November 6, 2005

(This may be one of the longest posts ever in Mad Cal history. I am going to challenge the Blogger word count on this one.)

So I got back from Las Vegas after a weekend with Wayne and had just enough money to buiy a 20 oz. Pepsi and cover my Bart ride home. Still was a great weekend, and was ever so close to being one of the greatest weekends ever (see gambling section). I'll break the Vegas recap into two sections: First U2, then the gambling stories.


This was prime objective numero uno for the trip. We had no tickets, but we flew in Friday and were going to find our way into the concert that night somehow. And despite our failures at working deals out on Craigslist or eBay, we were fortunate enough to end up with floor tickets for less than what we would have paid for much worse seats. After a brief period of doubt when we wondered if the tickets were real, we found ourselves inside the arena. We didn't get randomly selected to be inside the oval, but we were just about 12 or 15 feet behind the center of the ellipse, which was pretty darn good. And while any U2 show rocks, it really rocks when you're that close to Bono and Edge. They were out on the oval for 4 or 5 songs that night. Even the Fat Elvis who was standing near us got to make a cameo at the night's end.

On Saturday, the MGM Arena box office got smart and released whatever tickets they had held early. (Friday night, they had held a bunch of the higer priced tickets and they had to scramble to sell them off.) So for face value, we got tickets in the 5th row that were directly left of the stage. When you look straight ahead, you see Adam, Bono and Edge in that order. We also got a good look at Larry on the drums from our spot. The energy was just amazing. Throw in Mary J and the guy from the Killers showing up, and it was just awesome. (Fat Elvis was relegated to behind the stage seats for this show.) Wayne had been going to a bunch of U2 shows on this tour and was telling me that the second night of the back to back shows was always the better one. Now I understand. He has taken my concert experience to a whole new level. As a bonus, Bono didn't spend as much time out on center of the oval. He did perform a lot on our side of the oval. In the words of Wayne, our U2 mojo was very good.

Going to see them in Oakland on Tuesday. If I don't get dizzy from the Vertigo, I may have to consider going on Wednesday as well.

Stories from the Casino

Of course, no Vegas trip is complete without a few good gambling stories. This section will be broken into two parts as well: The Waitress Yo and The Longest Yard and Half-point Ever.

The Waitress Yo

During this trip, Wayne has also taken my craps game to a whole new level. And it's not a good one. Our four craps sessions can be classified as bad, bad, decent, catastrophic. During our last and fatal session, we decided not to play at the money-making table, instead deciding to join the so-cold-polar-bears-would-freeze table. Horrible. Can't talk about it. Instead I will tell you about the Waitress Yo.

During our one decent session of craps, we noticed a strange trend. Every time a waitress came behind us and talked to Wayne or asked for an order, the shooter would toss an eleven. This happened at least 3 times. He would turn or be distracted by the waitress and next thing you know, 5 and 6 on the dice.
And so we created the Waitress Yo. Next time the waitress came around, we would place a yo bet. It was like a reflex for the next hour. We'll be focusing on the numbers and odds and such, then someone behind us would say 'Cocktails?'
Immediately Wayne: '5 dollar yo!'
Followed by Cal : '2 dollar yo!' (I wasn't ready to fully believe the Waitress Yo theory, but I didn't want to miss out either.)

Number of Waitress Yo bets placed: at least 5
Number of elevens tossed following WY bets: 0

At one point, I told Wayne that it wasn't even the right waitress, but it didn't really matter. It was tons of fun.

I played blackjack at the casino for the first time. I hated it. Played 6 hands. Lost 5, lost 5, lost 5,lost 5, lost 10, lost 10. Earlier in the day, I had retired from playing roulette, but I unretired and actually won my blackjack money back. Unfortunately, my craps losses were too great to overcome. Congress might have to pass a federal spending bill to cover those losses.

The Longest Yard and Half-point Ever

Being in Vegas during a football weekend meant we had to get in some sportsbook action. This was where our weekend could have been made great. We had placed some football bets that would cover all other gambling losses from the catastrophic craps sessions. I had convinced Wayne that we should go for the little risk-big reward strategy. That meant big parlays and big teaser bets.

I placed a 12 team teaser bet for week 9 NFL action. (CRAP! I thought it was a 10 teamer. Now I'm even more mad!) It was a ties-win teaser, with my $5 to win $295. Here were my picks and results:
1. Chargers -1 WIN
2. Raiders +11 WIN
3. Bengals +2 WIN
4. Giants -5 WIN
5. Bears +2 WIN
6. Panthers +4 WIN
7. Texans +19 WIN
8. Falcons +3 WIN
9. Seahawks +1 WIN
10. Cle/Ten Un 44 WIN
11. Jax/Hou Un 42 WIN
12. Car/TB un 42 I plan to file a grievence with the NFL over this one.

All my morning picks were covering. Mid 4th quarter, score was Carolina 34, Tampa Bay 7, meaning if either team scores a touchdown, my miracle play was over. Tampa gets to 1st and goal and knowing how late in teh game it was, kicking a field goal would do them no good, so Carolina (and me) needed a goal line stand. They get stuffed on three straight plays, bringing up a 4th and goal. One play for to keep an incredible parlay and a big payout hopes alive. Fourth down pass play is broken up in the end zone!! YES!!! Flag on the field! Pass interference on the defense. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Four fresh downs from the one, Tampa punches it in and a miracle 12 teamer (I don't think it's ever been done) is shot down by an umpire who had no right to make that call on field from his position. 11-12. Final score 34-14, game total is 48, meaning I lose. Of course, all the remining picks went on to cover making me 11 for 12 and $5 poorer. That hurt bad.

Wayne also hit 9 out of 10 on his teaser picks. The one he lost on: Picking Joey Harrington and the Lion in a pick'em agasint the Viking. I warned him about Harrington.

Even though I had missed out on a big payout, I had another potential big payout, on a 5 team parlay against a half-point spread. The half point insures no ties, and I went with 5 road favorites. $10 ticket to win $210.
1. Panthers -1.5 Won by a lot (Too much actually. Aarrrrgggg.) COVER
2. Seahawks -4.5 Kurt Warner magic came through COVER
3. Bengals -3.5 Won 21-9 COVER
4. Falcons -2.5 Gus Frerotte magic COVER
5. Bears -3.5 Wins 20-17 WHY CAN'T LOVIE BE LIKE VERMEIL?????

The other 4 teams on the ticket have already covered. Game tied at 17, I need the Bears to break a big play and score a touchdown for a win. Game looks hopeless. Then Mushin Muhumhad catches a big pass and gets inside the 10 with less than 2 minutes left. I'm yelling for them to punch it in for the score. Run nowhere, Run nowhere. Run nowhere. FG for 3 point win. Leaving me a long half point away from a 5 team victory.

Earlier in the day, we were watching the KC-OAK game in the sportsbook. KC trailing by 3, ball on the OAK 1, 5 seconds on the clock, no timeouts left. The Chiefs could have kicked the three and taken their chances in OT with the home crowd. Coach Dick Vermeil sends the offense back out on the field. We're thinking maybe a quick pass play, so you can throw it away and still kick the 3 if the play fails. Get stuffed on a run and it's all over. But Coach Vermeil shows no fear and calls a run play that scores the winning TD. The PAT kick even covers the spread, making many in the sportsbook happy. In response to Vermeil's gutsy call, they began to chant :'Dick's got balls! Dick's got balls!'

Still a great weekend.

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