Archive for the 'Miscellany' Category
Several months ago, I wound up in the possession of two glass fish bowls. One of them was brought back from a trade show and was used to hand out mints and such. The other just, well, winked into existence. I got some gravel and some plastic plants and made a home for a betta fish named Bob. With two cats in the house, Bob was not expected to last long. It’s now about 6 months into it and Bob, although now swimming with a corkscrew motion and feigning death anytime a cat comes near, still lives. I do not know how.
I was never part of the wave of folks that flew the flag after 9/11. I don’t have children or close relatives who currenly serve in the armed forces. But I am proud to live in the United States. We have a mountain of problems (just like any other country), only ours are, well, ours. One of the neighbor’s kids came by the house yesterday. He’s a Boy Scout and they are doing a fund raising project. I gave him $30 and early in the morning on every US holiday, he comes by the house and raises a flag in the little strip of lawn between my sidewalk and the street. Today is Presidents Day.
So I was over at my local auto mechanic’s shop and he was shooting the shit with a buddy and they were playing with yo yo’s. I thought they had gone out of style ages ago. Apparently not.
Every now and then you hear about some lucky stiff who manages to nail the book in Vegas. I’ve been keeping up with VegasRex for a while now because the guy just cracks me up. I’m not going to bother to link to this post… I’m just gonna reprint it because it so amazing:
Is it possible to bet on two different teams to win the exact same game, place the bets within 15 minutes of each other, and cash in on both tickets?
Can you really win two sides of the exact same bet?
You can if you are VegasRex.
What can I say, I am just that damn good.
And you’re not.
That’s right, I’m gloating. I don’t get to gloat often, so I am going to milk this one for all it’s worth.
Okay, so when, where, what and why.
It went down like this.
One of our forum members (who shall remain nameless because she was wrong) posted a “lock of the week” in our forums.
Apparently, Tennessee could not possibly beat UAB by 30+, and anyone who didn’t take UAB with the points was an idiot.
Personally, I know next to nothing about college football. Northern Idaho Community College is ranked #1 for all I know. But we have some people on our board who live, eat, drink, and breathe this college football stuff, and I assume they know what they are talking about. Especially if they live in the college football team’s state.
So when I got up this morning, I hit the thread once more, and decided to pull up ESPN to see if I could figure it out. Apparently Tennessee was playing a team called “UAB”. The latter sounded like an airline, and not like a football team at all, but still, a 30 point spread is pretty big.
In the last two years, I have never, and I mean never taken the favorite in any sports game and given away points. I have taken the money line here and there on a favorite, but I no longer give away points.
Because I think it’s a sucker bet. A win is a win, and a loss is a loss. Years ago I would give away 5 1/2 points and the favorite would win by 3, or I would give away 9 points and the favorite would win by 7.
I would be standing in front of the TV yelling “Kick the field goal! Kick the field goal!” in the last two minutes of the game, but they would invariably kneel on the ball and run out the clock 15 yards from the opponent’s end zone.
Screw me once it’s your fault, screw me 3,000 times, I’m Madonna.
If the spread is not even, and I don’t think the underdog can keep it competitive, I don’t bet the game.
To be honest, my “new” system of two years has served me pretty well.
I had many a nice dinner last year because the Patriots could not cover their ridiculous 20+ point spreads.
Sure, they couldn’t lose (except the Superbowl), but a pro team is a pro team. They wouldn’t exist without knowing the basics of the game, and a fumble here or interception there can spell a loss for even the best of the best.
Hell, the Jordan Bulls never went undefeated, and I once sat in the MCI Center and watched the hapless 1999-2000 Washington Wizards spank the Shaq-Kobe Lakers.
Any given team can win on any given day. I sincerely believe that, and like I said, my lack of confidence in favorites has enabled me to make more money than I would have giving away points left and right.
But college sports are a bit different. Their football scores look like basketball scores. The games are often so lopsided, that I wonder if the other team bothered to show up at all.
However, when I saw this “lock of the week”, coupled with the insane 30 point spread, I figured that a game like this was right up my alley … so, at about 8:30 this morning, I picked some clothes up off the bathroom floor, put them on, and took a spirited ride over to the Las Vegas Hilton Sportsbook.
When I got to the sportsbook, this black guy on a bike 5 sizes too small for him (read: stolen) wedged his bike between myself and a handrail and said “Hey big man, would you like to buy a chain?”
Figuring that he probably got the chain from the same place that he got the bike, I politely declined. Why would I need a chain anyway? It would only get stolen.
So I headed into the book and could not find the Tennessee game anywhere on the board. Turns out it was up there, but I just couldn’t find it among the five million other games, so I waited in line for a sports teller.
When it was my turn, I asked “What’s the line on the Tennessee game?”
The guy typed some stuff into a computer and said “Thirty One”.
“31? Wow. Is there a money line?” I asked.
“No, when a spread gets this wide sometimes we don’t put a money line on the game.” he said.
“Okay, Give me UAB with the points.” I said.
Now, I am not a big sports bettor, but in all my years of betting games, I can honestly say that a teller has never gotten my bet wrong. I’ve gotten complacent, and maybe a bit spoiled. So spoiled that I didn’t bother to check the ticket. Rather, I just shoved it in my pocket and assumed that it was right.
