When I first heard that the hugely successful Tunica World Poker Open would be going head to head with the equally well-received Reno Hilton World Poker Challenge in January, 2002-the dates for the two events are virtually identical-I felt, like most members of the major poker tournament scene, greatly disappointed.

After all, there are seven great tournaments in the U.S. each year, and here we had two of them now operating it total competition with one another, making it impossible for the big time tournament players to attend both.

What could have caused this, I wondered? Management at both events is top flight. Why should one tournament try to hurt the other and almost certainly hurt itself? Had this become some sort of poker “pissing contest?”

It turns out that none of those preliminary judgments or guesses were even remotely correct: some unfortunate timing, and some completely benign decisions by management, left the two tournaments facing one another.

I’ll get to those reasons in a moment, but I soon realized that this overlap created an opportunity for the mid-level tournament player to score in a prestigious event, because the top hundred players in the world can’t be in two places at one time, and that means that even though the fields in both tournaments will be tough, they can’t possibly be as tough as they would be if they each held their own space.

In other words, if you’re a good but not great tournament Sbobet player, the overlap that so dismays the poker elite may just provide you with the opportunity of a poker lifetime. Ditto for the average tournament player who is hoping for that one big score.

OK, so that’s the good news. How did the situation come to pass, and what can players expect to see in Tunica?

Originally, the World Poker Open was the creation of Jack Binion, a poker legend who for so many years ran poker’s Holy Grail, the World Series of Poker. When Jack and sister Becky had a parting of the ways, Becky retained control of the Las Vegas Binion’s Horseshoe, and Jack opened his own Horseshoe in Tunica, Mississippi.

The first two World Poker Opens were roaring successes by almost any definition. Although I chose not to attend either (more on that in a moment-it’s important), I heard nothing but absolutely spectacular reports about not merely the events, but about all the little (and not so little) things that help make a poker tournament successful:

Awesome side action, with thirty to forty round the clock games at any limit you could imagine, with plenty of players who seemed willing to mix it up (One fairly famous and reliable poker friend of mine told me she had never won as much in side action as she had at the first WPO, and she hadn’t even felt that she’d gotten so many great cards).

Great rooms at great prices ($29 for rooms throughout the tournament, including the weekends).

Incredible food (not that the average poker player has high gastronomical standards) served with expected southern hospitality.

Now, I could excuse myself for missing an event like this the first time around, because the WPO was, after all, a new tournament, and even with Jack Binion’s name behind it, I couldn’t be sure what it would be like, and Tunica is a long way from LA.

The second time around, though, I passed on Tunica because the World Series of Poker had backed up its starting time to within a week of Tunica’s finish (the first year, there was a two week separation). Knowing that I planned to spend a month in Las Vegas covering the WSOP, the thought of three weeks in Tunica with almost no turnaround time seemed a bit much to me, if I planned on having any kind of a life outside poker for those two months.

For 2002, Jack Binion faced a dual dilemma. There were rumors, unclear at the time but still credible, that the WSOP was going to continue to expand its schedule and move its starting time closer to the Tunica finish. If a one-week turnaround was going to be tough for people who don’t devote their lives to poker (and that’s a description that applies to most participants in both events), no turnaround time figured to be devastating to the WPO.

Second, the Las Vegas Club starting talking about running its own tournament during the exact same period, and even though the LVC event wouldn’t be as big as the WPO, a simultaneous event was going to cause problems for Horseshoe poker room manager Ken Lambert.

“We’ve always had problems getting enough quality dealers to come to Tunica,” Lambert told me. “We’ve made it, but not with much margin to spare. For an event of this magnitude, you want the very best, and a lot of the very best dealers are in Las Vegas. Unless we put together some sort of incredible financial package, we felt it would be difficult to lure dealers out of Las Vegas to come to Tunica.”

The final piece of the difficult puzzle was set when the Horseshoe and neighboring property The Gold Strike went searching for a time slot when they could offer poker players the inexpensive rooms they like so much. The event is too large for either hotel to manage individually and so it is run as a collaborative effort. This doesn’t cause any problems for the players because, as Lambert told me, “the two buildings are so close that you’d have to walk really slow to get wet if it were raining.” For those of you interested in less colloquial measures of distance, it’s about 50 yards.

he two facilities wanted to set aside roughly 850 rooms for the event, and only have 1,600 rooms to start with (as of this writing, with nearly six weeks to go before the event, more than 500 rooms have been reserved at the $29 rate). Of course, the Reno Hilton doesn’t exactly come up short in this department either: they offer $25 rooms for the duration of the WPC!

As a result, Binion, Tournament Director Jim Albrecht (himself a WSOP legend), and Tournament Coordinator Jack McClelland, along with Lambert, decided to do something they didn’t want to do: go head to head with a tournament they like and whose management they respect. McClelland is certainly tournament poker’s all-time greatest director, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone else you’d consider putting ahead of Reno’s Dave Lamb.

“It’s a real shame,” Binion told me. “We certainly weren’t trying to damage Reno. I think it’s important for poker tournaments to try to cooperate with one another, and try to build up poker overall, rather than fighting over what action there is. But we got boxed in by room availability. Players weren’t going to want to shuttle in from hotels 20 miles away.”

Even though Binion wasn’t anxious to get into “we’re better because…” kinds of statements, he was willing to talk about what he thinks makes the Tunica event the great tournament that it is.

“Number one, I would have to say, is our side action,” Binion said. “People are really surprised at how good the action is in the south, especially in the higher limit games.”

Lambert’s experience also provides a good reason to come to Tunica. Lambert has been more or less following Binion around since he was 16 years old and got a job as a busboy at the downtown Las Vegas Hilton. He later moved into Security when he turned 21, but had always had his eyes on poker, when he would deliver room service orders to poker players and noted the thick bundles of cash.

Lambert left Binion briefly when the Mirage poker room opened, staring as a brush and working his way up to assistant shift manager in three years. But when Jack Binion called him in September 1994, he headed to Mississippi to run Binion’s poker room there.”

“I’d thought about holding a big tournament at the Shoe almost from the day I got there,” Lambert said, “but I realized that for the kind of tournament I wanted to run, one that would really put Southern poker on the map, we needed a partner, and I worked on the Gold Strike folks for about a year, convincing them that we had a real winning situation, combining Jack’s name with the marvelous Gold Strike facility.”

“Once we had the Gold Strike convinced of the possibilities, I called up Jim Albrecht, who was semi-retired, and Jack McClelland, who was completely retired, and all of a sudden we had us a real all-star line-up of tournament professionals.”

As to the overlap with the Reno Hilton, I wasn’t surprised to hear Lambert echo Binion’s sentiments.

“It was never personal,” Lambert said. “I even called (Hilton poker room Manager) Mike Gainey to see if there was some way they could switch. We were just already in trouble with the WSOP only one week away-30% of our players were leaving early, because most players have families, jobs, or other responsibilities and just can’t drop off the face of the earth to play poker for two months straight. I hope Reno does well also.”

For Reno to do well (and having attended that event last year and having loved it, this won’t be hard for them to do), they will have to offer side action that matches up with Tunica.

“We run all the action in the 30-60 games and above at the Gold Strike,” Lambert said, “and that includes a lot of pot-limit. Usually you can find pot-limit Omaha with 5-5 blinds, 10-25 blinds, and more often than not, games as big as 200-400 blinds too. We spread some pretty big limit games, too. We had $1,000-$2,000 Lowball last year.”

