not to do these flashbacks in chronological order.......

Ten 28, Det 27. I think Minnesota's defense is excellent, which explains how Tennessee was shut down last week. And Detroit benefitted from a horrid Indy secondary.

NO 31, NYG 27. If you can only score 20 points against the Cowboys, maybe the offense is not ready to light it up. The Saints' offense is exquisite.

Car 20, SF 13. I just have a feeling that Cam is not 100% and they are not exactly sure what they want to do on offense. I don't see them lighting up the field with points just yet - which means it should be a relatively close game.

Pit 23, Cin 20. Oh God, if the Steelers win, I'll be sick. On the other hand, if the Bengals win, then work will be hell for a few days......

NE 24, Mia 17.  I am impressed with Miami's D, yes. But I'm sure Belicheck is hearing all this "Miami owns the Patriots" talk and will do enough to get a win here.

Was 31, Dal 24. So many missed, wide open receivers on Monday night for the Skins. I think they will cash in possessions for TDs instead of FGs and we will have a shootout.

Hou 23, KC 16. A good defense like Houston should be able to shut down a run-first offense like KC. I know I am banking on Osweiler here; I think he will come through at home.

Sea 20, LA 16.  This screams of a trap game. Seattle looked awful against a good D line last week - and I think that's the only strength of the Rams. But can LA even score 10 points?

Az 30, TB 24.  It would not surprise me if the Bucs won here, but the desperation of the Cardinals should pull them through. They sleepwalked through the Pats game; they need to understand they have to do more than just show up.

Oak 33, Atl 20. I have put my order in for a Fathead of Derek Carr for my basement.....I like this offense, at home vs. a Falcons team that has a lot of questions on defense.

Jax 24, SD 23. This game could go either way. I should realize that there will be no after effects of the Chargers' blown loss to the Chiefs, but that Allen injury really hurts their O.

Den 27, Ind 20. Can Trevor Simien take advantage of the horrible Indy secondary? I'm saying no - they will win, but it won't be the blowout everyone expects.

GB 20, Min 19. I just don't think the Vikes have enough offense yet to hang with Green Bay.

Chi 24, Phi 13. Oh, you beat the Browns in week 1? Great job! That means nothing. Carson Wentz will fall back to earth here, as I think John Fox will have more in store for him than the putrid Browns D.

Best bets: 12 of them. Last week: 10-3-1
Ten +6
Ten/Det over 47.5
NO +4
SF +13
SF/Car under 45
Was -3
Dal/Was over 45.5
Hou -2.5
KC/Hou under 43
Oak -4.5
Jax +3
Chi -3

Eric's supercontest bets: Last week: 3-2
NO +4.5
Hou -3
Ten +6
Chi -3.5
Oak -5

Combined Supercontest entry: Last week: 3-2
NO +4.5
Hou -3
SD -3
Az -7
Chi -3.5

Sep 11, 2016

NFL Week 1: January 4, 1981

Welcome back! It's time for week 1 of the NFL season and the weekly themed picks! I struggled to come up with a theme this year for the picks - I was close to giving you 17 small biographies of mediocre 1980s golfers such as Wayne Levi and Bob Gilder - until Layup hit upon an idea. Why not celebrate the Cavs victory ending the Cleveland curse?

Good idea - but my concern was - were there enough painful losses in my memory to support 17 weeks? I really had to work to come up with only 17...I had about 94 to choose from....

Before this summer, I was thinking the closest I would ever get to a pro championship would be the 1983 Orioles...that was the first / second year we moved to Baltimore, and our social studies teacher had the magic # listed every day in the fall and would make a big deal of changing it in front of the class. But then I fell out of love with the Orioles and embraced my Cleveland roots....and I thought I was destined to never see a victory parade.

Had a great time this summer at the parade; I took Freddie up, spent the day with Kermit; met Steve at work, and even caught a Tribe game. It really was a great experience.....something that had never occurred in the city for 52 years, and to be a part of it when it finally happened was amazing.

I will freely admit, the Cavs fall 3rd in my personal sports pecking order. If I had my choice on which team I would want to have a championship, my personal order is this - with clear separation between the 3 teams:

1. Browns
2. Indians
3. Cavaliers

(and, if we expand to other teams I root for:
4. Blue Jackets
5. Capitals
6. U of Maryland
7. Sacramento Kings
8. Ohio a taxpayer of Ohio, I think I am legally required to root for the Buckeyes )

Anyway- I'm not complaining. I finally got my wish of a championship and a downtown parade. However, a parade in June under 85 degree sunny skies is a nice party; can you imagine 1.5 million people downtown in February in a snowstorm if, somehow, this Browns leadership brings home a title in 3-5 years?????)

Now on to the catharsis....our first painful sports memory brings us to Lansing, Michigan, and a random bowling alley on the east side of town. I was one week away from turning 9 at the time. The Browns 1980 season was a magical one; the team was called the Kardiac Kids for their ability to pull out last minute wins (and a spectacular last minute loss on a Hail Mary to Minnesota, where Ahmad Rashad caught a 50 yard pass to win at the buzzer).

This team was special; the brown jerseys and the orange pants were classic. Brian Sipe was our QB; Ozzie was in his prime, and we had the Pruitts as our running back. Lyle Alzado anchored the defense. We finished 11-5 and won the division (for the first time in 6 years, I think). The division win gave us a bye and a first round home playoff game against Oakland. It was a freezing day, with the actual temperature being 4 degrees.

