Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Redskins Cheerleaders Final Auditions Open to the Public ~ Thursday, April 1st

For anyone in the DC/VA/MD area looking for something to do this Thursday night, why not check out the following event:

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Final Auditions 2010

Date: Thursday, April 1, 2010
Time: 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Bethesda Theatre
7719 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD

The Redskins Cheerleaders Final Auditions show is open to the public!

Come out to the Bethesda Theatre on Thursday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET to watch first-hand what it takes to make the Redskins Cheerleaders squad!

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $15 and VIP tickets are $25.

The Final Auditions show features the finalists competing for one of the coveted 40 spots to become one of the "First Ladies of Football."

"It’s a chance for fans to get a behind-the-scenes look at what a professional audition is like and to also root for their favorite cheerleader," said Stephanie Jojokian, Redskins Cheerleaders Director and Choreographer.

Each year, the Redskins Cheerleader staff strives to raise the bar to continue to be among the top cheerleading squads in the country.

Cheerleader candidates will be judged on their appearance, performance in dance routines, ability to entertain and photogenic ability.

Cheerleaders get the opportunity to perform at Redskins games, travel the world for appearances and participate in the annual swimsuit calendar photo shoot.

The Final Auditions show is sponsored by Robert Andrew Day Spa & Salon.


Pocket Casino at the Venetian

I tried out the Pocket Casino when I was in Las Vegas for the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and I've been meaning to post about Pocket Casino @ the Venetian for a while now, so here goes...

Sample Pocket Casino screen

The Venetian now offers in-gaming wagers using Pocket Casino.  It's a hand-held device that lets people wager on fluctuating money lines, over/unders, for halves and for the game (i.e. the odds are ALWAYS changing).  People can also wager on whether free throws are made or missed (e.g. 0-2, 1-2, 2-2).  Not all bets are available at all times and to reiterate the odds and spreads change constantly.  Therefore, you have to be quick to place and confirm your bets.

In order to use the machine, you must complete and application form and have a Grazie (i.e. Palazzo and/or Venetian loyalty card). 

  • Once approved you deposit cash with a Supervisor and for a limited time you also receive a $20 credit.  For all you "Bad luck, Bettys/Bobs" out there ~ since you're using cash and not credit, you have a limit as to how much you can lose.
  • You can hedge your bets off the board, with your in-gaming wagers if you're quick and savvy, since you can take advantage of momentum shifts, injuries, and fouls.
  • Minimum bet is $5.  I have no idea what the minimum sportsbook bet since I don't bet on horses.  ****OK ~ I'll admit that I have bet on horses once, and I won about $26.  However, I would NEVER be caught placing a $5 wager on any sporting event at a counter.
  • For a good free-throw shooting team, you can easily make some money and put your money where your mouth is as to whether the player makes/misses the shot.  When I was up $100, I quickly found myself betting $20/$50 a free throw (i.e. of course, the payout isn't 1:1, but a profit is a profit).
  • The machines only work in designated gaming areas and there's a map on the pamphlet that specifies the areas in the casino. 
  • The hand-held is glitchy and makes you login with your Grazie number and a password when it loses its connection.
  • The battery life for the device isn't that great.  I'd estimate 1-2 hours if you constantly bet and/or the screen is illuminated.
    • Since the battery life isn't that long, you will have to exchange your machine repeatedly.  You don't need to wait in line for this, but depending on demand for the device ~ your new machine may not be fully-charged when you receive it.  Unfortunately, the machines don't charge as quickly as they're swapped in and out.
  • Not all games are available on the device.  I'm not sure how games are chosen, but I do know that I wanted to wager on the Kansas game, and it wasn't available.
  • The only sport that was available and active, was college basketball.  However, if I remember correctly professional basketball and hockey etc, were listed as options ~ so it does look like the functionality will be expanded.
Lastly, if anyone is out of work in Las Vegas and looking for a job.  I found the following posting on

Supervisor - Pocket Casino (The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino)

Date: 2010-03-18, 2:27PM PDT
Reply to: see below
The Supervisor Pocket Casino will serve as the primary access point in meeting the needs of the guests and the pocketcasino ambassadors. This may include telemarketing, intense guest interactions to resolve service breakdowns and promote guest recovery and player analysis. All duties are to be performed in accordance within departmental and The Venetian Casino Resort’s policies, practices, and procedures.

Supervisor Pocket Casino will be able to:
Stand for extended periods of time in one location
Roam the casino floor, pool deck and sports bar in varying hot or cold conditions.
Navigate high traffic and crowded areas efficiently
Efficiently and accurately enter data into a computer with a high degree of detail oriented confidence
Efficiently and accurately conduct large cash transactions
Be able to work any shift as needed with limited notice
Be available for extended shifts as needed for special events and marketing opportunities
Be confident and outgoing during telemarketing interactions with guests
Be competent with MS Excel, MS Word, Outlook.
Own a high level of confidence in learning additional software and hardware pieces as needed.
Must be personable and able to effectively move guest service disputes toward resolution and guest recovery.

Position Responsibilities:
Scheduling in a fluid work environment with multiple team members and assignments
Owning and resolving guest service issues including those not directly involved with pocketcasino dept.
Monitoring the performance of pocketcasino ambassadors in the casino, pool and sportbook areas to ensure 5-diamond service is consistent.
Interpersonal Marketing and guest interception in gaming, sportsbook and pool areas
Telemarketing and Player recapture including cold calls and player analysis and marketing to drive repeat business
Moderate technical assistance with pocketcasino devices and computer systems.
Monitoring and interacting with external marketing devices, agencies, and their employees.
Ensuring appropriate levels of supplies are maintained in the department including marketing collateral, general office supplies and other tools as needed.
Monitoring payroll of internal staff to ensure accurate compensation to VCR Team Members (and any external contractors or marketing assets as needed)
Maintaining, tracking and monitoring of all funds accountability to the pocketcasino ambassadors.
Ensure compliance with all local, state and federal guidelines as pertains to the department and position including Nevada Gaming Control Board and FinCen (Title 31)
Monitor Ambassadors for compliance with all department and resort policies including attendance, variances, dress code, hospitality standards and department service standards
Must be confident and assertive in coaching and counseling ambassadors as needed to ensure performance and service levels are maintained.