“The smaller games,” Lambert continued, “we run over at the Horseshoe, but I wouldn’t even call those ‘small.’ We’ve had as many as eight 20-40 games going on simultaneously over there. If you want to play some serious money poker, you don’t ever have to go near the tournament room to an action-packed three weeks.”

From my talks with people who have played both events, it sounds like if you want lots of options at the lower and middle limits, Reno might be the right choice, and if you want lots of options at the high-middle and higher limits, Tunica sounds like the right destination.

Both events will be non-smoking this year. In Tunica, all of the tournaments, and all of the action at 30-60 and above, will be at the completely non-smoking Gold Strike. The smoking situation at the smaller games over at the Horseshoe isn’t quite as clear. There will be non-smoking tables, but you should be prepared for some second-hand smoke in the Horseshoe side games.

As far as the tournaments themselves, if you’re looking to play a little higher, Tunica is probably the better choice, while if you’re on a bit of a budget, Reno makes more sense.

Tunica will offer one $300 event with rebuys, nine $500 buy-in events, five $1,000 buy-in events, $2,000 events in Limit Hold’em and No-Limit Hold’em, and a $10,000 Championship event (for which they are guaranteeing a million dollar prize pool).

In Reno, you can select from among eight $300 events (one with a rebuy), six $500 events (two with rebuys), four $1,000 events (one with rebuys), and a $5,000 Championship event.

If you’re one of those folks who holds a strong opinion for or against Tex’s Tears 50% blind increase structure, you’ll find that in Reno (although WSOP payout structure will be used), while in Tunica you’ll find a the more traditional WSOP-style blind structure and payouts, not surprising considering that McClelland is running the show.

“I think we’ll give the players a lot of action for their buy-ins,” McClelland said. “We’ll be using 50 minute rounds in the early events, hour rounds in the later events, and …


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There’s an old Chinese proverb that wisely states, ‘Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; give him twelve cans of lager, and he’ll think that Chelsea are a decent bet at home to Arsenal.’


The Champions must be opposed at home to their title rivals. At first glance, the sale of enforcer extraordinaire Vieira may put you off backing the Wenger boys, but surprisingly, Arsenal had a better record without him than with him last season. The Gunners are unbeaten against Chelsea over the last 10 years in the league and the Blues looked out of sorts against Wigan last week. Add all these factors together and the conclusion is clear; if you only have one bet this weekend, don’t be so tight. Also, get on Arsenal at 7/2, the early contender for value bet of the season.


The aforementioned Wigan were incredibly unlucky last week, and have every chance of registering their first point of the season at the Valley. Charlton started the season with a convincing victory, but a pig wearing silk is still a pig. Odds of 4/1 about the away team may tempt, but the 5/2 about the draw is steam-in material.


As there were more red cards than you could shake a twig at last week, the bookies are offering prices on whether there will be a sending off in any of the four live matches this weekend. Super Soccer believe it’s almost a pick-em scenario; 11/10, one or more red cards; 4/6, none.


The return to our screens of Premiership football has inspired Super Soccer to create the following TV related specials for this weekend’s action.


“Big Brother” – Gary or Phil Neville to score with a header 20/1

“One foot in the grave” – Sheringham to score with a header 7/1

“Only Fools and Horses” – Savage and Van Nistelrooy both to score 10/1

“The Big Breakfast” – Wayne Rooney to score two or more goals 4/1

“On The Buses” – Jermaine Pennant to score with a header 11/1

“Millionaire” – Rio Ferdinand to score with a header 20/1

“GM TV” – Gavin McCann to score two or more goals 66/1

“The Bill” – Gallas to score with a header 25/1

“Blue Peter” – Lovenkrands to score two or more goals 8/1

“Soccer AM” – Alan Mahon to score at anytime 5/1

“The Weakest Link” – Robbie Savage to be sent off 33/1

“Top Gear” – Steven Carr to score two or more goals 66/1

“Gimme Gimme Gimme” – Rio Ferdinand to score at any time 10/1

“The Two Ronnies” – Ronaldo to score two or more goals 13/2

“Red Dwarf” – Paul Scholes to score with a header 11/2

“Father Ted” – Sheringham to score two or more goals 8/1

“Men Behaving Badly” – Blackburn to have a man sent off 3/1

“Soap” – Robbie Savage to score at any time 9/2

“Porridge” – Jermaine Pennant to score two or more goals 14/1

“Absolutely Flabulous” – Wayne Rooney to score a hat-trick 14/1


Quote of the week:


“Steve Gerrard was awesome today with bitcoin dice, we thought at one stage he was heading his own crosses in.”

Gareth Southgate gees up Stevie Gerrard


Surprise of the week: (Readers who are easily shocked, please look away now.)


Sky News Ticker: BREAKING NEWS: Ryan Giggs out of Wales squad for the International friendly against Slovenia.


Punters enemy of the week:


Middlesbrough. The decision to run down the clock and settle for a goalless draw at home to Liverpool last week was bordering on criminal. Make a mental note; keep Boro out of your accer.


Stat, you’re a liberty:


The heaviest England International of all time is not Wayne Rooney; Willie Foulke weighed in at 22 stone, 2 pounds.


Acc of the week:


Man Utd


West Brom




The five fold pays over 30/1 with Skybet



Weekend Betting:


Man Utd v Aston Villa Saturday 20th August 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus


Man Utd 3/10 Premier Bet

Draw 4/1 UK Betting

Aston Villa 12/1 VC Bet


Get on: Man Utd


My spies tell me that Van Nistelrooy has looked sharp in training; as long as the going doesn’t change, he could fill his boots against the Villa defence. United have won this fixture by three clear goals in the last two seasons. Home banker.

Match Special:

Van Nistelrooy to score a hat-trick 16/1 @ Paddy Power



Blackburn v Fulham Saturday 20th August 15.00


Blackburn 11/10 Bet Direct

Draw 23/10 VC Bet

Fulham 3/1 VC Bet


Get on: Draw


An amazingly high scoring fixture historically. Across 20 years, three divisions and 16 matches there is an average of 3.3 goals a game. Dickov was sent off last week, it must be Savage’s turn.

Match Special:

Match to finish 2-2 14/1 @ Stan James


Charlton v Wigan Saturday 20th August 15.00


Charlton 5/6 Totesport

Draw 5/2 Ladbrokes

Wigan 4/1 Coral


Get on: Draw



Wigan have no points, no luck, the lowest average attendance in the Premiership and the Old Bill are allegedly tucking them up with policing charges. Wigan will have to fight for every point they earn, their first one comes at the Valley.

Match Special:

No goalscorer in the match 10/1 @ Ladbrokes


Liverpool v Sunderland Saturday 20th August 15.00


Liverpool 1/3 Paddy Power

Draw 4/1 Ladbrokes

Sunderland 11/1 VC Bet


Get on: Liverpool


The good news: Sunderland’s record at Anfield is excellent; they have only lost on one of their last five visits.

The bad news: Sunderland have lost their last 16 Premiership matches.

The conclusion: Stevie G will clear the ball off the line, score a hat-trick and possibly save the human race from extinction as Liverpool take all three points.