I was in 3rd grade at the time, and just starting to get into sports; there was a pencil machine at our school that spit out pencils for 5 cents, and it had all 28 teams on it. I really wanted the Browns pencil...but kept getting the damn Tampa Bay one.  A lot of my friends were Lions fans, and the Lions were doing good with Eric Hipple (remember him?) as QB. My first jersey that I remember was a Sipe jersey I wore to school.

Lansing was an interesting city for sports at that time; the local hero was a basketball star at Michigan St. named Earvin Johnson; he somehow sponsored a local dairy store named Quality Dairy. I think he just graduated and got drafted by the Lakers, so this was all legal. I remember we had 5-8 Magic Johnson Quality Dairy frisbees around the house. (there's no truth to the rumor that I starred in this 1980 commercial......)

Anyway, all of us went bowling that day and we watched the game at the bowling alley. The game went back and forth; our kicking game was not good; Cockroft (our K) missed 2 field goals and we had an extra point blocked. We were down 14-12 with under a minute remaining, and we were driving - we were at the Raiders 13 with 49 seconds left.

Now what to do? Coach Rutligiano called for Sipe to pass the ball to the left corner of the end zone. And this is a quote: "If he's not open, throw it into Lake Erie". Sipe took the snap, looked left - saw Ozzie in the endzone, and threw it---- problem is, the throw wasn't good and Ozzie was well covered. Mike Haynes intercepted it and the Raiders ran out the clock.

I was devastated. I could not believe the Browns actually lost. the announcers told me they pulled out games at the last minute all season - and I thought it was certain to happen again! Why did he throw it? Why not kick a field goal? It is the first time I remember crying while watching a sporting event.

So many factors went into the decision for this play...the weather was the big one, of course; Cockroft said later he was not at 100% and a 30 yard field goal was no sure thing at that time. There's a lot of variables to consider; this play was discussed at length in a undergraduate statistics class I had at Case. The question was - given the background and situation, what play gave the highest expected value - the pass, a run or a kneel down for a field goal? With the assumptions made, it was clear that the pass was the highest expected value play call at the time.

(This was my first exposure to being on the "right side", but not the winning side. That stats class gave me a lot of good background for future sports gambling.....)
(Now I am going to have to waste time to find that textbook in the basement).

Anyway....this play/season was the start of my painful Cleveland experiences. Every fan over the age of 40 or so knows what Red Right 88 is - the name of that pass to the left side of the end zone.

(Oh - where was Layup? Not sure...but I do remember driving back from the bowling alley a few times trying to help him count to 20....he always managed to skip 13 or 15 ......)

On to the week 1 games!

TB 31, Atl 24.  I am convinced Winston will make the leap this year and Tampa will be decent. Mike Smith will be motivated to beat his former team. What other weapons do the Falcons have besides Jones?

Bal 20, Buf 16.   A healthy Baltimore team should be back to an 8-8, 9-7 team and have enough to beat the overrated Bills. I just don't think Buffalo is that good.

Hou 24, Chi 17. Not convinced of Osweiler, but the D should handle the Bears - who already have injury problems on the line.

GB 34, Jax 20. The Packers are healthy - and when they are, their offense is almost unstoppable. I can't see the Jags holding them under 30 - and I don't see them getting to 30 with Bortles just yet.

KC 23, SD 20. A lot closer than people expect. I think the Chargers will move the ball and keep it close, and I'm not convinced the Chiefs can blow them out right now with the players they have missing on D.

NO 31, Oak 28. Yes, I know, a popular pick for a shootout - which means this will be a 14-13 final. God bless David Carr!

NYJ 20, Cin 16. I have faith that Revis can contain A J Green --- and then what does Cincinnati have? The Jets have a solid run D, Eifert is how is Cincinnati going to move the ball? a good matchup here for the Jets.

Min 20, Ten 13. Boy, a leap of faith here on this one. I think the Vikings will rally and do just enough to win.

Sea 27, Mia 14. Maybe this is a bit lazy.....I am concerned about the Sea OL handling Miami, but I can't see Miami movign the ball all that much.

NYG 28, Dal 23. You have a rookie QB and a rookie RB starting for Dallas? I'm sorry, I know Zeke may be good - but we have no idea how Prescott looks. None. Don't tell me "oh, he was great in the preseason!" No. I've seen so many "good" performances in my preseasons and none panned out. The Giants should figure our some defensive scheme to force mistakes.

Det 28, Ind 20. The Lions match up well with the Colts - good secondary - and they have fixed their OL a bit and should be able to move the ball.

Az 31, NE 20. If Belicheck can win this game, will be interesting to see how well Jimmy can do against a good D.

Was 27, Pit 24. A good matchup for the Skins. They will rely heavily on the pass, which is the Steelers' weakness; Defensively, they can manage Pit's run game and hope Norman can contain Brown.

SF 19, LA 16. Am I missing something here? I think LA can go 4-12 or worse.

Best bets: 14 of them.
TB +2.5
Buf/Bal under 44.5
GB -4.5
SD +6.5
Oak/NO over 52
NYJ +1.5
Min -2.5
Min/Ten under 40
NYG pk
Det +3.5
NE/Arz over 44
Was +3
SF +2.5
LA/SF under 42.5

My personal supercontest picks:
Det +3.5
SF +2.5
TB +2.5
Was +3
NYG -1.5

We are putting in a join entry into the real Supercontest. Here is the joint entry:
Car -3 (Loss....thanks, Wiz)
Bal -3
Atl -2.5
Det +3.5
SF +2.5

Sep 10, 2016

It's time for NFL 2016!

Who's ready for week 1? I am starting to get excited...I know this year will be a long one for the Browns, but I'm ready to watch RG3 and Josh Gordon (with Corey Coleman) put on some offensive fireworks.

(Oh, we have to play defense too?)