Minimum Employment Requirements:
21 years of age, proof of authorization/eligibility to work in the United States, High School Diploma or equivalent, ability to communicate effectively in a positive/upbeat fashion utilizing English; both in oral and written form, interpersonal skills with focused attention to guest needs to deal effectively with all business contacts, maintain a professional, neat and well-groomed appearance adhering to VCR appearance standards, maintain consistent adherence to the VCR Unmatched Guest Service Standards, work varied shifts, including weekends and holidays. Ability to lift or carry a minimum of 20 pounds, unassisted, in the performance of specific tasks assigned. Must be able to work with others, communicate well, give direction, review the work of others, and provide guidance and counsel when needed to achieve department goals and objectives. Must maintain a positive attitude toward work and interface with hotel guests in a congenial and polite manner. Must be able to address stressful situations with clients with dignity and the utmost tact and politeness. Must be able to touch and handle supplies in a safe and non-hazardous manner, maintaining proper hygiene, cleanliness, and disposal methods

Specific Position Requirements:
4+ years in Supervisory position in a hotel resort based industry. 4+ years in a fast paced hotel resort environment focused on repeat business and endpoint guest satisfaction including hotel, casino, resort services, concierge services or casino marketing. College degree in marketing, communication, hotel preferred. Must be able to obtain and maintain a gaming card, health card, TAM card or other local, state or federal licensing requirements

To apply for this position and to view all current career opportunities, please go to:

Location: The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
Compensation: $40,000/year
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!

Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 1650340037

Moral of the story, if you're in the Venetian sportsbook or a designated gaming area and you're a patient person (i.e. you have to deal with the technological issues), check out Pocket Casino.  Seriously...  What do you have to lose?!?!


Monday, March 29, 2010

My cousin's wedding kept me away, but it's Game ON now for hockey and basketball

OK - so it's been a while since I posted, but it's only because I've been completely consumed with family stuff.  My cousin, Nick, got maried in NJ over the weekend, and between the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and travel time ~ I've basically managed to miss EVERYTHING in the world of sports.

Welcome to the family, Ging

Friday, I was invited to San Antonio to go see the Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs game with friends as part of one of my best friend's birthday festivities.  I couldn't make the trip because I wanted to attend a rehearsal dinner in NJ.  I've seen the Spurs play at home back in Jan 2009 (i.e. work had brought me out there for meetings).  I hope my friends had a blast on Friday. Unfortunately, the Cavs lost to the Spurs 102-97.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHUBS!

Silvia and Doug (aka Chubs), San Antonio ~ Jan 2009

 Spurs game w/a fellow sportsfan, while in San Antonio ~ Jan 2009

One of the decorated "outhouses" on display in front of the Spurs' arena ~ Jan 2009

Saturday there were college basketball games, and I think I saw about 2 minutes of the last one ~ but I cannot tell you what I saw because I was so disinterested. 

No sports this Saturday, I'm watching a wedding

On Sunday afternoon when I was driving home from Jersey, I learned that Duke had beaten Baylor (i.e. thanks to a text message from my brother).  Other than that, I have no idea what happened in the world of sports.  I do know, that the  Duke v WVU game is the 2nd game of Saturday's final four match-up, and I want to go to Indianapolis to see it.  I looked at flights and right now, that's my only "hiccup".  I've been to the Final Four and seen Lucas Oil Stadium, so I can't figure out if I'm really interested or just being restless.  It would be fun to see some of my family friends though, and I do like Indy, so...

I ended up meeting some friends Sunday night and a few of the Capitals were out (i.e. Green, Knuble, Perrault, and Backstrom).  Unfortunately, they'd lost to Calgary earlier in the day.  The Caps posed for pictures and may have been out to support a fundraiser to support The Arlington Food Assistance Center.

In a perfect world, this will be my sports schedule for the week:
Tuesday - Ottawa Senators v Washington Caps, in DC or Oklahoma City Thunder v Philadelphia Sixers, in Philly
Wednesday - Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavs, in Cleveland
Saturday - NCAA Final Four games, in Indianapolis

How much of this schedule will actually be realized is still up in the air.  Then again, anything is possible. Everything will most likely be a last minute decision.  I'm exhausted from last week's adventures and I'm trying to pick and choose my adventures carefully since I'm not sure yet, how much I owe the tax man this year.  ****Mental note, I must call my accountant tomorrow. 

I'm racking my brain for sports topics that are relevant and interesting and I'm drawing a complete blank, so until next time...

I don't want to put up wedding pics, since that's not really the function of this blog, so here's a pic of me with Penny Hardaway (i.e. Anfernee Hardaway, a Memphis alumnus) at the Final Four in 2008.  Part of the fun of being at events like the Final Four is running into NBA players who are out there supporting their alma maters.  With Duke, Michigan State, Butler, and WVU in the running this year ~ there should be a good number of former players in the crowd, so if you're a basketball fan, keep your eyes open.

Penny Hardaway was in San Antonio rooting for his Tigers ~ Feb 2008

****  Updated November 23, 2010:  Someone keeps doing a Google search on "Penny Hardaway girlfriend" and this post and image come up in the search.  For the record ~ No, I am not and was never his girlfriend.  I just ran into the guy in San Antonio.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Zydrunas is back home with the Cavs

He's baaaaaaaaaack...  Well, OK.  He's not really back, since he's rusty and not really playing tonight against the Hornets.  However, he has re-signed for one year.  Included in this post is the link to Mary Schmitt's story.  She already wrote it, so why should I?

Also, for those of you that are curious as to how he sounds ~ check out the video. 

Z returns to the Cavaliers

Go Cavs!!!

