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Deal Me In: More bang for your buck watching sports

31 December 2015

Dear Mark: I will be in Las Vegas for Super Bowl Sunday and was wondering where you would recommend that I watch the game, and what kind of games should I be playing? Dean M.

As to your gaming question, Dean, I would routinely recommend playing perfect basic strategy at blackjack; a pass line bet and placing the 6 or 8 on a craps game; video poker that offers a decent pay schedule; and baccarat, where the house advantage is either 1.17% when betting the bank hand or 1.36% with a player hand wager. Smart gambling, yes, but not for this column.

As your inquiry indicates, you will be in Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend. So, Dean, where should you be and what should you be betting? As your social/gambling coordinator, my recommendation would be in a sportsbook, sports bar or a casino-sponsored party. I have been to a Super Bowl twice, but at least 20 times somewhere in the Silver State, and I would take the latter every time. Go early, especially in a sportsbook, for good seating or plan to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to some inebriated jerk that abandoned his attempt to hit the men's room during a first half scoring drive. Yep, it happened to me.

Unfortunately, due to the NFL's crackdown on throwing Super Bowl parties for profit, most Las Vegas casinos just offer FREE Super Bowl party packages for player's card members only. Clearly, Dean, first check where you have a player’s card. Once hosted by former professional players or the Jagermeister girls, here is but another example of the days of old gone by.

Don’t blame the casinos for this one, but instead, this language read at the end of each game: "This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited."

Fortunately, Dean, it exempts sports bars. Therefore, even if it is $1 dogs, drafts and shrimp cocktails, most restaurants, bars, pubs, etc. have special offers for “Super Sunday,” with some charging an admission fee that usually includes seating, drinks, and food.

Being it’s early January, I would start immediately researching your option as to where to watch the Big Game. Google “Super Bowl Party Las Vegas 2016” and you will find some all-encompassing lists.

As for betting, nothing gets a better cluck-for-the-buck than a sports wager. The Super Bowl will last at least four hours, and even if you were betting the wagers I initially mentioned, your money will last far longer than at a blackjack table, at a craps game, on a video poker machine, or on a baccarat game.

Also, I have been known to dabble (squander hard-earned money) on a few “proposition” bets as they are called. Figuring the Super Bowl is a national holiday, and it should be treated as such, my favorite is betting the length of the singing of the National Anthem – typically around two minutes. My lifetime record for that proposition bet is as follows: I win some, lose more. Win or lose, our patriotic song along with a flyover gets you fired up for the game and is worth at least a $10 wager.

Whenever you place a point-spread, you lay 11 to win 10. That means if you want to win $10, you have to wager $11 no matter which team you are betting on. If you win, you will collect $21—your $11 wager plus the $10 you just won. This extra dollar commission, also called a vigorish (a.k.a. vig), is the compensation taken by the house on every sports bet wagered. Exotic proposition bets vary in price.

You might as well spread a slew of $10 prop bets across the board from any number of individual performance props to the color of the Gatorade bath at the end of the game. Oh, and since you’re going to bet the length of the National Anthem, you might as well wager whether the singer flubs, at least, one word of the song. Just think Christina Aguilera and the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLV.

My final advice, Dean, is to take Heads on the coin toss, and no matter where you watch the game, make it in close proximity to your hotel’s pillow to support your head after a long day, and night, of Super Bowl partying.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “The truth is the Super Bowl long ago became more than just a football store. It’s part of our culture like turkey at Thanksgiving and lights at Christmas.” Bob Schieffer, CBS News
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Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.