Before we get started on the picks, let's do some housekeeping to see our record for our world-renown NFL weekly picks.....

For the last 3 years, here are the results:

2013: 127-122-6
2014: 109-127-4  (may have been slightly distracted with a move across the world)
2015: 123-100-8

Overall 9 year record:  1234-1143-69, a record of 51.9%...just shy of the magical 52.3% needed.

For the supercontest:

2013: 43-38-4
2014: 43-41-1
2015: 44-40-1

Overall 5 year record: 211-202-12, 51.1% . Not great....

Even though we are sharing a supercontest entry this year, I will post my 5 picks for comparison. Would love to set a small goal and break 45 points this year.

Now - to the fun! Our annual look back on network opening segments for NFL games. Let's go back to recent history, for one of the first years that FOX covered the's an open from 1996 with the immortal Dick Stockton. Please remember: Dick looks old in 1996 - and he is doing a play by play game this weekend in 2016!!! Got to love the intern that thought the jigsaw puzzle symbolism would work.

Shifting to CBS...I loved this theme. I still think the late-90s CBS theme is the best. These opens were so cheesy.....a 1999 open from a Ravens game satirizing the Blair Witch project. How do you explain this to kids? I'll let you be surpirsed on the play by play announcer. Yes, we miss him.

And now for one of the worst NFL open themes in my life...the early 90s music for NBC. How vanilla and boring. This was the last playoff game I truly thought we could win. What a quarterback battle!

Aug 17, 2016

Vegas 2016, Part 4

Saturday, March 12

Well, this is a first - I think I was the second or third person to make it downstairs to the casino floor that morning. I'm not sure why I was "late" (for me) in getting to the floor that morning. As you know, I'm usually there by 5, 5:30 at the latest. I don't think I went down until about 7 - horrors! I was probably putting in my Saturday conference tournament picks for that damn pool and/or finalizing the parlays for the day.

I first headed to - where else? - the UTH table - but found no room at the inn. Layup and Wiz were there, playing, and were not in a happy mood. There were two other people at the table: one, a regular American from Lexington with a blue UK shirt on; he seemed to have made friends with Wiz and Layup at the table - but all three were annoyed with the second guy there.

This second guy was probably a Brit, wearing a sportcoat and clearly was still partying from night before. He was chain smoking and (I recall) had at least 3 glasses of alcohol at the table. Apparently, he wasn't budging from the table as he was winning, but was so obnoxious. I'll let Wiz and Layup explain in the comments why he was considered an ass - but that's the worst kind of gambler to gable with - an asshole who wins. An ass who loses is fine, because you know the pain is temporary as he's bound to leave soon. But a mean winner? Ugh.

I found no reason to stay there so I went over to play craps with a few strangers; the Bailey's and cocoa kept coming as I chased the Horn High ace Deuce, hard 4s and 10s, and the all small.. They never showed up, and I got killed. By then it was time for my morning massage.

After the spa trip, it was about 10:30 am on Saturday, and the sports day was in full swing! There was college B ball, golf, NBA, NHL - so enough sports to fill up the entire wall of the Mirage sportsbook. But - in one little monitor at the bottom center, I was watching FS2. Yes sir - it's FA Cup action, yo! Quarterfinals between Chelsea and my adopted Everton team! I even had on my Everton shirt.....

The book was packed, and there was literally no one else in the room watching soccer, let alone vocally rooting for a team. That means I could be as obnoxious as I wanted during the game - no one would have a clue what I was yelling at. Lukaku scored twice in the second half - both occured when the main game in the book, Michigan-Purdue, was in commercial, so everyone heard my shrieking - as Everton pulled the upset, 2-0. Everyone won a +170 bet on them.

What was next? A gambling experience that is a 180-degree turn from a thrilling soccer win; 30 minutes of Pai Gow! And not just any Pai Gow experience; three of us sat down to play and we found out we had a break in dealer. It was a complete farce; we literally played 1 hand every 5 minutes. I couldn't take it any more and got up....

Of course, UTH was still packed (and I think the ass was still there); by then, everyone else had joined us on the floor looking to gamble; 4 of us (Don, Mike, Mike and I) ended up at an empty $25 blackjack table. We had a good time; cards were decent (but never great), as we played for over 3 hours and I ended up down $10. However - I was shocked at the amount of shuffling that occured. We would have 5 or 6 people at the table, and I am pretty sure that we had a shuffle every 8-9 hands. I think we played with a 6 deck shoe - that's the only explanation, right? I can't ever recall a shoe being penetrated that "short" before a shuffle. Did I look like a counter? (Maybe it was Don....he has that look about him)

Parlay update...Don had the first winner of the day with Purdue in the Big 10 semis; my pick of Ark-Little Rock came home a winner; Mike A picked the Raptors, and they won. Wiz had Tx A&M - who won their SEC Semi. To keep the streak alive, all Mike D needed was to have Villanova win the Big east over Seton Hall. A layup, right?

(Not sure where Layup, Wiz and Leland went in the afternoon - I don't think there was an off-campus field trip, but you never know....)

Dinner was at Rose Rabbit Lie at the Cosmo - which was great. What a find, Leland. However, the excitement during this trip happened before dinner as we were walking through the Cosmo casino...we passed by the high limit area, and saw the Holy Grail....a UTH table in the high limit area!!!! It was reserved (no one was playing) but we had to ask the pit boss ....what action is needed to reserve a UTH table?

The answer was - $100,000 action per hour. (is that right???- ed. ) We quickly started doing the match. 6 people at a table, 40 hands/hour - meaning 240 total hands - --- this means action of $400 per hand is needed. That's about a $75-$100 limit table...........hmmmmmm.......well gentlemen, we now have our goals.

