Is Vegas Betting a fun way to play?

Some of my buddies have a huge handicap gap, making games hard to pick. This weekend we have:
Team A (8 hcp & 26 hcp) vs. Team B (10 hcp & 24 hcp)

I've never played Vegas betting, but think this is a good time to try it. That way everyone's score counts and we will use net scores on each hole.

I've scoured the web and these forums for suitable game options. Bingo-Bango-Bongo, Wolf, Better Ball and others rarely result in a close match. The lower handicapper always seems to carry the load which is, honestly, demoralizing for the higher handicappers.

What (I think) I like about Vegas Betting:

  • Everyone's score counts on every hole
  • Every shot counts until the 18 hole because you might want to minimize your loses
  • With net scoring applied, scores should be close to normalized

What are your thoughts on Vegas? I definitely don't want to turn this into a laundry list of game suggestions. There are plenty of discussions for that already :wink:

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  • MudguardMudguard Members Posts: 1,265 ✭✭

    So how is Vegas Betting played? Is it a combined net per hole match? IE A's total of 10 plays B 11 on the first hole, A is one up?

  • shaneyankshaneyank Members Posts: 82 ✭✭

    @Mudguard said:
    So how is Vegas Betting played? Is it a combined net per hole match? IE A's total of 10 plays B 11 on the first hole, A is one up?

    No, not quite. Rather than summing the scores, you literally put one in front of the other (lower score first).

    E.g. On a par 4, Team A scores bogey and par (=45) vs. Team B scores birdie and double bogey (=36). Team B is ahead by 9 points. Continue adding the scores throughout the round and the loser pays the winner the difference.

    Now you see why every stroke counts through all 18 holes. It sounds fun but I'm sure has some flaws I have not considered.

    Here is a full explanation:
    What is Las Vegas golf betting game?

  • AugsterAugster Members Posts: 4,188 ✭✭

    You can easily play net hi/low. Subtract out the 8 cap and everyone else gets their shots. 2 points per hole. Easy to keep track of.

    More often than not the low guys will be battling for the low score and the high caps will be battling for the high score, but with the caps, sometimes the high cap will get the low.

    It’s a fun game. We play it nearly every day.

  • HaleboppHalebopp Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭

    I'm not sure if playing a game in which every stroke counts is a good idea with 24/26 handicaps.
    Especially with that scoring format. Those 36-45 holes what you think might be "interesting" won't really matter as there will be holes where the other team loses 38 - 514. If either of the high handicaps happens to have a bad day, it will get really ugly, especially with the requirement of finishing every hole.
    I'd look into Stableford or the new maximum score formats to limit the possible damage.

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  • shaneyankshaneyank Members Posts: 82 ✭✭
    edited Apr 9, 2019 8:07am #6

    @Halebopp said:
    Those 36-45 holes what you think might be "interesting" won't really matter as there will be holes where the other team loses 38 - 514. If either of the high handicaps happens to have a bad day...

    Therein lies the flaw I'm nervous about. However, in the case of double digit scores, the reverse applies. I.e. 5 and 14 would be carded as 145 when you go by the official game rules. Still, that's a hefty score!

    My hope is that net scores will keep the likelihood of that down and I'll also implement a max of 9 to eliminate catastrophes.

    That said, your point is still valid and one that has me looking for advice from people who have played Vegas a time or two.

    PS, if one of my buddies goes full Kevin Na on any one hole this weekend (net), I'll make him buy drinks all night!

  • MudguardMudguard Members Posts: 1,265 ✭✭

    Hmm, I'm not very adventurous. Net Best Ball Match for a beer. That way the higher handicapper isn't compelled to finish (or even the low if they have a big number).

  • deadsolid...shankdeadsolid...shank ClubWRX Posts: 14,669 ClubWRX
    edited Apr 9, 2019 3:04pm #8

    @shaneyank said:

    @Mudguard said:
    So how is Vegas Betting played? Is it a combined net per hole match? IE A's total of 10 plays B 11 on the first hole, A is one up?

    No, not quite. Rather than summing the scores, you literally put one in front of the other (lower score first).

    E.g. On a par 4, Team A scores bogey and par (=45) vs. Team B scores birdie and double bogey (=36). Team B is ahead by 9 points. Continue adding the scores throughout the round and the loser pays the winner the difference.

    Now you see why every stroke counts through all 18 holes. It sounds fun but I'm sure has some flaws I have not considered.

    Here is a full explanation:
    What is Las Vegas golf betting game?

    Doesn’t the birdie by team B flip team A’s score? So they are 54?

