‘Last Man Standing’ contest a March Madness challenge

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The rules are simple — pick one team to survive and advance.

Do it enough times and you win 50 Grand. Or more.

That’s what Station Casinos has in store once again for its “Last Man Standing” contest to run during the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

The field hasn’t been announced yet, but entries are now being accepted at 16 Station properties. Entries are $25 and if you buy four, you get a fifth entry free.

“We think it’s the best college basketball contest out there,” said Chuck Esposito, race and sports director for Station Casinos who oversees the daily operation at Sunset Station in Henderson. “It mirrors the NCAA Tournament. It’s one and done. Lose and you’re out.”

This is the sixth year that Station has done “Last Man” for college hoops. There were over 2,500 entrants for last year’s contest.

It’s basically a knockout pool. You pick a team. If it wins, you move on. Lose and you’re out.

There is a point spread involved and all games have a half-point spread built into the number so there are no ties. You must also submit a pick every day of the contest in person or risk being automatically eliminated.

“It gets more stressful as the tournament goes on,” Esposito said. “I’ve seen a lot of guests pacing back and forth in front of the windows trying to decide who to select for the contest.”

You can expect many to employ a strategy of finding a team that can win it all and ride it as far as you can. For those who backed Virginia last year, that plan didn’t work out too well as the Cavaliers became the first No. 1 seed to be eliminated in its first NCAA game.

Others will look for teams to spring an early-round upset, then switch to the perennial favorites. But in a year where there appears to be a lot of parity and questions about Duke, finding the right team could be a real challenge.

Esposito said all it takes is a look at the futures to see that nothing is a given for this year’s tournament.

“There’s been a lot more parity in college basketball the last few years,” he said. “I think it’s changed so much with the big schools losing kids to one-and-done every year. The mid-majors keep their kids around three, four years and they know they can compete with the big boys. They’re not intimidated.”

Esposito said contest players also have much more information available to them than ever before.

“You’ve got access to so much information and with social media, you can find things out quickly to help you decide what team to play,” he said. “It’s really been a game-changer for the public.”

But in case you need a little more info, Sunset Station is hosting a seminar at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at its Club Madrid. The event is free and will include Gaming Today’s Andy Iskoe, Bruce Marshall of The Gold Sheet, longtime sports talk radio host Hank Goldberg and KSHP radio host Brian Blessing.

There will also be a watch party on Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22, at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson. Admission is free and there will be food and beverages available for purchase as well as betting windows.

“It’s one of the best times of the year,” Esposito said. “We’re hoping for a record number of entries and we expect to be busy at all our properties. ”

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About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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