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Heard it on the River

10 December 2004

With the JACK BINION WORLD POKER OPEN set for a three-week run beginning Jan. 5, record numbers of players are expected for the 6th annual poker-fest that will offer up $1.5 million in first place prize money. What makes this event work so smoothly is the high-level of cooperation between two casinos, HORSESHOE and GOLD STRIKE. Without it this event would not be possible. The intense work and planning is a year-round thing and last year some 6,163 pokers journeyed to this poker shrine to cut up some $7,856,435 in total prize money. They came from virtually every state in the country and from 22 foreign countries.That the WPO should be such a success should not be a surprise. After all, the Mississippi Delta is the birthplace of poker, as we know it today, and Mississippi riverboat gamblers and other Southerners essentially invented the game and the lore that arose from poker in those early years helped a great deal to build its popularity. Those early gamblers would have been highly pleased to see how poker has evolved today to become the hottest thing around. You are invited to attend not only as a player but as a fan and see some great big money play at tables in the GOLD STRIKE ballroom and in the Horseshoe. The Media Invitational is set for 2 p.m. on Jan. 5 and I can't wait to holler…"ALL IN."

We have a lot of very hardworking and nice folks from Africa working in our Tunica Casinos and while this is old news now, it is worth mentioning to pay tribute to two of those fine folks who tragically died in a vehicle accident in Memphis. These workers don't get much notice, they seem to go about their business in a quiet and respectful way, no matter what the job is, and do not draw attention. So the death of two of them deserves a special note in this column. MAMADOU SARR, from Grand, and YOUNOUSS DIA, a Sheraton employee, were killed in the accident and they will be missed. Sarr came to grand in 1998 and Dia joined Sheraton earlier this year. We are told they were valued employees and we don't doubt that for one moment.

Bring two cans of food to Sheraton, Grand or Bally's on the 18th and be rewarded with some free slot play. The food will be distributed to various community groups helping those in need. A nice and meaningful gesture during this Holiday Season. Attagirl TRUDY PHISTERER of Sheraton for bringing this to our attention.

GOLD STRIKE'S recent $150,000 blackjack tournament was sold out for the first time with a record crowd of 268 players. There was a also a waiting list. As a result, NANCY DARCY, director of player development, tells us that she will increase capacity to handle 288 players for the same event next year.

One of the attractions of this tournament is the fact that players can rebuy for $250 to better their qualifying scores and 151 players took advantage of this and 18 of them actually made it into the semi-finals because of it. The $50,000 first prize was won by Lloyd Chandler.Gold Strike's next big event is its MISSISSIPPI CRAPS CHAMPIONSHIP is in February with $100,000 on the pass line and $50,000 to the winner.Two different people hit two different $1 million jackpots the Friday after Thanksgiving at two different GRAND CASINOS.
Say what?

Clarence Williams of Georgia won $1.8 million on a Wheel of Fortune machine at Grand Casino in Gulfport on Nov. 26 and then about an hour later, a woman hit the "Wheel" for $1.2 million at Grand Casino Tunica!Here is an interesting side note to the story. The Tunica winner almost didn't visit the Grand that night. She was planning on watching the LSU game that evening. Talk about making the right decision. That would've been one heckuva expensive football game to catch!

Good guy back in town…welcome back MATT GALLAGHER. We won't announce where you have landed after your western sojourn but when you are ready; the world will know it here. Don't know his last name but he is famous anyway. VIRGIL S. from somewhere in Arkansas won the recent Grand Casino blackjack tournament, taking home $60,000, the same Virgil S., who did the same for the previous event at Grand.

With the holiday season upon us, keep in mind that you can visit Tunica not only to gamble, but to shop. Every casino has a gift shop and Jackpot! made the rounds recently to see what is out there. Check out this issue for just a few of the many great gift items available, visit one of the gift shops and then hit the casino floor for some real fun.The casinos are all decked out for the holidays, too, with impressive displays made from gingerbread, sugar and candy. Sam's Town, The Grand and Gold Strike have constructed lifesize structures made almost entirely of edible materials. There are some real artists at work in Tunica, folks. Take a minute to admire their work.

Plan now for New Year's Eve and arrange your visit to your favorite casino. There is no better place than to bring in the New Year than at one of our fabulous casinos. It's always good times, good food and good fun. No one-and I mean no one-is better at putting together a party!YOU, that's right, YOU, should always tip your dealers, cage people, slot attendants and servers during the year but be especially generous at this time of the year. Those tips make up a major part of each employee's income and after I see many players not lay down a nickel, we hope you don't stiff those great workers who work hard to make our visits enjoyable.

LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!

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Best of Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer

Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com
Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com