    Not a good fit (in my opinion) for 24 & 26 caps, UNLESS you institute a max score of double bogey. If someone cards a double digit score in this game, the numbers get ugly in a hurry.

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  • jmkenn0jmkenn0 Members Posts: 686 ✭✭

    The few times we've played that we cap it at either net double or 9 for max scores. But it got sideways super-quick the few times we played so we actually play the others you mentioned, although we don't have quite the spread of handicaps as you do.

  • ArtMBgolfArtMBgolf Members Posts: 368 ✭✭

    With Vegas make sure everyone understands the flipping rules.
    You could have a max score rule or eliminate flipping. Vegas is better for all low handicapers.
    Best ball net makes more sense with high hdc.

  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,716 ✭✭

    I'm going to try a Vegas game with my group this Sunday with birdie flips. Probably make a point a quarter or something to suck them in.

  • shaneyankshaneyank Members Posts: 82 ✭✭

    Okay, so we gave it a go yesterday. Thanks for all the comments and advice leading up to it. In fact, I attempted to abandon Vegas scoring due to some comments, but as a group, we decided to try something new.

    It was a major flop :D

    Even with net scores applied and instituting a max score of 9, it got out of control really fast. In numerous cases where a net birdie flipped the score, there was a 30 (or more) point differential for the hole. In the end, one team ended the match 183 points ahead. It was ridiculous since we had 1 point = $1.

    At the turn, we opted to play the front and back as 2 separate matches with $20 per person on the line.

    I'd love to do Vegas again, but only with a foursome of very similar handicaps.

  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,716 ✭✭

    My guys had a mutiny on the tee box. We were set to go at 25 cents a dot. The low guys, which I find it to be very ironic, we have never had much of a net component and perhaps I've spoiled them.... they were the ones that couldn't figure out how the "birdie flips" would influence the match. Two of them were convinced they would simply miss birdies on purpose if their partner was in danger of taking the max 9. I'm a fan of experiencing things, much like Shaneyank did it, play it and see what happens. If you guys had $.10 points it would have been an $18 dollar game. Anyways, I'm sick of coordinating, as we have half the guys who don't like to play without a little action, and half the guys who just act like it's rigged against them and say whatever, just tell me what I owe at the end.

    I've got one of my two groups I play each week that I think we may go back to a junk game. @shaneyank you might like this one, it was actually defined over years of trying to overcome your exact obstacles of a good low and high index together game. Here goes... take the total number of players and half it. The lower half becomes the A's and the higher B's (according to course handicap). Now, blind draw for two man teams. Each team puts $10 in the hat for the "group game" of net best ball payout however you like, winner takes all if it's just 4 teams (8 guys - you win $40 each if you win) - maybe 70/30 or something if you have a bigger group. We call that the "table game" or the "big game" the "group game." Then inside the groups the "side game" basically starts with adding the two Course Handicaps for each team. If for instance as a 7 I'm playing with a 14 we're 21 and you are a 4 and playing with a 18 you're 22. So there's only one stroke of difference, one stroke is given to the guy who has the bigger discrepancy from his respective A or B guy on the other team, in this case our difference is 3 while the B players is 4, so your B player gets one stroke on the lowest handicap hole.

    We use 1 dollar dot values and the dots are the only thing that can be pressed, and only by the team that is down and only 1 dollar per press. The other team can refuse the press before a shot is played and then no more presses are allowed. There is an ongoing Nassau on both the first and second ball (doesn't matter who scores higher or lower the A or B player the lower score is first ball, front / back and overall that are 2 dollar bets, but they press if either team ever gets to 2. The junk is if you win on either the first or second ball, a KP on every hole (great for the A's) if both players are on the surface and neither of the other team then 2 KP's, 3 putts negate KP's and are a -1 pop, birdies (even the "net birdie" for the guy who gets his 1 pop) are a dot, sandies are a dot, really you could play whatever junk you want, this is just what this game as evolved as it's the right balance for A's and B's. I personally don't like "flaggies" as I don't like watching guys pull the stick and measure 5 times at 3 minutes of pace per measure. With the Nassaus it goes something like this... on 1st ball team 1 was down -5/ -3/ -1 and won 2nd ball +2/ 0 on the front nine. On the back the teams tied first ball +1 / -1 and team 1 won on 2nd ball again +2/0. Team 1 lost 8 bucks on first on the front 6 on the running bets and two on the front side bet, and since they tied the back 9, they lost the Nassau on the over all, so they are down 10 bucks on 1st. Then on second they won 4 bucks on the front, 4 bucks on the back, and two on the overall, so they were up 10 on 2nd. So, each man pays his respective A or B player nothing on the Nassaus plus the dot total. If there are no presses on the dots then it's usually 30 to 50 dollars that exchanges hands, with presses it can climb to $150, but that's rare and is usually that one team is down early and frisky, presses up to 3 or 4 dollars of dot value then rolls hard the last 15 holes.

