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Hyperbole has taken over the web in the past couple of years, just about everything is the best ever or the worst ever. This weekend, I ran into a best ever moment in Las Vegas, but it wasn’t hyperbole. The first weekend of March Madness in Vegas was probably more than anyone could have imagined. It is now the biggest sports weekend in Vegas. Sorry, Super Bowl, but you can move to the back seat.
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The Pac 12 Conference doesn’t have a college or team based in Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop them from bringing their end-of-year college basketball conference tournament. The tournament is played at the MGM Grand Garden Arena which holds just under 13,000 people (12,916 to be exact) for basketball. The Pac 12 conference tournament is thriving in Las Vegas and sold out almost every session of games this year. That success will keep the tournament in Las Vegas at least for another year as the Pac 12 announced has announced a contract extension with MGM Grand.
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March Madness keeps Las Vegas sportsbooks hopping. The first four days of the NCAA basketball tournament have rivaled the Super Bowl in the amount of money wagered. Something to consider is that the Super Bowl is one huge game while the first two days of March Madness each have 32 games from 9 a.m. until about 10 p.m. Things slow a little on Saturday and Sunday with only 16 games each day.
It's very possible the money wagered on the first weekend of March Madness will surpass the Big Game. It's already being estimated that more than $9 billion will be wagered on March Madness worldwide ($240 million in Nevada) and over 40 million people will fill out tournament brackets.
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Last-minute buzzer beaters, underdogs pulling off huge upsets, hitting that six-team parlay to make up for the money you blew at the craps table... these are all of the things that make March Madness one of the most exciting times of the year to be in Las Vegas. When you aren't busy hanging out at the sportsbook watching all of the tremendous basketball action, there will be plenty going on in the local poker rooms. Here's a look at some special tournaments series being offered this month:
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The first weekend of March Madness has become one of the busiest of the year for Las Vegas. Now that the Big Game has passed, March Madness will be the biggest sports weekend (March 19-22) remaining for the year. Las Vegas will be electric for the Big Dance but there’s a growing amount of college basketball fans that consider that first weekend of March Madness to be amateur hour. They'd rather focus on college hoops the weeks leading into the madness.
Conference tournaments in college basketball take place all over the country from March 3 through March 15 (you can see a full list here). Many college basketball bettors look to these days as the best days of the season for gambling. Traditional college hoops fans of west coast basketball simply look to this as a great time to watch basketball in Las Vegas. Most of those games are on TVs in sportsbooks, but you can head out to The Orleans, MGM Grand and Thomas and Mack Center to catch college basketball tournaments in person.
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March Madness is almost here so you know what time it is... party time!
Our annual rundown of March Madness viewing parties is here and can be found below. We'll update the list as we discover new offerings, but if you don't see the venue you're interested in right now, the best advice is simply to call them and inquire. Don't wait. The March Madness in Las Vegas Facebook group (which now boasts some 3,700 members) is already reporting parties at The Pub at Monte Carlo and Lagasse's Stadium at Venetian|Palazzo are sold out.
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There's a lot of sh*t that happens in Vegas and not all of it can make it on our site. So, every Friday, we take note of some of the smaller announcements around town that may be of interest, too. Here's the rundown for the week of January 26:
March Madness: Yes, the Big Game isn't even over but folks have been talking about March Madness in Vegas since the end of last year. (Shout-out to the March Madness in Las Vegas Facebook group! Holla!) If you're dying for info, we can now share TI's plans. The resort will host basketball fans March 19-21 in its ballroom. Entry will be free and seating will be banquet-style (first come, first serve). There will be a cash bar, concessions and satellite betting stations so you won't miss a moment of action (unless you're in the restroom). Doors will open at 7:30 a.m. each day.
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March Madness has been on the rise in Las Vegas for the past few years, but 2014 felt as though it was a breakthrough year for the national college basketball tournament. It was impossible to walk more than a few feet without running into someone heading to or from a viewing party or sportsbook where they would watch and/or bet on the games. March Madness was truly a fantastic weekend for sports fans.
Before teams can qualify for March Madness, they actually have to play and win games during the regular season while the beginning of the college basketball season brings a lot of local warmup games for the teams. This is usually followed by some holiday basketball tournaments in such hot vacation spots like Hawaii or Puerto Rico. New holiday tournaments are continuously popping up and what better place to spend the holidays than Las Vegas?
March Madness in Vegas is amazing. It can also be pretty intimidating. There are so many choices when it comes to viewing the games. Which place is the best? What does the set-up look like? How early should you get there? What venue is a better kept secret? Still has seats? Is proving to be a disappoint?
If you have questions and need answers, the best place.. no... the only place you should head is to the appropriately named March Madness in Las Vegas Facebook group. Now more than 2,500 very enthusiastic members strong, the group is more than ready to do this thing and have already posted a slew of venue photos, wait times, line updates and more all while answering each others questions, too.
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It feels as if we’ve been talking about March Madness all year (because we have been), but it’s finally here. The NCAA college basketball tournament begins tomorrow night. (Although, March Madness in Vegas doesn’t begin until Thursday at 9 a.m.)
It’s almost game time, odds to win the college basketball championship have been adjusted and point spreads are available. Sportsbook operators and the committee that pick the teams may not agree on how teams were seeded, but that tension only helps make the tournament so much fun.
If you’re in Vegas before March Madness begins and are looking for a different way to get in on the action, you can play a couple contests that cover the entire NCAA tournament:
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If you have questions about specific parties taking place around town or want to chat with or meet up with other basketball fans during the tournaments, stay connected by joining the March Madness in Las Vegas Facebook group. And, in the event you can't afford the $50,000 viewing package at Carmine's, we've put together a list of all the other things happening around town. Be sure to check back as we will update our guide as more are announced.
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Before the field of 68 is revealed for March Madness, 32 teams will earn their conferences' automatic bids for the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Four of those March Madness bids will be given out here.
Four conference tournaments will take place in Las Vegas and there will be dozens of live college basketball games over nine days. Unlike most college basketball tournaments, you can bet on the games you're watching. Since the majority of the games take place at The Orleans and MGM Grand you can even walk to the sportsbook from the arena in between games to make some bets.
*The West Coast Conference tournament will take place at The Orleans Arena March 6-11.
*The Pac 12 Conference tournament will take place at MGM Grand March 12-15.
*The Mountain West Conference tournament will take place at the Thomas & Mack Center March 12-15.
*The Western Athletic Conference tournament will take place at The Orleans Arena March 13-15.