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Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Detour: Vegas, Baby, VEGAS

In a few hours I will hop on a plane, fly over the Rockies and land in a converted desert known to all as Sin City.

The purpose of the trip is to send a friend off into fatherhood in style. Kinda like a bachelor party, this weekend will be filled with jabs at the father-to-be and making him rethink his decision to bring a child into this world.

We will try and keep him up till the wee hours of the night and wake him up early…. all practice for the impending life change.

But the trip won't just be just about the baby bachelor. No. It will also be about 15-20 guys having fun as well. And when you think of fun and Vegas, you think of gambling.

Having been in Vegas less than a month ago to watch and bet on the first weekend of the college basketball tournament, I am pretty fresh on the idea of all games of chance. I am, however, not that big of a table game gambler. Sure I will sit down and pray for an Ace followed by a Jack. I will also roll the bones when with a group (although I am not sure how to win at that game, even though everyone says it gives me the best odds.)

But for my money (literally), sports gambling gives me the biggest thrill. It changes up everything. Instead of winning and losing, which can sometimes be decided in the first 5 minutes of a game (ahem, NCAA basketball championship game), you get the "pleasure" of having to sweat out an entire game, grunting or cheering based on every free throw made or missed. Every pop fly that finds a glove or the other side of the fence. Every pass either caught by the offense or by the defense.

To me sports gambling provides that thrill, and for an extended period of time.

Say you have $50. If you sat down at a Black Jack table at 10pm on the Strip on a Saturday, you would be hard pressed to find a table for under $15/hand. If luck doesn't go your way, your $50 is gone in three hands, or roughly 5 minutes.

Take that same $50 and bet it on a game. You now have 2+ hours to enjoy seeing your money either double or dwindle.

So for the same $50 you get 115 more minutes of exposure on sports than you do at a table game.

Now there are drawbacks to this. First off, you can only win what you put in (minus the "Juice"). If you win your sports bet, you come out with a profit of $45, so your initial $50 brings you up to $95.

At a table game, your $50 can net you all sorts of money. If you hit black jack on all three of those $15 hands you played for those initial 5 minutes, your $50 is now worth $117.50. If you are playing craps or any other of the odds games, you can double, triple or more each of your bets.

The other drawback is that sports betting ends for the night the moment of the final tip-off, kickoff or first pitch of the night… which is generally around 7 p.m. Vegas time. That leaves you a long evening as a wall flower if you decide that table games aren't your thing.

So if you feel like gambling into the wee hours of the night, you will have to find yourself sitting at a black jack table, or throwing dice down the felt, and may come out profitably because of it. But if you are looking for me, just ask a casino worker where the sports book is and you will find me with pencil and betting sheet in hand, crunching numbers and trying to out think the Vegas brains.

What are your favorite games in Vegas? Post a comment below.

Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Note: Who's In First does not condone gambling and would recommend that anyone with a gambling problem should seek professional help. If you are going to gamble, make sure you stay within what your budget will allow. This post was written for fun with the intent of discussing various casino-style games and should not be taken as a recommendation or as advice on how, what or when to gamble. Any projected wins or losses were hypothetical and used for the sole purpose of conveying a point. Thanks.

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