Match Special:

Gerrard to score the first goal 11/2 @ BET 365


Newcastle v West Ham Saturday 20th August 15.00


Newcastle 7/10 William Hill

Draw 13/5 UK Betting

West Ham 5/1 Sporting Odds


Get on: Draw


The Teddy boy will be 40 years old this season, but he’s still a class act. Newcastle will expect to take all three points, but I predict that Alan Pardew will be celebrating a score draw, with a vintage Sheri.

Match Special:

Sheringham to score at anytime 5/2 @ Paddy Power


Tottenham v Middlesbrough Saturday 20th August 15.00


Tottenham 10/11 BET 365

Draw 23/10 William Hill

Middlesbrough 7/2 Bet Direct


Get on: Tottenham


Tottenham are an entertaining team with quality strikers who play superb attacking football. Middlesbrough are a team from the North East of England.

Match Special:

Defoe to score a hat-trick 25/1 @ Paddy Power



West Brom v Portsmouth Saturday 20th August 15.00


West Brom 6/5 Sporting Odds

Draw 9/4 Super Soccer

Portsmouth 13/5 UK Betting


Get on: West Brom


The Baggies have scored 12 goals in their last four home matches against Portsmouth, winning them all. Pompey are bottom of the table now, and early indications suggest that their final position will not be a great deal higher.

Match Special:

Half time, Portsmouth; Full time, West Brom 28/1 @ Coral


Birmingham v Man City Saturday 20th August 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus


Birmingham 6/5 Super Soccer

Draw 9/4 Bet Direct

Man City 13/5 UK Betting


Get on: Draw


Man City have won nine of their last 12 matches against the Blues, but their strike force of Andy Cole and Darius Vassell look a little goal-shy. There’s always a match that has goalless written all over it, and this my friends, is in capital letters.

Match Special:

No Goalscorer in the match 17/2 @ William Hill


Bolton v Everton Sunday 21st August 13.30 Live on Sky


Bolton 5/4 Bet Direct

Draw 9/4 Super Soccer

Everton 13/5 BET 365


Get on: Bolton


Bolton won 3-2 in this fixture last season, and lost by the same scoreline at Goodison. Big Sam’s men would have won another five goal thriller last week if it wasn’t for a visually challenged assistant ref. Arsenal’s the nap, Bolton are the next best bet.

Match Special:

Bolton to win 3-2 28/1 @ Coral


Chelsea v Arsenal Sunday 21st August 16.00 Live on Sky


Chelsea Evs VC Bet

Draw 12/5 Skybet

Arsenal 7/2 Skybet


Get on: Arsenal


Chelsea have failed to record a league victory over Arsenal since 1995. According to an old person I know, in those days, you could go for a night on the town, pay for a taxi, buy cigarettes and a bungalow, and still have change from £1. The Gunners are the bet of the week.…

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Hair washes after hair transplantation surgical procedure need to be done twice a day with a unique technique to lessen the chance of dislodging the grafts hair transplant turkey.  Clients ask if they can skip washing hair within an initial couple of days to stay clear of harming the grafts. The answer is “No”. Hair clean is a key action in hair transplantation treatment that guarantees the normal development of the hair transplanted hair follicular grafts. We have a couple of constraints in the client’s activities after hair transplants. The tasks that include the stress of the injury sides at donor location need to stay clear of for the first four weeks after surgical treatment.

Hair Transplant patients require to return to hair transplantation center at day ten after hair transplant surgical procedure to remove the staples (for people who had strip surgical treatment and benefactor is gathered steel staples) and to review the donor as well as recipient area.  For the clients who have their benefactor gathered absorbable stitches, it is advised to be seen in ten days to assess the healthiness of recipient as well as benefactor location, which includes patients that had FUE, eyebrow hair transplant, hair transplant repair work or body hair transplantation. All adhere to up browse through are consisted of in the first price of hair transplant surgery as well as patients will not be billed for any comply with-up checkouts.…

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Dubai’s expatriate populace is steadily raising and demand for rental properties is high. To the relief of many of those looking to rent a building in Dubai, the government has actually enforced regulations specifying that any rental fee rise will not surpass 5% of the annual lease cost. There are additionally several new residential property advancements underway that ought to take some stress off the market in the close to future. The upkeep and repair work of the residential or commercial property is covered by the property owner. Lessees are not permitted to make modifications to the structure of the residential property inside or out without the consent of the landlord.

The lease will frequently be prepared between the property owner and also the lessee’s company/sponsor. , if an expat signs the lease himself he needs to have a house visa or at least a letter from his employer specifying that a visa is in procedure.. The typical duration of a lease is one year. Unlike in several countries where the rental fee is paid on a regular monthly basis, in Dubai the entire year’s lease is paid in advance, the majority of typically with 2 or 3 checks. In the case of a bi-annual settlement, the initial 6 months of the lease are paid for right away with an existing outdated check, while the rest of the year is paid for with a post-dated check. (Short-term provided month-to-month lodging in Dubai is available but it is typically extra costly.)

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It is very important to comprehend that once the lease is signed, the tenant is connected to the contract. In order to terminate the lease the renter would certainly require authorization from the property owner. That being claimed, the rental legislations in Dubai Villa for Sale actually favor tenants. Landlords can not require a tenant to leave without an excellent reason (such as desiring the residential property for their own individual usage). Also if the lease is just for a year, as long as the renters do not break any type of elements of the agreement, the lease is presumed to be renewable. The Municipality has a special section established, the Dubai Rental Committee, to supervise any type of disagreements between lessees and proprietors.

They have actually started giving a lot more consideration to the representatives who can demonstrate their performance in the specialized areas rather than usually using where ever before you want you can buy rental properties in Dubai. In other words any kind of service provider that is the Jack of the whole region will absolutely be the master of none. In this period of active recession you require to be knowledgeable about such sort of firms and also only purchase Dubai residential or commercial property from a person who can offer experienced recommendations that truly aid buying Property in Dubai that will certainly never ever allow you shed your useful financial savings.…

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Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson won the race to Macau last night, as the government of the Chinese coastal city awarded provisional — and potentially lucrative — gaming licenses to the two Las Vegas gaming figures.


But the Strip’s three largest gaming corporations — MGM MIRAGE, Park Place Entertainment Corp. and Mandalay Resort Group — aren’t necessarily out of the hunt yet. Macau officials designated MP Entertainment — a joint venture of Park Place and Mandalay — as the first alternate for a gaming license, while MGM MIRAGE was named second alternate.


In naming the licensees, Francis Tam, secretary of economy and finance for Macau, praised Wynn’s “creativity and innovation.” And he noted Macau wants to become a regional power in the convention business — which would have tipped the scales toward Adelson, whose Venetian hotel is anchored around convention business.


Wynn and Adelson will begin negotiations with Macau officials Feb. 18. Should the men be successful in securing a final pact, each could open a temporary casino in Macau within a matter of months. Macau officials said each licensee must invest at least 4 billion patacas ($500 million) in their permanent projects.


“I think we’ll be in business in April,” Wynn said this morning.


Wynn and Adelson will compete with Stanley Ho, who has held the monopoly on gambling in Macau since 1962, when it was a colony of Portugal. Portugal turned the city of 450,000 over to China in 1999, but like the former English colony city of Hong Kong, Macau has been designated a “special administrative region” of China. This designation will preserve the capitalist system of Macau for the next 50 years, and gives local officials considerable autonomy over the area’s affairs.


