Selection Sunday is just over three weeks away, so if you haven’t booked your trip to Vegas for March Madness, you have already nearly failed before you’ve even begun. Booking your hotel and deciding on the perfect March Madness itenerary need to be done now!
Assuming you’ve already made your best laid plans, we have some things to go over. First, we want you to survive our favorite week on the Vegas strip and make it back home with more money than you left with (or at least, no more than you expected to spend), with friendships and relationships in tact. We can ensure this happens if you follow The Dent’s Definitive Guide to Surviving March Madness in Vegas.
Vegas is not Vietnam. You Can Leave a Man Behind.
Controversy off the top here, but hear us out. You’re in Vegas to have fun and watch some basketball. You are not there to babysit. If your friend is ruining your trip, cut them loose. If they are too tired let them sleep. If they are tired of basketball, let them go off on their own. If they are on a heater, let them stay at the table. If they are not ready to go home, let them stay out. This policy should be discussed before you hit the ground in Vegas and everyone in the group should understand the policy. You don’t want to ruin friendships, so make sure everyone has a snickers bar handy or understand that they will be left.
Now, we aren’t monsters, so we do have a couple caveats. This doesn’t apply if they are in danger of harm or of being arrested. Make sure someone gets them back to the room and in bed if this is the case. But you don’t have to stop the party, just draw staws and have someone get them back to the hotel
Never Bet on Your Favorite Team. Especially if They Are the Favorite.
There’s nothing that will ruin your trip as fast as your favorite team getting knocked off by a 15-seed and paying for the privilege to watch it. There are 48 games during the opening weekend of the tournament. Chose one of the 46 that don’t feature your alma mater.
We know that it can be very, very difficult to follow this rule if you root for the top seeds like Duke, Kentucky, or Virgina, the first #1 seed upset by a 16 in an epic blowout in the first round.
K.I.S.S Your Betting Strategy
Keep It Simple Stupid. Vegas is a land where drinks appear out of nowhere and parties to pop up like Starbucks locations. You drank till late in the evening and woke up before 8:00 am to find a spot to watch the first game tips. You are going to tired at best and deathly hungover at worst. This is not the time to dream up an 16 game parlay.
If you want to bet more complex strategies, have a well defined plan that you came up with when well rested and sober. Maybe let you drunk-self make one decision (I’m between 2 games, so I want the morning line to choose one), but always have a plan and stick to it. There’s nothing worse than a great strategy that is sabotaged because drunk, future self decided to throw in a 16 over 1 seed in the parlay because of a tip they heard while running down the strip.
Go Mobile and Keep Gambling Wherever You Are. Oh, and DON’T FORGET TO CASH OUT BEFORE GOING HOME!
Standing in line waiting to put in your bet is one of the experiences that you can only find in Vegas. But when the tip is nearing and the guy in front of you is counting out $100 singles while you’re missing the start, bad things can happen. You should always be armed with a mobile app that you can use to place your bets throughout the day.
The other great thing about the mobile experience is you can continue betting throughout the game. This allows you to hedge your parlay that could cash next game, double down on your money line after your team gets down early (and the line moves in your favorite) or you just don’t feel like losing your spot between games. You have fun prop bets (first to 14) and other interesting wagers.
You want to be careful that you don’t sabotage (see KISS above), but if you plan for a percentage of your bank for in-game wagers, you can keep boring games interesting and get some fun action right from your table.
But remember, especially if you have a late or early flight to cash out your betting app before you head home! The sports book is not going to be open at 6am when you have to leave for an early flight, so don’t be the guy that has to book a trip back to Vegas just to get his March Madness winnings (or, maybe that guy is a genius?!)
Never Underestimate the Girlfriend/Wife Mid-Day Check-In
Do you have a wife or girlfriend that is at home not partying in Vegas? Ya, don’t forget about her. Send a couple texts throughout the day, with at least one being fairly early. This will prove that you are at least somewhat sober at 11:00 am, which is always a good start. But selfishly, it will also ensure that you don’t have to spend 45 minutes on the phone while everyone else is napping or ready to go to dinner.
