2013 DFBBC Trip Report
By now everyone has probably heard that headChopper took down the DFBBC finals for $50,000. If you missed out on the event, you can recap the finals experience on our Championship Coverage page. What you might not have heard about yet is what went down outside of the NBA contest during DFBBC weekend. Let’s take a look at this once-in-a-lifetime (well, more than once for some finalists) weekend that FanDuel provided to the finalists of their prestigious NBA event.
We arrived on Friday and were greeted by a massive suite at the Palazzo. The room has two levels: one with 2 queen beds and a TV and one with a gigantic wrap-around couch, coffee table, internet area and another flat-screen. The entire room can’t even fit in the picture I took. The blinds on the room are automatic, and controlled by a remote control. The bathroom has a stand-up shower, full tub, and yes, another TV. Needless to say, the Palazzo provides more than enough luxury for finalists.
After getting settled in, Cal and I headed down to Emeril Legasse’s stadium to place some bets and grab lunch with Naap and Hatorade. Naap and Hatorade were both at the FFFC finals (Naap as a finalist) and RotoGrinders Party as well. We had some noon-beers, and placed a 5-game parlay, which did not quite hit the mark. After lunch, the four of us met up with Notorious, headChopper and Dan (db730) at the blackjack table for a quick session and a couple drinks. Naap and Chop started tossing around high-level NBA strategy banter, and I knew we were going to be in for a good weekend. Next, it was off to dinner.
I’m a little jealous, because I had to get to work filling in for Mr. Back on the podcast during dinner and I missed out an awesome meal and party. As I interviewed most of the finalists, Team FanDuel treated the finalists to an incredible meal and unlimited drinks in a private suite. After being wined and dined, the finalists were announced in the first ever Live Finals Introduction for Finalists. Check out the video below if you have time (10:00), as it was certainly the highlight of the evening in my opinion, and it brought about some good laughs (namely Jesse’s “fishing” joke).
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Again, slammed with the podcast I didn’t get a chance to meet everyone at dinner. It was awesome talking with some RotoGrinders members for the first time after dinner though. PennyPacker, Blako and Neogamer were all awesome guys. I think it’ll be great hearing more from them in the Grinders community moving forward, and they were all clearly deserving of being at the finals. Blako was clearly one of the more nervous finalists, but it didn’t affect his picks Saturday…more on that later. It was also cool chatting with DaBossn about how he used to play basketball and how that helped him get into the finals.
My favorite interview of the night night, had to be KnicksFan. The guy is just so likable and charismatic. You had to love the story of opening an online shoe store if he won, as well. It’s certainly a unique and ambitious use of the funds.
Luckily, I was able to sneak in a few drinks while doing the podcast, so I wasn’t too far behind when it was time to HIT THE STRIP!
The Strip: Friday Night
We took it up a notch Friday night…I think I’m still feeling the side-effects today. Cal and I met up with Notorious and his wife first (pictured right). For the record, Mrs. Notorious is clearly good-looking and was awesome to hang out with…well-done “Big Poppa”, well done. Anyways, after that we headed over to the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan to meet up with Team FanDuel: Tom, Ken, Jake, Jesse and Len. Tom Griffiths (from Scotland, now in FanDue’s NY office) enlightened me on how to drink Scotch, after we had already done a couple rounds of Tequila shots. Things were picking up to say the least.
From there some of us bounced over to Caesar’s Palace for some Roulette and single-deck blackjack. This point in the juncture was not kind on the wallet. Cal was inebriated enough at this point to accidentally hit on a 20. Better yet, he binked an Ace for 21. The roller-coaster completed when the dealer also pushed out a 21 for a push. Fun times.
After Caesar’s, Jesse from FanDuel found an amazing late-night meal for us at El Taco Gordo. By amazing, I mean intestine-destroying…only click the link of the Carne Asada French Fry platter above if you want to vomit a little in your mouth. It was tasty, however, and could feed a family of 40. Len and Jesse retired after attempting to eat this mammoth concoction called a meal, but it was still time for one last burst for FanDuel Jake, Cal and I. The three of us headed down to the craps table for our traditional FD + RG roll, minus Ken this time and plus me. It resulted in an epic turn-of-events based on my prior craps experiences…profit! We nicknamed the bald guy pictured to the right with Jake and I “LeBron”, because he was the ‘king’ of the craps table. He probably rolled for 40 minutes while we collected chips off the table…it was phenomenal.
The Championship & Celebration
After a painful, early afternoon wakeup we made it down to Legasse Stadium to set up and cover the event. The DFBBC championship event was once again held at Emeril Legasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo – a simply incredible sportsbook venue. FanDuel rented out two private indoor rooms and the adjoining bar in the general sportsbook area. The indoor rooms come equipped with sofas, stand-up arcade machines, and a dozen flat-screens. The fully-stocked, all-you-can drink bar provides a more “public feel” and also has enough TVs to cover every game possible.
It was a great opportunity for me to catch up with some of the other finalists I hadn’t chatted with yet. Top-ranked RedZone187 showed up late to the dinner party, but made himself more known on Saturday with a 5th place finish! It was great chatting with him, as he really has a grasp of the game. Keep an eye on him in the rankings as the seasons progress. Chatting with Dan’s wife and parents was also a highlight of the day…such great people, and no I know where Dan gets that personality of his from.
The best celebrations went to none other than KnicksFan. He was so genuinely happy and enthusiastic. He thought he would be nervous, but wound up having a blast. Even better, KnicksFan continued to make us smile even when he wasn’t present at Legasse. With about 1 game left, he suddenly disappeared. It turns out that he got a little too excited and had a little too much to drink. He wound up being helped back to his room for an early nap. Hey, we’ve all been there before. #GoodTimes
When all was said-and-done, the man, the myth, the legend took it down: headChopper. He blew away the competition by 20 points, with aforementioned nervous-finalist Blako taking 2nd for $20,000. “Chop” became the next big name in Daily Fantasy to earn a major title, and added another feather to the cap of the man who finished 2nd for Player of the Year in 2012. After the trophy ceremony we headed out to celebrate with 1st place Chop and 2nd place Blako. Bourbon Room’s DJ/Singer/Shawn Michaels clone announced Chop as the ‘Basketball Champion of the World’ and then the drinks started flowing. It got ugly for me at this point, as I spilled two beers at the blackjack table and had to call it a night early. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything though, as this was an an epic weekend.
There’s no value you can place on an experience like the FanDuel live finals in Vegas. Chop hadn’t been to Vegas as of 1 year ago. In the last 8 months he’s been 3 times now (2x for FanDuel Finals, 1x for the RotoGrinders party), is the Daily Fantasy Basketball Champion on FanDuel, is being announced at clubs, and is $50,000 richer. DFBBC baby!