****On a completely unrelated note, and I have no idea why this is on my mind (i.e. maybe it's Zydrunas' orange hoodie) but I feel the need to put it out there.  Nacho cheese easy-mac is gross.  Ewwwwww.  Imagine my frustration when I noticed that that's the "flavor" I picked up and had to rely on during the winter storms.  I tempted starvation.  I can't bring myself to finish the other ones I have.  I think I need to find a food drive.


The San Jose Sharks defeat the Minnesota Wild, and I hit the Xcel Energy Center

Tuesday night I went to the Xcel Energy Center to check out the San Jose Sharks v the Minnesota Wild.  I wore a green sweater to work, so I was practically already dressed to support the Wild ~ BUT I was there to root for the Sharks (i.e. and check out another venue, #61 to be exact).

I talked to the hotel concierge and found out that St. Paul is about 15/20 mins away from Minneapolis.  He also informed me that scalping is legal here.  Bingo!  I threw my boots on and hopped in a cab.  20 mins later, I stepped out of the cab, found a scalper and he was more than willing to split a pair of tickets. He had tickets 4 rows off the ice, located more or less "center ice".  Face value on the ticket was $80+.  I paid $60 and waltzed into the arena.

Why not root for the Wild?  I have no loyalty towards Minnesota.  Actually, I really don't have any allegiance to the Sharks either.  However, I do remember meeting George Gund III at the Cleveland Cavaliers' holiday party many, many years ago and I recall that he held a minority interest in the team, until 2002.  I like the Gunds.  They are Cleveland natives.  Further, it didn't hurt that I checked the standings before I left the hotel and the San Jose Sharks have been on a 5 game losing streak, so it was "time" for them to win.  I like rooting for winners.

When I arrived at the arena, I ran to my seat.  I noticed the Sausage Haus and mini-donuts were for sale.  No time for that though ~  I wanted to be in my seat for the opening face-off.  My seat was excellent.

Opening faceoff

The Minnesota Wild are out of the playoff hunt, but they drew a crowd of 18K+ .  There was much more energy at the Xcel Energy Center (i.e. no pun intended) compared to the Target Center.  However, towards the end of the game, it appeared that the crowd began to turn on their home team as one of the guys sitting near me started referring to them as the Minnesota "Mild". 

This was a very aggressive game and lucky for me, I was sitting close to the ice and near the penalty box.  The Sharks won this game easily, with a score of 4-1.  There's really nothing left to say.  The Sharks were clearly the better team. 

Enjoy the pictures.

Physical game

Great seat

I actually think he's posing for this picture

Taking a breather

Getting separated

Mixing it up

The Wild skating towards me

With the guys on the ice

Check off another venue

I only need to hit the new Minnesota Twins' stadium and my sports tour of this city will be over. 

Incidentally, Darth Vader was at the game and riding on the Zamboni.  I think he was also posing for pics with some Storm Troopers on the concourse.  There's some sort of show that will be performing songs from the movie at the arena at a future date.  My one regret of this night, is that I did not seek out Darth for a picture.  Oh well ~ I'm not worried about it.  With my luck, I'll run into him again.  Further, there was a contest during one of the breaks in the game and 1 male and 1 female were competing to identify the Star Wars characters' pictures that appeared on the big screen.  Now I don't know where these people came from or what rock they've been living under, but who can't identify an Ewok, C3PO and R2D2?!?!  Answer:  the 1 male and 1 female who agreed to participate in the game.  It was unbelievable.

Oh - one last thing...  Can anyone get me into Paisley Park?!?!  If so, leave me a comment...  :-P


Raptors defeat the Timberwolves, and my trip to the Target Center

Monday night I went to the Target Center to watch the Toronto Raptors take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.  I also crossed off my 60th venue in my goal to hit all the professional stadiums for baseball, basketball, football (and I guess I'm also including hockey).  I knew the game wasn't going to be a barn burner, but I had to go to the arena and check it out for myself.

I knew ahead of time that this arena was older.  I also knew that, years ago, this is the arena where a ceiling light fell and almost hit Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  How do I know?  He told me.  Needless to say, I kept looking up to make sure everything was all good.

The Target Center is an older arena conveniently located right downtown in Minneapolis.  When I walked into the building, the first thing I noticed was a statue of "Mr. Basketball" George Mikan.  For those of you that don't know who George Mikan is, you really should go out and buy a basketball almanac.  He is a legend.  I met him years ago, when he was in Cleveland for the NBA All-Star game.  I'm pretty sure I have his autograph somewhere on something, and I'm even more confident that the item is gone.  Oh well. 

Mr. Basketball

My seat was 10 rows off the court in front of the Timberwolves' bench, and immediately I looked towards the rafters to see what was up there.

Malik Sealy's jersey is retired...

Until now, I could not understand why Malik Sealy's jerey was hanging up there.  I just googled and read his Wikipedia page, and now I understand.  Malik Sealy was the victim of a drunk driving accident.  He played his entire career in Minnesota and according to his Wiki, was leaving Kevin Garnett's birthday party when struck by a pickup truck traveling the wrong way down the highway.

On a lighter note, the center banner boasts the Minneapolis Lakers' Basketball Hall of Fame. 

The game started, and I noticed that it was really quiet in the arena.  Really quiet.  It reminded me of  Gund Arena before LeBron came on the scene, and Gund Arena (i.e. before LeBron came on the scene) reminded me at times of a library.  ****Incidentally, it reminded me of one of the girlfriends of a former Cleveland Cav, since she could often be seen reading a book, in her seat while her man "played" the game.  Talk about rude and embarrassing.   I'm all for promoting literacy, but that can be done in the family lounge or at home if you're that disinterested in the game.

The opening tip...