After dinner, we came back to the Mirage for the evening session; I think Leland, Mike A and I ended up at the craps table. Again, I was throwing out the $5 chips on the Horn High Ace Deuce and the All small. Leland and Mike A started playing the all small but not the horn.

At one point, Mike rolled - hit a point, and then he rolled again. He rolled a 2....loser on the line, but a winner for me. I pressed the Horn High. Next - a 12. YES! I said as the dealer (again) took the money from the line. Finally, a third roll - 3.....I started cheering loudly and did a little dance. $15 Horn High Ace Deuce - and the 3 came up!

Mike was a bit dumbfounded. "Why are you cheering? We lost again on the pass line. Did we win the all small with that?"

I think this is my direct quote: "No - all that's important, Mike, is that I make money. Just keep rolling like that and make me money!". The table got a bit frosty with my comment....

The night ended at the UTH table with a stoic Ruth who killed all of us with bad hands. I think many in the group finally turned against her.

Sunday, March 13

By 6:00 am this morning, both Layup and Wiz had left - Layup heading to Asia for a 2 week business trip immediately after leaving the Mirage. He said his business class flight was the perfect way to recover.  Mike, Mike and Don had an earlier flight to Cincinnati, so they were up and gone by 7.

That left Leland and I; I started the morning at the craps table where some kid hit 3 hard 4's in a row - and was just the "9" away from the all or nothing. Leland joined for a bit; we had the breakfast buffet then back for one last unsuccessful run at craps.

I took Leland to the airport in Layup's rental - I agreed to return it - and on the ride over, we talked about the 2016 presidential election. I tried to convey to him how Trump was attractive to many in middle America. (At this point, Trump was the favorite - but hadn't locked down - the Republican nomination). I think we agreed that it was sad how fractured America had become; we don't socialize with people outside our class/societal status much any more. It was a deep conversation - something that was more appropriate for a Monday dinner rather than a final discussion after a 100 hour gambling session.

I dropped Leland off at the terminal, then tried to find where the rental car return was for McCarran airport. Holy shit - it seemed to be in Tucson. Lugging my clubs all over that damn garage, on the overcrowded shuttle bus and then in the 30 minute check in line for Delta was a sour end to another great trip.

Jul 24, 2016

Vegas 2016, Part 3

Friday, March 11

I think I was able to sleep in till about 5 or so this morning. The body was starting to hurt. Nevertheless, headed down to the tables for my customary Baileys and coffee and an empty UTH table - and a nice winning session to start the day.

Wiz set up another round of golf - today was TPC Summerlin, a course we had not played before. We were going to leave around 8:30 in order to get there for our 10:00 am tee time. While we were packing up - the sports news of the year broke! The Browns had finally cut Johnny Manziel! The timing was no real surprise - since Wednesday March 9 was the first day teams could cut people and not have them impact the salary cap for 2016. We all expected the cut as we arrived on Wednesday - which meant we may have had a chance to see a drunk Johnny in the Mirage over the weekend - but it was not to be.

We got to the course around 9:15 or the course, we were warming up (and it was clear my swing stayed at the Mirage...); the coffee kicked in and I had to go to the restroom. Ah, what better time to check with some of the early scores? Yes, some games have tipped off already.....

oh crap.....oh no......

I don't think many of you knew what was going on. As you know, I love complex, under the radar sports pools. Anyone can participate in an NCAA tournament pool, but it takes a special kind of degenerate to play in (and lead) an NIT pool. That's one example. Another example is thefabulous suicide pool that Wiz got me in this year. I lasted until the Friday of the Sweet 16. Not bad!

Well, I was in a 10 day conference tournament pool this year. (I think this was the second year that I was in it.). I found it from some one I followed on twitter. Starting on the Friday before the Vegas trip, you have to pick 1) conference tourney winners and then 2) winners for each game each day. It was $100 entry and there were about 120 people in it. Not bad!

I got off to a good start in this pool - for instance, I picked UNC-Wilmington to win the Colonial before it started; that's multiple bonus points. I put my picks in early Thursday morning - and I was in around 15th place. Not bad.

And as I sat on the toilet at TPC Summerlin, I realized - I forgot to put in my picks for the Friday games in this pool.

What's the big deal? Oh, just that Friday is the day with the 2nd most amount of games. The deadline was 11:40 eastern - 8:40 pacific - and we were 30 minutes past that. I would get a 0 for the day.

Well, that's $100 wasted. I wonder what place I was in after Thursday? I checked....that was a mistake. Somehow, I was in 2nd place in the pool going into today. And I forgot my picks.

That's when I started to feel nauseous. How did you forget? That's like $2000-3000 you had a chance idiot. I emerged from the bathroom with an ashen face, and I think it seriously took me 3-4 holes (and a Rum and OJ, thanks to Gavin) to snap me out of it.

Would I have won the pool? I didn't do the math on it...I don't think I hit any of the conference tournament winners on the weekend (I had Miami for the ACC, Purdue for the Big 10, etc), so I probably would not have won. But......

Anyway - back to the golf. The golf was horrible. I had no swing - and people know what game I have when I have no swing. (Answer - none). I made a tremendous par from one hole by hitting it so far left I was talking to the landscapers from a neighboring house. We saw Sheldon Anderson's mansion - it was huge.

The round took some time; I think we played in over 5 hours. I sent Layup (again, he stayed back for work reasons) a text about the state of my game: "Help! Send golf balls".

Layup immediately responded with his situation: "Help! Send Markers!".

