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Betting Las Vegas

Jimmy Kimmel Live!’s Cousin Sal on seven lucky sportsbook dos and don’ts.


1. How to judge if the sportsbook is worthy of your business.
If, as you walk in, you notice that its largest flat-screen is smaller than the one in the Huxtables’ living room, walk out immediately. I’m sorry—spit on the supervisor’s lapel, then walk out immediately. 

2. Don’t drink and parlay.
There’s a reason the casinos let you booze for free: They’re encouraging you to make bad choices. It bodes well for them in the end. You know how women look hotter to you when you’re hammered? Same goes for the electronic betting board. You wouldn’t normally risk your paycheck on a 250-1 long shot at Belmont. But a half-dozen Kahlua-and-creams into the night and the three-legged mare starts to look like a sure thing. Carry a Breathalyzer: Any reading over a .15 should send you straight to the nickel keno machines.

3. When your sportsbook clerk gives you a winning tip, reward him/her for it.
Think about it: If a waiter stops you from ordering the beef and cheddar but sells you on the truffle burger and it ends up being the best thing you’ve ever tasted, you reward him, right? Multiply that scenario by 100 here. Standing behind a counter all day in an outdated vest while toothless old men with hearing aides scream at you about free buffet vouchers, all for upward of nine bucks an hour, may seem glamorous, but it’s really not. These guys appreciate the monetary gesture. Trust me, their trailer homes in Henderson aren’t painting themselves.

4 Stay away from sportsbook babes.
If you happen to spot a woman in a sportsbook who on a scale from one to Mila Kunis is a Julianne Hough or hotter, do not approach her. Odds are excellent that she’s the property of some low-level mobster who’s sent her out to unload blood money on a fixed horse race. Unless you want to spend the next day and a half gasping for air in a Dumpster behind Circus Circus, you should stay far away. And if you don’t believe me, do yourself a favor and Netflix Casino.

5. Make sure you’re rooting for the right horse in the right race.
The average book runs 700 races, broadcasting from scores of racetracks across the country. If I had a drink ticket for every time I was holed up in a smoky book cheering for the wrong horse from the wrong track, I would be able to build a village of seedy brothels out of drink tickets.

6. If your friend finds a glitch in the board and is about to take advantage of it, do not bring the glitch to the attention of the sportsbook manager.
This actually happened to me about 10 years ago. I spotted an error on the electronic board that listed Lennox Lewis as a 10–1 underdog instead of a 10–1 favorite. The book is supposed to honor screwups such as these, so I quickly and quietly approached the counter to bet all the money I had on Lewis in the hopes that I could get it in before they fixed their mistake. Just as the clerk was putting my ticket through, my “friend” Mike August yells out, “Hey, they have Lennox Lewis listed as an underdog!” This is unforgivable. Needless to say, the sportsbook manager immediately adjusted the mistake. Lennox Lewis won by early TKO, and on the undercard I was disqualified a few seconds into the first round for kicking Mike August briskly in the nuts.

7. If you run into frequent patron Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a sportsbook, don’t cut him in line at the counter.
He will beat the crap out of you. Especially if you’re sporting a vagina.