    I've looked at a lot of formats, and although this is complicated, it's quite fair for both the A and B. The B player usually dictates a ton of the action. After a lot of matches watching the A's exchange blows while one of the B's doesn't really bring any game and quits, we call it a B players game, but it's in a good way as it teaches them to stay in it and have some good safety shots to get the ball in the hole. It seems to hit a sweet spot in sting. A lot of guys don't want to learn to score it, but you can simply say, just try and play good and realize that 8 and 9 and 17 and 18 are going to flip a lot of the bets. The more annoying thing at first is that some guys will have the tendency to walk off each green mumbling or shouting, "you guys got 1st ball, KP, and a 3 putt, but we won 2nd - so you picked up 2 beans." The smoothest way I've seen it work is if the A's keep the cards and just check in with each other every hole or 3 or 4 once they start to really get it. It's a junk game but it's the most honest junk game I've played. It's as if they just added enough junk i.e. kp's and 3-putts, to level the playing field for the A's to stay in the match if their B checks out heavy. If A and B check out, it's a blood bath. Assuming no presses 50 or 60 bucks. Think of it that you could lose 12 bucks a side per ball if you lost every hole, so 24 bucks plus the 2 for the overall, 26 dollars per ball is 52 dollars per player in the Nassau if you never won a hole. In that case, which I've never seen, you'd probably lose 30 pay balls too, you probably wouldn't have pressed the pay balls and lose $82 a man. Some how right around $100 is about as bad as it ever gets. Assuming you don't end up with a few frisky pressers in one group.

  • AlmostscratchonceAlmostscratchonce Members Posts: 187 ✭✭

    @Matt J said:
    The low guys, which I find it to be very ironic, we have never had much of a net component and perhaps I've spoiled them.... they were the ones that couldn't figure out how the "birdie flips" would influence the match. Two of them were convinced they would simply miss birdies on purpose if their partner was in danger of taking the max 9.

    I think the point was missed regarding birdie flip... it flips the opposing team's score

  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,716 ✭✭

    @Almostscratchonce - thanks! I knew there was something we were missing, that makes much more sense.

  • damnisuckdamnisuck I Suck at Golf Members Posts: 71 ✭✭

    We play vegas in my golf league but we decide teams by the two golfers furthers left as a team/two golfers furthest right as a team per hole. Brings some strategy to stay away from the bad shots. Typically we play for 10 cents a point.

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  • AlmostscratchonceAlmostscratchonce Members Posts: 187 ✭✭

    Had never considered combining Vegas with L/R game! That could get gruesome if the first 2 to tee off blow it out of bounds in the same direction

  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Members Posts: 11,836 ✭✭

    I've seen guys lose $3 grand in 18 holes. 10 bucks a point
    Vegas in my parts isn't real golf as we play 2 left and 2 right as well are partners that hole
    So the guy having a bad day gets aimed away from. ie Jimmy the 2 cap is playing awful and he's in the left rough ... AIM way right
    I like wolf, but it is better as a five ball.
    The fun part of Vegas, like Wolf, is having a new partner on every hole

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  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,716 ✭✭

    I'm a fan of wolf. Prefer 5 man like @cardoustie although we do play it as a 4ball some. Progressive 3 putts ads some spice. 1st guy to 3 wiggle pays a buck to each guy, 2nd 2 bucks, etc.

  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Members Posts: 11,836 ✭✭

    When we do Wolf you can't go Wolf on par 3's ....

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  • deadsolid...shankdeadsolid...shank ClubWRX Posts: 14,669 ClubWRX

    That’s why it’s always such an advantage to be the wolf on the par threes, one really good shot and you can clean up. We took away the “pig” option on par threes (where the chosen guy can claim the “lone wolf” status for himself after he is chosen).

    Such a fun game, alhough the five man version always gives me fits keeping score.

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  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,716 ✭✭

    We always have to confirm the rules. A lot of the guys like to hear a "howl" if you go wolf. Do you guys play that it doubles the bets? When I first started playing the rule was that you had to win out right or you lost twice the points. Some guys like to play it differently if you just don't pick anyone, if I recall correctly, that's 3X the bets.

  • davep043davep043 Members Posts: 3,081 ✭✭

    I've played the left/right teams in a number of formats, and I do like having a new partner on each hole. You can also play the two middle balls against the team of furthest left and furthest right.

