Sunday, March 30, 2008

March Madness Elite 8 Day 2 - The Itch

By Pauly
Las Vegas

The itch. I feel the irritation beneath my skin. I try to scratch it, but I can't get at it.

That's how you know if you are an addict. Zen thinkers would tell you that the itch only exists in your mind. I'm here to tell you that's its real.

Today is my last day to bet on March Madness games in Las Vegas. I'll be back in NYC next weekend during the Final Four. I'm skipping next Saturday's games to attend a Widespread Panic instead. I can TiVo the game, but can't TiVo the concert. So aside from the actual Championship game, today's games are the last two that I'm going to physically watch.

Over the last few days I watched the games at Red Rock with Michalski, Miami Don, Friedman, and JW. Not to mention my NYC crew with Derek, Turtle, and Senor... even though he currently lives in Rhode Island and has brainwashed his children into Red Sox nation.

I forgot how much fun I used to have with my friends from college. I hung out with Jerry several weekends ago in Florida, and I got to spend the last few days with Senor and Turtle. Over the last few years... we have all been separated by distance, careers, relationships, and families. Sometimes we go days and weeks and months without speaking to each other. But as soon as we do, we're back into our old routine.

I could write books about our exploits and hijinks over the years spanning our time in Atlanta during college, the angst-ridden post-college 20-somethings in NYC, the devastating 9.11 effect on our circle of friends, and our worlds since then. Wait! I have written books factionalizing plenty of our misadventures over the years. When I get the chance, I'll write more.

Very few things compare to letting loose in Las Vegas, especially with friends who love to live in the moment. I mean, Senor is the type of guy who jumped on top of a table and dropped his pants in a crowded bar in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival and screamed out, "Who wants to suck my cock?"

And Turtle? The guy is the funniest human being on the planet, sort of a cross between Larry David and Vince Vaughn's character in Swingers.

They have been super supportive of me over the years, especially the lean starving artist years, when I struggled as a writer. They gave me food, drugs, booze, a couch to crash on, and the clothes off their backs if needed. And they never asked for anything in return.

Lucky for me, my oldest friends always keep me in check. They never let my head get too big, and help get me back on course when I get lost or wander away. I love being around them because my true self always shines. That's why our yearly Las Vegas trip is special, since we don't get to see each other very often.

We've been raging hard and eventually I'll sit down to write up some of our stories about the Panamanian stripper at Cheetahs or about the only hooker working the floor at Red Rock.

For now, here's some thoughts on the Elite 8 games.

I picked UCLA to win it all on a couple of my sheets. I bet against them as a hedge... to get something back if they lost. I was also getting good value on Xavier's money line. I took them with points and the money line. If Xavier had won outright, I would have collected a dime on two small bets. Alas, they got stomped like a narc at a biker rally. Thanks to Dennis Miller for that original simile.

We bet North Carolina heavily. Derek took down a dime on the Heels. I've been betting more conservatively, but my brother has not. Last night, I went back to the room to write around Midnight. Him? He played poker for a bit then went to the Rhino until 6am where I must assume, he blew his winnings on strippers trying to pay their way through medical school.

Today's games...
Memphis -3 Texas
Kansas -9.5 Davidson
I'm going with Texas and Kansas today. Kansas is so tough. It's hard not to bet them since I think Davidson's Cinderella story will be coming to a halt. They'll do a better job at keeping Curry in check. If they can contain them, they can cover.

I bet on Texas a lot during the regular season. They won every game I watched and gambled on, but they either barely covered the spread or didn't. I like them as a dog today. Memphis looked like a championship team against MSU, but Texas is going to play them tougher.

I'm only down $170 betting on the games since I arrived in Las Vegas. I can easily get unstuck for the trip and for the entire March Madness if both my bets hit today.

Ah, and I have not played live poker since my first day in town. I played Saturdays with Dr. Pauly yesterday. Congrats to Skidoo for winning it all. I'll post a recap tomorrow.

I have yet to play a single hand of Pai Gow. Seriously. Once the Elite 8 games are over, I'll roam the pits looking for action. After all, I have this itch that I can't seem to soothe.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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