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Best of Rudi Schiffer

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Heard It On The River

24 April 2006


We've heard from impeccable sources that the Mississippi Gaming Commission has approved a license for a new casino to be called BALI HAI CASINO-HOTEL. It will bring back a familiar name and gaming pioneer in the state, RICK SCHILLING, who along with his brother opened up SPLASH CASINO at Mhoon Landing in Tunica County in 1992. That paved the way for a gold rush in northern Mississippi and elsewhere. The new casino will sit between the new and old bridges where Highway 82 crosses over the Mississippi River into Arkansas in Greenville on the way to Pine Bluff and Little Rock, a key market that is about an hour and half drive. We are told the property will have a 132 room hotel, 33,000 square feet of gaming space, a 2,500 square foot show arena, three bars and two restaurants. Future projects will include a golf course and truck stop, which will be a casino first in the state. No word yet on whether Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope look-a-likes will be on hand for the ribbon cutting some time next year but it is expected that the project will start turning dirt around the end of this month.



FITZGERALDS now likes to be called the" FITZ" and it sports a new look and a new slogan"?, GAMBLING JUST GOT BETTER." And GLENN BUXTON, not long on the job as director of marketing at the Fitz, gets out the gate fast and has unveiled a strong campaign that utilizes print and outdoor media and direct mail. The campaign is now underway as Fitz seeks to reposition itself in Tunica market, always a tough competitive venue (See details in front page feature). Other Fitz changes. Limericks have been changed to DON B's by URS VOGEL, VP of F&B and offers a new menu. Of course you know who the real Don B is? If you don't, see the answer at the end of this column. More changes are coming to the Fitz. Stay tuned. Assisting Buxton as the new manager of advertising and public relations is SHEILA STAFFORD. Almost forgot this…the buffet at the Fitz will be dedicated to seafood fare on Friday and Saturdays for $17.95.



CONGRATS to DON SALLY, SCOTT JACKSON and the rest of the great staff at fabled FAIRBANKS STEAKHOUSE at Hollywood Casino. For the fourth year in a row the restaurant has received the coveted Wine Spectator magazine's Award of Excellence. The award is given for a restaurant that offers a wine list that includes wine appropriate to its cuisine and in an ambience that will appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. The list must provide complete and accurate information including vintages and appellations for all selections inclusive of wine-by-the glass. Proper storage, service and overall presentation of the list is also taken into consideration. Fairbanks has over 150 wine selections. By the way, if you like some classic Chinese cuisine, Fairbanks Chef MUNG LAM, better known to his loyal guests as "CHEF JACKY," has some excellent specialties on the menu that show there is more than steak in this world. Try his favorite, THREE ONION BEEF, and see his recipe for it in a story in this issue.



FITZGERALDS is hosting the Mid-South heavyweight championship on Saturday May 20 when its highly popular "Fights At the Fitz" series pits Memphian DEANDREY ABRON and his 7-1 (5 KO's) record against MANU NTOH 15-11 (KO's) of Atlanta. Get your tickets in advance, as it will be another sellout. They are on sale in the Gift Shop outside the Great Hall for $25 but cost $30 on fight night. First match is 7:30 p.m. Prize Fight Boxing of Southaven puts these bouts together under the eye of BRIAN YOUNG who has a particular talent for creating exciting and action-filled cards.



Gold Strike is holding a big cash craps tournament on May 19-20 with its "On a Roll" Tournament. If you are One Club Member, the buy-in is $100 for a shot at the top prize of $25,000. Second place is not chopped liver either as it pays $12,500 while 3rd is good for $7,500 with additional money for lower top finishers. Space is limited so call now for a spot to 877-245-8477.