Is this smart? No. But I’m just being honest.
After my bet was placed, I decided to get a sandwich, so I walked back to the Deli and stood in the semi-long line. I decided on what I would have, and reached into my pocket to retrieve some cash. By chance, I happened to grab my ticket along with the cash, and just before I shoved it back into my pocket, I was horrified to see this:
Oh holy shit on a stick. I was given the favorite, along with minus 31 frigging points!
Oh no! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
I left my place in the deli line and raced back to a window. When I got back to a teller, fifteen minutes before kickoff, I informed him that no way in hell did I want Tennessee with 31 points, I wanted to bet on those other bastards, United Airlines, or whoever the fuck they were.
This was the rest of our conversation.
Teller: “Did you check your ticket before you left the window?”
Me: “No”, I confessed.
Teller: “Let me see what is happening.”
He typed a bunch of stuff into his machine again.
Teller: “Sorry, I can’t reverse it because the line has moved.”
Me: “Moved? It’s 15 minutes before the game! How could the line have moved?”, I asked.
Teller: “I don’t know but it’s up to 33.”
Me: “Thirty three??? Ten minutes ago it was thirty one, did the quarterback die or something?”
Teller: “I’m sorry, I can’t do anything.”
I explained that the ticket was typed in error, but he, and the guy next to him just repeatedly scolded me for not checking my ticket before leaving the window, and told me that I was out of luck.
So I did the only thing I could do … bet the other side, and write off the vig as a complete loss. I was paying these guys twice regardless of what happened. The tellers couldn’t stop chuckling about the whole thing.
Still, there was no way in hell I was going home with Tennessee – 31 points. I might as well flush that down the Hilton toilet before I left … so I had to bet the opposite side of the ticket and take my lumps on the first ticket. As you can see, this is exactly what I did:
I didn’t really pay much attention to the extra 2 point spread on the second ticket as it was utterly meaningless to me. Sure, in theory I could win both tickets if Tennessee won by exactly 32, but what kind of asstard would try to straddle two tickets for a precise numerical spread?
Apparently an asstard like myself, and when I bitterly pointed out that I could win them both, the teller and his neighbor could not contain their laughter any longer. They just lost their composure and laughed in my face.
I grabbed my tickets, cursed the tellers and the Hilton, and left.
When I got home, I decided to pull up ESPN again and see which shit ticket I was most likely to collect on.
About 10 minutes into the game I learned that “UAB” stood for “University of Alabama at Birmingham”.
Alabama has colleges?
Does it really take four years of education to learn how to fuck your sister?
I couldn’t get the game on TV (since I only have a 13″ TV with rabbit ears), so I pulled up this thing called “Game Cast” on the ESPN website. It gives you a play-by-play thing, and you can keep track of the score.
Tennessee got out to an early 14 point lead, but it ended 14-0 at halftime. At the start of the second half, the Alabama Jew-Haters (or whatever they are called) kicked a field goal, and I figured they would hold the spread easily.
I just left the “Game Cast” running, and came back about an hour later just in time to catch the final 30 seconds..
What? What? What was this? 35-3? Final score?
No …. fucking …. way!
Oh no! No … no …. no. This was not possible. I checked every sports site I could find to verify the outcome, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t say the exact same thing … 35-3.
I had won on both teams.
That never happens. At least not for me. Probably because I never bet on both teams.
I didn’t wait more than five minutes before heading back to the Hilton. I wanted to make sure they didn’t invalidate the game on a technicality or something.
I was very happy to find the same teller who had sold me the second ticket. I waited in an extra-long line just to get him. I slapped both tickets down on the counter and said “I bet you’ll take the ticket back now!”
“Hey, congratulations!” he said, “Sometimes mistakes pay off!” He rattled off some other shit as well and was far more chatty than before.
He kind of chuckled, but it was nothing like the boisterous laugh he had before. The guy sitting beside him knew I was there, but wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. I could tell that he was visibly pissed. The big fucking joke that was me just took the house for the bullshit spread jump.
Fine, it wasn’t much money and the Hilton as a whole could not care less, but this was my moment. Once, just once I beat the house at their own game.
After the guy stopped congratulating me and pretending to all of a sudden be my friend, I asked him to make sure to break the last bill into 20’s. I could see the excitement on his face build as you usually only ask for 20’s if you are going to tip $20.
We both counted carefully as he put the money on the counter, and when he laid the last bill out, I scooped them all up, and said “thanks”.
I wonder if he could hear me laughing as I immediately walked away from the counter.
How you like me now motherfuckers?
Last but not least, I have heard that college games are rigged. We have all heard this. Why on earth would a line move, not half a point, not one point, but two full points fifteen minutes before kickoff? The line had been established at 30-31 pretty much all week, but it jumped two points right before kick off? What are the probabilities that the exact score would land precisely between those two numbers?
Truth be told, Tennessee was within field goal range when the game ended, but didn’t even attempt one.
I don’t want to imply that the games are rigged, but … the games are rigged. I would be willing to bet that I wasn’t the only person in the country to win on both teams. I can’t prove it, and it’s just a hunch, but I doubt I’m wrong.