  • deadsolid...shankdeadsolid...shank ClubWRX Posts: 14,669 ClubWRX

    We double the bets if someone goes alone.
    We always played that if it’s a tie then nothing happens, just move on to the next hole. I don’t think that happens much, because usually when someone takes it themselves at least two people are not it prime position, and the the solo guy usually wins the total part of the bet. Not always, but usually. It’s when one of those guys who is out of position pulls off something spectacular that solo guy all of a sudden gets real nervous.

    Or even worse, you don’t choose someone because it looks like they’re in trouble, then you get up there and they’re wide open.

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  • deadsolid...shankdeadsolid...shank ClubWRX Posts: 14,669 ClubWRX

    We do the left-right also. So, other than maybe purposely aiming a little more left or right than normal, it’s pretty much hit and see what happens as far as who your partner will be.

    It’s what make Wolf such a fun game (in my opinion), choosing your partner. Do you take the decent shot by the solid player who doesn’t get a stroke, or do you wait for the less steady player who is getting a shot? I love the decision making!

    So much can hinge on where you fall in the rotation. Who’s ahead of you and whose behind.

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  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,716 ✭✭

    Last time out playing Wolf we had a pretty tight group of players. All good friends all reasonably adept with a golf club. Three of us really hammered on each other all day, meanwhile the 4th player played like about a 12 handicap. He just didn't have his A, B, or C game that day. He was big money winner in the club house. Just about every hole he happened to be on the "right" team. Really funny to come in and watch the card get counted and this guy that plays off of a 6 and shoots 90 wins the most money.

    Another little trick guys have been pushing a lot lately is to change the rotation at the end of the round. So with 4 guys everyone would get 4 first tee shots in the first 16 holes. So, we count the card and let the low dot guy tee off first on 17 and name the dot value, rinse and repeat on 18. The only problem I've had with that is that sometimes the low dot guy gets ambitious tries to make his money back and digs a bigger hole than he imagined. All of a sudden he doesn't want to play any more. If we had a bunch of guys that wanted into the game it wouldn't be an issue but we barely put two groups together most times out.

  • deadsolid...shankdeadsolid...shank ClubWRX Posts: 14,669 ClubWRX
    edited Apr 18, 2019 3:41pm #27

    We always do that, low guy takes lead position on 17 & 18.

    It’s a good fit because 17 is a shorter par three, so the opportunity is there. Problem is, most of the time the guy is in last because he’s not playing well, so he’s normally relying on picking a good shot from someone else to try and help bail him out. That is why we got rid of the pig option, because of that hole and situation right there.

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  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,716 ✭✭

    It's a game of perpetual optimism @deadsolid...shank

    I always find it a bit comical that there's so much confidence that a guy's game is going to turn around because he's first off the box and he can name the stakes. Sure, a fresh mindset can help, but if you've blocked 12 tee shots in 16 holes you usually need some range time, different ball position, maybe a quicker release, not more money riding on your block. I often times cut my losses on a bad day, but the boys would rather see you double down and try and control your own fate. Good luck with that.

  • deadsolid...shankdeadsolid...shank ClubWRX Posts: 14,669 ClubWRX
    edited Apr 18, 2019 6:48pm #29

    @Matt J said:
    It's a game of perpetual optimism @deadsolid...shank

    I always find it a bit comical that there's so much confidence that a guy's game is going to turn around because he's first off the box and he can name the stakes. Sure, a fresh mindset can help, but if you've blocked 12 tee shots in 16 holes you usually need some range time, different ball position, maybe a quicker release, not more money riding on your block. I often times cut my losses on a bad day, but the boys would rather see you double down and try and control your own fate. Good luck with that.

    Hope springs eternal!😀

    That next swing might be the one!

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  • JLewJLew Members Posts: 933 ✭✭
    edited Apr 20, 2019 6:37am #30

    We play a lot of Vegas with a couple modifications.

    Birdies flip.
    Eagles flip and then double the differential.
    If a hole is tied then next hole is worth double. This compounds if multiple holes are tied in a row (2x, 4x, 8x, etc).

    $ per point varies depending on the players and we usually put a max loss per player in play ($50ish) with the option of the losing team pressing but pressing increases the max loss if chosen.

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  • MalvernMalvern Members Posts: 428 ✭✭

    We are always playing in an overall competition so the group bet is a sideline for beers and bragging.
    What works well for us is, 2nd ball counts matchplay, that is, if two people make net pars, their respective partners are in the game if one makes a net par and the other a net bogey, its 1up to the par guys.
    We brought it in because 4balls advantage higher markers

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