As the city is located in the heart of the Pacific Rim — already a key market for Las Vegas — Macau is seen as an especially lucrative opportunity.


“We think this is a tremendous opportunity for both Steve Wynn and the Venetian, providing substantial cross-marketing opportunities, an additional distribution point, as well as additional diversification into what could be one of the world’s largest gaming markets,” said Jason Ader, gaming analyst with Bear Stearns.


A Venetian spokesman declined comment this morning. But Wynn — who also plans to build Le Reve at the site of the Desert Inn on the Las Vegas Strip — was excited about his new opportunity.


“I bought the D.I. so I could have stuff to play with,” Wynn said. “That’s what turns me on in life, building stuff that makes people say, ‘Wow.’ The opportunity to be the first American company (in Macau) to do the kind of things we do there, to make the best hotel in Asia, is so delicious that it’s irresistable.


“It’s not about money, although I have no reason to believe it won’t be profitable. It’s about personal gratification.” More about Trusted Online Casino Singapore


Wynn said he didn’t yet have any plans in mind for a permanent Macau resort. In fact, Wynn said he was the only one to appear before the Macau panel without any renderings or models.


“Macau doesn’t need another Mirage or Bellagio,” Wynn said. “Those were built, designed and conceived for the Strip in Las Vegas. What you need in Macau is a remarkable, wonderful facility that is Asian, that has the Asian market in mind. I must go to school and study.”


Wynn said he owns 90 percent of Wynn Resorts Macao. His minority partner is Wong Chi Seng, a Macau textiles executive.


Adelson’s company, Galaxy Casino Co. Ltd., has three additional partners. They were identified by Macau officials as the Lui Chi Wo family of Hong Kong; Alfred Tsai; and Peter Ho On Chun.


Though Wynn is planning to build a permanent resort with a cost exceeding $500 million, he said it would not create any problems in his efforts to finance Le Reve, his proposed project for the north Strip. Wynn said investment bankers will begin seeking financing for Le Reve in four to five weeks.


“It’s a separate issue … it’s much smaller money in Macau,” Wynn said. “They’re separate issues, separate companies.”


If Wynn, Adelson or Ho are not successful in reaching a final agreement with Macau, negotiations would then proceed with the alternates — first MP Entertainment, then MGM MIRAGE.






Propped up by strong high-roller action, the Las Vegas Strip posted an 11.5 percent increase in June gaming revenues, the state Gaming Control Board reported this morning. But evidence of a slowdown in Nevada’s gaming industry continues to mount.


The Strip’s casinos reported $394 million in gaming win in June, while the state posted $776.5 million, up 3.8 percent.


On the surface, that appears to contradict the consensus that Nevada’s casinos are mired in a slowdown. But a closer look at the numbers shows the Strip’s big increase came from baccarat — the game of the high-roller — and not slots, the game of choice for the middle-market gambler.


Winnings in baccarat soared 82.9 percent statewide. And on the Strip, the increase was 80 percent. Baccarat accounted for $48.4 million in winnings on the Strip in June, or 12 percent of the total. Blackjack also showed strength, as winnings rose 23 percent on the Strip.


But at the same time, slots weakened. Total slot win on the Strip was $189.1 million, down 1 percent from last year.


“It looks like your overall traffic in the city is coming down, which has pretty much been the trend,” said William Schmitt, gaming analyst with CIBC World Markets. “It’s the same usual suspects … the Indians (casinos in California), the California economy, energy and fuel costs.”


And it’s likely to get rougher in the next several months, Schmitt said.


“The summer months will be very difficult, Togel because last year was huge,” Schmitt said. “That’s why July is something we have to watch closely. If it doesn’t come down too much, I would take that as a positive.”


The reason slot play is watched so closely is because it is a stable stream of income, as opposed to the volatility of high-end play.


“That (slot play) is the middle market in Las Vegas,” said Andrew Zarnett, gaming analyst with Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown. “High-rollers can come and go as they wish, but sometimes there’s very strong demand, and sometimes there’s very weak demand. The decline in slot play is a concerning trend.”


What it’s reflective of is a continuing split, Zarnett said. Properties at the higher-end of the Las Vegas spectrum have continued to do fairly well; properties at the lower end have not.


“What we’re seeing is that the larger companies with better assets have been able to capture a little more market share … at the expense of some of the further-off (from the Strip) middle-to-low end properties,” Zarnett said.


Downtown casinos reported $54 million in win in June, up 3.1 percent.


The board said North Las Vegas casinos in June saw revenues drop 14.7 percent to $15.4 million; Laughlin reported $41.8 million in win, down 5.4 percent, and the Boulder Strip had $45.4 million in winnings, down 10.2 percent.


North Las Vegas is primarily controlled by Station Casinos Inc.’s Texas Station and Fiesta. Those properties have struggled through much of the last year due to the September 2000 opening of the Suncoast hotel-casino near Summerlin. While the slowdown isn’t as apparent in the June numbers, it becomes clearer in the numbers for the fiscal year ending June 30, which the board released today.


For the year, the state’s casinos reported gross win of $9.6 billion. That’s an all-time record, but it’s up just 2.2 percent from fiscal 2000 — the second-lowest growth rate for the state in the last decade. Only 1997 was a slower year, when the state’s gaming win increased just 0.7 percent.


During the 2001 fiscal year, casinos on the Strip reported winnings of $4.8 billion, up 2.8 percent. This was the third lowest-increase for the Strip in the last ten years; the average increase has been 6.6 percent.


Frank Streshley, senior research analyst with the control board, noted that four new megacasinos opened on the Strip in fiscal 2000, resulting in an 11.3 percent gaming win increase that year. In fiscal 2001, only the Aladdin opened on the Strip.


That coupled with a slowing of the national and international economy in September were the main reasons for the sluggish performance.


“There’s a general malaise (among Las Vegas visitors) of, ‘I’ve seen it, I’ve been there, what’s new?”‘ Zarnett said.


Clark County continues to play the dominant role in the state’s gaming picture. It accounts for 80.5 percent of the total revenue. Ten years ago, it contributed 74.3 percent. For the second year in a row, the Strip casinos contributed slightly more than 50 percent of the gross win to the state total.


While other areas were suffering somewhat, downtown Las Vegas casinos posted their third highest growth rate in the last ten years. The clubs reported $679.8 million in revenue, up 1.1 percent.


North Las Vegas casinos took the biggest hit for the year. The casinos reported $221.8 million in revenue, down 5.2 percent. That’s the worst year for growth in the last ten years where the average annual increase has been 22.7 percent.


Boulder Strip clubs accounted for $608.5 million in gross win, up 4 percent, but this is the lowest growth for that area in the last 10 years. Streshley said the 4 percent increase comes on top of a 9.1 percent gain in fiscal 2000.


So how long will the slowdown continue? Zarnett believes growth will remain sluggish through Labor Day, then should pick up somewhat as group business and conventions return to town.



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SPRINGFIELD – Tax increases designed to ease Illinois’ budget woes are showing mixed results nearly halfway through the fiscal year, state numbers show.

A hefty 40-cent increase on each pack of cigarettes sold is lagging far behind the state’s projections.

And while increased taxes from riverboat casinos are bountiful now, that money could fall short by next June, too.

Lawmakers approved both tax hikes in the spring to help fill a budget hole expected to be nearly $2 billion in the fiscal year that started July 1.

