A Misadventure at the Las Vegas Sport Book

I'm not much of a gambler. Ever since the time I was playing Blackjack and caught the wrath of an entire table for staying on Ace/2, I've steered clear of pretty much anything in a casino which involves human interaction. I enjoy depositing - because that's all it really is - a few dollars here and there in video poker, but that's about the extent of my gambling activities. On our trip to Las Vegas however, I was determined to branch out of my comfort zone again by placing a few wagers in the sports book. It didn't take long for me to remember why I stick to machines...

This misadventure began before we even arrived in Vegas. I was standing in line to ride the Matterhorn at Disneyland, when I remembered that the Denver Broncos played the New England Patriots the following day. Tebow mania was sweeping the nation, and I wanted in on the action. Problem was we were not going to be in Vegas until the day after the game, and I didn't think The Mirage would take wagers over the phone. Thankfully some friends of ours had arrived into Sin City a couple days before us, and they agreed to handle my "action" for me. 

The Huge Sports Book at Caesar's Palace

The next day while we were still in Disneyland, I checked the score of the game on my phone about once every 2.4 seconds. Things were looking good in the first half, with Tebow and the Broncos jumping out to an early lead. It didn't take long for reality to set in, however, with the Patriots not only coming back to win, but they also covered the 14 point spread which my bet carried. I had yet to set foot in Nevada, and Vegas was already in to me for $20.

After we arrived in Vegas, one of the first things I did was visit the sports book in The Mirage to try and get back my Andrew Jackson. The next day Manchester United were in action against Fulham, and I was confident my boys in red would easily take care of business. The actual business of placing my wager seemed to be another story...

"Hi do you have the odds for the English Premier League matches tomorrow?"

"Uummmm...let me ask a supervisor. Hey, are we taking action on soccer?"

"Depends...What team."

"Manchester United."

"Yeah we'll have it. Give me an hour or so to put it together and come back."

This entire exchange concerned me for several reasons. First, I got the impression that I was the first sucker to ever ask to bet on soccer. Second, I was pretty sure the "supervisor" was Tony Soprano's cousin. And lastly, the phrase "Let me put it together" was especially puzzling. Was he making a call to the Godfather to find out the odds? Perhaps he was buddies with United's goalie and he needed to phone in a "favor?" The whole thing made me uncomfortable, but I had resolved to bet on my team, and this wasn't going to stand in my way.
Caesar's Showed Several Premier League Matches

I returned a few hours later and the "supervisor" printed out a copy of the odds for all the Premier League games. I laid down my $20 on United, and as I surveyed the odds on the other games I discovered something that puzzled me. Swansea was a huge underdog to Everton in their match, but I thought both teams were fairly evenly matched. In fact, Swansea was ahead of Everton in the League standings, which made their long shot odds seem even more out of place. I convinced myself that Tony's cousin had made an error in setting his odds, and decided this was my chance to stick it to Vegas. I plopped down another $20 and started to plan where we would eat dinner on my winnings.

You can probably see where this is going. The Red's came through for me wining handily, but the "sure thing" bet on Swansea proved to be a pipe dream. They lost 2-0. I really should have known better. Suddenly I'm an expert handicapper...at soccer? I was going to pull one over on Vegas? That's only possible in the movies, and my last name is definitely not Ocean.

There's an old saying that "Vegas wasn't built on winners." If this ever becomes the slogan for an anti-gambling campaign, they really should consider putting me on the poster also. From now on, I think I'll stick to depositing money at video poker machines. 

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~