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NIT Journal: Fremont, Vegas Strip, Odds

LAS VEGAS — I did a lot of walking. I checked out Fremont Street, everyone’s favorite not-so-secret spot. I checked out the Vegas Strip. I saw the fountains again at the Bellagio. I checked out Caesar’s Palace. I did the analog version of comparing the spread at the various sports book. Short version: +1.5 at MGM, +2 everywhere else, the same as the internet said but I could see it with my own eyes on the big shiny boards.

I lost money at blackjack and at roulette and at craps but had fun doing it. This is the Vegas Way. I saw a guy lose $1000 on Big Six, then casually walk over and unroll more $100s to play small-bet blackjack. It is easy to criticize or be shocked but you and I put a lot of time and effort and money into supporting the little Mean Green and that’s a little gambling right there. To each his own.

In my unofficial poll conducted by walking around talking to people here and there, I know that more naps were taken, some work calls were being had, and some early nights were called. The reality of the weekend and the logistics around flights and taxis and packing are a bit closer, and everyone is adjusting accordingly.

I don’t know that there are any more people — they were not around the Vegas Strip or around Fremont when I was there. That, of course, does not mean much. LV is a big town and there are lots of labyrinthian casinos to get lost in. Still it would have been nice to fill up the town with green-clad fans. Maybe more NT alumni need to move around the country a bit ;).

I took a tour of some sports-books for the odds, and for the set up. There are way more places to sit and bet than I had time to investigate by my quick rankings of the ones I wandered into are here:

  1. Caesar’s Palace — comfiest chairs. Nice screens. Sort of in the hall way though.
  2. MGM Park — nice, a bit tucked away but feels like a nice cigar bar / home theater.
  3. Orleans — Maybe used to be nicer, but plenty of space, easy access to everything, big screens / plenty of screens
  4. Golden Nugget — meh. Small. Feels like an airport credit card lounge

Fremont is like Time Square, and any other place where business and street-performers and hotels all gather to entertain your cash away. It’s fun — I wanted to do the superhero zip line — and there is music and drink and half-dressed people ready to catch your eye. My favorite moment is when some circusy-dudes were flipping each other around in front of some bored, upstaged feather girls. The orange feather’d ladies were looking at their phones as the crowd gawked at the guys standing on each other. Meanwhile, behind us a guy doing his Michael Jackson impression for tips. He had the moves, but he didn’t look anything like the guy. He found a lady to lock eyes with and dance at. In the background was the “Half Court Hotties”, singing Sweet Child O’ Mine.

I could have possibly been overwhelmed if I didn’t have three kids under 7. This is like, normal for me.

The Strip is always more walking than you are ready for. There are fewer people trying to hand you advertisements than I remembered from the last times here. There were suited guys asking if I wanted a limo ride to the clubs. Also, there’s like the chocolate store. It is everything you remember, but with more of it. Some things are showing their age, and are quickly being replaced with bigger, shinier, brighter other things. That’s how this town has always been.

Outside of that, it was fun. I had a few drinks. I listened to a few stories — including some from the cabbie that aren’t PG. Also, some other cabbie was managing employees while driving me to the strip and trying to solve some kind of crisis. Nothing is boring here.

Today is about the game, and I’ll be at the tailgate and the game.

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