The game was a slow one so I had plenty of time to look around and take it all in.  I had the Timberwolves' bench in front of me and I studied it.  First I noticed Kurt Rambis sans goggles and then scolded myself for not remembering that he was the head coach.  Then I noticed Bill Laimbeer was there also.  Obviously he no longer holds the post as of head coach for the WNBA's Detroit Shock.  Is it just me or does it seem like an "unholy union" to have Rambis sitting next to Laimbeer?  Do Lakes and Pistons get along?  Well, technically they're weren't next to each other since Reggie Theus was sitting in between them.  Talk about some great basketball playing talent ~ Rambis, Laimbeer, and Theus...  Oh, one more thing ~ the Timberwolves' coached need to spread their seats out.  They looked too crammed together.  Ever share the backseat of a car with 3 or more other people, where every other person has to lean forward when the others lean back?  This is what the Timberwolves' bench reminded me of...

Kevin Love and Chris Bosh waiting on a rebound, w/Rambis, Theus, and Laimbeer looking on

It's almost like a mentorship program for the young Timberwolves'.  I looked at the players and noticed how young they are.  I think that explains their record.  Kevin Love had a decent contingency from UCLA in the arena, to the point where I thought there was a legitimate student section and I was at a college basketball tournament game.

UCLA "student" section

Ok. now this is going to seem mean, but I can't not say anything about it.  The camera man for the Timberwolves must have been in a bad car accident.  He was wearing a neck brace and had an eye patch.  Talk about dedication to his job, because there he was doing his job.

Dedicated to his job

During the game, I noticed that Marc Iavaroni was sitting on the bench for the Toronto Raptors.  I remember him from his days in Cleveland where he served as the Big Man coach.  It's always great to see a familiar face.

During one of the timeouts, the Timberwolves had a promotion where they threw T-shirts into the crowd.  Have you ever seen a referee throw a t-shirt into the crowd?  I never had until this game.  Maybe I've never really paid attention, but I always seen the refs talk amongst themselves during these timeouts ~ however, at this game I noticed one ref scanning the crowd for where to throw the T-shirt.  Weird.

Who wants a shirt?

Seriously?!?!  Is this ref from Minnesota?  Weird.

Anyway, nothing much to report about the game itself.  It was a slow one, but the Raptors came back to win by 6 points (i.e. Jack was fouled with very little time left in the game).  The betting line was -4.5.  Just saying. 

The Target Center has vendors that sell snowcones and beer will run you $6.75.  I had Twizzlers and a Pepsi while I chatted it up with the guy sitting next to me, who happened to be Ramon Session's cousin.  

Cross the Target Center off the list

That's all I have for now.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 March Madness, Rounds 1 and 2 ~ Las Vegas (i.e. life in the Venetian Sportsbook)

On Sunday night, I left Las Vegas.  I'd been there for a few days.   With the time difference it's easy to work and play out there. 

Lucky rabbit

The 1st and 2nd rounds of the tournament were Thursday to Sunday, and after taking a look at the sites for the tournament, I decided I wanted to spend my time in Vegas.  Anyone who knows me, knows l enjoy Vegas.  I like the energy, the sportsbook, the table games, the old friends I have and the new friends I meet.  Anyone who's been with me in Vegas and knows me to any real degree, knows where to find me when I'm there.  9 times out of 10, I'm at the Venetian sportsbook.  Sometimes you'll catch me at the Hard Rock Hotel, if they offer me a great deal ~ but that's usually when it's off-season for sports and I'm with my girls at the pool etc.

Thursday night I said a quick, "Hello" to a guy with which I went to college and medical school. It'd probably been about 13 years. I literally took 5 minutes to make sure we saw each other and give him a hug. Great guy, but I wasn't dressed to go to Tao and I didn't want to crash their party.

This trip was business.  I was there to watch games and make money.  I like it like that.  I can spend hours (i.e. literally all day) in the book.  I'll watch game after game, and I usually don't change seats once I select my real estate.  I'm a creature of habit.  If I like it, I do the same thing over and over again.  I don't like change.  I like consistency.  On my second real day in Vegas, I ran to the book to place my very first bet of the day.  The line to place a bet was ridiculously long.  I wanted my bet though and knew that I'd never make it to the counter in time.  I phoned a friend, who was also in town to see if she could do it for me, but she was on a conference call in her room.  That's when I knew I had to make a "friend".

I saw a guy who looked my age and simply said, "Excuse me." When he looked over, I asked if he'd place a bet for me, since he was closer to the front of the line and I'd never make in time to place my bet before my game went off the board. He asked me what game I wanted and said he wouldn't place it if it went against his bet. I told him I wanted Xavier, and he agreed. When he asked how much I wanted to bet, I said "$330" and handed him $400. The looks on his face and his friends' faces were priceless. They all thought about it for a minute and asked if I thought they should wager some more. I laughed, and they all started pulling money out of their pockets and increased their bet. The guy I spoke with asked me if I wanted to put the entire $400 on Xavier, and I said that'd be fine. We all were in play, and we all won.

The ticket that brought us all closer together

We spent the entire day together starting from about 8AM til the last games went off the board.  During the day, I learned from Vegas Dude (i.e. that's how I put him into my phone, but he wants to be referred to as PDX, so I will indulge him on that going forward) that there were 4 of them in town together and they were taking shifts staying in the sportsbook seats.  Someone in their group was in the seats at all times and they had various shifts late at night to keep the seats reserved.  These were my kinds of guys.  They adopted another guy named, Josh, and the 6 of us were thick as thieves the entire weekend.  Actually Josh was gone after Saturday night...  Josh kept telling us he had friends in town, but I joked that it wasn't necessary for him to make up stories since after about 48 hours together, we were all like family.

Friday was a great day and night.  It was so much fun going over our bets and seeing how much money we could take.  Living and dying with every last minute shot, jaws dropping when presumed blowouts ended up as buzzer beaters, and taking advantage of an open bar (i.e. no drink tickets necessary).  After the final games ended, it was time to take my winnings to the tables.

