Lebron James reigns as the Team USA captain both on the court and off the court in the casino at Steve Wynn's hotel. This was easy to see Thursday night, August 17th, as James and fellow player Chris Paul were playing blackjack at the $500 minimum bet table.
"C'mon Mike, you're my man, give me a nine," says James to the diminutive dealer. "Don't let me down." Mike ultimately keeps James happy and earns a free drink from James before he is replaed by another dealer, Traci, who gives James an even better run on the table.
Traci wasn't as forgiving or helpful for Paul and some of his other friends, knocking them out of play relatively quickly once they depleted their planned gambling roll for the night. "I knew it was over when she came," says Paul. "I was done."
This action didn't deter the players from continuing to havee fun and they headed across the casino to the hgih roller table where they watched and cheered on thebig spenders. "There you go," says James. "Hit it again," as he watches them wager up to $10,000 a hand.
Carmelo Anthony also found a bit of relief playing blackjack, but he restricted himself to a $200 a hand limit. Seeing his bankroll dwindling Anthony calls it quits for the night and heads off for his room. Fellow player JR Smith said it best about Anthony's play, "He played a lot, he just didn't win a lot."
James and Paul return to the blackjack table a little while later when Mike returns to the dealer duties. There they are joined by Dwyane Wade who comes to see how the pair are doing. "Are you playing?" asks James. "No, man, I'm not losing my money," responds Wade, "I'm good." The pair close out a little later behind on the night, but overall ahead for the trip.
"Blackjack's not my game, I play a little game called booray," says James. "That's my game. I'm the best booray player."
The Team USA players are staying at the Wynn hotel after being invited by Steve and Elaine Wynn in March. The couple insisted that Team USA and their friends and family stay at their hotel while they trained in Vegas. THe players have taken the invitation to heart and have spent almost all of their time in the Wynn facility, gambling in the casino, partying at Tryst, dining at Wing Lei and SW Steakhouse and enjoying all the amenities of the world class spa.
Tuesday, November 07 , 2006