Trip Report: Sporgy VIII October 5-9, 2007
- From: "Cy▀erHoG«" <cyberhog@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 11:19:38 -0500
Sorry to post this so late. It's been hectic back home with work and kids'
Below is the entire trip report from Sporgy VIII. I've also posted it at
Hangin With The Hogs:
http://tinyurl.com/25rg7g which includes links of special interest including
all of my blurry, horrid photographs. Sorry, no salad photography was
For those of you who don't like to read long reports, here's a quick recap:
The weather was cold, almost 20 degrees colder than back home (The Chicago
Marathon back home had to be cut short because of the heat and a death in
Met up with a few AVLV'ers and had a great time.
Got our butts handed to us.
Some of us got kicked out of our hotel rooms.
Sporgy IX is planned for November 7-11, 2008 either at MSS or Golden Nugget.
Had a great time
Sporgy VIII Las Vegas Trip Report October 5-9, 2007
Most of the Hogs except for Schpoo (what a surprise) and Court Jester.
Our first trip was an impromptu get together at the Golden Nugget. We named
the trip "Bloody Sunday" after the infamous Indianapolis Colts-Chicago Bears
game that my buddy Joe said "was a sure thing". He went out to prove his
conviction to us by placing multiple 110 bets on the game all through the
weekend and all the way up until game time. After witnessing this, the rest
of us lemmings all followed him off the cliff. After the first quarter we
knew we were done for. The day before, Joe had taken a tremendous hit in the
"high roller area" at the Golden Nugget. He had hoped that "the sure thing"
would erase at least part of that evisceration. The weekend was tagged
"Bloody Sunday" by me.
The term Bloody Sunday was then replaced by "Sporgy" (a sports orgy) after
the second trip, exactly one year later. That year featured yet another come
from behind victory by Da Bears over the Cleveland Browns. It was almost an
exact carbon copy of the previous week's victory over the 49ers with an
interception return for a touchdown by Mike Brown in overtime. What made it
sweet was that the Bears were 5 ½ point favorites at the time. A touchdown
was the only way to win for us. That game, along with the Arizona
Diamondbacks' victory over the Yankees capped off an incredible 13 hour
marathon orgy of watching and betting sports that netted us a lot in terms
We decided to make an annual event out of it, usually around the second or
third weekend in October. This is done partly for the weather and partly
because we can combine NCAA football, NFL football and the MLB playoffs into
one giant weekend of sports wagering.
This year marked our seventh trip out. Two of our regulars could not make it
because they have lost complete control over the decision making processes
in their households. Even JRobiHab made it despite the fact that his wife
gave birth to baby Lauren just two weeks prior. May he serve as a shining
example to all hogs.
While the weather in Las Vegas is almost perfect during this time of year
for us Northern Hogs, it also is a terrible time to go if you are looking
for value from your accommodations. There usually is a major convention or
several smaller ones in town that pushes the prices of even mid level hotels
to abnormally high
levels. This year was no exception.
We always like to stay at a different hotel on every trip. Once again,
Caveman Joe (our Sporgy President) and I lobbied hard for the Imperial
Palace, but once again were overruled by JRobi and Angry Johnny who consider
IP to be a "dump". After our awful experience at the Plaza two years ago,
the boys were in no mood for pitches to stay at the El Cortez or Main Street
Station, no matter how well they were recommended. The Strip is the only
place they wanted to stay.
We also decided to shorten Sporgy weekend by one day. Part of this was
economics and the other part was that the five day, Thursday to Tuesday
sports extravaganza was starting to wear us old guys out. We thought we
could "tighten things up" a bit by having a leaner Sporgy to look forward
I ran a Travelaxe search last December and found that we really couldn't
stay at any strip hotels with our allotted 600 dollar budget (which was
agreed upon at Sporgy VII). Travelaxe as we've mentioned before is a
terrific tool for comparing hotel prices side by side. It used to be that
you had to download the travelaxe browser for you to accomplish this, but
now Travelaxe is available as a web based application as well.
