We’re Still Playing Keno: A Loser’s Guide To Losing

Looks like we picked the absolute worst possible weekend to bet on the NFL.

Tahoe Bucket O' Shame

Tahoe Bucket O’ Shame

Every year, for the first weekend of March Madness, my friends and I go down to South Lake Tahoe, stay at the Montbleu Resort & Casino, make a bunch of ill-advised bets on the college basketball games, and then follow that up by playing slots, black jack, roulette, and whatever else catches our fancies, to try to recoup all that we lost when we made all of those ill-advised college basketball bets.  See, the thing is, as a collective, we really don’t watch enough college basketball throughout the season to be even remotely aware of where we should be putting our money; and I probably watch less college basketball than anyone!  Inevitably, when we’re ripping up our tickets, someone will always say, “Why don’t we come down here during football season?  We’d surely clean up THEN!”

Well, this year, we decided to make good on that threat.  This past weekend, we flew down on Friday night (where our flight was delayed an hour, as if that wasn’t our first foreboding clue), set up shop at the Montbleu, and readied ourselves for a weekend with a massive amount of sports betting.

Saturday early morning started off pretty promising.  I had Florida -7 against South Carolina for a small winner.  I had Kansas +46.5 for a big winner against TCU.  But, things took a dark turn in the afternoon.  I had SMU +20 against Navy (loss), Baylor -2.5 against Oklahoma parlayed with the over (loss), Washington State +11 against UCLA parlayed with the over (loss), and every God damn one of my multi-team parlays and teasers all went down in flames.  In an attempt to recoup some money and salvage the day, I decided to put a bunch of eggs in the New Mexico basket.  To start the day, Boise State was favored by 30 against New Mexico, so I put $20 on the Lobos to cover.  Believing that bet to be a sure thing after our Afternoon of Terror, I put a very large amount on the Lobos again, this time with the line moving to 30.5.  Not only did the Lobos cover, but they won outright, and I thought my weekend would be saved.  After winning a moderate amount on one of the UFC fighters (one of the undercard fighters in the Rousey debacle), my friends and I set out to test our luck at some of the other casinos.

The order of events might be wrong, but I know this was the night where three of us dumped $100 each into one of those $5 slot machines and ended up each of us winning about $300 in profit.  Then, we decided to play some of that Texas Hold ‘Em table game where you go up against the dealer.  We didn’t really know all the rules, but fortunately the four of us were the only ones at this particular table at Harrah’s, and Sandra was a more-than-willing tutor to three drunken jackasses.  Of course, she ended up giving way to Tom The Fuckstick, this humorless old cunt, who couldn’t have been less friendly or engaging with four guys just begging to give their money away.  Anyway, he ended up making a mistake (which I still don’t fully understand, because it seems like both dealers had been making that same “mistake” all night since we sat down), didn’t really explain it properly, which led to us calling for the pit boss to come over.  Long story short, there was a showdown over a grand total of $15 ($5 from three players) that they wanted to take away from us because of a mistake their dealer made.  Now, had we been dealing with Sandra, all probably would have been forgiven.  But, since we were dealing with Tom, a fucking asshole, we all stood up, kept our $15, and walked away to have our money cashed in.  Suffice it to say, their utter lack of customer service (combined with a ridiculous hard on over taking each of our five dollar chips) has left me with a lifelong passion to boycott Harrah’s from now on.  Pity too, because I’m a reckless and foolish gambler, and I don’t plan to stop going to Tahoe anytime soon.

Our night ended back at the Montbleu, recounting our horrific experience to the black jack dealer as each of us won a minimum of $100 over the next hour or so.  Saturday, it would seem, turned out quite all right.  We’d end up waking 5 hours later to an entirely new day.

My plan for the NFL portion of the weekend seemed to center around the “Go Big Or Go Home” credo.  I ended up making nine 8-team parlays against the spread, and they all fell apart in the morning.  Not to worry, though.  Each card only cost $10 (which would’ve won me many thousands of dollars had any of them won); these were long shots I put out there to test the waters, see if I could come home a big winner.  I put an obscene amount of money on the Dallas Cowboys beating the Tampa Bay Bucs, though, which had me moping around all morning and sent me into a tailspin once the game ended (the Bucs, on a last-minute touchdown, to go ahead 10-6; the Cowboys unable to do anything in that final minute).  For some reason, I had all the confidence in the world that this would be the Romo-less game the Cowboys would win.  I compounded that by betting on the Raiders (favored by 3) over the Vikings and the Patriots (favored by 7) over the Giants.  That sufficiently ruined my afternoon; the only bet I ended up winning was a prop bet (Eli Manning over 1.5 touchdowns) for a very moderate gain compared to all my huge losses of the day so far.