(Oh - sports betting out there? I had Cincinnati over UConn in the AAC quarters; Cinci hit a 3 with 00.8 seconds left in triple OT to win by 3! Right? Wasn't that the final score? )

 We didn't get back to the Mirage until 4:30 or so....( I can't believe we ended up being gone that long). Along the way - Layup sent some more cryptic texts about some strange happenings in the craps pit - along with a picture of a cheeseburger playing craps....(yes, you read that right). Upon arrival back at the Mirage, we had to check this out.

There was something strange going on at the craps pit. All the tables were open - which was strange for a Friday afternoon - but half of them were reserved. There was a big whiteboard by one of the tables titled "Tour De Craps XIV", with several names on it -like a big scoreboard. The felt on the tables were even changed; the three reserved tables had a "Tour De Craps XIV" logo on it.

There were about 4-5 players on the tables; some were normally dressed, but one was dressed in the Mayor McCheese outfit. (I never saw him actually roll, so not sure how he could physically roll with his face being a 3' long hamburger). One person - I think - was dressed up as Captain Morgan. There was one regular guy with a huge notebook taking notes and recording the rolls - seemed like a "statistician".

It was clear this was a private gathering. The tables were roped off and no one else could play; they had the tables in the back (that were against the wall near the cashier) so there was very little foot traffic in that area. But I was fascinated. What kind of play did they need to have to do this? And their own special felt? I glanced at the table at the amounts that were being wagered - there were greens and blacks, but nothing out of the ordinary.

(I did a quick google search to see if I could get any more information on this - this is the only thing I could find - a video from Tour de Craps IV. I do recognize the "King" hat, so this has to be the group.)

Dinner was at BLT that night - lot of talk about who would be the worst team in baseball this year - the Padres or the A's. Also, there was disagreement on whether the Orioles would be for real this year again or slink back to mediocrity .....I can't remember who was arguing what, or what the wagers were.....hope someone wrote those down).

Gambling that night was low-key; I did lose a side bet to Layup when betting my favorite coach - Jim Larranaga - vs. Virginia. Jim let me down this year , failing to cover vs. Va Tech earlier in the trip. I do note that Leland hit an "all small" for me during the night - my first one of the trip; I think he hit the 2 as the last low number for me to win the 35-1 side bet. Thanks!   I also have a 3 hour Pai Gow session - don't think it was with our friend John the dealer - and I lost a total of $25 for that session. Not bad for a Friday night.

The night ended with all of us exhausted and at -where else? - the UTH table. I think Ruth was the dealer. Only 3 of us were playing and the other 3-4 people were leaning on the back of the chairs watching. I got to the table late and sat down with Wiz and Layup; they were talking about a lady that was sitting their earlier. She must have made a bad impression, critiquing Wiz and Layup and (I think) was a chain smoker. Layup summed this players attitude succinctly:
"Not only does she play bad, she's a bad person as well".

That was an apt end for the night, as we all crashed around 12 - 1.

Jul 12, 2016

Vegas 2016, Part 2

Thursday, March 10

Got up - without the alarm, of course - at 3:30 am. Already had a couple of picks come in for the parlays on the phone overnight. First stop in the morning, of course, is UTH. There's not much better than 3rd shift gambling at a table by yourself, drinking Bailey's and coffee with OJ on the side. I think I was there for a good 90 minutes along from 4-5:30 gambling before anyone came down.

(by the way - around 5:30 there were reports that Don broke his glasses at the UTH table. it may have been from the night before, or early in the morning. A clear second place (to Micah) on household accidents that occur at the tables while gambling....)

Around 6:00, Layup came down (and others) and talked me into a baccarat session. Now, for a bit of honesty......Baccarat in the Salon is nice, leisurely, and fun....if you have the stakes to play. The $100 minimum in the salon for baccarat is steep; however, when I was an ex-pat, I had the bankroll to be able to have a few of those session. Now that I'm back in the US and having all sorts of expenses.....well, the Vegas budget dipped a little and I'm not sure how many of those Baccarat sessions I can afford. So I was a more hesitant than normal in the salon sessions.

Layup and I played for about 30 minutes (tops); I think maybe Mike A or Don or Wiz joined us for a bit. I had fun with my gyrations and playing each hand in about 1 minute, 30 seconds. The key hand came as the cards were going back and forth from banker to player; I usually bet banker but will zig zag when I have the feeling. Anyway, it was going back and forth and the banker just won the last hand....I picked banker on that hand and as the winner, made the choice for the next hand....I switched to player.

As Julia Roberts said: "Mistake. Big Mistake. Huge!" Banker went on a run of 6 winners in a row and - seeing all those profits go up in smoke - I couldn't stand it anymore and we left.

After breakfast at the buffet - it was Southern Highlands day! Best course in Nevada, bar none. (I know I say that every year). Everyone joined except for Layup - who got stuck with a work call and had to stay back. ( I think we can use the Julia image for that choice, too).

We had a team game; I think it was Mike A, Mike D and I vs Wiz, Don and Leland in a 2 best ball net match. (Is this correct???) Golf for me was mediocre; the low point was losing 3 balls on #3 and posting an X; I posted a Y on #6. I found the swing after that and played decent the rest of the way...somehow we won the front (thanks, Mikes) but lost the back and total.

Of course, during the game, the early games for the parlays were going on; Southern Highland has been the location of many b-ball gambling moments in past trips, such as the Syracuse- NC Asheville 1-16 near upset and the Charlotte/Davidson "4 techs in the last 10 seconds" for a miracle cover.  Nothing too dramatic this year, I had the early pick and had a lock. UAB - the #1 seed in C-USA - was playing the tourney at home and had a first round game against #8 seed Western Kentucky. The line was only 8! It's a lock! When is the last time the host team lost a first round game in a conference tournament?