Airfares from Chicago were around 300 dollars as well, so finding that
halfway decent strip property was going to be challenge, even with one less
day. I found that I had good luck when I booked the Golden Nugget through
Travelocity when we attended the Big Empire Cocktail Soiree this past June.
I decided to give them another try and found that I was able to book a
double room at Harrahs for under 500 dollars per person including airfare.
Based on the 300 dollar airfares that were being quoted at the time, I
figured this would make our room at Harrahs less than 100 dollars a night,
which is a pretty good bargain considering the time of year and location.
Sure, some of our AVLV friends would shudder at the thought of staying at
the "Evil Empire" (their name for Harrahs), but this was too good to pass
Flight IN/Flight OUT
Good thing I checked our reservations at the Travelocity website. The
Travelocity site showed that our flight out from O'Hare had changed from
8:50am to 7:15am. Travelocity had notified me of this change while I was on
my circumnavigation of Lake Michigan back in July. When I got home from that
trip, I had about 800 e-mails waiting for me. I guess I was a bit
overzealous with the "delete" key because I just zapped that Travelocity
message into the deleted items folder.
Philster showed up to the house at around 6am and Francine drove both of us
to the airport. The sun still hadn't made an appearance yet, but the
travelers at O'Hare certainly have. With the never ending construction at
the terminals that seem to be a hallmark at this airport, the scene this
morning was nothing short of chaotic. Our flight was on American Airlines
which meant we were departing out of Terminal 3, the farthest terminal for
departures. It took us nearly 15 minutes after arriving at the airport
proper to get to the terminal. I was actually worried there for a second
that we wouldn't be able to get our flight in time. The terminal was a zoo
and the two main security lines were incredible. Terminal 3 has a little
used third security line at the far end of the terminal near Terminal 2, but
even that line looked long. Philster and I decided to take our chances with
this line and to our amazement, the line moved along pretty quickly and we
got to our gate on time.
Jimbo and Caveman Joe's dad were already at the airport waiting for us. Not
only did our flight time change, but so did our aircraft. The 7:15am flight
is a 757, whereas our original plane was an MD-80. That meant that 13B,
which is an aisle seat on an MD-80 is a middle seat on a 757. Of course,
there's not one hot babe in sight on this flight and I get stuck sitting
next two guys. For some reason our flight was loaded with people in
wheelchairs or hover chairs. We were thinking that maybe there was some sort
of convention in Las Vegas or something. The gate agents certainly had their
hands full trying to load these folks on to the plane.
Our Flight in arrived right on time and we met up with the Caveman in the
terminal. Since we got here in the morning instead of late afternoon or
evening, the taxi lines weren't bad at all. Usually when we come into Las
Vegas in the afternoon or evening, we rent a limo, but since we arrived
early we could save a few pennies by taking a cab.
Coming home was pretty uneventful, except there were high winds in Chicago
and they limited the amount of landings and take offs at the airport. This
made us circle in a holding pattern over Lake Michigan just north of
Highland Park. We got a great view of the city and the lakeshore as an added
bonus. We only arrived about a half hour late.
We got to Harrah's before 10am and to our surprise, Philster and my room was
ready. Wow, less than an hour after touchdown and we're unpacked. Had to put
on my jacket because it was quite nippy in Las Vegas.
Our room at Harrah's was room 412 in the Carnavale Tower. The one thing
about booking with a consolidator like Travelocity is that you usually get
the crummier rooms with the crummy views. 412 was no exception to the rule.
Two very old Queen beds that were pretty low to the ground. Caveman's dad
remarked that he probably wouldn't be able to get out of a bed that low. The
room was also an older room that hadn't been updated (later we would learn
that this was actually an advantage). The bathroom was of good size and
everything seemed to be nice and clean. No complaints.
Some of the other guys had gotten updated rooms like room 434 and 438 in
the same tower. These rooms had more updates including new bedding (but
nothing ultra fancy like those cool beds you get at the Hilton). The TV and
Armoire are built right into the wall removing unnecessary clutter from the
room. The room also had dark woods and pleasing tones. Much nicer than our
room, but the view was just as crummy.
