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March Madness, Vegas style


VitaminD

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Last year, a few of my roommates from college threw together a last-minute trip to Las Vegas for the 1st 2 rounds of the NCAA tournament. I couldn't go for some reason (although I scored tickets to the games in Philadelphia, so it wasn't a total wash), but we got it all put together again this year, and I got to go. (Score one for a tolerant, trusting wife! :D)

It was awesome. We stayed at the Mirage (if you go, get the poker room deal - for 34 total hours in the Poker Room, our room rate was a little more than half of what the going rate was for rooms) and spent entire days of our lives glued to the seats at the sports book. There were fans from all 65 schools, and with people betting every game, people were hanging on every point.

This has become a huge deal to Vegas - every casino was pretty packed (although I missed Joey Porter beating up Levi Jones at the Palms), and each sports book has a different vibe to it.

I was wondering if anyone else here has ever done this? If you are over 21, I recommend doing it at least once (a few schools had Spring Break, including my alma mater [uNC] and Maryland, among many). We're looking to make it an annual tradition, as well as a cheap excuse to go to Vegas for a few days, so if and when you make your annual pilgrimage, you can bet you'll find me there. I'll be the guy rocking the Carolina Blue hat who's been holding down seats since the night before (I :censored: you not, me and a buddy went down to the Sports Book at 3 in the morning and we got the last table in the room; some people claimed their seats at 9 the night before). I'll probably be a little gamey and delirious, but it's a great way to kick off March Madness.

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You had me at Las Vegas. :D

Unfortunately, not yet 21 so I couldn't do it this year. But this is something I've considered for the future. Perhaps next year?

And let me get this straight, all you had to do was play a total of 34 hours of poker amongst you and whomever else was in the room I'd imagine and you got the room for little over half of the usual rate? If I do understand that right, that's awesome since the poker room is where I'll be spending alot of my time to begin with.

That sounds like an amazing way to spend the best time of the year in regards to sports.

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Been there a couple times, however the only notable sporting event I ever watched from there was the Eagles Dolphins MNF game a few years ago (saw it at The Joint at Hard Rock - my favorite spot in Vegas.) A March Madness trip would own though.

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You had me at Las Vegas. :D

And let me get this straight, all you had to do was play a total of 34 hours of poker amongst you and whomever else was in the room I'd imagine and you got the room for little over half of the usual rate? If I do understand that right, that's awesome since the poker room is where I'll be spending alot of my time to begin with.

The way the Mirage runs it, you can have 2 (although they gave us 3) people work off the hours for the room. It's something like 6 hours a day on weekdays, 8 hours a day on weekends. So that's how we got to 34 hours. We just grinded it out in shifts, especially during the 2p Pacific games (there's usually only 1 game going, it's dinnertime back East). And it's not like they chain you to your chair, so if you get up for a hand or two and don't play, your seat will be waiting for you when you get back (minus whatever blinds you may have missed).

Sounds like a lot of fun - did Winthrop have a good crowd?

It is hard to say who was truly rooting for Winthrop for personal reasons and who jumped on the bandwagon for financial reasons of the sheer love of the "upset" (it's not really an upset when everyone's calling it, and Vegas made that fact obvious). But there was much vocal love for the Eagles, and I saw a bit of the colors. Was it Winthrop's Spring Break? Because the schools represented most vocally seemed to be those on break - most notably Maryland, UNC and Wisconsin. (note: Wisconsin people LOVE to party. Great people, great drinkers, great accents, great times.) And while the Winthrop contingent was relatively small where we were (Mirage), every casino with a sports book is packed to the rafters the first Thursday and Friday, so there may have been a ton of Winthrop folk at, say, MGM Grand. Every sports book has a different vibe as well, so who knows who's going to wind up where.

Either way, pencil me for next year. See you there...

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I was there for the first two rounds in 1990 and it was a lot of fun. I stayed at the Mirage which I believe had been open for about three weeks at that time. Their sports book was the absolute state of the art for the time and it was very cool to watch every game going on at any one time on huge screens.

And the National Champion that year? None other than UNLV.

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I was there for the first two rounds in 1990 and it was a lot of fun. I stayed at the Mirage which I believe had been open for about three weeks at that time. Their sports book was the absolute state of the art for the time and it was very cool to watch every game going on at any one time on huge screens.

And the National Champion that year? None other than UNLV.

That had to make for one hell of a time in Vegas.

edit: eh, nevermind, I guess you wouldn't have been there when they won it.

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