I'm sure you can guess the result. 

Thank God Butler lost their game on Thursday - or else dinner would have been on me.

However, won one side bet with Wiz on another game - forcing him to sign my book - so that helped the gambling mood a bit.

Checking in with Layup, we heard various reports. Back at the Mirage, when he was supposedly working, Layup was:
1. playing roulette (always a bad sign)
2. playing blackjack on the main floor (which is a sign of insanity for him)
3. Playing craps with a down's syndrome kid.

Wait, what?

As we got back and gambled before dinner, Layup tried to explain to us that there is a Down's syndrome savant in the Mirage playing craps. He is a fierce,concentrated roller and is intense in yelling at the dice as they are rolled, He has a partner that assists in the actual placing of the bets across the table. Layup said that this kid was "hot", hit 3 or 4 points while Layup was there and made all sorts of money for the table. We weren't sure whether to believe him or not, but we had our eyes peeled.

Dinner that night was at Wiz's Italian place at Paris; apart from the fact that it was pitch black in there, the food was actually kind of good. (Jim Larranaga let me down in side bets with Layup, Wiz and Leland). We headed back to the Mirage, all headed our separate ways for a bit to get ready for the night session. I came downstairs first and....there he was! At the craps table! The Down's kid!

I alerted everyone in the group. "He is here! Repeat....He is here!"

Soon, the table was filled; Mike D and I were together at one end of the table with the Down's kid at the other end; Wiz and Layup were on the other end on the rail. Soon, other characters joined the action, even though it was a cold table.

A couple joined Wiz and Layup - can't remember the guy; the lady was about 25, wearing all black and weighed no more than 95 pounds and was about 4'11". The first word that came to my mind about her was "malnourished". He tried to teach her the basics of the game, but she just looked so utterly lost.

One explanation - believed by some in our group- was that she was one of those girls that escaped from the basement in that Cleveland house and is experiencing outside life for the first time. This is the first time she may have seen natural lighting in years! Does she need help? Should we call the police? " If you need help, roll a hard 6" was the text of the night.

Separately, a granola-like girl came up between Mike D and I; she probably had Birkenstocks on. We were setting lines on her native state (Vermont? Oregon? connecticut?) but she left before we were able to ask her.

Of course, while all this was going on, we lost track of that fact that no one on the damn table could roll - not even the Down's syndrome patient - and we all got our asses handed to us.

Many of us took a timeout to play Pai Gow; a few hours later, Leland and I found ourselves at a craps table (on opposite sides of the table, our customary location), and the table started to heat up. Points left and right; Leland rolled extremely well and was a "2" away from the all small; I hit some points, even though an idiot next to Leland kept reaching in late and I hit him twice in the arm with the dice.

While I was rolling, Mike D came up and was asking how things were going; I promptly gave him a two-handed shove that sent him backward 5 feet. He got the message. (I apologized later).

One more UTH session was in store - was that with Ruth? - and it was a winner..I think the day ended around 1:30 or 2:00.......when we went to bed at that moment, Johnny Manziel was still a member of the Cleveland Browns and Mayor McCheese was simply a fictional character from McDonald's commercials......

Vegas 2016, Part 1

Wednesday, March 9

The alarm went off at around 3:15 am in Cincinnati for the official start of the 2016 Vegas trip. Actually, the official trip started the night before, with Wiz and Layup getting there Tuesday night - they tried unsuccessfully to get any of us to join them on Tuesday. I picked up Don at the ungodly hour of 4:15 and made our way to the airport; 8 hours later we landed in Las Vegas. That's when we met up with the taxi driver from hell.

First round of golf in Vegas was just Don and I at an old favorite, Royal Links. Had the course to ourselves, and played in about 3 1/2. Of course, had a breakfast burrito which helped me shoot a cool 78 and beat Don outright. (It included back to back birdies on the front). That was the highlight of golf for the trip. The sports betting highlight also occurred that day; one of my big picks was Utah St in the 8-9 MWC first round against a fading Wyoming team. The Aggies were giving 2; 10 minutes into the game, it was 40-11 Utah St. Never a doubt as we got the first winner of the trip.

More taxi problems getting back; none of us had Uber, so we had the course call for a taxi - BIG mistake. 45 minute wait for the taxi, and we had plenty of traffic problems getting to the strip. I wanted to be back gambling by 3, but it turned out to be around 5 when I was finally checked in and ready to play.

First gambling? Of course - UTH! The UTH table is the first thing you see as you enter the casino from the atrium at the Mirage; Wiz, Layup and Dan the pit boss were there to greet us as we entered. The first UTH session was a bad one as we waited for the other 4 to arrive. I have it documented that we went over to the craps table as well before dinner - and that went horribly; we all got smoked and I didn't even get a chance to roll before getting wiped out.

By about 6, all of us had arrived; Mike D and Mike A from Cincinnati, and Leland from DC. First dinner of the trip is at Heritage as we all sit at the bar. Of course, we (Wiz, Layup and I) desperately search for something to wager on during dinner; we have the final ACC first round game between Va Tech and Florida State. Over under line is like 160; the under is a lock! These teams can't shoot!

The end result? I was in perfect midseason form with that pick. 

After dinner, all of us found an open UTH table and thus the trip fully began. The one issue with this trip; there are only 6 seats at UTH but 7 of us. Not sure who sat out for this first round. I went upstairs quickly after dinner and came back to UTH - maybe I was the one who was late and had to sit out- and I already found Layup and Wiz rolling their eyes.