My one saving grace was the Arizona at Seattle game.  One of the reasons I chose this weekend, aside from it working out for everyone from a scheduling standpoint, was that the Seahawks were coming off of a BYE, playing on Sunday Night Football, against the Cardinals (who, while good, is a team we tend to beat more often than not).  The Seahawks were -3, and the sports book was paying out even money on the Seahawks to cover.  So, my thought process from the very beginning, when I proposed this weekend, was that even if we got knocked around during the day, we could always double down on the Seahawks and get all of our money back.

So, here’s what I did:

  • In two separate bets (one in the morning, one in the afternoon after I’d lost almost every other bet of the day), I put down $300 and $200 on the Seahawks to cover the -3 spread.  This would have won me my money back plus $500.
  • In a point spread prop bet, I put down $100 on the Seahawks covering a -10.5 point spread (meaning the Seahawks would have to win by 11 points or more).  This would have won me my money back plus $255
  • In another prop bet, I put down $200 on Larry Fitzgerald getting under 76.5 receiving yards.  This would have won me my money back plus $181.80

All told, if the Seahawks would’ve come through on each of those wagers, I would have walked away with $1,736.80.  And, if I could have managed to NOT go out and party until 4am that night with my friends after such a windfall, I would have walked away from Tahoe entirely with more money in my wallet than I flew down with.

Well, since the Seahawks opted to NOT have Richard Sherman follow their best receiver all over the field, Larry Fitzgerald was able to beat that prop bet by halftime.  And, since the Seahawks’ offense was a collosal shitshow from their first drive of the game, the point spread prop bet also had almost no chance of succeeding.  Luckily, the defense kept us in it by forcing turnovers that directly led to 14 points for the Seahawks, so covering the 3-point spread was still in play for a while there in the fourth quarter (with a very outside chance of the Seahawks covering 11 if everything happened to go our way).  But, ultimately, the Seahawks were too shitty, and I walked away from that game a broke and downtrodden man.  As I may have gotten a collective 9 hours of sleep the previous two nights, I ended up going to bed right after the Seahawks game, so I missed out on another 6 hours of gambling that my friends took part in.  But, it’s just as well.  You don’t want to be wandering around the floor of a casino after having a shit-ton of money ripped from your grasp.  Sad gambling is no good for anyone.

When all is said and done, I couldn’t have picked a worse NFL weekend.  Counting the Thursday and Monday night games, all told there were 10 of 14 games where the underdog won outright.  When you tack on the Pats only winning by a point, that’s 11 underdogs making life miserable, with only 3 favorites covering their spreads.  Why we chose to have faith in so many favorites is beyond me, but it all adds up to all four of me and my friends walking out of there with our pockets turned inside out.

Tahoe, you got us this time.  But, we’ll be back in March, to fight again, with honor.

And, who knows?  Maybe we’ll be hundred-thousandaires when we get there!  See, at the Harvey’s casino, they have a little Keno area.  Harvey’s is really old school, which might make it my favorite (even though it’s owned by the same company that owns Harrah’s).  Anyway, Keno is the most boring thing to bet on at any casino, which is fine if you need to get away from all the flashing lights of the slots, or all the breathtaking action of the sportsbook.  You just sit, drink your drink, smoke your cigars or cigarettes, and watch the little numbers light up on a bingo-esque screen.

We didn’t really have the will to play Keno when we got there on Friday night, but we saw they had penny-Keno.  1,000 games for $10.  Between three of us, we bought 5,000 games.  We each picked a random sampling of 16 numbers.  Every Keno game has 20 numbers selected.  If we hit all 16 of our numbers out of that 20-number sampling, we’ll win $250,000.  We thought, yeah, okay, we’ll buy 1,000 games, then we’ll come back on Sunday to see what we won (believing they played approximately 1,000 games in a day, so by Sunday we’ll SURELY have our answers).  Except, when we got there on Sunday, we found out that they only play about 200 games a day, and so it’ll be a few more days yet before our 1,000 games have concluded.  As such, technically – as of this post publishing – we will STILL be playing Keno.  And, when we go back in March (assuming we all managed to not lose our Keno tickets), we can have them scanned and see if we’re big winners.

So, there’s still a chance!  Look, every time I go to Tahoe, I make a futures bet in sports.  And, every time I’ve gone back to Tahoe, I’ve collected on at least one futures bet.  Well, this time, they didn’t have any futures bets I liked.  So, I’ve got this.  I’ve got Keno.  And, dammit, I’m going to have some money waiting for me when I get there!  Even if it’s only 40 fucking cents!

One thought on “We’re Still Playing Keno: A Loser’s Guide To Losing

  1. It’s been almost two years since this was written. Just wanted to let the author know I still found it HILARIOUS/DEPRESSING. Probably because we’ve all been in similar situations haha.

    Currently I’m sitting at a pool hall bar, awaiting my food. I googled “is keno for losers” and this was the 3rd search result on google.

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