Event: March Madness 2010 (And St. Patrick's Day)! March 17 – March 21. Characters: Myself, 2 Friends (The Mope and the Yeller) who we go every year and a last minute addition of my sister and her Friend. We are all between the ages of 25 – 32. This trip report is way overdue, but here is a start... March 17th - We left my house with the Mope, my sister, and her friend at 3:30 AM when the Limo driver started honking! That was way too early and will never do that again – just fly out the previous night! We had a 6:20 AM direct flight from Chicago Midway to Las Vegas on Southwest, the greatest airline to Vegas ever. The airport (Checking in at a counter) was not even open when we arrived at 4:00 AM!! Seriously, their was a line about 50 people deep. The skycab was open with NO line so we got out of the Limo, looked at everyone in line, went to the skycab and then walked past everyone --- they all ran out to skycab, so funny! The flight was uneventful and we arrived in Vegas nice and early. No cab line even. We checked myself and the Mope in at Flamingo (5 nights comped), checked my sister and her friend in at Venetian (2 nights comped), and awaited for the Yeller to arrive at 2:00 PM. My 23 year old sister and her friend have never been to Vegas over 21 and they had a blast. The best part was after breakfast at the Bellagio Cafe (which is always awesome) they sat at a bar and started playing video poker. After 15 minutes and 2 drinks they whispered to me (Why is the bartender not charging us?). The Mope and I started laughing and gave them a 30 minute briefing on Vegas. They ended up winning about $30/each on video poker while the Mope and I lost about $100 each on craps. I also broke even playing a combination of slots at Bellagio (Monopoly Big Event, Buck's Ahoy, Lemmings, and Hot Hot Super Jackpot). We met the Yeller at NYNY around 2:00 PM to check in and we all went for naps with a plan to meet at Soria, in Aria, for Dinner. We met around 6:00 PM and although the food was good, we would not go back. It was a very average, boring, City Center restaurant that was overpriced and we could have had more fun elsewhere. Again, the food was good and so was the service, but it was upstairs away from the action and I felt like I was in a Ruby Tuesday's in the mall. Don't waste your time at this place – Go somewhere with more Vegas character like Mon Ami outside or even a Buffet. The Mope, the Yeller, and Myself continued to lose money at craps in Aria, while my sister and her friend continued to grind out (unknowingly) small wins at VP. They both think you can not lose at VP and hey, you get free drinks. It was so funny watching them. Later that night we walked through City Center, PH, Paris, Bally's and back to Paris for Dueling Piano's at Napoleon's. The dueling Piano's at Napoleon's is on of the best things ever, except for the overpriced drinks, but it is really a good time. The piano guys are VERY entertaining and I make a stop there every Vegas trip. The College fight song battle lasted a good 20 minutes with the Wisconsin Badgers winning. Ohio State put up a good battle, but the Yeller was yelling and throwing his cash at the piano guys for Wisconsin. For the day, I ended down about $200 in gambling, all on craps, but it was a fun start to the trip. March 18th – March 19th – Woke up at the crack of 5:00 AM to start one of the most nerve-racking Vegas Events...finding a sportsbook for 5 of us to comfortably watch 16 hours of basketball. This is my 8th year of March Madness I know better then to try this at 5:00 AM, I should have been up at 4:00 and, but we were up at the piano bar till 2:00 AM the night before so I opted for 3 hours of sleep instead of 2. I told Mope to get up and of course he didn't so I left the room at 5:15 and started my journey. Left Flamingo and walked over to Bellagio and it was not packed, but not 5 seats in a row so headed to Caesars. Got to Caesars and the same story! Tried Mirage and Harah's and no luck. Now I was starting to get nervous and called the Mope. I told him to save 5 crappy seats in the crappy flamingo sportsbook. He did this successfully and it eased my nerves. At this point it was 6 AM and I was getting anxious. I walked to Bally's, which is never impressive and low and behold they have table's and chairs and beer girls and a great set up! It was empty too – probably because no one knew about it or expected it. Got a PRIME seat for 5 people and it was comfortable. They had tables set up in the bar area and above the bar area. Hint: Get the first row above the bar area and you will have a view of 7 flat screen TV's. The best part of March Madness is bonding with the guys around you for 4 days. Plus, once you meet and greet for the first part of the day, everyone saves everyones seats for the next 4 days. I HATE the people that show up at 10 or 11 (games tart at 9 AM) and ask, “Is this eat taken?” Ahole – Every seat is taken after 6 AM for March Madness, don't ask!!!! Seriously, fights ensue all over sportsbooks for 4 days because of this scenario. We were by a table of Gay Kentucky fans, (yes homosexual) and a table of midgets. Please don't judge me, I am not saying anything bad, I am just saying it was interesting seeing a table of gays and a table of midgets – never seen that in my 8 years in the sportsbook. The first day was great as all 5 of us made about $3K betting. My sister, who is kinda into sports had no clue about sportsbetting. By 11AM she was parlaying half time lines, winning, spouting off stats, and everyone was super impressed by her. The Yeller is the biggest loudmouth in the world. He yelled at the TV's and other people and his voice was gone by 4:00 PM. He is a typical NY Dbag, but I love him! The Mope always