I like craps.  I support my craps habit, with my sportsbetting.  I can win $800 and blow $400 of it and not care.  It's all gravy and it's fun.  Friday night, PDX and I ran over to the Mirage to chat it up, to eat dinner (i.e. there's nothing like meatloaf and mashed potatoes late-night for comfort food), and to play a little craps.  I played craps, tried to explain the game, and he watched.  We had a blast!  I turned $200 into $275, but that didn't really matter because a win is a win.  Next stop was some bar/restaurant over at Mirage for a drink.  We both threw $10 into a video poker machine and we played blackjack.  Three clicks later, we had $40 and cashed out.  I like to hit and run when I play silly games like that.  It's money in the "bank" that we put to the bar bill.

Next stop was Bill's Saloon for rapid craps.  While waiting for 2 seats at the rapid craps table, we played the $20 each on the "Wheel of Misfortune".  PDX decided, we'd get 5 spins each and the winner take all.  I was losing, and he caught me taking some of his chips.  Whatever.  I think I took $4.  We laughed.

Once we found 2 seats next to each other, we hit the rapid craps table.  I did my best to teach PDX about $5 craps, but by that time of night it was a challenge.  He ended up rolling a 7 on his first roll (i.e. winner)...  Craps virgin roller luck ~ it's beautiful!  He had a blast rolling the dice.  He set his point and made it.  He had technical issues with his working the terminal for his bets, and once I took control, it was too late.  We both started with $100.  I think he left with $30 something...  I don't really remember.  I know I left with $200+.  I'm lucky and had a great night.  We established a curfew and left Bill's around 2, since he had to get some rest before heading down to the sportsbook for his shift (i.e. someone had to man the fort so we'd have seats).  We headed back to the Venetian, and I thought about playing some more craps since I was up and not tired.  However, I decided against it, since it was late, PDX already bailed, and I wanted to save my money for the next day.

Saturday was another good day.  Josh bought us all breakfast.  Everyone was making money and we were laughing and having a great time.  Saturday night, I met up with one of my other friends who was in town, since she wanted to play rapid craps too.  My friend from school was at his brother's bachelor party and they had tables at XS, but I passed.  I didn't want to deal with getting all dolled up, rolling through the casino, and hitting the strip ( myself) to meet them.  I like attention, but I don't need that much attention ~ and the dress I wanted to wear begs for attention.  ****Vegas is a place where I play a lot of defense.  If I'm there primarily to make money, chances are you won't see me all dressed up ~ UNLESS, I'm with someone who wants to go out.  If we're going out, it's ON!!!  Otherwise, I want to be comfy...

Sunday was the last day in the book and it was a rough one.  Everyone was tired.

Watching TV or catching some zzzzz's

I had to grind it out.  Live and/or die by the parlay, and I was hemorrhaging my profit money.  Oh well ~ I tightened up my game towards the end of the night, and salvaged the day.  Before flying out, I said goodbye to my teller/dealer friends in the book and the old man, Shane, that was sitting next to me (i.e. since we were both on the Hawk's side against the Spurs).  Shane and I laughed it up and commented on the Tiger Woods' interview that monopolized the TVs during the commercial breaks.  We both decided we didn't really care and that it looked like Tiger had cried before the interview.  Shane thought Tiger had "rubbed onions in his eyes".  I laughed.  I like Tiger, but come on.  Enough already. 

For those of you that are curious here are the prop bets for Tiger's return to golf.

On the way to the airport, I noticed my cab was following the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.  Yep, it was defintiely becoming surreal.  Time to come home.

They were passing out whistles ~ I got one.

It's definitely time to get out of town.

Today was the first day in a few where I didn't wake up and head down to the sportsbook to meet up with PDX and the guys.  After spending so much time with them, I must admit ~ I miss them already!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Local Blogger Talks Hockey ~ AOL video posted my USA v Canada gold medal hockey game video

Oooh ~ AOL video posted my 10s on hockey.

"From a keyboard to a camera, Blogger Sarah Wirk talks above the crowd..."


"Local Blogger talks hockey" RGB daily posted my sound bite from the USA v Canada gold medal hockey game

RGB Daily posted the video of my USA v Canada gold medal hockey game sound bite also....


NBC Washington added my video to its USA v Canada gold medal hockey game story

I'm in Minneapolis for work and need to rest up before I head out to the Target Center tonight.  It'll be the 60th venue for professional sports that I'm hitting (i.e. I have a goal of hitting all the venues for basketball, football, and baseball).  Hopefully I don't fall asleep during the game, with all the traveling I've been doing today.

While trying to decompress from my 16 hour airport "crawl" (LAS, ATL, DCA, and MSP), I am in my room watching The Office re-runs and googling my name to see what comes up.  I'm excited to report that NBC Washington added the video clip of me talking hockey, after the USA v Canada gold medal hockey game, to their story.  They actually cut the other 2 guys out! 

For those of you that missed it, attached is the link to the story and video.

The entire video is here in a post (i.e. check the February archives of this blog).

Hope all is well out there.  I'm still trying to get together my post from the time I spent in Vegas.  It'll be up here soon enough :-P


Friday, March 19, 2010

Rapid Craps is in Las Vegas, only at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon

I don't even want to talk about March Madness and brackets.  I can't believe my eyes and hope that when I wake up it's all a bad dream.

On another note ~ for those of us that are fans of Rapid Roullette, check out Rapid Craps...  According to its website, it's only at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon.  I stumbled upon it today and fell in love.

Check it out for yourself:

Each player has his own terminal and there's a $5 minimum.  For those of us that are anti-100% machine for gambling, you'll be happy to know that a human throws the dice and the dice move around the table normally.

Now, beginners don't have to be scared and call out their bets anymore, players don't have to worry about not being paid out properly, and dealers don't have to worry about people throwing chips at them.  Everyone "wins" (i.e. actually, maybe not everyone ~ the technology might put some dealers out of work).

Ever heard of  Now you can take classes that teach you "dice control".  Um yeah...  I don't know, but just in case you're interested:  Personally, I NEVER touch the dice.  Back in the days, when I'd hit the Bahamas, I determined I just don't have the "touch", so if you're ever playing craps with me and it's my "turn" to shoot ~ let me pass.  Trust me, I'm cute, but can't shoot.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ovechkin's boarding call on Campbell or Downie's hit on Crosby ~ The punishments don't fit the "crimes"...