Why? I guess there was a rookie pit boss who rarely handled markers. Soon after I got there, the pit boss came with the clipboard and had Layup sign the marker - and I heard grumbling like "did you get it right this time?" I looked down and all I can see are all sorts of crossed off names and numbers. This was the third time Layup had to sign something for a single marker.

Even after that, they did NOT get it right this time as the pit boss came back a fourth time for one last cleanup of the documents for the single marker.

The session - for me- went well; hit quad 3's on one hand that floated me for the night. After UTH, some of us (not sure who) played more craps; I was forced to be in a spot on the rail (I hate the rail) and promptly got shellacked. It was 11 pm Vegas time - I've been up for almost 24 hours; it was time for bed.

Two changes for this trip that were in effect on Wednesday:

1. The Mirage isn't giving out Fiji to just anyone anymore! Apparently, you have to have the platinum card in order to get the Fiji bottle water. If you have just gold - too bad! House water for you! This rule was certainly put in place to make snobs like Layup and Wiz feel superior...... I just with the house water would be in bigger bottles; the give out the house water now in 4 oz bottles that you can drink in a single gulp.

2. Parlay changes! Since some of the group loves money line picks for games, we went to a two tiered system for the daily parlay for the group. The original pick with the line is still there, with the cost reduced to $10 a man; we set up a second parlay with just money line picks (up to -300) for $20 each. Theoretically, the second one should be easier to hit and we would have more people being stuck with dinner bills as parlay tickets for the money line picks would go 6-1. Not sure if the group liked the change; mostly it worked well getting everyone bets in on time.

Jul 10, 2016

Hi! Welcome to Vegas 2016!

Hi! How are you guys doing? Hop in the taxi. Where can I take you? Royal Links? Sure, I know where that is.

Where are you guys from? Ohio, huh? I'm from the Midwest. Chicago. Well, actually, I was  born there. Been out here now for 22 years. Taxi driver for all of them. Love my job! It's so interesting, and I get to meet a wide variety of people.

Do you want to hear some stories? Great! People ask me what was one of the weirdest rides I had. Hoo boy! That's a tough one! So many good ones. There was this one time when I was at - oh, where was it? The Riviera? Sands? Anyway, a older gentleman got in the car - real nice guy, turns out he was an executive for a company you have heard of. You know tires? Yeah! This guy was the chairman of Dunlop Tires! He was eccentric. Talked a lot - we had a great time! - and during the trip, he asked to pull into a liquor store. Now, here's a 60 year old guy! What does he want in a liquor store?

Then he asked ME what I like! Well heck, I wasn't going to ask for just beer...I told him I like to imbibe in a little vodka now and then....well, he goes into the store and comes out with two plastic bags full of bottles.

He gives a whole bag to me! And there were good bottles in there- like Smirnoff! I said to him, "well, what is this for?" He enjoyed my company so much, he wanted to share this with me !
Well, golly, I had to call my wife right then!. "Honey, you won't believe this, but we are going drinking tonight! No, we aren't going out! That's the craziest thing! We're drinking in!" The executive got on the phone and talked to my wife as well - that was one crazy ride. I think he died 5 years ago or something.

Celebrities? You're asking about what famous celebrities I got to drive? Well, I'll tell you - this was in the 90s, One of the big heartthrobs from that day - Tom Selleck!  Oh my, he is my wife's favorite television star. Well, guess what! I was at the MGM one day, and guess who walks into my cab. Mr. Tom Selleck! I was cool, "hello, Mr. Selleck", but halfway through the route I had to ask him a favor.

"Mr. Selleck - can you call my wife and say hi? She loves you and this will make her week!"

And guess what? He did! He got on the phone - "Hi - is this Laura?" Laura didnt know what the heck was going on - but when Tom introdcued himself - hoo boy! Even I could hear the shrieks! Tom was on the phone with her for about 2 minutes - what a great sport! He hung up and he said to me - "I think I'll send you the bill for the hearing aid - your wife's cream may have caused me to lose hearing!" Ha ha, what a kidder, that Tom! He left and left a nice tip.

Oh! You may be wondering if there are celebrities that don't tip well. Glad you asked! I made a run this one time - I think from Mandalay - and had to pick up that guy from The Best Damn Sports Show. Have you  seen it? It was on Fox for a while ...oh yeah! John Salley! This big black guy, 6'9", gets into my cab, and introduced himself. Nice guy ! He just wanted a ride to the Caesars. We made a little small talk....we got there rather quickly, The bill was $8 - and he gives me a $10. Now, what am I supposed to do with that? I had to say something. "Hey Mr. Salley....we make our living on tips, you know!" He smiled and said keep the change. He's John Salley! I expected something more than a $2 tip!

One more story - oh, I should have brought this up earlier. I usually work the day shift - get in at 6, leave at 2 - what a great time of day to drive the cab. Not a lot of crazies then! But some mornings, you get some people coming in from the night before, you know what I mean? I start one day off at 6 in the  morning - bright sunshine - and then these 3 girls get in the cab. They can't be more than 25 years old!

Well, they may have had too much to drink, I tihnk - and then they start getting chummy with me. Do you like the way we look, stuff like that. I had to tell them I'm married!

But then all of a sudden one of them asks me if she should get a boob job. A boob job! Now, my eyes are on the road, so I can't - you know - study the assets! Ha! But then she - right there in the cab! - opens her shirt and shows me her breast. "Do you think I need a boob job?"

Now, I'm so embarassed I can't speak! I tell her I don't think so - it looks good to me! We all have a good laugh at that one. They tipped nicely, and boy, did I have a good story to tell the wife when I got home that day!