They expected to raise $230 million – or about $19 million a month – in extra revenue by pushing taxes on cigarette sales up to 98 cents per pack. They also budgeted an extra $135 million from hiked riverboat casino taxes.

But from July 1 through November 30, cigarette taxes were bringing in only about $12.5 million extra per month. Averaged out over the rest of the year, the state would collect about $150 million in new money – or about $80 million less than expected.

Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Klemens said it’s far too soon to predict the state will see such a shortfall.

Klemens said revenue is behind largely because retailers stocked up on cigarette tax stamps in June, before the tax hike took effect.

Revenue numbers from the state Comptroller’s office indicate a large increase in collections in July – when most of the taxes were paid on the June stamp purchases – before leveling off in August and September.

The numbers have since climbed, with last month posting a 42 percent increase from November 2001. Klemens said officials expect the revenues will continue to grow, but they cannot predict how much.

“I thought they would increase before now,” Klemens said. “These are not great numbers.”

Anti-smoking groups such as the American Lung Association of Illinois say they cannot tell whether tax receipts are down because more people have dropped the habit.

But they do say they’re strapped for cash to help people trying to quit. Their anti-tobacco money was slashed from $74 million to $12 million, and they’ve seen very little of that because it’s been tied up in litigation.

“They raised the tax but there’s no services to help people quit,” said Kathy Drea, a spokeswoman for the Lung Association.

Meanwhile, the extra gambling taxes are rolling in better than expected. At its current pace, the state would collect nearly $200 million more than last year – or $65 million more than it projected.

But that will change Jan. 1, when all boats return to paying a much smaller percent of their Keluaran Hk casino proceeds to the state under a graduated tax system.

The taxes will increase as the boats make more money, but that might be more challenging in 2003, said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association representing the nine riverboat operators.

The Illinois Gaming Board reports casino proceeds are down statewide compared to last year and have shown slight declines for each of the last few months.

Swoik said fewer people are going to the boats, largely because of new dockside competition in Indiana for the profitable boats in the Chicago suburbs.

The decline could mean the taxes don’t reach budget projections by next June, he said.

“How far it will go, we don’t know,” Swoik said. “We’re hoping that there will be some recovery.”


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Terkadang memang permainan judi online membawa dampak atau manfaat bagi orang-orang. Mereka akan paham mengenai keputusan yang telah dibuat dan jangan selalu mengharapkan kemenangan. Pada kenyataannya memang semua orang pasti ingin menang, akan tetapi perlu diingat bahwa dalam judi pasti ada yang namanya menang dan kalah. Maka dari itu, dalam berjudi pemain memang harus siap untuk kehilangan sejumlah uang dan ada baiknya untuk dikontrol sehingga batas kekalahan juga tersanggupi. Permainan judi online terbukti memang membuat orang-orang teralihkan dari hal-hal yang mengganggu mereka dan cenderung membuat pemainnya menjadi lebih tenang karena dapat menikmati permainan yang tersedia dengan jumlah varian yang sangat banyak. Kepandaian yang dimiliki seseorang dalam memainkan permainan judi online tentunya juga mengasah kemampuan baik ingatan maupun kemampuan untuk menganalisa keadaan. Profesional dalam permainan judi juga membuat beberapa saran dan tentunya strategi dalam permainan yang dimana belum tentu dapat diikuti setiap orang karena dalam judi, perlu diingat bahwa faktor keberuntungan juga memegang kunci untuk kemenangan.

Nah untuk teman-teman yang baru ingin memulai atau bahkan sudah lama mencoba untuk bermain judi online, tentunya sudah mengetahui bahwa untuk bermain judi online diperlukan platform dalam bentuk sebuah situs yang menyediakan layanan permainannya. Akan tetapi, perlu diwaspadai karena maraknya agen judi yang melakukan penipuan dengan mengirimkan pesan dan memancing pemain untuk mendaftar disitusnya yang belum terpercaya. Maka dari itu, harus lebih berhati-hati dalam memilih tempat yang akan digunakan sebagai platform bermain terlebih dengan berkembangnya jaman dan internet yang menyebabkan hal tersebut sangat mudah untuk terjadi. Apabila situs tempat kalian bermain terlalu sering mengganti rekening untuk deposit maupun penarikan, situs tersebut wajib diwaspadai karena seharusnya pergantian rekening dilakukan secara berkala atau ada durasi waktunya. Tanpa alas an yang jelas, apabila terjadi pergantian rekening yang sering, ditakutkan akan terjadi kegagalan saat kita deposit alias uangnya dibawa lari. Maka dari itu, perlu diperhatikan juga sebelum melakukan deposit, ada baiknya untuk melakukan pengecekan terhadap nomor rekening untuk menghindari salah transfer dan kegagalan deposit. Selain itu, jangan mudah terpancing oleh promo atau bonus yang ditawarkan seperti bonus deposit 100% karena itu sedang marak terjadi dan memancing pemain untuk mendaftar dan melakukan topup atau deposit. Nah selanjutnya adalah menjauhi atau menghidari situs-situs yang proses deposit atau withdrawnya lambat hal ini perlu dilakukan untuk mencegah terjadinya kerugian lebih lanjut.

Kemudian seperti yang diketahui, permainan judi online juga sangatlah banyak dan beragam. Tidak hanya permainan kartu, tetapi seperti slot, tembak ikan, judi bola juga termasuk ke dalam permainan judi. Nah apabila teman-teman memang sudah memiliki preferensi permainan yang ingin dimainkan, Langkah selanjutnya untuk bermain adalah dengan memilih situs dan membuat akun untuk bermain. Bayangkan saja permainan yang tadinya hanya dapat dimainkan pada gedung kasino, sekarang dapat diakses online melalui smartphone, kapanpun dan dimanapun. Fitur ini sering disebut sebagai Live Casino yang dimana casino dalam bentuk online. Nah untuk mengakses Live Casino ini teman-teman memerlukan akun. Ada baiknya sebelum membuat akun, untuk melakukan konsultasi lebih lanjut dengan layanan dukungan pelanggan yang disediakan karena mereka akan memberikan informasi dan menjelaskan mengenai aturan-aturan yang berlaku dan apa saja yang diperlukan untuk bermain.  Ketentuan yang dimiliki setiap Live Casino mungkin berbeda karena dikelola oleh perusahaan yang berbeda, jadi perlu diingat ya bahwa tidak semua tempat atau penyedia layanan judi online memiliki aturan yang sama. Konsep yang diterapkan oleh Live Casino lebih kurang sama dengan Casino Offline pada umumnya yang ditujukan untuk membuat pengunjungnya menikmati waktu dan tanpa terasa membuat penasaran sehingga ingin bermain terus-menerus. Jika pada awalnya teman-teman sebagai pemain baru mengalami kebingungan, ada baiknya untuk menghubungi layanan pelanggan yang tentunya akan membantu pemain baru dan memberikan informasi lebih lanjut. Kemudian pemain akan diarahkan untuk melakukan topup atau deposit baru kemudian setelah deposit diterima pemain baru bisa memainkan permainan dengan modal yang telah diisi.