On Monday night there was a note on the doors that were remodeled. Harrahs
apologized but these rooms had to be vacated immediately. Some of the
patrons were relocated to older rooms at Harrahs and others had to be
relocated to different hotels like the Imperial Palace or Flamingo Hilton.
Only Philster and I escaped this fate. Caveman Joe got relocated into the
Flamingo Hilton in a gorgeous suite that over looked the strip and Caesars
Palace. The rest of the Hogs got stuck at the Imperial Palace which was a
nightmare because the check in line stretched all the way to the Geisha Bar.
Angry Johnny who is no fan of the IP was visibly upset at the prospect of
staying a night at this "flea bag" as he called it. Jimbo and Ricardo got a
suite at the IP and boy oh boy was it ever cheesy! From the mirrors over the
bed to the bathtub in the middle of the room with mirrors all the way
around, it was pure Las Vegas cheese. The room hadn't been updated in a long
time. Some of that furniture was in style in the early '80's. The wall paper
was starting to curl and there were no floor moldings to speak of. The wall
paper looked pretty crusty where it met the floor. The lighting was pretty
poor in the room as well, giving it a depressing feel. Lastly, Jimbo had to
put up with the shower head that came up only to above his navel. At 6 feet
8 inches, it's a good thing Jimmy's a bit flexible, otherwise he'd only use
the shower as a bidet.
On a Sporgy, there usually is very little thought about food and dinner
options. Surprisingly, this year we actually went out and eat some sit down
meals for a change. One of the reasons was that the Hot Dog stand was
inexplicably removed from the Hilton sportsbook.
Las Vegas Hilton Sportsbook: They have a little fast food option here. We
were able to get breakfast burritos as well as sandwiches here. l used to
love the sportsbook deli at the Stardust. The Hilton's version is nowhere
near that level.
Las Vegas Hilton Buffet: At 16.99, it was a little steep for brunch
considering the average quality of food. On the up side you got free wine.
The downside was that it was Inglenook (straight from the vine to the box).
Flamingo Buffet: We had two for ones here, so this relatively pricey buffet
was somewhat reasonable. The food here is pretty good.
Outback Steakhouse: At Casino Royale. I've never eaten at an Outback
Steakhouse before. The food was average at best. We polished off a couple
bottles of wine which made things better. JRobi was extremely saucy at the
Sporgy earlier in the day and he almost got us kicked out of the joint. We
never laughed so hard, mostly at the expense of Angry Johnny.
777 Brew Pub: At Main Street Station. So good, we ate their twice. This is
our type of place. Good food, good beer, lotsa flat screens and at a
reasonable price. The Filet Mignon Sandwich, the Chili and the Prime Rib are
all excellent choices. The Marker Pale Ale is a very hoppy brew. If you
don't like ales, you won't like this beer. But if you love ales, you'll go
ga-ga over the Marker. I had tried the Black Cherry Stout a couple of years
ago and found the seasonal brew to be almost like a "comfort beer": deep,
rich and complex and just a subtle hint of black cherry. This year, the
stout wasn't subtle at all and the cherry flavor was far too pronounced. I
guess when you micro-brew you will have variations from batch to batch. This
year's Stout wasn't that good.
Foodcourt at Venetian: I always have some of the pizza at Enzo's. Man it's
fresh, hot and tasty. The perfect cure for a hangover that's for sure!
Penazzi: Faced with the prospect of eating at Panda Express, some of us
opted for this pricey Italian at Harrahs. The food and atmosphere are quite
good, but when pasta dishes are priced north of 25 dollars that's pretty
outrageous. I had the lobster ravioli and they were quite good. Pairing that
up with a glass of wine put my meal close to 40 bucks and that's just for
Nudie Bars: This year, we didn't visit any of our local establishments. We
were running around between downtown and the strip pretty much the whole
trip, so we ran out of time. Good news for Nudie Bar aficionados: Crazy
Horse Too is open and now has a permanent liquor license. Woo Hoo!
