Poker players are very accustomed to investing large sums of money to play H.O.R.S.E. - the poker version - inside the Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas.
In 2014 they've found a new way to put their money on the line playing H.O.R.S.E. This one under the Vegas sun, and requiring a vastly different skill set than the indoor version.
Some poker players use tournament breaks to hit the restroom, grab a bite, drink a beer, play some OFC or get their bi-hourly nicotine fix.
Others take time to throw a ball through an 18-inch ring of metal for stacks of cash.
Food truck empressario All-American Dave has set up a basketball hoop near his truck this summer and players have been swarming to it during breaks to wager on shots.
There is often significant money on the line but it’s also fine comedic entertainment for friends and fans.
Most players seen shooting outside the Amazon Room can be thankful they have a poker career to fall back on.
Volpe and Racener Make Bank; Danzer Not So Much
Event #13 champion Paul Volpe is a frequent shooter but was hitting very few shots until Jared Jaffee stepped up with a proposition.
He gave Volpe 8-to-1 he couldn’t hit a nighttime shot, in blustery conditions, from beyond three-point range.
Money seemed to be the key to Volpe’s game because he barely had the cigarette out of his mouth before he drained the shot. Jaffee laughed as he paid up $800, “One more time.”
Current Player of the Year leader George Danzer likes to shoot baskets to relax on breaks, though he unnecessarily admits he could use some work on his technique. Danzer took some time to speak with PokerListings before his second bracelet win and was later thankful for not having to pay off two bets while he was busy.
The biggest winner, besides the thoroughly entertained onlookers, seems to be former November Niner John Racener. He is one of the few truly athletic-types in the Rio and basketball is one of his favorite sports.
Racener has been shooting with Michael Mizrachi, Volpe and others when big events are on the schedule, and he's been cleaning up. To the tune of $12,000 at least, according to Matt Glantz.
Out With Lime Tossing, In With Hoops
It hasn’t been all fun and games around the basketball hoop. Jason Koon is a physical specimen but was sporting a black eye for a few days. Reports say it came from a pick-up game against JC Tran and friends.
Basketball isn’t the only game in town as there are several footballs available for recreation but they haven’t found a way to gamble on tossing around the pigskin.
The basketball break-time binge has replaced previous betting ventures such as lime tossing and water-bottle throwing.
If you are a poker fan and want to see some of your heroes away from the table, find your way to the back of the Rio on break and join the growing crowds.
No one is going to mistake them for professional athletes -- but you will see some first-class prop betting.