Sweet 16 In Vegas, Day 2 Recap: A Reversal of Basketball Fortunes

Well, this update is coming a lot later today as it was a very long night last night and I needed some extra sleep.  Funny, but wives don't really appreciate you taking off four days to go to Vegas only to come home and complain how exhausted you are.  Certainly did not expect to sleep until close to 11 am though.

After writing my update yesterday, my friends convinced me to go to the breakfast buffet yet again.  As much as that gets you stuffed, it isn't a bad plan since you are certainly not hungry again until eight o' clock-in time for dinner.  So, after my arm was twisted, I went to the buffet, this time with mostly a carb-avoidance plan and a focus on only the foods I really, really wanted.  Now, I'm not sure if you've ever seen a Vegas buffet, but if you haven't, they are everything you would imagine and more.  And the benefit of a place like the Bellagio is that everything is abundantly fresh.  We were somehow able to put aside all thoughts of guilt at how they must have to throw 40% of the food away to keep everything so fresh--one buddy heard that they sell it to pig farms, but I cannot confirm or reject the accuracy of that statement. 

However, we did have a very academic discussion over the following question:  if you wanted to eat the highest percentage of the different foods at the buffet--assuming the rule was that you had to take a piece or portion of any item and eat at least half of it for it to count--what is the highest percentage you could get to?  The range of our answers was 10-20%, with no possibility that you could try more than 20% of the offerings under the rules of the game.  And, of course, to maximize that number, you'd really have to go for the fruit and the proteins first.  Carbs would just knock you right out.  Yes...these are the questions of the universe that my friends and I ponder.

After another walk over to the Venetian, I figured that I would give the big tournament another try.  Well, I lasted a heck of a lot longer and got knocked out in 34th, but still too early for my tastes and not close to cashing.  One friend got knocked out way early and the third got knocked out a while after I did, in 27th.  That friend insisted that we join the 4 p.m. Turbo Tournament that had just started, the same one I had won the day before.  I adamantly refused and said I was done for the trip with any tournaments.

So, two minutes later I am sitting at the Turbo Tournament and shooting daggers at my buddy after I lose almost half my chips on the first hand to a guy who never should have called me.  Definitely the biggest waste of money on the trip, but at least I got knocked out quickly enough to get back to the room and see the entire second half of the UNC game.  Ahhh, UNC.  The easiest basketball win I have had in many, many years.  I admit that I was a little worried when Marquette got it down to about 15 (a lead I would have been thrilled with if it had grown to 15 as opposed to being reduced from 30 to 15).  But, the bet was never really in doubt and it just about paid for the cost of my VCU Money Line bet.

I love VCU.  I view VCU and Butler like a good craps or blackjack run.  Sure, your last bet is going to be a huge loss, but until that happens, you just keep riding the wave.  They had me really worried in the first ten minutes due to their complete inability to pull down a rebound.  I honestly thought the bet might be lost right away.  Eventually, Florida State was going to start hitting some shots, but VCU's interior was never going to get any bigger or stronger. 

We walked over to the restaurant around halftime, and the restaurant bar had the Kentucky-OSU game, so, again, we had to have the blackberries and iPhones out to get  our updates.  Once Kentucky won, they switched over to the VCU game, but as soon as one of my friends and I got up from the table to check out the last couple of minutes, FSU scored, and he was convinced that we were bad luck and we couldn't actually watch the game.  So, I sat at our table, perfectly still, until hearing the crowd confirm our victory.  Then we all toasted.  It was beautiful.

That put me way up on basketball--despite my losses on the OSU-Kentucky over/under and my small bet on Kentucky to be the first to 15 points.  I can't remember the last time I was up on basketball for a trip.  Of course, I've also never ended a trip down on poker, and that is almost a certainty this year.  A complete reversal of fortune on both fronts.

So... dinner.  Dinner was incredible.  We went to Mastro's Ocean Club, which is in a tree house structure in the middle of Crystals at CityCenter.  I won't bore you with too many details, but we got an insane amount of food, including a ton of appetizers to split, each one better than the next:  if you ever go, get the mussels appetizer.  I've never said anything much about mussels--I usually view them as something that I like, but not that I would order over other things.  These mussels ranked up with the best things I have ever had in my life.  Just get them.  In fact, the meal was so spectacular that I am a bit worried that our private chef's table tonight at Mix won't live up to the expectations and the bar that was set last night.  I'll cross my fingers (and stomach) that it will.

So, before discussing the last event of the night, an aside to say that I walked through the Cosmopolitan casino for the first time last night, and I'm not an expert or even competent in interior design, but that place is beautiful.  Every decision they made with that casino is the right one aesthetically.  Blows the Bellagio and the others away in my mind.  And speaking of the Bellagio...it's a great place and I love staying here each year, but something needs to be done with the tv situation.  The TVs are fairly small, standard-definition boxes in a town where bigger is always better and high-def flat screens are the norm, with many hotels having flat screens in the bathrooms for goodness sakes.  And the channels consist of a couple dozen basic cable choices with another two dozen channels that are nothing but ads for the hotel or international stations not in English.  I know this sounds picky, but I expect a place like the Bellagio to have a better tv situation than, say, a Best Western.

Back to the events of the night.  A couple of the guys don't play poker at all, but one likes to play even though he is a novice, so no limit is a bit intimidating to him.  So each year, one night we just take over a table--those poor other guests--and play low-stakes limit poker.  And similar to the person that wins the basketball pool without having ever seen a game, he cleaned up.  I've never seen a lucky streak like this.  He hit flush after flush, straight after straight, full house after full house.  And each time, someone else at the table had a good hand, just not as good as his.  Unfortunately, he has yet to learn the art of the raise, so he didn't win more than a hundred bucks, but it was a sight to behold.  We didn't get back to our rooms and to sleep until almost 4 am.

So, here I sit, finishing this update before getting down to the poker tables to try to get my mojo back there.  I'm going money line on both Arizona and Butler today, both around 3 to 4 point underdogs, so I am guessing the odds will be about +145, maybe +150.  Seems like there is no need to stop riding the underdogs now.  It's not like UConn or Florida are juggernauts.  I think I am off the first to 15 points bets for now (unless I get some wonderful odds... really I can stop anytime I want).  I'm still not hungry after last night, so I'll probably play through to the basketball games.  Wish me luck.

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