Jangan lupa, teman-teman juga memerlukan koneksi internet tentunya untuk bermain dan menikmati permainan judi online. Akan tetapi hal ini tidak menjadi masalah mengingat seberapa pesat perkembangan teknologi pada zaman ini yang dimana setiap orang sudah memiliki akses internet sehingga membuat teman-teman lebih gampang dan bebas untuk bermain judi online dimanapun dan kapanpun. Waktu juga tidak menjadi masalah karena permainan ini dapat dimainkan dari mana pun dan kapan pun, jadi ketika teman-teman memiliki waktu senggang, kalian dapat mengakses dan memainkannya. Maka dari itu, waktu juga tidak akan terbuang sia-sia terlebih apabila kalian memperoleh keuntungan ya kan?

Kemenangan dan kekalahan dalam bermain judi merupakan suatuu hal yang pasti dan perlu diingat bahwa kegiatan judi sudah marak dianggap sebagai suatu hal yang buruk di mata masyarakat. Namun masih terdapat banyak pihak yang pastinya belum mengetahui manfaat dari permainan yang dimainkan. Memang pastinya terdapat manfaat dan dampak negative. Akan tetapi jika memang orang atau pemain tersebut beruntung, lebih mampu mengendalikan emosi, tetap tenang, dan bijak dapat dianggap sebagai manfaat bukan? Anggap saja judi online seperti bermain game online. Memang pastinya yang dinamakan judi memerlukan modal, akan tetapi apabila modal yang diperlukan tidak terlalu besar dan dapat digunakan untuk jangka waktu yang lama, tentunya meningkatkan peluang untuk mendapatkan hasil yang lebih banyak bukan? Pada permainan judi online tentunya terdapat beberapa fitur dan bonus yang ditawarkan dan itu merupakan salah satu dari banyak hal yang diincar oleh kebanyakan pemain karena bonus yang ditawarkan biasanya memiliki nilai yang luar biasa dan mampu mengubah nasib. Akan tetapi memang perlu adanya kontrol atas diri sendiri dan tahu waktu untuk berhenti. Karena pada dasarnya permainan judi online memiliki sifat adiktif atau candu yang dimana akan mendorong pemain untuk terus bermain tanpa henti.

Tidak hanya mudah dimainkan, menghemat waktu saat bermain kartu online, pemain juga menerima banyak bonus menarik. Jadi, jangan takut kehilangan banyak uang dengan bermain idle online. Pemain masih memiliki bonus khusus jika pemain kalah, maka pemain akan menunggu untuk menerima bonus yang juga pemain butuhkan untuk memenuhi syarat. Jika selesai, jika sudah selesai, pemain juga berhak menerima bonus. Selain itu, pemain juga dapat memperoleh tambahan dana dengan cara mengajak teman bergabung menggunakan kode referral yang dapat dicantumkan nantinya ketika teman mendaftar. Kemudian, sebagai imbalannya, kita akan mendapatkan komisi lebih sedikit daripada game itu sendiri. Untuk itulah kita harus mencari sendiri banyak referral agar kita bisa mendapatkan banyak uang yang tidak ada hubungannya dengan penggunaan modal kita dan berhubungan dengan judi setelahnya.

Sampai dengan saat ini, masih abnyak pemain dalam judi online yang tidak tahu kapan harus memainkannya karena mereka masih belum menyadari potensi pembangunannya. Pembangunan yang dimaksud adalah pengembangan atas potensi pribadi diri sendiri seperti contoh kontrol atas emosi dan kemampuan untuk menganalisis keadaan. Selain itu, pengalaman yang diperoleh dari memainkan judi online juga masih belum banyak yang mengetahuinya. Sebagai contoh seperti menjaga ketenangan diri dan menjaga semangat agar merasa senang serta kemampuan untuk membuat strategi yang dimana kaan berugna untuk mengarahkan pemain untuk mencapai tujuan tanpa adanya masalah dan memahami hidup lebih baik. Masih banyak orang yang belum menemukan tujuan yang ingin dicapai dalam hidupnya selain judi. Akan tetapi, mereka masih mengetahui apa yang ingin mereka lakukan dan ini sudah lebih baik dibandingkan tidak mengetahui apa yang ingin dilakukan ke depannya. Pengalaman lain yang tidak dapat tergantikan adalah rasanya bermain game atau permainan yang disukai dan mampu memperoleh keuntungan dari permainan tersebut. Siapa yang tidak mengidam-idamkan hal seperti itu? Dalam permainan judi online juga tidak hanya mengandalkan keberuntungan tetapi juga memerlukan kemampuan atau skills yang dimiliki individu. Dengan latihan yang rutin dan peningkatan atas kemampuan yang dimiliki suatu individu dapat membantunya dalam membaca pola permainan, kapan harus maju, mundur, dan meningkatkan taruhan. Terdapat banyak sekali peluang untuk meningkatkan dan mengembangkan diri dari permainan.

Sekarang pun masih banyak orang yang rela mati-matian mengumpulkan uang hanya untuk berjudi. Perlu teman-teman ingat yah, bahwa judi merupakan kegiatan yang menggunakan uang sungguhan, jadi jangan sampai kalian melakukan kesalahan. Kelola uang sebaik mungkin dan jangan memaksakan diri untuk berjudi karena nantinya akan berujung merugikan diri sendiri apabila memang tidak siap untuk menerima kekalahan. Memang apabila dilihat secara hasilnya dan video-video yang beredar, banyak sekali orang-orang yang menang dan mampu mencapai banyak hal dari judi yang mereka lakukan. Akan tetapi, tetap saja terdapat faktor keberuntungan yang memegang peran dan setiap orang tidak memiliki keberuntungan yang sama. Jadi jangan memaksakan diri untuk mengikuti jejak orang lain karena belum tentu membuahkan hasil yang sama. \

Tidak semua orang juga menyukai kegiatan berjudi, ada yang menganggap bahwa bermain sebuah permainan dengan uang sungguhan merupakan suatu hal yang sangat amat beresiko dan berujung pada munculnya masalah-masalah lain. Akan tetapi, apabila terdapat pembuktian bahwa dari judi memang dapat membuahkan sebuah hasil atau prestasi, tentunya juga akan memunculkan rasa bangga tersendiri. Tapi, perlu diingat bahwa cara setiap orang untuk memandang sesuatu tidaklah sama, dan masih banyak orang yang menganggap bahwa judi merupakan sebuah kegiatan yang tidak seharusnya dilakukan. Bahkan masih banyak loh orang yang tidak ingin orang lain tahu kalau mereka berjudi dan berhasil mencapai sesuatu karena pada umumnya orang-orang akan berbicara buruk mengenai dirinya dan menganggapnya sebagai seseorang yang tidak mau berusaha dan menginginkan sesuatu secara instan. Keserakahan atau ketamakan biasanya menjadi hal yang menjatuhkan orang pada saat mereka berjudi karena rasa ketidakpuasan dan rasa ingin mendapatkan lebih banyak yang berujung pada menjatuhkan dirinya sendiri. Perlu diingat bahwa memang semakin besar keuntungan yang bisa diperoleh kenapa tidak diteruskan saja, akan tetapi hal tersebut tidak akan berujung bagus karena ketamakan yang biasanya muncul akan memancing emosi tersendiri dari dalam diri seseorang dan mendorong mereka untuk berbuat yang tidak seharusnya seperti memasang taruhan dalam jumlah besar. Ketika kalah, mereka akan memasang taruhan dengan nominal dua hingga tiga kali lipat dengan tujuan untuk memperoleh keuntungan dan menutupi kekalahannya yang tadi. Hal seperti ini sudah umum terjadi dan berujung pada menghabiskan modal serta keuntungan yang telah diperoleh dari permainan yang telah dimainkan. Jadi sama saja seperti bermain tapi tidak memperoleh apa-apa malah kehilangan semua yang telah dicapai dari awal permainan tadi beserta modal awalnya.