I saw a clip on TV last night and couldn't believe my eyes.  Hockey is a physical game.  Almost no game is "complete" without some sort of fight, BUT you be the judge...

Sunday (i.e. 3/14/2010), Washington Capitals' Ovechkin was ejected and received a 2 game suspension, after his move on the Chicago Blackhawks' Brian Campbell.  Ovechkin pushed Campbell into the boards, and Campbell has a broken collarbone.  He won't need surgery but will miss the rest of the season.  This is a clip of Ovechkin's hit on Campbell.

Now, check out Steve Downie's move on Sydney Crosby from 3/14/2010.  I know there are plenty of people who don't like Crosby, especially in the DC/MD/VA area (i.e. home of the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin), but come on...  Downie's "move" is absurd and he only received a $1,000 fine (i.e. no suspension)?!?!

According to Wikipedia:
Boarding in ice hockey is a penalty called when an offending player violently pushes or checks an opposing player into the boards of the hockey rink, when the player is facing the board. The boarding call is quite often a major penalty due to the likelihood of injury sustained by the player who was boarded, and officials have the discretion to call a game misconduct on the offending player. However, if no injury is sustained, then a minor penalty will be called. In college hockey, the player does not need to be injured for it to be a major penalty. Boarding is usually assessed to a player when the opposing player is hit 4–5 feet away from the boards and hits their head against the boards on the way down.

I'm not going to get into the difference between a minor and a major penalty because that should be "obvious" IN THEORY.  If you want to read the rules ~ buy the book (i.e. link inserted for your convenience). 

Seriously?!?!?  There's a difference between pushing someone into the boards and hooking a leg.  I'd argue that Downie's move has intent to cause harm, and Ovechkin's was not.  I can't prove it, but I'd argue it.

So let me get this straight. You're allowed to hook another guys' leg with yours and try to tear his ACL, but if you're Alex Ovechkin and known for physical/aggressive play and commit a boarding penalty you're going to serve a suspension...  Unbelievable.

Growing up, I was a bit of a mean/rougher, tomboy kid.  I'm MUCH nicer now.  TRUST ME.  I haven't kicked anyone in the shins in years.  Alas, I digress...  When I was younger, I was a little sneaky and loved to torment my brother and the little kids around me.  I was the "original" suspect if anyone was hurt or something was wrong.  Why?  My mom said, it's because I was developing a reputation ~ so in her opinion, it basically made sense to approach me first if my brother or another kid was crying/hurt  (i.e.  as a result, I think I was unfairly punished more, even when I basically did nothing).   It's no secret that Ovechkin has a reputation for being an aggressive player, and I think in this case, the NHL punished him based on reputation and not the severity of the offense.

Here's a link for all the hockey whiners out there...


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SpoonEllen Spoon ~ "Living the Dream"

I went to the Big East tourney last Friday and sat next to 4 ladies.  Actually, I should correct that and say "5" ladies, since SpoonEllen was there.  Do any of you know who SpoonEllen is?  Well, you should.  Chances are she's doing things that are much cooler than you, and (to be honest) she probably dresses better than you and Flat Stanley.  SpoonEllen, from what I've observed, likes comedy, loves to travel, is a philanthropist, attends book signings, and appreciates the arts and sports.  She's is definitely no one trick pony. 

I peeped her photo gallery, and I noticed that she'd been to the US Open.  The Wirk has yet to be make it to Flushing Meadows for the tournament...  Not only has SpoonEllen bested me with that event, she has met tennis great, Billie Jean King!  Are you serious?!?!  I'm officially jealous.

SpoonEllen and tennis legend, Billie Jean King

The Wirk met SpoonEllen at the Big East Semifinals

SpoonEllen on 5th Ave and dressed for the holidays

SpoonEllen is "living the dream" and doing it ever so stylishly! 

If you like, what you see ~ check out her website: or her facebook page.


Monday, March 15, 2010

AC and Jay-Z (and Manny Pacquiao) ~ WINNER!$!$!

Saturday morning I left NYC and took the train to Atlantic City ( for the Jay-Z concert.  This was my first time on the train from NY Penn Station to Atlantic City (i.e. quick stop in Newark, but I think it was only due to scheduled maintenance).  The fare was only $29.  You can't beat the price.  The ride is was about 3 hours, but I slept most of the way.

When you do open your eyes, you have views like the following from the train:

Trash, but seriously...  Who cares about the view?  I just needed to get to AC.

Close to 12:30 PM the train arrived at the AC train station (i.e. which appears to be connected to the Convention Center and is located near the Sheraton).  From the station you can hop on the jitney and for $2.25, it will take you to your destination.  I was meeting a couple of friends in AC, and they were driving from DC.  They started their voyage earlier than me, and had beaten me to AC by 10 mins or else I would've asked them to pick me up. 

The main reason I headed to AC was to see Jay-Z, at the Borgata.  I like the Borgata and had a reservation there, but my friends offered to let me crash with them at Caesars so I cancelled my hotel room. I like casino comps.  This wasn't a clubbing type trip ~ this was mainly business (i.e. there to gamble).  My friends like to gamble, and we all were "in it to win it".  Plus, I knew I'd have my chance to sing and dance at the concert, so it wasn't that serious for me to be in the thick of it all at the Borgata's clubs (e.g. Mixx or mur.mur).

As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I dropped off my bags and headed to the casino floor with one of my friends.  Together, we went to the Pai gow poker tables to check on another friend.  After everyone was present and accounted for, it was time for me to start making money.  I have no idea why, but I started with $20 at a penny slot machine.  Even when you win, you lose because who really "tries" to win "pennies"?  I could throw 200 pennies into a fountain and have more fun.  Hmmm ~ maybe I'll go to a mall tomorrow and make 200 wishes...

