Jenny here and back from Las Vegas for the 2009 VegasInsider.com Sports Handicapping Seminar, Golf and Poker Weekend. I have to say that it was a blast hanging out with Peter Gold and all the VI handicappers. It was a great learning experience to say the least while sitting in on the two-day seminar. As a matter of fact, at some points it was quite overwhelming but I tried to make sense of those damn numbers.
Thomas Jensen of Point-Spreads.com and I arrived at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa on late Thursday night (August 20th) with Peter Gold welcoming us at check in. We immediately went to the Onyx bar to grab a drink and to catch up seeing that we hadn't all been together since the NCAA Basketball tournaments in Miami. I made sure to get a stiff one - extra dirty Grey Goose martini and boy did it hit the spot. As Peter called it a night, Tommy and I decided to hit the tables and see what this beautiful resort had to offer.
On Friday (August 21st), I was supposed to attend the golf tournament. However, hanging out in the dry 108 degree weather trying to watch or even play in a sport that I know nothing about just didn't sound that appealing to Jenny. It was my brother after all that said that I was a lost cause in the sport. WTF? So I did what any girl would do - laid by the pool to work on my tan and enjoy a couple of cocktails poolside charging them to Tommy's room. Shhh! Don't tell him. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it. It wasn't all play as I headed upstairs to get a little work done before I had to get ready to meet up with my partner in crime Rebecca Liggero. We then met up with the rest of the crew including Peter at the sushi restaurant, Hachi. A couple of hours later we went over to the cocktail hour (where I ran into Joe Brennan Jr.) for the "meet and greet" with the pro handicappers, Andy Iskoe, Marc Lawrence, Bruce Marshall, Jason Johnson, Paul Bovi, and Jim Manos just to name a few. The cocktail hour was great and I was able to get a start on my learning experience of handicapping. After the cocktail hour we all headed over to Lucky Bar (inside the casino) and got the night started. Good music, lots of Grey Goose flowing, and great company! Need I say more?
So I woke up at 8:00 am the first day (Saturday - August 22nd) of the seminar a bit hung over. And yes you read correctly - 8:00 am. Jenny has been turning over a new leaf. No worries, even if my editor thinks that I'm boring now. At first, walking into the conference room was a bit intimidating as there were very few females in the room. It felt like being in a meat market and Jenny was the meat. However, things got off to a great start at the VI Sports Handicapping Seminar with Peter Gold, Executive VP/General Manager of VegasInsider.com, opening it up by welcoming the large crowd of handicappers looking to get the pro's football outlook for this season. Following Peter was Race and Sports Book Director and Manager of Red Rock Resort, Jason McCormick. The first panel consisted of Jason McCormick, Kenny White (LVSC) and Mike Seba who talked about what it's like being "Behind the Counter" of a sports book operation. You can check out all audio of your choosing at http://www.vegasinsider.com/radio/vi/archive/seminar2009/ to get more from these pro line makers. I'm not going to lie, this was a bit confusing with all the handicapper talk but I had a great translator, Vegas Insider Handicapper Jason Johnson. Jenny didn't get it all but I did learn a few things not known before. For example, the difference between sharps and squares - sharps are the pros and squares are not. I also learned what a point spread was - an old kinky sexual position from the Karma Sutra is what I always thought it was. Duh Jenny! The next panel was even more confusing for lil ole me and at some points it sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher talking. However, looking around the room it looked like everyone else understood the pros.
We broke for lunch and I joined my translator, Jason to the Red Rock's Sports Book so that I could learn a little more about how the betting works. I have to say that it was a lot easier to understand everything as a whole seeing it up close. After my quick lesson on sports betting, I met up with Tommy and Peter for a quick bite and a drink. I got back in time to the seminar to catch - Jenny's favorite - the "College Football Forecast". The panel consisted of Sid Rosenberg (SidRosenberg.com), Brian Edwards (VegasInsider.com), Bruce Marshall, Jason Johnson (VegasInsider.com), Jimmy Rotunda, Marc Lawrence (Playbook.com), Jim Manos, and Paul Prestridge. Keep a look out for my interviews with several of these pro handicappers. Click here to check out the Best College Football Bets Week 1 & 2010 BCS Predictions.