Purple Reign: Andrew in Alabama had offered to drive Ricardo and myself to
South Point to see this tribute show. Rumor has it that they will be adding
an "Appolonia" character soon. Unfortunately, Andrew had gotten in a day
before us and already had spent most of his physical capital on the night
before. Us oldsters are having a hard time recuperating from all nighters,
especially the ones in Las Vegas. Most of us were pretty wiped as well as we
had stayed up late the past couple of nights watching the Cubs get theirs'
handed to them by the Arizona D-backs. The Thursday night game was almost 4
hours long and stretched to 1am. By the time I got to bed and had woken up
for the early flight, I wound up with a little less than 4 hours sleep.
Needless to say, we took a pass on Purple Reign.
We're also sad that we missed Mac King. We had a couple of coupons to see
his wonderful show at Harrahs. A number of AVLV'ers rave about this show and
some feel it's the best bang for your entertainment buck on the strip.
Blackjack has been a bit surreal for me lately. We used to finance entire
trips based on our winnings at Blackjack. Now, it seems like I can't buy a
winning session, and its been going on like this for a few years. Amazing
seven card 21's these dealers have up their sleeves. Of course, I'm
preaching to the choir. Everyone experiences this kind of treatment. It's
just that it's become a habit for me.
Blackjack has also deteriorated in Las Vegas to the point where it might be
wise to avoid the game all together. I remember when casinos started hitting
"soft 17". We were outraged by this obvious greedy grab for our money.
Wasn't the advantage for the casino great enough? Weren't there enough
nimrods employing the "No Bust Strategy" for the casinos to rake in the
cash? Apparently not fast enough. So now, we have continuous shufflers, no
doubling after a split and the latest blasphemy 6:5 payouts on Blackjack
(rumor has it there is an even money game at Rio, although I've never seen
it). Although the 6:5 game is so far limited to double deck pitch games and
not shoe games, it's become apparent that what looks like a better deal (2
decks versus 6 or 8 decks) to the uninitiated is actually a devastating game
for making money for the casino. I've noticed a LOT more of these two deck
pitch games and I see more and more lemmings at the table. To my horror,
some of my buddies took up at a nasty table like this at the Golden Nugget
after dinner at the 777. It's rare that you can commandeer an entire table,
but this was at a steep price.
Anyway, I limited myself to playing shoe games, which isn't the greatest
either. But at least I appease myself over that 6:5 payoff. I had a run of
decent cards at Harrahs, but I wound up losing there as well.
We also love to play craps, and I wound up playing a surreal game of craps
at the Mirage with a wanna-be rap star no less. It's a long story, but I
wound up playing craps for the better part of entire night and well into the
morning with this rapper from Los Angeles and his entourage. Apparently,
this "man of the streets" was kind of shaky when it came to playing craps.
After an initial run in with him over a girl at the craps table, I
inexplicably told him about my "professor story" from our cruise back in
2000. After showing this guy the correct way to play craps and after an
incredible roll of the dice, I was nicknamed "Professor Bones", or "PBone"
as the night wore on. After rolling in at around 5:30 in the morning drunk
and hoarse, Philster and the boys have taken to calling me PBo, which I hope
subsides pretty quickly.
Sports books and Sports Wagering:
Harrahs: This sportsbook sucks. In true Harrahs fashion, it can't make up
its mind as to what it's supposed to be. Is it another pit for blackjack
tables? Is it a bar with flat screen TV's? Or is it a sportsbook? It's not a
very good sportsbook. At times it takes FOREVER to place a bet because there
is usually only one or two attendants manning the book. Can't they have
automated betting tellers like they have at racetracks all across the
country? Maybe it's a Union thing.
