LAS VEGAS — SHAKEN NOT STIRRED!!!
No one has ever confused me for James Bond, but I have sat at a few baccarat tables. My favorite was in Monaco at Casino de Monte Carlo. Think I was like 22 years old and spending a year abroad studying. WINK-WINK!
Was a YUGE fan of 007 so I thought it would be a gas to hit his casino. They had a dress code, as you might suspect. Jeans with holes, flip-flops and sleeveless shirts were a NO-FLY zone. I was traveling pretty light but had a ratty brown corduroy sport jacket, so they let me in. And yeah, I did get some strange looks.
Sat at the baccarat table with maybe 500 francs – no euros back then. Didn’t have much of an idea how to play, but knew that 9 was a magic number. Loved the game, the table and mostly THE scenery. That was then and this is now, where I can hit any online casino and play baccarat in my bathrobe, baby!
If you don’t wanna drain your bank account, think about making a stop at the Fantasy Lab inside the Fashion Show Mall. Fantasy Lab describes itself as “an immersive collection of thoughts, dreams, and emotions brought to life by original technologies that blur the lines between science and fiction.”
OK, that’s a mouthful, but when we looked over the menu, the fantasy bites like Happy Cow, Bacon Wrapped Dates and Elote Roasted Corn are all priced between $6 and $7. And if you’re not familiar with Elote Roasted Corn, lemme open your palate.
Elote is a classic Mexican street food of corn on the cob charred on the grill, then slathered in a spicy creamy chili, garlic and Cotija cheese-spiked sauce. Careful ’cause it’s EN FUEGO!
If you need a cocktail, may I suggest “Above the Clouds.” This bad boy is a mixture of Bacardi Gold rum, Jagermeister coffee liqueur, Crème de Cacao and pineapple. And all for only $17. For the kids, it’s the Electric Lemonade, which is made with butterfly pea syrup, fresh lemonade and sparkling water. Enjoy a few hours at the Fantasy Lab ... NO white coats necessary!
It’s been almost a month since I threw out my pick to win the World Cup, and for those who might’ve missed it, here you go...
OLE! You ready for the BIGGEST sporting event on the planet? Yup, it’s the World Cup starting this Sunday. Gonna take a gigantic pile of chips and throw it down on Argentina at 5/1. Lionel Messi might not be the best player in the world anymore, but he is still Messi. And this is probably his last shot at the trophy since he will be turning 39 when the next Cup rolls around in 2026 here in North America.
La Albiceleste, The White and Sky Blues, have not lost a game in OVER THREE YEARS! What! Yeah, that’s a THIRTY-FIVE GAME unbeaten streak. They have a roster loaded with stars from the major soccer leagues in Europe. Aside from Messi (PSG), Argentina will trot out Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) and Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).
And there’s another pretty important Lionel for Argentina. The manager, Lionel Scaloni. After taking over in 2019 with a handful of skeptical players, they all LOVE him now. Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul talked about mistrust early on, but then said, “Now Scaloni could convince us of anything. He is very detailed and, because of how he prepares matches and tactical work, everything ends up happening. If it’s 10 in the morning and he says ‘good night’, then it’s night for us.”
With stars at every spot on the pitch and the GREAT Messi leading the charge, you don’t have to cry for Argentina, but you do have to send in a healthy wager.
So, the question is, should I hedge and take some Croatia, or just ride with Argentina? Gonna LET IT RIDE, BABY!!!
And on Wednesday, gotta think that France will be able to handle Morocco, but will wait to determine the size of my bet until we get the results of the Argentina/Croatia game.
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email... email@example.com.