Speaking of tournaments, PEARL RIVER RESORT'S monthly dice and blackjack tournaments have proven so popular that they are now being run weekly. The Golden Moon now holds its blackjack tournament every Tuesday with a $25 entry fee and first place pays of to the tune of $3,000. Across the highway at SILVER STAR, the dice tournament is now held every Thursday with a $25 buy-in. Limited to 56 entrants, first place pays $3,000. For more info on Pearl River Resort go to www.pearlriverresort.com. We also heard that a new poker room will be installed in a move from the Silver Star facility to the Golden Moon and should open this summer. New restaurants are also in the offing at the Resort with an additional steak house and a new smoke house sort of eatery to replace Ventana's. A HOOTERS tour golf tournament is also scheduled for this summer at the fabulous DANCING RABBIT layout. The Geyser Falls Water Park, a highly popular swim hole that is usually packed all summer, opens this month also.



JOHN KOETTER, VP of Gaming Operations is a busy man at the two casinos as slots also fall under his responsibilities and tells us two new slots booths have been added on the Silver Star floor with improved cashier services and all new high limit slots placed in the casino's Star Players room. And a nice new touch is the free beverage stations on the slot floor. The 25-cent, 3-reel quarter machines RED HOTMUSTANG convertible as the top prize on the bank.



Made a mistake and have to correct it, as it is better to let sleeping MAVS sleep. In my last column I announced that Nicky "MAV" Mavromatis had just been appointed as Regional Director of Player Development for RESORTS and BALLY'S. I listed the wrong telephone to reach him but didn't know it until his Mom called from Ohio to set me straight. I have met Mrs. Mavromatis and she is not someone to get crossways with. Not to mention all the uncles there who might be somewhat prone to send me a message I couldn't refuse. For the record, the correct number is: 901-292-1313.



Don't forget MOM on Sunday May 14 as Tunica's restaurants give you a lot to choose from on Mother's Day such as the specials at GOLD STRIKES' Chicago Steakhouse Champagne Brun, and a three-course setup in the ATRIUM CAFÉ as well with endless selections in the Courtyard Buffet. Also, TAGANAI continues its run at the Millennium Theatre and if you to make it special for your mother, you can take in the show and a three-course dinner in the Steakhouse with a $35 pre-dinner theatre dinner menu every Sunday-Thursday for only $35.00. HOLLYWOOD is also offering a great buffet brunch with a comp carnation for mom.



THE GOLD STRIKE POKER CLASSIC and a slew of other poker room tournaments and promotions cooked up by KEN LAMBERT and his staff are heating up the casino's poker room this spring and summer and the winner of WPT Free Roll receives a free $10,000 buy-in to the WORLD POKER OPEN'S WPT Championship here next Jan. See complete details in this issue.



Why aren't you planning on attending the SOUTHERN GAMING SUMMIT at the Paul Battle Expo Center May 4-5? It is the first time this well-attended gaming show and confab has been held in Tunica due to Katrina's Gulf Coast devastation where this annual event is always held. There will be Show booths galore with the latest technology, slots, videos, new games, seminars, panel discussion, keynoters and more. It's well worth a visit if you work in or support the gaming industry. Check it out at www.sgsummit.com



HONORS…DON BARDEN, Chairman/CEO of Fitzgeralds casinos, among other successful Barden companies, has been honored by the Southeastern Michigan Junior Achievement as a leader in the community who serves as an inspirational role model…. MGM Mirage has been selected by Diversity Inc. Magazine as one of the "Top 50 Companies for Diversity," and HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the "100 Top MBA Employers" in an annual poll of MBA students from the nation's top business schools.



SAM'S TOWN is losing weight as the casino barge is riding higher in the water these days what with employees losing weight after teaming up with WEIGHT WATCHERS. The customized program has seen 40 team members lose 421 pounds and a second phase of the program is now underway.



"He'll bet on anything that moves. Christ, he'd bet on a cockroach race."

Puggy Pearson on Jack "Treetop" Strauss quoted in Fast Company 1975



IN MEMORIUM TO WALTER CLYDE PEARSON, 1929-2006, Legendary and colorful Hall of Famer, winner of four World Series of Poker events, winner of the 1973 WSOP as well as the Super Bowl of Poker in 1982.



ANSWER: You knew all the time. Don B's is named after Fitz owner Don Barden, the only African American to own a casino group.



LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!
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