In hindsight, we had the best luck wagering here. After the buffet on Friday
morning, we placed bets on the Utes of Utah getting 14 points against
Louisville. Joe wanted this game on the money line because he felt the Utes
would win this thing outright, which they did. We also made a little coin on
the Indians +120 against the Yankees. I love Fausto Carmona (and Geovanny
Soto, Alfonso Soriano and anyone else whose name sounds like an Opera star).
We also bet heavily that Dice K would win his matchup with Kelvim Escobar,
so we took the Red Sox.
Needless to say, our sportsbook wagering was right where we wanted it: Not
too many games and the games we played we were winning.
On Monday we placed our bets on the Cowboys over the Bills. Philster took
the Bills and +500 on the money line. We confidently placed our money on the
Cowboys minus the points. Everybody lost on that deal.
Hilton: The Hilton Sportsbook is impressive to say the least. The size and
scope of the operation are truly awe-inspiring. However, we will probably
not come back to the Hilton again. First, the buffet is terribly expensive
for the quality of food, and their deli offering is sub-standard. But the
real kicker is the drink service. While they haven't resorted to handing out
drink coupons, they don't endear themselves with some of the slowest drink
service known to man kind. We had spent the better part of a morning and
afternoon here and we were nowhere near a buzz.
We were here on a Saturday morning which is usually a winning session for us
at Sporgy. For some reason, Joe seems to be able to pick the college games
pretty well. We also had Cameron from AVLV helping us out and he graciously
posted some of his picks for us to follow. Coming into this weekend,
Cameron's "lock of the week" was undefeated in both the college and pro
games. All of that was about to change quite quickly.
Cameron's lock of the week was Stanford +40 against USC. Unfortunately for
us, this was a later game. We weren't going to go off half-cocked and bet a
bundle on this game if our early games were falling apart, so we waited. For
some reason all of the late west coast games were starting at 5pm or later,
however this particular game started at 4pm. By the time we realized this,
we missed our chance at Cameron's lock. The irony of it all was that
Stanford won the game OUTRIGHT! Boy if there were a money line on this game
it would have been +20,000 or some such nonsense! Anyway, I was pretty upset
that I didn't get this game in.
We should have been so lucky in the other games. Jimbo insisted on taking
Florida on the money line. He was convinced that the Gators would not lose
twice in a row. There was no talking him out of it. No statistics showing
that LSU had an ungodly record at home during night games, no pointing out
that the Tigers were the number one team in the nation. Jimbo stood his
ground and bet the money line. We gave up 7 points and felt at ease with our
bet. Neither Jimbo or us won our bet here.
Jimbo also lobbied hard for Michigan State versus Northwestern. I always
think MSU is a "flaky" team. They can score in bunches, but invariably they
wind up coughing it up at the end. This week was no exception as NU upsets
MSU and Jimbo at the same time. We also picked the Georgia Bulldogs over
Tennessee, although in Joe's defense he cautioned us on this game. The one
game we won today was Illinois and Wisconsin. Joe felt Wisconsin was totally
overrated and that the Illini would handle them easily.
However, the game that killed us today was Oklahoma-Texas in the "Red River
Shootout" which is one of the featured events at the Texas State Fair and is
played in the Cotton Bowl. Joe's neighbor Steve bet 750 dollars on the
half-time bet which was Oklahoma -7 and 1500 dollars on the game which was
Oklahoma -13. Seeing this large sum of money being placed on this game made
us think that was the smart thing to do, so we all jumped off the cliff like
a bunch of lemmings. For us, this was our "featured" game and we placed bets
ranging from 250 to 500 dollars on this. What a bloodbath.
Things got worse later in the day when our beloved Cubs wound up getting
swept by the D-backs. Being a season ticket holder, I had tickets for all
the home playoff games. My buddy Schpoo took Francine to the game and we saw
them briefly on the big screen. That was after Rich Hill served up a first
pitch homerun to Chris Young. The evening went downhill from there. There
were quite a few people who made notice of us in our Cubs "Assclown"
regalia. People were pointing and laughing at us downtrodden fans. Boy, talk
about kicking a man when he's down.