The first day of the seminar was quite interesting and I was looking forward to seeing what Saturday night would bring. I went up to my room for a brief rest/work period and then got myself dolled up for a night of fun. I'll go ahead and say that it was an interesting night to say the least. I met Tommy down at the tables where we ran into many of the VI crew. We went to check out how the Vegas Insider Poker Tournament was going and then all opted to grab a bite at T-Bones Chophouse. Again, great company, delicious food and the alcohol flowing. Instead of doing a night out in one of the clubs in Red Rock, we decided to get back to the tables and see what kind of luck we could generate. That's where things started getting a little hazy. As long as Jenny was playing, Jenny was drinking for free - big mistake. Without going into too much detail, I was asked to leave the table for slowing down the game. Yeah I know, and here I thought I was turning over a new leaf. Oh and did I mention that I wanted to go skinny-dipping at 4 in the morning? Again, yeah I know!! To calm all of you down, no I never took that skinny dip under the moon but I did wake up Sunday morning with hell of a hangover.
Sunday morning (August 23rd) got off to a rocky start when I woke up at 10 am still drunk. I had a check out time of 12 pm and was calmed to see that the bolt cutters wouldn't have to be used this time around. I immediately started getting ready, as I wanted to get down to the conference center to sit in on day 2 of the VegasInsider.com Sports Handicapping Seminar. Amazingly I got everything together (and I'll have to admit) with the help of a glass of wine. It's not my proudest moment but it needed to be done. On my way down to the seminar I grabbed some food to soak up some of the alcohol and got myself back to normal Jenny. I got there just in time to sit in on "Over and Under" predictions with Chip Chirimbes, Paul Bovi (PanoramaSports.com), Jim Manos, Erin Rynning, and Andy Iskoe. Click here to check out the Best NFL Bets Week 1.
Following the "Over and Under" panel was Sid Rosenberg, Marc Lawrence, Andy Iskoe, Alf Musketa, Brian Edwards, Stephen Nover, Ted Sevransky, Bryan Leonard and Chip Chirimbes with the "NFL Breakdown" predictions. Click here to check out the NFC Betting Preview and click here to check out the AFC Betting Preview.
After the seminar was over Peter offered to buy poor hung over Jenny a drink. How could I say no. Two drinks in I could feel the need for a much needed nap and excused myself to go upstairs where my bags were being held. As soon as I laid my head down on the couch, I was out. I woke up at 8 pm and realized that I more than likely slept through dinner but could possibly still catch the dessert portion. Unfortunately, when I made it down to the restaurant the check was being grabbed and dinner was over. It didn't stop Jim Manos grabbing me a glass of wine at the bar and that's where things got churned up again. Barely finishing that glass of wine, it was time to get down to the lobby and get a cab to the airport. Brian Edwards and I decided one last drink wouldn't hurt and then another for the cab ride. Next thing I know I'm in Las Vegas McCarran airport - slightly tipsy - to embark on my flight back to Miami where I slept the duration of the whole flight.
Overall, I have to give a big thanks to Peter Gold of VegasInsider.com and the whole VI crew for making this trip fun and very educational. I do believe I still have a lot to learn about sports handicapping but I'm getting there. You can check out full audio from the 2-day seminar here http://www.vegasinsider.com/radio/vi/archive/seminar2009/. And check out what the pros are saying at VegasInsider.com or you can go directly here http://www.vegasinsider.com/nfl/picks/ to find out more about these pros. Also, if you'd like to learn more about the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa you can check out their website here http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/.
Read on for my interview with Peter Gold on the success of this year's seminar.
JENNY: You've been doing the VegasInsider.com Sports Handicapping Seminar three years now. How was this year's seminar overall compared to previous years?
PETER: We've actually been holding seminars for over ten years but took a break for a while. This is our third consecutive year for the "current" Seminar - we had record registrations and incredibly positive feedback. All in all, it was a huge success.
JENNY: The Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa was a great location for the seminar. How did your relationship start with the Resort? And will you continue holding your event there?
PETER: The relationship is based on our strong relationships with Las Vegas and specifically, with Art Manteris and Jason McCormick of the Red Rock (Station Casinos) race and sportsbooks. While next year is a long way off, we do plan to continue holding our event at Red Rock.
JENNY: Were there any other "bidders" that wanted you to host your seminar at their resort?
PETER: Yes, but I really cannot go into much detail for personal reasons.
JENNY: The VI handicappers are a great and talented group. How do you find these guys or do they come to you?
PETER: It's a combination of us finding great talent and great talent finding us. It's always been that way. There is a great concentration of professional handicappers based in Las Vegas, where many of our handicappers and contributors (and solid industry friends) are based.
JENNY: Are you constantly adding new handicappers to your team?
PETER: We are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating our handicapping rosters based on a variety of factors, yes.
JENNY: What's next for VegasInsider.com?
PETER: Football season and continuing to provide a high-quality product for our visitors that contain both integrity and transparency.
Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior International Correspondent