Dogs will bite in Sweet 16

Mar 20, 2007 7:02 AM

How do you like the round ball extravaganza so far?

Just for the record the favorites covered 27 out of 45 games with the worst blood bath being on Thursday for the sports books. As advertised, the dogs went 10 and 8 on the second round on Saturday and Sunday. The dogs’ percentage will be higher during the Sweet 16 round next week.

Is it just me or do all these games begin to look alike? I swear CBS is putting repeats on during their lull hours. We probably wouldn’t know the difference.

The joints are full and bursting with out-of-town handicapping specialists. It’s great for the town and lasts longer than the Super Bowl. What really amazes me is how many fans yell at the top of their lungs at the television screens, at the coaches, players and especially the referees with specific instructions on how the game should be played.

Writing tickets in these books is the toughest job in town — being a supervisor is no walk in the park either. The only guys that have it easy are the bosses, and they just have to sweat the money.

In the middle 1980s on the night that the Colorado Belle opened in Laughlin, a mutual acquaintance introduced me to a guy who for many reasons we will just call Danny.

I had been down in Laughlin for about four or five years running the Edgewater Hotel book and now the company built a sister property that we were all excited about.

The same management was selected to run both hotels, including most of the department heads. My part was insignificant as we would only share a small portion of the keno counter and utilized their writers.

Danny impressed me as a nice guy with an abundance of street savvy. He mentioned that he came down to Laughlin especially to talk to me. My antennas immediately went up as I thought he may be an FBI guy or a Gaming Control Board enforcement agent. You can’t imagine how wrong I was.

In the ensuing conversation he expressed a desire to play my opening numbers through a phone account that he would set up. I explained that I always gave the room players the first shot but he was welcome to play after they did, after we opened up the phone betting each morning.

His response put me in a state of shock, as he offered me $2,000 a week if I’d comply with his wishes. Suddenly I woke up to what was really going on and who he really was, and who I thought he was representing. My first reaction was to light up a Pall Mall as rapidly as possible and politely explain why I couldn’t do it, which is what I did.

Our conversation only lasted another 30 seconds as I lit up two more cigarettes and we amiably parted with my heart pounding as loud as the band in the lounge.

I thankfully never heard from Danny again until about 5 years later when he started coming into the Excalibur and playing the horses. Ironically, he turned out to be the best horse player I ever had in terms of betting volume. His daily horse playing lasted about six months and one day the security guys at the Excalibur told me I had to bar him from the race book.

I never asked why, but I told them that’s their job, not mine. I never to this day have seen him again and to this day I do believe that my decision in Laughlin that night was the best one I ever made in my life.

Have a great week, and to all the priceless, abused horse players out there be patient with only one more week to go — until football comes back that is!