But nobody was as far down as Angry Johnny. HIS big play of the day was
Western Michigan versus Akron. I almost thought Johnny was going to cry. It
seemed like WMU was going to win this game, but at the last second Akron
pulls the game out and to rub salt in Johnny's wound there was a block in
the back call that was missed.
Venetian: We still love the Venetian sports book on Sunday. Joe calls it the
"cathedral". It's not the biggest, but we love the pampering we used to get
from Connie our gorgeous waitress in the book. Sadly, Connie is no longer
working at the V. According to her replacement, she met "some rich guy", got
married and retired. Sniff! JRobi kept teasing Connie's replacements saying
things like "around this time Connie would bring us hot towels"
The other thing that's changed is the drink coupons. It used to be that as
long as you had a seat, Connie would come by and take your order about every
15 minutes or so. Now, you need a coupon. For the number of bets we make,
getting coupons is no problem. It's just that you have to remember to ask
for them. The attendants rarely offer them to you even after making a 2 or 3
hundred dollar bet. But, like I said, coupons were no problem. In fact,
people were GIVING them away to us. Probably felt sorry for us.
The past two years has been sort of a disaster for us on Sundays. In fact,
somebody suggested we should go back to referring to the Sporgy as "Bloody
Sunday" again. Over the past two years we have gone 1-15 in our pro picks,
and we seem to lose them in spectacular fashion as well.
This year, we were expecting some of our fellow AVLV'ers to change our luck.
Right on schedule Cameron and Donna met us on Sunday morning. I was still
reeling a bit from my Professor Bones incident at the Mirage the night
before, but I soon recovered with a couple of Bloody Mary's.
Some of us decided to ask Caveman Joe's dad for advice as well. Seems he's
always done well at Sporgies, but we later found out that he waits for us to
make a pick and then just goes the opposite. On this day, he does have a
definite pick: The Baltimore Ravens -3. The Ravens and their pathetic
offense manage three lousy field goals yet still they beat the 49ers 9-7.
Philster bets on the improbable: The Cleveland Browns +1200 on the money
line against New England. In retrospect, this isn't as nutty of a bet as one
would think. Still, Philster's out a Cecil after NE dispatches the Browns
Cameron's "lock of the week" is Arizona -3 versus St Louis. A great bet. In
fact, it's so great that the line on the game edges to -3.5 and up to -4
right before kick-off. Mark Bulger is injured and the pathetic Gus Frerotte
is in at Quarterback for the Rams. The Cardinals score a late defensive
touchdown to take a 34-23 lead. Caveman Joe makes the ominous prediction
that this late TD will wind up biting us in the ass since now Arizona will
play a shitty prevent defense. Sure enough, that's what happens and in the
waning seconds of the game, the Rams score a CFT to make it 34-29. Of
course, it would only make sense to go for the 2 point conversion. Of
course, since we have three or four hundy on the game, the Rams will score
and ruin our bet.
Cameron is practically despondent. So upset is he, that he packs it up and
calls it a night. I think he blames us for ruining his "lock of the week"
streak. I don't blame him.
The other fiasco is the Detroit Lions-Redskins game. OK. This is it. This is
the last f*ing time I'm listening to the Detroit contingent of the Hogs. My
God what an egg this team lays against the pathetic Redskins. Another huge
bet goes by the way-side as the Lions bite the big one 34-3.
Another dog was the Seahawks and Steelers. We talk the Seachickens and they
got plucked 21-0.
The only silver lining in the entire evening is the Bears pulling a victory
out of the jaws of defeat at Green Bay. We had the Bears and the points,
along with money line bets. Inexplicably, Caveman Joe had the opposite as he
bet on the dreaded Packers. Now he knows what a jilted WHORE feels like. How
can anyone from Chicago bet on the Packers? No matter how bad the Bears are,
you never bet on the Packers. I felt bad that Joe lost ALL of his bets, but
felt vindication sticking by my team.
Halfway through this mess, Cameron and Donna left us to lick our wounds.
