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Best of Rudi Schiffer

Gaming Guru

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Heard It On The River

3 January 2006

Here we are at the beginning of 2006 and let's hope it will bring more blessings than bashings like disaster-laden 2005. Last year concluded with a very busy holiday season at Mississippi's casino and being an eternal optimist, I look for a better year for the industry in general.

As we have found out this past year, however, natural disasters happen with a swiftness and savagery that we all find unsettling and media seers and other experts in our midst seem to revel in seeing worse hurricanes and even a massive earthquake for the Mid-South. Hey, I am one for being prepared but let's stifle the doom and gloom prognostications for a while.

The year gets off with a big bang in Tunica, as it becomes the Poker Capitol of the World this month with an influx of thousands of poker players. The attraction is the WORLD SERIES OF POKER Circuit event at Grand and the WORLD POKER OPEN at GOLDSTRIKE. The guys and gals you see every night on TV will be there and the side action will be high and heavy. If you want to see and get up close to all those characters, you can visit both tournaments free and take it all in. The big prize money will be on the table at the end of the two $10,000 buy-in championship events. The WPO ends on Jan. 19-23 and will be taped by the WORLD POKER TOUR for a later showing. The WSOP concludes on Jan. 24-27 and will be taped by ESPN for later showing. The winner of the final event will qualify for a seat n the 2006 TOURNAMENT of CHAMPIONS, a $2 million free-roll scheduled for this summer in Vegas.

Going to the bathroom during a poker game is a mistake. You might miss a hot hand worth a hundred thousand, and nothing in the bathroom is worth that much.

Nick The Greek: King of Gamblers (1969)

On the bright side, the rebirth of Gulf Coast casinos is underway with openings at IMPERIAL PALACE, ISLE OF CAPRI, and the PALACE, and HARRAH'S in New Orleans, is expected to re-open shortly. Meanwhile, a lot of the business lost there because of Hurricane Katrina has migrated north and showing up in Tunica and at places like PEARL RIVER RESORTS.

Harrah's Entertainment, with its powerful database, sees opportunity in the market and evidence of it is the recent flood of direct mail pieces with generous offers from its three properties in Tunica-Grand, Sheraton and Horseshoe. At the same time, Harrah's has attacked the outer markets with an aggressive excursion program that is bringing in hundreds of new players to the upgraded Tunica Airport that can now handle larger jets. It all adds up to more and new players and that is good for all the casinos.

The Tunica jurisdiction has always been very competitive, which is great for the players who benefit from the battle, but as the ante is upped it also draws a response making it even better for all of us who shoot dice, look for blackjacks, or pull a slot handle.

Over at Sheraton, ADOLPH LEPRE, Casino Manager of Table Games, is starting off the New Year in fine fashion for blackjack players. Big Dolf, a popular guy with a loyal following, is kicking off the BLACKJACK in PARADISE $125,000 tournament on Jan. 27 and is looking for 200 or more players to buy-in at $500.00. Adolph has made big money tournaments very popular not only for the prize money involved but also because of the social aspect associated with every tournament he has ever run. Call 1-800-391-3777, ext. 4579 to enter.

Was going to start a diet, again, in the New Year, but made the mistake of dropping into THE BARN at BALLY'S. It was only after I consumed a great burger and a few brews, that I noticed the consumer warning: THE BARN…IT AIN'T HEALTH FOOD. I guess I will try one of the less fatty rib-eye steaks next time. By the way, you get your dessert comped with purchase of an entrée. When you are not eating there, this month players can enjoy a two times cash back every Monday and "Cash In Your Comps" Sunday where players can trade their accumulated comps for extra cash back.

Spreading the wealth, HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT, which just raised $400,000 for the MISSISSIPPI LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FIREFIGHTER KATRINA RELIEF FUND, and donated $1 million to the USO, is hosting the VARIETY CHILDREN'S CHARITY EVENT on Jan. 28 at the Grand Event Center. Country star TRACY BYRD is the headliner and tickets are only $19.85 through TicketMaster at 901-525-1515. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Memphis charity.

TOM SMITH, head of slot ops at FITZGERALDS is about to unveil a major move in the casino's high limit slot area. We Heard on the floor the he is installing 35 or so $5 slot machines with high payouts that he says, he hates the word loose which he says is used to loosely, will have a high payback percentage. Check 'em out. Meanwhile the man behind Fitzgeralds, owner DON BARDEN, has joined the battle for PITTSBURG'S slot machine license with a proposal to build a $300 t0 $350 million riverfront complex. Barden, the nation's only African-American casino operator, already owns five-casinos. Good luck, Don.

The new CASINO COLLEGE at 3444 Casino Way, next to Fitzgeralds Employment office, is doing a great business for a new business. It is a Mississippi Licensed Gaming School for wannabe dealers and worth looking into if you want a gaming career. Check it out at www.casinocollege.net or call BOB SMITH at 662-363-3300.

Stay out of trouble and pay heed to this Chinese proverb:

Decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes and quitting time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL AND MAY YOUR TRAYS BE FULL.
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