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~ 



  1. Oh my eyes lit up when I saw the title of this one!
    First, way to go admitting to a felony in only the second paragraph of your post. 
    Second...you stayed on A/2?? And they actually let you leave the table alive?
    Third...you bet on Tebow against the Pats? I'm a man of faith and even I'm not that optimistic!
    Finally, and most importantly, thanks for a great laugh. Loved this story!

  2. A felony?...Really? Wow I didn't realize I needed to research laws before posting...
    Yeah not only did I stay on Ace/2, but when the other guys went crazy the dealer let me change and hit...I pulled an 8:)
    I was overly optimistic on Tebow and blinded by the 14 points...
    Thanks man...

  3. I really like the poker machines - I usually win a small amount! Have no idea how to place a bet on soccer, horses or anything else for that matter!
    At least you had a go :)


  4. Classic story. My friend and I bet all the world cup and Euro games against each other. Figuring in the draws makes it even harder.

    I'm a sports junkie, but I don't gamble. I would always be betting against my teams (I'm a pessimist) and I wouldn't be able to be happy with winning the best or winning the game in that scenario!

  5. Gosh, I thought the sports book was an actual book!
    Good story. I prefer the machines and hardly ever bet more than $20 -- I hate to lose!!

  6. Aww, sorry about your losses, but be thankful it wasn't $200 or $2000 or more each time. It still amazes me to see friends throwing away hard earned cash thinking they can beat Vegas. Like Marcia, I stick to slots, once that $20 is gone, its time to go home. :-)

  7. It's probably better that you don't know how so as to avoid temptation...trust me, stick to the machines:)

  8. I know what you mean on betting on your team. My heart belongs to the Florida Gators, and while we were out there the basketball team played Florida State. I just couldn't bring myself to bet on the game...Just didn't feel right.

  9. I hate to lose also...that's why I set a budget and when that's gone it's gone. In this case my budget for the trip was $100. By the time we checked out, it was gone...

  10. Beating Vegas can't be done...If any of your friends don't believe you April, just send them this way...

  11. Was the Swansea v. Everton match where Everton goalie Tim Howard scored from about 95 yards out (awesome btw if you have not seen it)?
    I'm surprised that sports books in Vegas are taking bets on the Premier League. Seems like a great way to take advantage of the sports books if they don't know how to play the odds on football. At the very least, they will make sure you get to watch the match you're betting on so you won't miss our Reds play.

  12. No, it was not the same game, although I saw that video and it was awesome. The wind was so strong, he probably could have thrown it in. I definitely got the idea that not too many bet on soccer, but the hard lesson I learned was that no matter how much I may know about something, Vegas knows more...

  13. So true  -- "Vegas wasn't built on winners." I haven't done any sports booking there (I wouldn't even know where to begin with that stuff), but I've made plenty of deposits in slot machines! 

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