Nah, sekian merupakan beberapa fakta dan manfaat serta cara-cara yang dapat teman-teman lakukan dalam rangka untuk mencoba memulai judi online. Akan tetapi perlu diingat bahwa …


Queen of the Hill II All-Female Online Quake II Tourney Takes Off on


Mountain View, CA – (February 20, 1998) – Queen of the Hill II (QOTH II), the Internet’s hottest all-female Quake II tournament, is going to rock on, (, the industry’s top-rated Internet games and entertainment service. Julianne Gentile, famed Quake tournament organizer and creator of the first Queen of the Hill Tournament, has chosen to host her online Quake II tourney, in which women from across the country will face off in a series of Quake II battles. The ultimate goal? Being crowned QUEEN OF THE HILL on Saturday, March 28, 1998.


According to Gentile, a serious Quake addict known to online Quake fans as “Takhisis,” Queen of the Hill has grown from a grass roots match to a nationwide tournament that needed a partner capable of hosting a large event. “Female ‘fraggers’ from across the country are dying to compete in this tourney. Queen of the Hill has really taken off,” said Gentile. “ has a ton of experience hosting large-scale Quake and Quake II events. We know we’ll have reliable Ligaz888 connections to ensure smooth game play. Plus, participants can sign up for FREE.”


Gentile created the Queen of the Hill tournament, first held in October 1997, to rally female Quake fans around their common interest and foster a sense of kinship within the female Quake community. Since then, her tournament has grown to include many of the top female Quake players from notorious clans such as PMS (Psycho Men Slayers), Quake Girlz and The Rangers.


Tom Garland, vice president of network programming for, is excited to host a tournament that draws the hottest female “fraggers” around. “While has traditionally attracted a wide variety of games fans, we’re thrilled to draw established events, such as QOTH II, that show the world that gamers can’t be stereotyped,” explained Garland. “Rocket launchers aren’t just for boys anymore!”


Tournament Kick-off Party: Meet the Women of Quake

On Thursday the 26th at 8 pm (EST), tourney participants can mix and mingle with Plus members at a kick-off party hosted in the Quake II ranked lobby –even the guys are invited! Game fans can meet QOTH II participants and challenge them to deathmatches–giving the gals a chance to practice before the cutthroat competition begins. Participants can also trade tips and taunts using’s text and voice chat, use the pager and buddy list for tracking down their friends, and even share their strategies using ScribbleTalk™,’s virtual whiteboard.


Tournament Details

Prizes for Queen of the Hill II have been donated by such industry leaders as id Software, Monolith Productions, and The Mining Company. Entries for participation closed January 31,1998 and Open Ranked Play begins March 2, 1998 running through March 13, 1998. Players will enter the QOTH II lobby on to be ranked against the other players in their division, either low-ping or high-ping depending on their connection speed. Rankings will be updated hourly and participants may play as many or as few times as they wish during this phase of the tourney.’s GameGods, the service’s resident game gurus, and wizards, members of who serve as mentors, will be available online to assist players and monitor the tournament. The rankings will end at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, March 13th and the top sixteen players, eight low-ping and eight high-ping, will move on to the semi-finals. In the Queen of the Hill II semi-finals, starting March 21, 1998, the eight top-ranked

players in each division will face off in two four-player semi-final matches with the leading eight players, four low-ping and four high-ping, advancing to the final round. Finals begin on March 28, 1998 and the final four players in each division will each play two final matches, with the combined score determining the low-ping and high-ping Queen of the Hill.


For further information on QOTH II, including daily news, rules for participation, tournament settings and scheduling, game fans can check out Julianne’s Quake enthusiast site, Focus on Quake or visit at Rankings will be posted on at



One of 500 comprehensive GuideSites from The Mining Co. (, Focus on Quake is maintained by long-time Quake addict and Queen of the Hill vet Julianne Gentile. A full-time Net denizen, Julie splits her time between gibbing hapless foes and surfing the Web for all the latest Quake news and info. Her site offers in-depth coverage of Quake/Quake II and the online Quake community. Focus on Quake is THE source for useful Quake-related news, info, links, and community on the Net.



To make online gameplay a social experience and cater to the diverse tastes of it’s more than 400,000 members, hosts a variety of events and tournaments. Last Spring, was the first commercial game service to host a large-scale national tournament, the Red Annihilation Quake tournament. The champion was catapulted to fame and drove home in a red Ferrari donated by Quake creator, John Carmack. recently teamed with ABC Interactive to host the Quest for the Best tournament where game fans honed their football skills to earn $20,000 in cash prizes and a trip to the Rose Bowl or Super Bowl. Beyond large scale tournaments, hosts basic training sessions, celebrity guest chats, trivia contests and much more.


Launched in 1996, is rated the top Internet games and entertainment service by such leading industry publications as PC Gamer, Yahoo! Internet Life and GameSpot. offers the best and broadest range of online games to appeal to all types of games fans. In February 1997, made a revolutionary move as the first commercial online game service to offer free Internet game play, so game fans can play hit games such as Quake, Scrabble, and Links LS ’98 against hundreds of thousands of opponents on the Internet at no charge. For only $39.95 per year, game fans can sign up for’s Plus service and access special content, ratings and rankings features for special games, online events and tournaments. remains the leading visionary to deliver superior communication technologies and cutting-edge software. can be found on the World Wide Web at is a division of Mpath Interactive, a company dedicated to providing

technology and services for the creation of people-to-people communities on the Internet.






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November 28, 2001. After two days of non success in the first two events I’m just looking to make a good showing in event number 3. I start my day with breakfast at Resorts Casino, I had a comped room over there and the place is spotless, even the chips look hand washed. I order the eggs benedict and some coffee. The waitstaff was friendly and my stomach was satisfied. Good start already.

I then stroll outside on the Boardwalk over to the Taj which became my morning ritual. Another beautiful day for late November, kids are still surfing! I proceed to the Poker Room and go right to the cage to pony up for my entry. The event starts promptly at 1100am. I sit down at one of the far tables by the Race Book.

A couple of familiar faces at my table, two young pros from California. A seasoned looking player from either NJ or Ny in the 10 hole. There was also a young gentleman in the 7 seat with a Philly FireFighter cap on, God bless him. Early on I catch my first break of the day.

I make a standard raise in early position, (Ace, King unsuited). Everyone folds around to the small blind who raises all in for $500.00. I ponder for a few moments and call. He shows KK. I sigh, and flip over my AK. Flop comes no help, but turn and river come Ace, Ace. My first double up.

This was my only “behind hand” of the day. After this blessing of good fortune I get some good play out of my blind hands and add to my stake. I was lucky my first table was passive and received some free rolls out of my blinds and lukily flopped some real hands.

By 3:00 pm and a ten minute break I have some ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล chips so I give a call to my wife to let her know I’m fairing well and to wish me some luck. When I get back, I’m in a table with Mellisa Hayden. I know her reputation and I know she is a respected player. I’m seated to her right.

Right away she starts off aggressively stealing blinds and making large raises preflop. I’m thinking I’m only going to get involved with a real hand.