This is especially important if you are going from the east coast because by the time you get done with dinner, it’s likely midnight or later back in Bungletruck, Indiana. You text her at 3:00pm and she’s just getting home from work and you sound coherent (enough).
If you’ve already made contact 2-3 time via text with enough detail for her to a.) know you are alive, b.) know you can still type, and c.) get the gist of what you’ve been doing that day you can maybe get by with a 2-minutes, pre-dinner, phone call. “Hey honey, love you! We’re heading to dinner, but I just wanted to call you before you go to bed. Having a blast! Love you! Sleep tight” call versus the 45-minute inquisition because (and I quote) “you sound really drunk”. This will help keep from getting the “hello? are you alive?!?” text and ensure that you don’t get left for dinner!
Understand Your Commitment Level Before You Leave
So what they don’t tell you is there are multiple ways to do March Madness in Vegas and if your buddies aren’t on the same page, it can be disastrous.
For some, the only way to do March Madness in Vegas is through the Watch Parties, where you basically buy a seat for the day in one location. For others, wondering the strip and watching games on the tvs throughout the strip is the best option. For others, the key is being close to the action and having the option to place a bet at a moments notice. And others don’t care about basketball at all and only came because, well, it’s Vegas.
We’ve created an entire guide to ensure you crush March Madness in Vegas, so check that out and make sure you find the right group for your personality.
These have various costs and baller statuses, but what they all have in common is that you get to your place early and stay late. These can range from “free” to thousands in gauraneteed drink and beverage spend. Make sure your group is on the same page on the March Madness budget. Don’t lose friends because you can’t decide whether to drop a grand on a cabana to watch the game poolside, attend a watch party, or grab a table at the casino sports book.
The Do’s and Don’ts of March Madness in Vegas
Do hydrate. The pumped in oxygen will make you feel immortal on the casino floor, but when you hit your room, you’ll wish you had a bottle or water or 12.
Don’t bring too large of a group. It’s hard getting 3-4 guys moving in the same direction on your best day. Vegas is not that day. Get a core group and roll with them.
Do take a break from the basketball Madness. Go sit by the pool. Walk down the strip. Take a quick stroll to a CVS to buy some gum. Go check out the Bellagio Fountains. It’s hard to miss a second of the action, but some fresh air will do you good.
Don’t expect to put in bets at the window 5 minutes before the game. March Madness is the second biggest weekend of the year in Vegas. And almost everyone is going to be betting on games. Lines will be long. (aka download and use a mobile betting app).
Do take advantage of the break in games to grab a nap or a shower. There’s a nice hour or two dinner between the first wave of games and the second. Hit the room and take a quick nap or take a quick shower before heading back out. You can’t underestimate what a quick reboot will do for your sanity.
Don’t settle for a taxi from the airport. Nothing ruins the start of your trip like a tour Las Vegas and a $40 cab ride. Get an Uber or Lyft or if you feel baller, get a limo to start your trip off right!
Do place your sports bets in $11 increments. Betting $11 to win $10 or $110 to win $100 makes it easier to pay out and “laying the juice” has been known to help you get an extra drink ticket or two if you’re still betting at the book.
Don’t limit yourself to a pre-defined plan. The best things in Vegas are often spontaneous. Have a general idea of what you want to do, but be sure you are flexible enough to catch the Vegas vibe and have an epic night to remember (or even that you probably forget).
Do have a nice meal and take in a hot show. Basketball is awesome, but Vegas has some of the best restaurants and shows in the world. A little culture will help you relax and refresh. We recommend Absinthe if you like a little dirty humor.
Don’t forget to join the March Madness in Vegas Faceboo Group. You will find March Madness. This is the best resource to get up-to-date info before and when you’re in Vegas.