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Heard it on the river

12 December 2006

SCOTTY NGUYEN (win) is returning to defend his crown when the WORLD POKER OPEN kicks off at GOLD STRIKE on Jan. 3. He fully expects to play his way into the championship event Jan. 21-25. There was little doubt that Scotty would return.

In the 2006 event last Jan. he took home nearly $1 million. He would like to add to his stash with another $1 million for the winner this time, a second gold bracelet and $25,000 seat in the WORLD POKER TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP set for April at BELLAGIO in Las Vegas.

KEN LAMBERT, who has been around a few major events in this professional career and is now director of poker operations at Gold Strike, feels this will be a banner year for the WPO and has the potential to be a "record setter." Calls are pouring in and to date, over 400 players are set to compete in the $10,000 championship finale. The TRAVEL CHANNEL will provide full final-table coverage to be shown later worldwide.

The World Series of Poker Academy is now confirmed for its first appearance in Tunica at GRAND CASINO Jan. 27-28. It is being staged by Post Oak Productions, a Toronto-based live events company founded by a couple of young promoters, JEFF GOLDENBERG and BRANDON ROSEN. They hooked up with PHIL HELMUTH and had a series of successful camps at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas before connecting with HARRAH'S Entertainment to bring the WSOP Academy to Harrah's properties in the US.

The two-day camp here puts emphasis on poker education and interaction with the pros and fellow attendees. It is comprised of poker seminars; interactive workshops and the opportunity to apply what you have learned in a No Limit Texas Hold 'em tournament with pro like GREG RAYMER who won the WSOP 2004 event that paid off $5 million, and JOE NAVARRO, a former top FBI profiler who can spot a "tell" across the room.

There are three teaching methods used during the camp: live demonstrations, seminars including Q&A, and tournaments. Areas to be covered include skills, tournament strategies and applications, the tells of pokers, Internet poker, cash games and sit-n-go's. For more information on the academy and the sessions, or to sign up, visit www.wsopacademy.com or call 1-800-989-9767. The two-day session costs $1,699. All major credit cards are accepted. A Christmas Special being offered also comes with two hotel nights.

The FITZ has launched a DOUBLE CASH BACK promo for Club Fitz cardholders and it ends Dec. 24 so you have a whole month to have your points doubled but at the same time, the casino is very busy signing up new cardholders with its MILLION DOLLAR NEW MEMBER EXTRAVAGANZA. New signups get a free scratch card and if they match 5 squares they could win up to $1 million. That's not a typo. Fitz also has added a Mini Baccarat table to its floor in the wake of the installation of 56 new Aristocrat slot machines. And remodeling progress is well underway with renovations in the hotel lobby, the 9th floor and other areas.

VP JOE STRONSKI is putting in extra hours at HOLLYWOOD CASINO, as he is the ringmaster for the $25 BLACKJACK SPOTLIGHT BET that is proving very popular. Every Friday and Saturday night, Joe puts on his stage makeup, grabs a microphone and holds forth in the table games pit where lucky players are chosen randomly to receive a $25 free bet to use until the dealer wins. I saw a gal hit it six straight one night. Just be on a table when the fun begins at 6 pm and runs until 10 pm. And when you take a break from the blackjack, try the slots as players have a chance to win extra Free Slot Play in the SANTA SLOT BONUS when their names are randomly drawn while they are actively playing on Dec. 9,16, and 23 with drawings every 15 minutes from 3 p.m. to midnight. Play ranges from $50 to $500.

Here's a tournament for all you blackjack players who moan that poker gets all the good tournaments. Every Thursday through Jan. 4 you can visit PEARL RIVER RESORT and enter a qualifying tournament for a seat in the WORLD SERIES of BLACKJACK and a shot at a million buck pool of cash. Winners of the weekly qualifiers earn $1,000 and advance the finals where the winner gets $5,000 in cash and a paid trip to the WSOB championship in Vegas. Call 866-44PEARL to register. Bring your golf clubs along as MARK POWELL tells me that the two courses at fabulous DANCING RABBIT are in spectacular condition. Off-season green fees and golf package rates are very affordable this time of year and available though March 18. A weekday package starts at $119 and includes green and cart fee, range balls, breakfast and a room at either the SILVER STAR or GOLDEN MOON casinos. More info at www.dancingrabbitgolf.com.

PATRICK BROWNE, Grand's GM, is holding back a surprise but you have to attend the Grand's New Year's Eve celebration to find out what it is. Partygoers will be treated to a champagne toast and balloon drop while the strolling NEW ORLEANS JAZZ RAMBLERS entertain but there is more to come according to Browne, who sez…"We have a few other surprises that are sure to delight." But before that happens, check out the colossal gingerbread village now on display in main entrance. Pastry Chef Juan Urcia must have ordered too much, sugar, flour and ginger because he built an enormous castle with six foot towers, an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, a hospital, train track and its own water tower, and of course, a casino. Juan started on this project last June. Don't attempt this at home!

With all the poker players in town next month for the WPO at the Gold Strike and the WSOP at Grand, look for lots of action at the tables and the 100x odds and $10,000 limits at the HORSESHOE should appeal to high rolling poker players. Those are great odds but it takes more than money to play such…it takes some nerve. Perfect for a top poker player.

One of the best-kept "secrets" in Tunica County is the unbelievable success of the TUNICA ARENA and EXPO CENTER just down the road apiece from the casinos. This state-of-the-art facility is a prime example of how the County has wisely put its tax revenue from gaming into areas that generate a positive cash flow for the County and help generate a lot of tourism as well. Events are now booked for 50 of the next 52 weeks and it is expected it will be fully booked soon. Our coveted "ATTABOY" award to Executive Director PECK BUCHILLON, Event Coordinator, REBECCA FYFE, and their hardworking staffs whose attentiveness helps bring back close to 100 percent of annual events year after year.

It's TOKE TIME. With the holidays upon us we are all scrounging for more dough, more or less, so don't forget to tip those guys and ladies who man the frontlines in the casinos…like the dealers, servers, attendants, cagers, valets et al. The service level in all areas of state casinos has improved a heck of a lot so spread some holiday cheer with a tip or two, or three.

FROM THE QUOTABLE GAMBLERS, Lyons Press

"I got into a game with the mayor of some small town nearby and I remember he once asked me to jack the bet up and said if I didn't, he was gonna have me arrested for not gambling"

JIM REMPE – quoted in John Grissim, Billiards (1979)

LAISSEZ LE BON TEMPS ROULER.

Heard it on the river is republished from CasinoVendors.com.
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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