I don’t care about the food. I don’t care about the size of the television. I don’t care about the booze offered. If you want to have a kick-ass Super Bowl party you need to have one thing: a lot of gambling.
The general public still, to a certain extent, frowns upon the idea of legalized gambling and views people like myself as degenerates operating on the fringe of the law. But on Super Bowl Sunday its as if every red-blooded, hypocritical American has the green light to get some action down. Gambling is not only considered O.K. at a Super Bowl party but I argue that you don’t know how to throw a Super Bowl party if you don’t have plenty of opportunities for drunk people to win and lose money.
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Below are some tips so that your Super Bowl party doesn’t suck. They range from the simple (make sure everyone has cash) to the inventive (get the chicks gambling) but I think that these suggestions for how to throw a good Super Bowl party will ensure that everyone has a blast regardless of the outcome of the game:
1. Get going early.
You need to be drinking by 11 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re not, you’re just cheating yourself and the terrorists win. C’mon, it’s a national holiday. And even though the game doesn’t start until 6:30-ish you need to get your drink on several hours before kickoff. You should tell your guests to be there at least a half-hour before you actually want to start partying and I think that anything that’s getting going after 3 p.m. is a wasted opportunity to get wasted.
Having people show up at 5:00 or 6:00 for the game is a no good. It doesn’t give people enough time to get settled in. Then before you know it it’s 8:30 and people are thinking about waking up for work the next day instead of worrying about passing that funnel or that $20 bet on whether the next play is a run or a pass. Get started early and give everyone ample time to get the game face on.
2. Make sure everyone has cash.
Even though throwing a Super Bowl party is a perfect excuse for turning your home into a gambling den, you need to be explicit with people that there is going to be gambling at your party. And as such, make sure that everyone comes with plenty of cash. But you also need to tell people to go out and get small bills. Ones, fives and 10’s are perfect. There is nothing worse than a party where everyone shows up and no one has anything smaller than a 20. You end up with two guys who make about three total bets because nobody wants see those 20’s disappear. Trust me: the more small bills people have the faster and more furious the action will be.
And if you are the host, I think it’s your responsibility to have at least $80 in small bills on hand. I know plenty of you party with bigger ballers than that, but for “the little people” $80 in ones and fives is plenty. Get to the bank on Friday and make it happen.
3. How about some pre-game poker.
Nothing gets the gambling juices flowing like some poker or other card-related gambling during pre-game. If you don’t want to get locked into a six- or eight-person poker tourney then try some pitch or maybe a Euchre tournament. Not only is a great way to get the day going but you’ll also be surprised how quickly it makes the time go before the game. Let your wife straighten up and deal with the kids – you’ll make it up to her in a week or so on Valentine’s Day.
4. Get the girls gambling.
You really want to get your party kicking, get the girls gambling. Most of them are there for one of four reasons:
1. The food.
2. The commercials.
3. As a designated driver.
4. To make sure their man doesn’t lose the grocery money betting on the Super Bowl coin toss.
But inside every woman there is a reckless gambling junkie waiting to be unleashed. Trust me on this.
The Super Bowl is about spectacle. Whether it involves the celebrities, musicians in the pregame, or the commercials, come up with some betting angles that the women can get in on. Make the bets simple: things with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer or an ‘over/under’ component are perfect. Things like, “Hillary Scott will be showing heaving cleavage, ‘yes’ (-150) or ‘no’ (+120).” Or how about, “There will be a commercial with a monkey in it within the first 15 commercials, ‘yes’ (-165) or ‘no’ (+130).” That stuff will likely lead into some in-game betting because once momma gets The Itch she’s gonna burn plenty of money trying to scratch.
5. Give out plenty of props.
You need to have a list of Super Bowl prop bets available for your guests to bet on. Maybe pick out 10 or 15 of the best ones and put them on a poster board or even just a piece of paper. (Again, at least five of the 15 should be aimed at the ladies.) Make sure that a few of them can’t be determined until late in the game so as to keep people interested. You can serve as The House and as long as you keep the limits small or tinker with the juice to balance the action (depending on how hardcore you get) you should be able to play and bank a little cheddar.
And make sure that most of the props don’t really have much to do with the outcome of the game. No one wants to bet on the total first downs managed. But the coin toss, the National Anthem, and some things related to the halftime show are all good places to start.
6. Don’t forget gambling’s cousin: drinking games.
You keep them drinking and you’ll keep them gambling. And even if some people don’t want to get in on the action they can still have a good time. But try this: come up with a list of maybe 5-10 things that people have to drink for. For instance, every mention of “Frozen Tundra” or one of Big Ben’s legal problems should be a drink. Stuff like that. One of the drunkest Super Bowls I ever had was XXXII, the Packers vs. the Broncos. We had to drink every time you saw John Elway’s teeth. You’d catch a glimpse, the room would yell, “TEETH!” and everyone would swill. It was good times.
Another way to go is to randomly assign people at the party to a certain team. When the opposing team scores you have to take the appropriate number of drinks or if your team scores you get to hand out that many drinks. That at least gives people a rooting interest.
7. It’s hip to be square.
You gotta have Super Bowl betting squares. If you’re not sure how to set it up check out our Super Bowl squares page and either print it out or draw up a grid on some poster board. (And make sure you don’t put the numbers on until everyone has bought up the squares. That’s a rookie mistake.) And here’s a tip: instead of just paying out to the person with the square that corresponds to the last digits in the score, try paying out to the spots immediately above and/or below as well as immediately left and/or right. That way more people get paid and more people stay interested longer. Share the wealth and you’ll end up with more people having a great time.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. He has banked nearly $20,000 in profit for his clients in all sports over the last six months and is rolling out more predictions this week. You can sign up and get more information here.