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Best of Rudi Schiffer

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World Poker Open draws record number of hopefuls

20 February 2003

Looking back on the very successful JACK BINION WORLD POKER OPEN, co-sponsored by HORSESHOE CASINO & HOTEL and GOLD STRIKE CASINO RESORT, one has only to count the numbers to realize how much this event has grown during its four years of existence.

When it began, there was the usual optimism and the un-stated objective of surpassing the WORLD SERIES OF POKER held in Las Vegas, the tournament that set the standard at that time. That was then, but now is something else as attendance and prize money figures set records and the Vegas poker clambake is in the rear view mirror.

KEN LAMBERT, the congenial poker room manager at the 'Shoe and co-founder of the WPO along with Jack Binion, told us that the word is spreading in an ever-widening ripple worldwide and more and more players from the USA and overseas are coming in greater numbers. The prize money is one attraction, the heavy side action another, but the first-class operation of the three-week long event gets the attention of players who have enough stress playing for thousands and thousands of dollars without worrying about participation details.

Lambert said a record number of 160 hopefuls paid $10,000 each for a shot at the final table and out of that $1.6 MILLION, a Britisher DAVID ULLIOT took home to Hull, England, the lion's share of $589,990 after winning the final table. Last year, he came in fifth in the finals.

Oh yes, the new numbers ... total entries: 4,480. Total prize money: $4,986,964, up by nearly $900,000 from the year before.

For nine years now, the GOODTIMES RADIO SHOW, broadcast in this market on SportsPlus WMC790 on Saturday mornings from 9:30 to noon, can now be heard by billions of Chinese. Yup, that's right. The show hosted by yours truly, now features live audio on the Internet. And, if you are on the night shift and sleeping during the day, you can get it from the archives. Just go to www.goodtimesradio.com and click on "LISTEN TO US" on the top of the page menu and you will arrive at AUDIOVEGAS.COM. Just click on "GoodTimes Radio" there and you are home. This is a real breakthrough for the show, which supports TUNICAsino gaming and entertainment, and now the message can be spread far and wide that Tunica is a great place to play with great games, great comps, great cuisine and it's easy to get to. In a word, GREAT! The "Voice of Tunica" can now be heard 'round the world.

FITZGERALDS likes to label itself "home of the big jackpots" and has a good run of large payouts to substantiate that claim. Just a few days ago, CINDY WELLS from Illinois hit a Wheel of Fortune machine for $1,451,299.40. Now get this, IT WAS A NICKEL MACHINE. Cindy was playing the max of 45 nickels and had been doing so for 30 minutes. It was the first and only machine she played. The jackpot is the fourth in the past 18 months on the Wheel of Fortune to hit at Fitz' with the largest being the state's largest of $10,295,983.89 this past March. My question ... did they kiss or rub the Blarney Stone just outside of the main entrance? We all need an edge.

There must be something in the water in Tunica as TWO major statewide jackpots were hit in Tunica Towne within the same week. The first we mentioned in the paragraph above. The second we heard about only hours before going to press. Lady Luck smiled heavily on MARIETTA GOULD of Weston, Conn., who hit the quarter Wheel of Fortune jackpot for $2,700,712 at HORSESHOE CASINO just two days after Wells's win at Fitz'.

As we went to press, it appears the TYSON-ETIENNE heavyweight battle at The Pyramid was heading for a success and we hope it is a big hit as it might influence where the site will be for the Tyson-Lewis rematch some six months hence. We heard that PRIZE FIGHT PROMOTIONS holds a first option for the event. GRAND CASINO, the title sponsor, had an overwhelming response for its tickets for highly-rated players and had to put on some 25 limos and a fleet of buses to handle transportation needs. We also heard that Grand may stage three fights during the year in the Grand Event Center.

The recent HBO smoker fight night at GOLD STRIKE was deemed a success, but not for the fighters as cuts over both eyes of MARQUEZ, from head butts applied by SUGAR SHANE MOSELEY, led to a "no decision" decision at the end of the third round. It was nice to get top brand cigars as part of the ticket and even nicer that you could smoke your stick inside the MILLENNIUM Theatre during the televised show.

Any sane slot player knows that the IGT MEGABUCKS statewide progressive and the JEOPARDY quarter progressive machines are tighter than a well-digger's butt in Alaska, but how can you walk by and ignore the dream-maker jackpots that were huge as we went to press? Megabucks was close to $13 million, as was Jeopardy. You know who is going to win it? Some happy-go-lucky person who drops in a few bucks. I can't resist them now that they lure me with their siren call of promises of millions.

If you're in the gaming biz and want to mingle and learn with other such folks, head for the SOUTHERN GAMING SUMMIT May 7 and 8 in BILOXI. Registration is now open and this year's event, the 10th anniversary one, will have more than 200 gaming industry vendors in the house. For more info ... www.sgsummit.com. See you there!

Speaking of registrations, gaming author FRANK SCOBLETE, who is putting on a weekend of craps instruction and sessions with the best controlled dice shooters in the country at SAM'S TOWN March 14-16, says interest is picking up as publicity and advertising focus on the event. He doesn't expect numbers like the last one he staged in Vegas, where 500 were expected and 2,500 players showed up. But a good turnout is hoped for. You can sign up by calling Frank at (800) 944-0406. I can't miss this one, if just to see how those guys, like SHARPSHOOTER, THE DOMINATOR, BILLY THE KID, MR. FINESSE and others of that ilk show off their golden arm touch. Suppose the control method really works. How many minutes will it take for the casinos to throw up counter measures? Remember what they did to blackjack card counters when that method got a lot of attention?

MURANO'S, known for its fine Italian food and ambience, has now added a touch of France. Not food, but the smiling waiter, JEANNOT from Marseilles, who may possibly be the fastest service provider in town.

New Jersey is in the hole, to the tune of about $5 billion, and the governor wants to smack the casino industry with a significant tax increase that has the industry in Atlantic City steaming. One small point in the proposed plan is a six percent levy on comp RFB ... room, food and beverage. With state budgets in a definite deficit mode around the country, look for more states to take more of the golden goose to feed on.

FROM THE QUOTABLE GAMBLER, Lyons Press

"Losers exaggerate. That's because they're not trying to convey what really happened so much as how bad they feel. You shouldn't challenge their outrageous claims of misfortune. Merely do your duty as a human being and commiserate." Mike Caro on Gambling (1984)
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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