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Best of Rudi Schiffer

Gaming Guru

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Heard It On The River

30 June 2006


It's summer time and the catfish are jumping but the news side is slow as the casinos are busy taking care of the influx of vacationers, so forgive me for this shorter than usual column.

One new item, however, is the big blackjack tournament coming to Gold Strike on Aug. 4-6 with $125,000 in prize money and $50,000 guaranteed for first place. If more than the expected folks show up, the prize pool could increase. It is full equity for players, the best type of blackjack tournament. ADOLPH LEPRE, senior shift manager, and a guy I like to call "THE FATHER OF BLACKJACK TOURNAMENTS," (at least in Tunica where he has planned and implemented more than 25 such big money events) tells us the weekend includes for the $500 buy-in: rooms, buffets, a welcome party and a nice gift. It has been a long time since the last big money tournament so this one should get a good turnout. To get in, visit your host at Gold Strike or call (888) 24K PLAY. We will have a more in-depth feature story in the next issue of JACKPOT! with a supporting graphic to illustrate the unique name of this event.

If you enter the tournament, try to plan a dinner at Gold Strike's Chicago Steakhouse and you will be happy you did. Check out the featured review on this dynamic fine cuisine room in this issue.

Sister property, the fabled BEAU RIVAGE, is slated to re-open a year after Katrina hit, the end of August. PRES. GEORGE CHORCHIS, tells me that the facility will be better than ever and that will be hard to do since the BEAU was always a high-end, classy casino that set the standard. Gamers are flocking to the five casinos now open in Biloxi and Beau's return will up that number considerably and up the ante in the competition.

Ten years ago I was one of the first to scurry into the new Brand Casino and missed shaking hands with LYLE BERMAN, who had the vision for this imposing complex that covers 2,200 acres. Never did get to shake hands with Lyle, as the Grand is now part of the HARRAH'S EMPIRE. However, the casino resort just passed a milestone...its tenth anniversary. It is still doing things the right was, as some3.78 million agreed by visiting last year.

If you have a passing moment and think that the poker boom is on the wane, think again. HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT execs are projecting that some 41,000 players will participate in the WORLD SERIES OF POKER to be held at its RIO casino in Vegas. The $10,000 buy-in World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold'em event could draw more than 8,000 players. They say that based on that number of players the winner could take home top money of $12.5 million, surpassing last year's top prize of $7.5 million that a record 5,619 players competed for. Each player on the final table of nine all won at least a million bucks.

BALLY'S has a July promo that the gas-hungry will like. The casino is giving a 2006 FORD 150 on July 30 and in addition, there will be 10 winners of $500 each and nine winners of $250 gas cards. Earn entries during the month with your play. NICKY MAV and his regional team held a nice poolside reception recently at BALLY'S for about 130 invited players.

PEARL RIVER RESORT, where the golf is great at DANCING RABBIT, and sitting on the beach at GEYSER FALLS WATERPARK is equally fine, is now running a couple of weekly tournaments. A $5,000 dice tournament is held every Thursday at Silver Star casino and across the trail; a weekly blackjack tournament takes place on Tuesdays at the Golden Moon. Call (886) 44PEARL for more info. And the O'JAYS are singing there on Aug. 26.

We missed out on the FREDDIE NORWOOD comeback fight at the FITZ but promoter BRIAN YOUNG is replacing that attraction with some female pugilists. I've seen one of these ladies fight and she is a terror. Her name is MIRIAM BRAKACHE, who just won the IBA Jr. middleweight title in Beijing over Southaven's CHRISTY NICKEL. This tough gal will take on ranked ANGELICA MARTINEZ in what promises to be a battle.

Also featured on the card will be RAYONTA WHITFIELD, who is undefeated in 14 fights with eight knockouts to his credit. He will slug it out with ROBERTO GOMEZ in a six-round match up. Fight night is July 8 and doors open at 7 p.m. at the FITZ. Try out DON B'S steakhouse before the fight.

Got the opportunity to play COTTONWOODS recently at GRAND, and MATT MCNEIL and his crew have this imposing layout in prime condition. Wish they would shorten that monster par 5, the 16th from 600 yards and make it two par threes for me. The GPS units mounted on the carts are a nice addition from the last time I played there.

Awards from magazines to casinos seem to be always in vogue and HOLLYWOOD CASINO does very well in many categories as picked by CASINO PLAYER'S 2006 Best of Gaming Survey. With six months left in the year, it would seem a little early for the magazine's awards, but give Hollywood and its associates credit for earning 19 first place awards and 34 overall.

FORECAST of things that may come… with the hard ban on smoking in California, will it be long before that snowballing trend affects casinos elsewhere. Be careful. In Windsor, Ontario, the province placed a smoking ban on bingo halls there. Result: less smoke and less customers. Business dropped so dramatically that bingo parlors are now considering layoffs and one may shut down. Wanna get your brain tuned up? Pittsburgh, which is poised to get one of Pennsylvania's 14 casino licenses, as reported in the Pittsburgh Trib, has the nation's second highest concentration of senior citizens. Locals thus feel that it's only natural more seniors will hit the slots and some think that is not a bad thing. Ron Karpin, a gambling consultant with the Council on Compulsive Gambling n New Jersey, says it's a social event and others say gambling gets seniors out of the house and keeps their minds sharp. I guess that is one way to keep Alzheimer's at bay.

FROM THE QUOTABLE GAMBLER...The Lyons Press "Let us play," an American friend of mine sometimes says, "we shall be for a long time dead." Charles William Heckethorn (The Gambling World 1898)

LAISSEZ LE 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