Two 8’s come along and I get in cheaply to see the flop, and the flop comes perfect 8, rag, rag. Beautiful.

I take down about a 1500.00 pot with no call. My stack is looking pretty good. I only steal the blinds on rare occasion and each time no callers. Getting towards dinner break now and I’m in very good shape around 5000 in chips. Dinner comes and I’m elated. Twelve tables left out of a field of 256 players.

I decide to go eat over at Resorts so I can have some peace. Good plan, not a single Poker Player over there. After a nice quiet meal Im ready for the home stretch of the tourney. Im excited, but say to myself play solid and watch your body language. I stay focused so as not to give away any of my hands. I maintain my stack and make it down to the final 6 tables.

I’m seated next to Howard Mann who I know from working at Foxwoods and playing in our tournaments up there. He is seated to my right and is picking off my blinds on every round. I finally come over the top on him with nothing and hold my ground. He folds to my preflop re-raise. I pick up some pots and my stack steadily grows to about 15,000.

It seems like maybe little less than an hour and a half and we are down to two tables. Players are dropping like mad now. My next big confrontation comes. I’m in late position with A 10 of spades, it is passed to me and I make a standard 3x the big blind raise to about 4,000, just hoping to steal the blinds.

A younger fellow from New York reraises me out the button position for 4,000. The blinds fold and its on me.

I think for a few moments. I think the blinds were 500 and 1,000 at this point with the ante. I call. The flop comes 4 of hearts, 10 of clubs and 5 of hearts. I hesitate for a moment and push all-in. Before I can push all-in he calls. Oh no, I ran into a real hand I think to myself. I turn over my A 10 of spades with some hesitation. He is not to quick to roll over his hand, but finally exposes J 10 of hearts.

What a draw he has! I stand up, and plead for the dealer not to put up a heart, my prayers are answered and I double up. Final table here I come.

Final table is as follows:

Seat 1 Nick Pompo $3,700

Seat 2 Men “Master” Nguyen $29,000

Seat 3 “Doc” Partenope $19,900

Seat 4 David Ferrante $11,700

Seat 5 Howard Mann $7,100

Seat 6 Kenneth Kolbert $6,700

Seat 7 Dan Negreaunu $16,600

Seat 8 Mark Rathbun $ 31,100

Seat 9 Jerry Brinkman $2,300

Wow, I’m elated, final table and the chip lead. More dramatics to follow.

Unbelievable! Here I am at my first ever No-Limit final table in a casino. I have won No-Limit tourneys on PokerPages but, this is the real deal. $28,000 to the winner! I can’t believe it. I feel confident and not one bit out of place. I guess 10 yrs in the World’s largest casino, Foxwoods, and being a Shift Manager for over 5yrs in Poker helps your confidence.

After all, I live, breathe and think Poker, what a great game, and I get paid for it! I stack my chips neatly. I get some friendly advice from one of the players, telling me to stack my orange chips on top ($1,000) for intimidation purposes.

I forgot who gave me the advice, but if you read this I can’t thank you enough. Final table action begins. I know not to mess with the larger stacks and hope I can just tangle with the smaller ones. The first 10-15 minutes or so I’m just an innocent bystander. It is a nice position to have the chip lead with no need to rush. I can wait for real hands.

Kenneth Kolbert from Brooklyn Ny. goes out ninth. Down to eight. Next to exit is the shortest stack to come to the final table, Jerry Brinkman, myself and Howard Mann call his all-in and check it down to the river. I know well enough not to bet Howard off the hand, and plus I have absolutely nothing going after to the flop and I’m more than happy to check it down and hopefully eliminate another player.

Howard ends up with the pot at showdown; down to seven! Here comes a HUGE hand for the “great unknown” player at the table. Daniel Negreanu makes a standard raise, the blinds are 1,000 – 2,000 with a $500.00 ante. I’m on the button and look down to see two beautiful kings. Wow, no brainer! I confidently declare “all-in”.

Ball is in Danny’s court now. He has nearly half his stack committed already. He thinks for a few moments and calls my all-in. I’m 99.9% sure my kings are good. I turn them over. Danny says you have me beat. He shows AQ. I’m feeling real good. KK vs AQ. Flop comes no help for either of us. Turn comes the queen.

I stand up and say don’t put an ace or queen on the river. The river is dry. WOW! I pick up 16,000 or so in chips. I’m on top of the World, just knocked out one of the best tournament players on the planet. The next to be eliminated was the other short stack at the table, Nick Pompo.

Down to five.

The antes and blinds sure to creep up on you at these levels, and here we go up again. Now playing $1500-3000 with a $500.00 ante. Here comes my next confrontation.

Howard Mann, who had been to my immediate right for 2 out three final tables. I had the opportunity to study him for awhile and he loved to steal my blinds. He is two off the big blind and raises all-in. He has about 11,000. I look down and see Ace, 10. Not too shabby, and I know Howard is an aggressive player with medium holdings. I like my Ace. I’m hoping he is holding a King, but not two!

I think for a few moments and decide to call. I’m not terribly confident about the hand, but he is short stacked and I know he needs to make a stand. He turns over KJ. Bingo! I turn over my A10. I spike an Ace on the flop. Turn comes no help and now he is drawing dead on the river.

This final table stuff is the “nuts”. Up to $51,000 in chips now and the boys want to make a deal with the new kid. They offer me 2nd place money, $14,952.00 and a chance to play for $10,000.00.

They would take $10,000 a piece and the same chance to play for the remaining $10,000. Now I have a major decision to make. I’ve never been in this spot before. I ask for a short break and all agree. I need someone to talk to! Quick!

I find Jim Boyd in a satellite. He graciously gets up out of the satellite to give me advice. People like Jim make Poker the great game that it is. Thanks again Jim, I owe you. He likes the deal and tells me to take it.

Billy Seymour, another well known tourney player agrees and tells me the same, “take the deal Mark”.

What to do what to do, I see a good friend, Pat Perrot. He wants me to play it out, no deal.

After all I am the chip leader by about 20,000. My gut says no deal. I think deals cheapen tournament poker. You really can’t say you are the champ. Thanks to the good Lord above, $28,000 is not going to change my life anyway, just pay a few bills. Not like I can retire from it. So I think a moment longer and say “no deal, lets play it”.

I sit down and the first hand I’m dealt is two picture cards. I’m under the gun, I make a standard raise and here comes Men smelling blood. He moves all-in. I’m about to blow off 8,000 in chips with a hand I’m not going to marry. I feel a little flustered, I think about the deal I passed up only 2 minutes earlier and could have very easily lost my composure. I toss the hand in after a fleeting moment.

I jump back inside my head, dont panic, play your game, and dont you dare play passive again into Men.

Next to go is “Doc” Partentope. At this point Doc and David Ferrante are about even in chips.

Now we are down to three. Men talks to David about a deal not involving me! Whats up with that?

I dont say a word but in hind sight that was “dirty pool”. Before I know it David is gone, and it’s me and the “Master” heads up. He now has about a 3-1 chip lead on me. We play a few hands heads up. I’m very cautious, not overly aggressive. Just waiting for a playable hand.

I’m the big blind with K3. He smooth calls. Flop comes xKx. I move all-in. He is thinking. I might get a call here. Did he slow play a big pair? He is thinking for some time.

He asks for a count down of my chips. I start to break them down and he says let the dealer do it. …

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