Bill in Houston and Steve H-K stopped by to say hello. I wish we could have
been more hospitable in our welcomes, but we were pissed at the day's
activities. I even told Steve that we're cashing in as far as Sporgy was
concerned, because this losing thing just isn't any fun anymore. (Luckily
the board meeting the next day cleared that up).
Bottom line is that we went 2-5 today. Not as bad as previous Sporgies, but
still considering we've now gone 3-20 the past 3 years, you'd think a MONKEY
could pick winners better than us.
Monday Night Football
We met up with Cameron and Bill in Houston at the 777. Inexplicably
Budweiser was allowed to throw a party in the 777 with all sorts of
promotional give-aways during the game. Sort of like allowing McDonalds to
come into your hamburger stand giving away coupons for free Big Macs. This
was sort of like the Monday Night Football party we encountered at the Brew
Pub at the Monte Carlo during Sporgy II, although this time there was only
one hottie dressed in a referee outfit passing out jello shots.
I was hoping to at least preserve two parlays as I had the Cowboys giving up
10 points, the over (44) and Boise State (already a winner) on one card and
the Bears (already a winner) on another. Meatloaf said "two out of three
ain't bad", but in parlay terms, that's bad. Luckily, that's the only bet I
had riding on the game. Philster loving the money line yet again bets on the
Bills at +500, while the rest of the boys took the Cowboys minus the points.
Needless to say everybody is a loser. Again.
What a weekend!
We had our "board meeting" sucking down cocktails and waking up at the COLD
pool at Harrahs The pool area at Harrahs has been gussied up a bit from the
last time we've stayed there. Granted, that's been awhile, but I have to say
it's really not bad. J-Robi had some kind of wacky concoction from the bar
that had about 5 different white liquors in it and it stood about 25 ounces
tall. It cost about 9 bucks, but after finishing it JRobi pronounced it the
"best value at the pool". Of course two buckets of MGD cost 50 bucks (10
beers). I think somebody in AVLV asked if Las Vegas has "jumped the shark".
I agree with Cameron in that the strip offers little value for the value
conscious. Of course, looking around we see very few people concerned with
this, although from the looks of things, some of them should be. I have a
theory about people from California, but I'll table that for now. Needless
to say that all of those expensive hotels going up all around the strip will
be quite successful.
After intense debate these "value conscious hogs" decided that we will stay
at either Main Street Station or Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas. We've
also decided that our entire stay will be downtown. We will not include the
Venetian's sportsbook in next year's Sporgy, not because we were
dissatisfied with anything there, but we felt that after winning only 3 of
23 games there the past three years, it's time we do something different.
Caveman even suggested that we just watch the games and not bet on them, but
my guess is that that won't go too far.
We also decided that because a number of piglets have their birthdays around
the very beginning and also the middle of October that we would have to move
the date of Sporgy IX back to the first weekend of November. We thought
November 7-11 had a lucky ring to it, so we went with that.
We would also like to extend our thanks to Andrew In Alabama for hosting all
of us at the Main Street Station Friday evening. He was gracious enough to
buy us a round of drinks at the Boars Head Bar (how could a hog not love
that pig?) and also was generous enough to share his food comp with us at
the 777. Andrew and Cameron also wore Cub hats to support our cause.
Although it didn't do a lick of good, I must say both he and Cameron look
great in them and should make them part of their everyday wardrobe. We were
also pleased to meet another AVLV'er, Dave from Great Britain. Dave is an
acquaintance of Doctor Bob who makes a habit out of Cybertaunting us
whenever he's "on tour". Which reminds me now of a missed opportunity.
After dinner at the 777, we walked down Fremont Street toward the El Cortez.