Winning 200 pennies is LAME

Next, my friend and I headed to the roulette machine, and I dropped another $20.  I asked my friend, "Are you having fun yet? Because I'm having a blast..."  Yep, I was starting to get sour.  I don't like machines and all the "games" that have no human interaction.  As far as I'm concerned those things are developed and programmed by sadistic, computer/math nerds that don't want anyone to win.  It's just a hunch.  What do I know?

I played some other game and dropped $100.  I had so much fun losing that hundred, that I couldn't tell you what game I had played (i.e. sarcasm).

My friend suggested we go eat.  I thought to myself, "Yeah.  Food.  Eating is cheap".  So we went to some lounge restaurant and ordered a pizza.  While trying to wake up (i.e. I was still tired from staying up late the night before trying to finish my Big East posting) and watching conference tourney games on TV, I knew that the inevitable was about to happen.  I was going to have to go to the ATM.  It takes money to make money, and I only had $121 left in my wallet (i.e. after scalping the ticket the night before to the game and squandering it on 2 machines and a table game).  My friend bought lunch, and I walked with my head down to the ATM.

Sooooo, I'm standing in front of the ATM, and I realize that I have no idea what my daily limit is on my account.  I try to pull $600.  ****Ok, if you're reading this, you should know that I'm NOT a high stakes casino player.  I have always been a money hoarder.  Ask anyone in my family.  I went for that amount because I have another trip coming up, and I wanted to pull enough to make the ATM fee "worth it".  I tried for $600, and I was denied.  Obviously, $600 is over my daily limit.  Next I tried for $500.  Yep, you guessed it.  Evidently, my bank had decided that I was not pulling that much out of my account either.  Denied AGAIN.  At that point, I was positive that the guy behind me thought I was a lunatic and/or poor and wanted me to get out of line.  Whatever.  He was going to have to wait.  As they say, the 3rd time was the charm, and I successfully withdrew $400 out of my account.  EUREKA ~ finally I had money!!!

My friends started playing Pai gow poker, and I headed to Rapid Roulette.  I turned $100 into about $350 in about 15 minutes.  It's called "Rapid" for a reason.  For those of you that have no idea, what I'm talking about, here's a quick summary.  Rapid Roulette has about 12 stations and each person has his/her own screen where he/she can place bets (i.e. the minimum bet is usually less than the actual tables).  Then beauty of the game, is that a HUMAN spins.  Like I said earlier, I don't mind automation and technology, but appreciate the variability of human interaction.

I went back to the lounge area where my friends are and show them my chips.  I'd decided that maybe one of my friends is a cooler.  I said maybe.  I'm not sure.  Regardless, I told him he was not allowed to gamble for a while until I got my groove back.

At the craps table, things start moving and sure enough, I started to make some more money. My dad taught me craps. It was a bonding experience for us when I was younger. We'd go to the Bahamas, and I'd always approach him at the craps table when I was bored/hungry. He's funny when he's at the craps table because there are times when he doesn't want anyone near him. To get me to leave the table he'd always give me chips out of his rack to go "cash at the cage". This is good work, if you can get it.

When I was younger, it worked like this. I'd get bored and look at my dad's chips. If he didn't have many, I'd wait to approach him later. If he had a bunch, I'd go over. Timing is everything. Sure enough, within about 10 minutes, I'd have a handful of chips to cash. Once I got the cash I'd run back from the cage and hand the money to my dad. My dad likes hundreds (i.e. like father, like daughter).  If I brought him $687, I'd get $87. If I brought him $493, I collected $93. You get the point. I'd make about 10 runs a weekend. So, here's the story. One year my brother and I were with my dad on the way to Windsor from Detroit. Dad asked both of us how much money we had on us, so he could borrow it. He hates ATM fees too. My brother informed my dad that he had about $40. I reported that I had $1,300. When my brother heard this is head spun around he started yelling "foul". My response was to tell him to go to the Bahamas, because it's lucrative and fun. ****Told you I was a money hoarder.

Before you knew it, it was almost 5PM, and I'd planned on going over to the Borgata by 7 to get into the Event Center.  ****My ticket for the concert was a Standing Room Only/General Admission one because I wanted to be able to be up by the stage.  I prefer to play craps when I have a schedule, because it forces me to have to walk away at some point.  It keeps me disciplined.  I left the table, got ready, and went back down to the casino to see my friends, who decided that they might head over to the Borgata later.

At the Borgata it was a mad house, but in a good way.  People were everywhere and you could feel the energy.   It's a great hotel.  I went straight to the event center and had no problem getting in (i.e. doors opened at 7).  I found a great spot a few people away from the stage.  Jay-Z is interesting in that he has both men and women who want to be up close to the stage.  ****Earlier in the week, I sold the other concert ticket that I had for $300 (i.e. not too shabby, since face value was about $150).

Trey Songz came out and did his thing.  Jay-Z's ETA started at 10 minutes (i.e. at other shows, it started at 20 minutes).  The seats in the risers didn't look full for the sold out show, which led me to believe that people who had actual seats decided to join the rest of us on the floor.

Jay-Z did his set, and it was better than the show in DC.  Why?  Because Jeezy wasn't there.  A fun surprise was that Stevie Wonder was in the crowd, by the stage, taking in the show.  You know you're doing something well, if Stevie comes out to see you!

After the show, the cab line was ridiculous, so I went to the craps table to kill time.  The lowest table minimum was $15 and after 3 shooters who made a point and then proceeded to crap out after setting another point, I was "over it" and decided to head back to Caesar's.  I played until about 3AM (i.e. 4AM with the time change).  I kept trying to get to $1500, but luck wouldn't let me.  $1200 is where I topped out (i.e. including my $400 withdrawal).  C'est la vie...  It's good to be in the black (i.e. I made my money back, covered my NYC expenses, and have some extra play money).


