I’m just a few days away from my second trip to Vegas for March Madness. Next to any football Sunday, my two favorite days of watching sports is the beginning of the NCAA tournament. And being in Vegas with all the degenerate gamblers makes it that much more enjoyable. Last year I rolled with Ruther, and this year Mr. No Chill Praino will join us. While he might hate NCAA basketball, and think my nebbish insanity cramps his style, I guarantee he’ll secretly have the best time ever.
I’m pumped and I am counting the days. I know as soon as I hit the Barstow Fat Burger, and Ruther does an IG story, complaining about how I don’t like toppings on my meat, Vegas is only hours away. I’ll now take you on a stroll down memory lane for my top 5 moments from last years trip.
Here they are in order from last to first.
#5 My Scratch Ass Hotel Stay
Because our trip was set up late, I was unable to stay at South Point, so instead I stayed at the seediest Howard Johnson, right near the Hooters Casino. How bad was this little flea infested hole in the wall? The second Ruther pulled up to drop me off on the first night, he couldn’t stop laughing. I offered him to check out the accommodations, but he bolted so fast with some excuse he had to meet up with his college buds. I was left alone in meth heaven.
What made things even more interesting was I shared a room with a guy only known for his jean shorts. He talked in his sleep, and acted like a dude who would wear jean shorts. Both our room keys were duds, and we kept having to get them replaced. But me and jean shorts made the best of it by spooning each other to sleep.
I ventured in Hooters Casino once to play some craps, and it was the first time gambling wasn’t fun. The smell of BO was so rank from the other gamblers, I was hoping I lost. It was at that moment my shitty hotel room was a nice refuge. It was rough, but I’ll always remember how good the rest of the trip was to put up with that shitty room.
#4 The Terrible Buzzer Beater, Back Door Bad Beat
There are certainly highs and lows of gambling. And there are times your team wins and you still lose. The first day I was up 50 bucks. I thought I’d start Friday off with a big bet on my favorite college team, Michigan. Spread was 3.5 against Oklahoma St. It seemed easy enough. Michigan just won the big ten tournament, and seemed to be peaking at the right time. I put a nice $50 bet on big blue to cover. From what I recall Oklahoma St. was leading pretty much the whole game. I also recall the room of a thousand degenerates were all rooting for Ok St. I felt like everyone was in on something I wasn’t.
Late in the second half Michigan took the game over with a barrage of threes, and for a moment, it looked like I was going to cash my ticket. But the Cowboys kept fighting to keep the game close. What I realized was everyone in the giant South Point ballroom was rooting for Ok St. to cover. I felt alone.
With four seconds left, Michigan sunk a free throw to lead by four and guarantee them victory. All OK St. could do was run down the court and shoot a useless three. Because my money was on the line, I felt of course it was going to happen. With four seconds left, the Cowboys were determined to give me a terrible bad beat. They dribbled full court and threw up a useless three. As the shot sailed the whole room was hum for anticipation. Even one of Ruther’s friend was documenting this, knowing the backdoor cover would hit. And swish. The ball went right through the hoop. As I lay sunken, and devastated, the room exploded in insane glee. A thousand people were screaming, cheering and high fiving each other.
The moment hurt. I was devastated. My wallet was a little lighter and on top of that everyone was going bonkers. After experiencing the atmosphere though, I realized it was a pretty sweet moment. And hopefully this year I’ll be on the other side of a brutal beat.
#3 Steak N Shake
Call me a simple man, but I enjoy a simple fast food meal. Food in Vegas can be pricey, but I couldn’t go wrong with living on a diet of chicken fingers, fries and a coke. I took some jabs for never eating a burger, or even having a shake. But for under ten bucks I had a tasty meal, that always hit the spot. As I said plenty of times, on my fast food reviews, “Steak n Shake chicken fingers tastes like heaven.”
#2 The Insane Degenerate Ballroom at the South Point
Imagine a room of a thousand degenerate gamblers frosting out of the mouth to bet on college basketball games. By first tip off at 9am, the beers and cigars were already flowing. Guys had shirts that read, “make brackets great again,” and “good coaches win, great coaches cover.”
In a room full of a thousand dudes, I could count the females on one hand. And three of them were working at the massage tales. This was a degenerate heaven. It also helped that all of Ruther’s buddies were mad cool and accepting of this oddball. We had some great laughs.
Memory #1 Ruther - “You Gotta Fucking Dart in Your Neck.”
Sometimes Mr. Ruther can be a little high strung. He will be the first to tell you he has no patience. He yells a lot. Heck on multiple occasions I have seen him yell at himself. But give the man some edibles and a vape men, and he goes to some mellow fun places. On this occasion, with Ruther completely high, his go to saying was, “you got a fuckin’ dart in your neck,” as said by Sean William Scott in Old School. Numerous times on the trip and during games, he would just start to laugh and whisper in my ear, “you gotta fucking dart in your neck,” in the lowest voice possible.
There was one glorious moment on a late Friday where I was playing poker, and out of nowhere a wondering Ruther is gazing around the South Point Casino high as fuck, aimlessly like a hippie freak at Burning man.
I approached him and asked if he was Ok. All Mr. Ruther could say was, “you gotta fucking dart in your neck.”
I can’t tell you how excited I am for this year. Hey Barstow Fat Burger: get a plain burger ready for me. We are less than a week away.