We stopped and watched some of the free shows all along the mall. Andrew and
I watched an aerial acrobat while the boys sought out a horrific Blackjack
table that I mentioned earlier in the gaming section of this report. After
strolling down Fremont and catching a mediocre light show and an
entertaining '80s band, we arrived at the El Cortez. Cameron was waiting for
us there in the "Moe Green Suite", room number 3300. The boys were
pleasantly surprised at the spacious accommodations right over the famous
"Gambling" sign at the El Co. A huge sectional in the living room easily
comfortably sat seven hogs. The boys were also amazed at Cameron's "mystery
room" in his suite. We shared what was in hindsight one of the few joyous
moments during Sporgy VIII here when Manny Ramirez connected on his game
winning homerun which made winners out of all of us. For that brief moment
in time, all of us were up for the trip.
On Saturday morning we rode the Monorail over to the Hilton. I have to say
the connection between Harrahs and the Hilton is relatively painless on the
Monorail. Both stations are a relatively short walk from their respective
hotels. Caveman got frustrated with the automated ticket dispensing machine
and he's fearing that his credit card would get charged twice because of the
mishap. I guess us folks who live in big cities with mass transit systems
are used to this kind of machine, but Joe has spent a little too long a
while in Texas. Anyway, the trip between the Hilton and the Harrahs station
can't be more than 1 1/2 miles (since I went for a run earlier in the
morning and followed the same route), but it took us almost 15 minutes to
get there. Not exactly efficient. It was entertaining though. Some of the
drunk folks on the Monorail made it an interesting ride to say the least. I
tried getting photos of it, but failed miserably as you can see (Philster
kept slamming into me or walking in front of me to get a better angle of his
On Monday evening after Monday night football, we did a bit of
reconnaissance with Cameron and Bill in Houston. Since we had decided to
stay downtown, we wanted to see the improvements that Cameron spoke of at
the Plaza. We stayed at the Plaza a couple of years ago and were thoroughly
disappointed, but Cameron assured us that improvements were made in the
sportsbook. Sure enough, we found new furniture in the book with tiered
seating as before. It's still not spiffy, but at least it's clean and
comfortable. Even better, they have updated the men's room completely. Gone
is the depressing "wash table" in the middle with it's rusting fixtures and
cracked vanity bowls. We now have a well lit men's room with new tile and
even better, all urinals were functioning properly with nary a plastic bag
in sight. The boys pronounced it a winner!
The Plaza has also tried converting the old Center Stage restaurant into
some sort of sports bar. I originally thought this was a really dumb idea,
but I had no idea how dumb it was until I saw it for myself. The circular
seating with the circular booths with flat panels thrown up haphazardly all
over the place makes the place look awkward. Granted there was nobody here
at this point in the evening, but it just didn't look right. You can't just
toss up a Miller Lite banner and a beer tub and pronounce an area a "sports
bar". Sure the view was great. Maybe if you threw some bikini clad hotties
serving beer from the tubs it would brighten things up. In any case, we'll
probably have Sunday's festivities at the Plaza for Sporgy IX.
There were times during this year's event where some of us really felt that
this event had played itself out. Losing really takes all the fun out of a
trip to Las Vegas. The first few Sporgies were filled with dramatic
comebacks, improbably wins and much celebrating. The last few were filled
with dour faces, crossed arms and much cussing and swearing. There was even
blasphemous talk about not coming to Las Vegas next year. Ricardo suggested
that he would look into a ski trip to South America. Angry Johnny and Tommy
thought a golfing junket to North Carolina would be more appropriate than
spending our entire day in a smoky casino losing thousands of dollars. When
Steve H-K stopped by to see us late in the day on Sunday (before the Bears
miracle against Green Bay), I confided to him that the mood here was that we
would not be back next year.
In the end we realized that it's not about the frustrating losses. It's
about setting a little time aside from our busy schedules and family lives
to get together once a year without getting hassled for doing what we love
to do which is drink, watch sports and gamble with money that we quite
frankly can easily afford to lose. We did have a lot of laughs outside of
the casino and all in all we still enjoyed our trip to the Holy City.
Because of this we vow to continue our little tradition. It's Caveman's hope
and dream that he can continue to enjoy it not only with his dad (who has
now joined us for the past six sporgies), but with his son (that'd be Sporgy
Here's hoping we continue until then. Hope to see more of you next year as
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