Well, here we are at Royal Links. You two have fun golfing! I hope to have you in my cab sometime soon on this trip!

And that, my friends, is how the Vegas 2016 trip got started for Don and myself.  I knew we were in for a peculiar trip after that opening cab ride.....

Apr 11, 2016

About last night

Last night, my "FWB" texts me and wants a favor.  I'm watching the Masters and don't particularly want to leave the house.  After much pointless texting, it becomes apparent that she wants "benefits".  "Sure, come over," I text.  Now, she can be a little annoying.  Actually, really annoying.  The last time we talked, I got irritated and told her to "Shut the fuck up".  So, I hadn't heard from her in 2 months.  She arrives at the house a couple hours later...with her dog.  Her dog is a medium sized dog and usually sleeps with us.  I've been single for 4 years now and I'm starting to find my little pug and dickhead cat annoying in bed with me.  But, what's the harm?  I get some "benefits" at the cost of little sleep.

Fast forward to the middle of the night.  Her dog keeps drinking out of the 10 or 15 times and I'm thinking this dog is going to piss in my house.  If only, that was the case.  6:30 AM, I wake up and am like "What is that smell?"  I look up and the dog has shit on the carpet.  And it reeks.  My "WTF is that" wakes the "FWB" up.  I explain and she starts cleaning up after her dog.  Now, I go downstairs looking for the piss that I'm sure to find.  Nothing.  But, the smell is even worse down here.  I get the flashlight out and begin searching.  And there it is, in my dining room, the biggest pile of green dog shit I've ever seen.  Just thinking of the smell, is causing me to dry heave as I type.

Apparently, the "FWB" had had a Sunday Funday brunch at her house.  And, her lovely friends had been feeding this poor dog people food all day long and I became the benefactor of that.  I guess this is why the dog was so thirsty.  On the bright side, no piss was found...just steaming piles of shit.

So goes, the single life of a 47 year old...

Mar 1, 2016

March 1st- Vegas thoughts

Happy March 1st everyone.  I've now transitioned from guilt ridden and stressed out to extremely excited and can't focus on work right now.   This past weekend I took the kids camping and spent some quality time with them at the beach which seemed to ease some of the concerns of not being around for the next 3 weeks.  The stress is also subsiding with a great run of 12-3 in NHL in the last two weeks coupled with some optimism at work. The confidence level is rising with less than a week to go, which is good.  With that, I was teaching Wyatt how to calmly roll the dice and not just sling it across the room.   I think I have a new technique that might change my rolling luck of the last two years.   

Last night I was thinking about goals for the trip and then there was some chatter around if certain things will happen, so I will put REALISTIC lines on some things that I want to do and what others have already said might happen. 

  1. Can Derek not drink for one 16 hour gambling session? +2000- this is real folks.  I'm going to see if I can do it and how it impacts my gambling.  I might just go to a water park or go on a field trip one afternoon. 
  2. Will there be a $15 craps table at 9:00pm on Friday at the Mirage?  -110- money has already been placed on this. 
  3. Will Tanya have our rooms correct? Yes +350/No -120.  She is the worst, but I have to admit I might of gone back to her at least 5-6 times to change the reservation. 
  4. Over/Under on the time is takes Eric to first complain about being overbooked, despite being advised that he was overbooking himself?  12 hours. Under -150
  5. Will someone yell at John to deal the cards?  Yes -135/No +450.   Lee, get ready for the worst dealer at the Mirage.
  6. Over/Under on the number of craps points hit for the trip: (must play at least 1 time for bet to be active)
    1. Wiz- 22
    2. Eric- 24 (not due to him being the best roller, but due to sheer volume of his play)
    3. Lee- 12
    4. Derek- 8.5
    5. Mike D- 10
    6. Mike A- off the board.  Will set line once I see his first craps roll. 
    7. Don- 10
  7. Over/Under- Derek's total number of missed All Tall/All or Nothing bets because he has to run to the bathroom and one of them hits.  1
  8. Over/Under on the number of Baccarat sessions for Eric. 5.5- note Eric said he hates Baccarat, but we all know he can’t help himself.  He loves the old ladies in that room.
  9. Over/Under on the number of Salon sessions for Eric. 1.5
  10. Over/Under on the number of markers Wiz will have outstanding at ONE table during ONE session. 2.5.  I’m giddy about this one J
  11. Will we have a UTH table designated “Reserve”?  Yes -175/No +200.  I think we are the only assholes to ask the pit boss to increase the limits so that we keep the idiots away.  It worked in July.
  12. Over/Under on Lee’s visits to the special pool section.  1.5
  13. Will there be an altercation at a table?  Yes -175/No +150,  There were 2 last year.  It all depends on what convention is out there this year.  Oh. Just googled it and we have 3 this year.  Western Veterinary Conference, National Association of Pizzeria Operators, Nightclub and Bar expo, and the Wedding/Portrait Photographers expo.  Interesting
  14. Will Derek bet on/against Marquette?  Yes +600/No-1000.  I’ve held true to my New Year’s resolution of not betting a game that involves Marquette. My hatred for Wojo has blinded me on this team so I’ve stayed away.  As Eric pointed out last night, the list for all of us is growing way to quickly on teams that we hate and can’t figure out.  Texas, Iowa State, and Iowa are approaching this segment.  
  15. Will the majority of the groups picks for the golf pool miss the cut?  Yes +350/ No -400
  16. Will we get a result of 6-1 or 7-0 on our daily college basketball parlay ticket?  Yes +700/ No -1000.
  17. Will there be a single bet placed at a casino outside of the Mirage?  Yes+200/No -250
  18. Will Wiz over tip for bad service at a restaurant? Off the board