I can't believe I forgot to mention Manny Pacquiao.  Along with most of the casino staff, my friend and I watched the Pacquiao v Clottey fight on the TVs (i.e. along with everyone working on the casino floor).  We all stood around the TVs and gaming practically stopped.  The fight went 12 rounds, and Pacquiao threw 1200 punches.  Manny won every round by a score of 10-9.  Yeah, Manny!!!  Now, can we please have a Pacquiao v Mayweather fight?!?!


Get Jay-Z's latest.

Support Manny!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Georgetown will win the Big East tourney, and a trip to The Garden triggers so many memories...

So I'm back from The Garden, and I'm exhausted.  Here you go:

Game 1:  (22) Georgetown v Marquette
  • The Hoyas are tough.  They will beat WVU in the Big East final.  I saw them play against Duke earlier this year at the Verizon Center and they dominated.  Tonight, they crushed Marquette.  The Georgetown Hoyas are for real (i.e. if they continue to play with intensity and maintain their focus).
I missed the opening tip-off, because I was negotiating...

At The Garden and in NYC space is limited, so student sections are smaller

Marquette kept it close in the 1st half. 
Check out the Hoyas' shooting percentages.  Wow!
  • This year is the 25th anniversary of Villanova beating Georgetown in 1985.  That game changed my life.  I watched it while at Snowshoe, West Virginia.  We were at our condo for a ski trip, and my father had sent my brother and I to bed.  However, I couldn't help but peek through the curtain and watch the TV from my bunk bed.  My dad must've heard me screaming in vain for Ewing and the Hoyas to pull off a victory, because he let me watch the end of the game with him.  We all know how it ended.  It was not pretty.
    • Rollie Massimino was at The Garden tonight.  I'm sure he's a good man.  However, I cannot allow myself to root for Villanova.  Actually, I would never go to Cleveland State to watch a basketball game when he coached there. 

It's been 25 years and it still hurts...
  • Coach Massimino's strategy to slow down the offense worked in 1985, and he broke my Hoya-loving heart.  Seeing him tonight, brough it all back.  I'm not alone.  The minute he was shown on the screen, all the Georgetown fans around me started groaning and all you could hear was, "85"...  It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times ~ depending on who you were rooting for.  Regardless, people remember it. 
    • Georgetown v Villanova is one of the basketball equivalents for questions like, "Where were you when you learned that Kennedy was shot?"  OR "Where were you when OJ was in the police car chase?"  You get my point.  Ugh... 

Game 2:  Notre Dame v (6) West Virginia University
  • WVU is good, but there's something missing.  It seemed like such a slow game against Notre Dame, but WVU hit a few 3s to resurrect the memory of Kevin Pittsnogle in my brain. 
    • Yes, I said - Pittsnogle...  Don't question my basketball knowledge/memory.  I'm fierce.  Plus, can anyone forget when WVU upset Wake Forest in 2005?  I can't.  It was INCREDIBLE.  I was in NYC, at my brother's apartment.  Do you know where that game was played?  It was played at Cleveland State.  I remember the day like it was yesterday.  Like I said, don't question my basketball knowledge/memory.
  • I don't know if WVU is young ~ but they play young and seem to make mistakes.  This was my first time watching them, and I saw guys that thought they had their bunny shots/lay-ups made, so they finished sloppily and/or missed.
    • Yuck...  Missed bunny shots make me think of only one person.  The New York Knicks' Charles Smith.  He missed 4 lay-up/bunny shots at The Garden, when the Knicks had a chance to take a 3-2 lead in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals ...  Ugh ~ I don't want to type about it.  The memories give me heartburn...  I actually met Charles briefly earlier this year at NBA All-Star Weekend in Dallas.  I congratulated him on a great career.  It was the humane thing to do.
  • There were moments during the game when I thought Coach Huggins' head was going to explode.  When one of the WVU players should've dunked, but instead went for a lay-up and missed, I instinctively "ducked and covered" (i.e. as if I were at a Gallagher show and he was about to crush a watermelon with that carnival hammer).  Honestly, I would've bet cash money that Huggins' head would burst and the game would have to be called.  I bet people, who were watching at home, started trying to adjust the color settings on their TVs.  It's not right for someone's face to turn that red.  That player is lucky that WVU won.
    • Huggins' casual attire reminds me of Coach Belichick's hoody.  Random, but not really...
  • I never really paid atttention to the Mountaineers until tonight, but there was no way to miss the fact that that they play(ed) a 1:3:1 defense.  I wonder...  When I was in junior high, we learned how to play man to man, and zone..  We learned and played against both 1:3:1 and 2:3. 
1:3:1 defense

    • If my junior high coach had 3 months with Tracy McGrady, T-Mac would've never been clueless against a zone (i.e. preventing all the embarrassment about his playing slump and Doc River's coaching skills,when they were both in Orlando).  Just saying...
    • 2:3 zone defense will always be one of the things I associate with Syracuse.  Who beat Syracuse earlier this week?  Yes, Georgetown did.
      • FYI ~ Syracuse is also the real deal.  If I had to guess right now who'd go farther in tourney when March Madness really begins, tonight I'd pick Syracuse.  However, ask me again after Selection Sunday, and I take a look at the brackets.

Miscellaneous observations:
  • I love to people watch and watching old drunk men yell at each other after/during games makes me laugh.  They look foolish, but they can't seem to help themselves.  After the doubleheader two, 50ish silver foxes were yelling and getting into each other's faces on the courses.  Who knows what got their Wranglers in a bunch?  But, leave it to some college kid to yell, "Kick his a**, Sea Bass!"  I literally laughed out loud.
  • I only heard "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, ONCE!!!  Yeah!!! 
    • If you don't understand the reason for this bullet, then you're not reading this blog regularly.  Keep in mind, that you're only hurting yourself :-P
  • Over by the media tables, there are TVs.  People can change the channel on these TVs.  I kid you not.  Someone preferred to watch Talladega Nights as opposed to part of the 2nd game.  Does that tell you anything?

That's not a NASCAR driver, that's Will Ferrell

On to the next episode in the morning, so that's all for now...

And if you're not geared up for March Madness, here you go!