says, “YEAH MAN, BASKETBALL, I AM WATCHING ALL THE GAMES THIS YEAR.” Guess what, he left by 10:30 AM, gambled, napped, missed 8 great games, and showed back up around 5:00 PM. He is so funny. I make his bets for him and give him the winnings. We always all do well at basketball since we research it in depth for a week prior. Sports betting is in your advantage if you study numbers/trends/seeds and not teams. We ended the first night at Joe's in the forum shops and that is my favorite restaurant. I visit it at least every other trip, most times every trip. The food is impeccable, the service is first class, and it is a fun atmosphere. It is super expensive, but worth the treat if you love steak or fish. The 5 of us went through 3 bottles of $150 champagne. Great time!. We played poker at night for hours, grinded out some small wins and then hung out at Heart Bar in PH. Heart bar was very fun and relaxing. March 19th was my sister and her friends last day. I convinced them to come to Vegas Wed – Friday before their trip to see the White Sox and Blackhawks in Arizona. They did NOT want to leave – they had a blast and I only know the half of what they did. I don't want to know the other half. The changed their flight from 9 AM to 6 PM so they could watch more basketball. We went back to our same seats for Day 2 of March madness and the same crew was all around us. Day 2 of March Madness started off with a jerk standing by us and he kept saying, “Hey Guy, Guy, Guy, hey Guy, I got a tip” He did this for 30 minutes, we think he was on crack, until everyone in our section chased him away. By the way, all his predictions were wrong. More great games ensued, we made great friends, and Nathan's in Bally's has a good breakfast. This part is cool and no one will believe me unless you were in the Bally's sportsbook. I know better, but I also love GIANT moneylines. Ohio was +1000 vs. Georgtown and I said, “Ha, We should bet that” I was not serious, but I looked at our spreadsheets and saw Ohio had a chance to win based on numbers and equations so I talked about 30 guys in throwing $10 on the +1000 Moneyline. It was only $10 each so no big risk. Guess what...OHIO upset Georgtown and for 2 hours during that game was the greatest sportsbook atmosphere I have ever been a part of. It was a great bet to cash and the only 2 guys that didn't do it were the Georgetown fans. They started yelling at me for no reason after the game (Guess they did not like my cheering for Ohio!). As the night went on, this dude in the back table passed out and we all watched him until he finally fell to the ground. All his friends left him so we just threw some ice on him, he woke up, and stumbled outside. I wonder if he is dead? We didn't see him or his friends the next 2 days. It was now just myself, The Yeller, and The Mope left for the rest of the trip. We went to Kahunaville for dinner, that place is OK, but it was Friday and we had no reservations. We eneded up at Nine Fine Irishmen and the Irish music was really fun, then they played 80's/90's stuff. March 20th – After a night of fun at Nine Fine Irishmen we were back at the Bally’s sportsbook for a third day of basketball. This was by far the worst day of basketball for us, and the day Kansas went down (If I remember correctly). We lost most of our bets and struggled to break even. After the games we hit one of our favorite spots, Isla in TI. The food is very good, but this is the second time the service was poor. They were very busy and the goal was to get customer sin and out as quickly as possible and I don’t like being rushed. We will probably cross Isla off our list in the future as Vegas has plenty of good Mexican restaurants to chose from.’ After Isla we played a few hands of blackjack, nothing exciting and then ended up back at Napoleon’s. It was fun as always and we were sitting by this cowboy with Jheri-curls that had like 5 women with him. It was odd that he would bring them to Napoleon’s, but hey, it was entertaining. March 21st – The saddest day of the trip. Our flight was at 6:00 PM so even though we watched some great games in the Bally’s sportsbook, all I could think about was going home. I hate the last 12 hours of Vegas, I am so disappointed it is over and can’t enjoy may last few moments. If anyone has any suggestions for me on that please let me know! Our last bet we decided to parlay 2 1st half Money lines (Duke and forgot the other game) for $300 and ended up winning. It was a great end and off to the airport we went! Notes: Cab drivers for some reason took us down the strip twice when going from Venetian to NYNY which really pissed me off and I did not tip. I am so use to drivers taking us down Sinatra drive and it is like a 7 minute ride – Be Careful. As said here plenty of times on this board, the walkway from Bally’s to Bill’s IS an issue. 3-15 homeless guys on the bridge at various points during the day, harassing women and old people and pretty much everyone. Something needs to be done and I will complain next time, but well see what happens The first few hours in Vegas are some of the best. When you first check in, when you eat your first meal, play your first game, etc. Did not see very many kids, which is typical during March Madness, so that was a plus Need to stop staying at Flamingo. It is overall just a dump and smells like coco butter Bally’s Sportsbook was such a pleasant surprise so kudos to Bally’s for the set-up The Time Machine was a great slot machine – Won $100 on it 3 times out of 6 plays. People take 3/6 limit poker WAY to serious and need to realize it should be fun. No matter how many trips I take to Vegas (3-5/year) it never gets boring, always love to try something new, and it really is the greatest place.