March Madness is right around the corner. Las Vegas casinos and sportsbooks will be packed full of bettors hoping to hit that big ticket. For the first time, 7 other states will be experiencing this beautiful, chaotic madness. I’ve been to Las Vegas each of the past several years for Madness. It’s amazing, it’s glorious, it’s spiritual. This year I’ll be in West Virginia. I’m very curious how this will play out. I doubt the excitement will match Vegas, but the gambling should be the same.
For anyone who has been to Vegas for the tournament, you guys know what the atmosphere is like. Roughly 98% of the patrons are great people. They’ll hang out with you, have a beer, talk sports, and some of them become friends that you keep in touch with. I’m here to talk about the other 2% today. You’ve seen them, you’ve been annoyed by them. You may have even had words with them on occasion. Let’s break these guys down.
The Loud Clapper: Yeah, we get it, buddy. You put a lot of money on this game. Maybe you shouldn’t blast 17 sonic boom level claps each time your team gets a rebound. No one cares. We really don’t. Now, if you had chatted with us, drank a beer or 10, maybe we’d have a vested interest in your bets. But not when you’re THAT guy.
The Human Bullhorn: Whoa, bro, exercise that inside voice from time to time. This guy usually has all the answers and will gladly project his views throughout the sportsbook from a single recliner. On occasion, he’ll boast very loudly a dollar amount that he has invested into the game currently being played. My guess is that this number is exaggerated quite a bit. The good thing about the Human Bullhorn is that he quietly disappears when his Nostradamus ways fail to come to fruition.
The 11th Hour Genius: This is the guy we all want to punch. Go ahead, admit it, no one is judging you here. He will sit quietly while watching the entire game. He won’t say a word. It’s almost like he’s not even there. Rest assured though, when that game comes down to the final seconds and the underdog is clearly going to win, he speaks up. And boy oh boy, is this guy a genius. “I knew it!” he would loudly proclaim. “I called this on selection Sunday!” he would further retort. “I’m glad I put money on these guys” he would state while no one would ever see him walk to the window to cash this phantom ticket. You’ve seen him, you may even have a friend back home like him. I know I do.
One of the funniest moments I’ve ever had in Las Vegas involved a Human Bullhorn. I was at the Westgate with my Vegas guys Gary, Dan, and Dave. We had just met Joel, from Kansas City, and he was hanging out with us. NC State was all over St Louis in the first half. Human Bullhorn Guy, an apparent NC State fan, started running his mouth, sans inside voice. He let everyone know how much he put on his boys. Candy from a baby, easy money, the works. As the 2nd half went on, St Louis made it a game. HBG got quieter and quieter. As the Bilikens took the lead in the closing minutes, HBG had his head in his hands (he may have cried a bit) while his team let victory slip away, much like this guy’s ticket he had hoped to cash. And then the moment that made me realize that my new friend Joel was every bit the sarcastic ass that my friends and I are. Joel threw aside his very own inside voice and said something to the effect of “Oh my gosh, did you see that? The one team was way ahead and then the other team came back and won! That never happens in March!” HBG was not amused. But I had a new friend.
Have fun in Vegas, or wherever it is you are gambling for March Madness. Gamble responsibly and don’t be THAT guy. Peace.