Saturday, June 16, 2007

Separated At Birth?

I noticed startling similarities between a self-drawing of one of my nieces and Michael Jackson's mugshot. See?

Then I also noticed that my sister's dog, the cockapoo Sammy, looks oddly like... JarJar Binks.

Is this mean?

Friday, June 15, 2007

We're Right - Again!

Last weekend we broke the news that the Frontier would close on July 15. It was re-reported in various places, but in some cases it was treated as a rumor as opposed to a well-sourced report.

Alas, our 100 percent batting average remains intact. According to the Classic Las Vegas blog, readers have told them that the following signage has sprouted all over the doomed property:


Due to the closure of the New Frontier Hotel & Casino, all New Frontier chips and tokens will be redeemable at the New Frontier's main casino cage 24 hours a day up to July 15, 2007.

Thereafter, all chips and tokens will be redeemed exclusively at the Riviera Hotel Casino's main cage 24 hours a day through October 10, 2007. "

So there.

I'm still at the VIP Lounge at the Rio. The prime rib was terrific, the chocolate chip cookies divine. Doyle Brunson is now at a table nearby chowing down.

Live from the WSOP VIP Lounge!

As I type, I am waiting for prime rib.

I'm working on a profile for the Boston Globe of Annie Duke and Howard Lederer, the Venus and Serena of poker who were raised in Concord, N.H. That's part of the Globe's New England readership. This sibling success story has fascinated me for years and I'm finally getting to write it, so earlier I supervised a photo shoot (above right) at the ESPN Final Table and then I was brought into the World Series of Poker V.I.P. Lounge for a leisurely, fascinating interview with Howard Lederer. (I had interviewed Annie about two weeks ago by phone.) Both of these interviews will likely be available on the podcast feed in coming weeks as the World Series of Poker heats up.

Anyhow, the VIP Lounge is an interesting place. Each poker player who has entry privileges paid $1,000 in a donation to the Nevada Cancer Institute. It's not a large room -- maybe 40 feet by 20 feet, but it has a pool table and a putting green, free Wi-Fi (obviously) and a buffet furnished by Del Frisco's Steakhouse near the Strip. The hostess just told me as I foraged for a snack that prime rib would be out in mere minutes.

Howard Lederer, (holding court on a couch at left) tells me that the VIP Lounge is like a de facto casino in its own right. Phil Ivey, he claims, was betting $10,000 a putt last night. I was putting earlier with Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, boyfriend of Jennifer Tilly, who surprisingly remembered me from the interview I did with both of them last year for Vegas Magazine at the CPK at the Mirage.

Fortunately, Laak didn't insist we bet. It's hard to believe sometimes that I am the son of a man who, in lean years of my childhood, made his living betting thousands on his golf game. He'd be so disappointed.

Prime rib's here! Yum!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


As we discussed on the show this week, I was triumphant in a close game versus Tim Dressen of the "Five Hundy By Midnight" podcast on a new podcast quiz show called "Boned." The episode is now up for your listening pleasure by going here. You can also find it through iTunes, of course.

Things I Didn't Know About McCarran

I spent a LOT of time at McCarran last night waiting for my suitcase to make the trek from the farthest D Gate where my much-delayed flight home from the East Coast finally parked to the luggage kiosk. I timed it -- It took more than 40 minutes. That seems a bit much, and I wonder if there's anyone who ranks airports based on their baggage delivery timing. If anyone knows, I'd be interested to see how McCarran stacks up.

Anyhow, I noticed something. I suppose it's been there a while, but I don't remember much fanfare being paid to this: Harrah's has a hotel registration check-in desk for all six of their properties right there by the escalators from the C and D Gates in baggage. They'll take your bags for you to your room, sell you show tickets and provide an $8 shuttle to the hotel that can be charge to your room. This just struck me as ingenious.

And since most ingenious things in this town emanate from MGM Mirage, I'm baffled why the larger Vegas company only a similar kiosk for the MGM Grand. Their area is just paces from the Harrah's one and looked about as large. Could it be that MGM Mirage's computer system is not sophisticated enough to handle reservations and check-in for all of its properties in a single location? How did the MGM Grand end up as the only one with a primo space out of all their hotels? And why was it closed at 9:30 pm when the Harrah's one was still open?

Finally, I was amused that Zierke and Schmalz, whoever they may be, would stay at the Palace Station of all places (where rooms are $40 a night on a typical Wednesday) but spring for personalized limo service. And what sort of cars, pray tell, would that dump have in its fleet?

Just asking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Strip is LIVE Tonight - with JEWEL!

Hey! We're live tonight from 7-8 pm PT with an interview with Jewel. I'm in PA but I'll join Miles by phone. Miles will be there at the LVRocks studio! Join the chat at!

I gotta go be an uncle for the cream sundaes and bowling await!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Last Day To Answer This Week's Trivia Q

Answer by midnight PT on 6/11...

How much does it cost MGM Mirage to run the Luxor light beam for a year? Closest guess wins.

Know it? E-mail us at TheStripPodcast [at] or call 206-424-4737 by 6/11. If we pick your correct answer, you pick from: A Stardust room key,CDs from Anita Baker, Jon Secada or Toni Braxton, or the books "Madam: Inside a Nevada Brothel" by Lora Shaner, "The Killing of Tupac Shakur" by Cathy Scott, "Confessions of a Stripper" by Lacey Lane, "There's Nothing in This Book I Meant To Say," by Paula Poundstone, "Quicksilver: The Ted Binion Murder" by John L. Smith or"Play To Win" by Ken Einiger.

My New York Magazine Debut!

After I was shut out of getting to do any major pieces on "Spamalot" by the show's NY-based PR folks on account of my admitting I wasn't in love with the production, I decided to go ahead and find someone to let me write the piece that had been stirring in my mind for a long time, the denouement on why Broadway fails in Vegas.

Our podcast listeners will recognize many of these themes because Miles and I have been working them out orally for more than a year now and on this blog since it began in March. It is a piece that likely would've emerged sooner or later as it'd been on my mind for a while. Being treated badly didn't create this piece; it just accelerated my willingness to write it sooner rather than later.

So go here and see my first New York Magazine piece, a snappy look at the topic.

Apologies in advance for the WHHSH violation atop the story: "What Opens in Vegas Closes in Vegas." I didn't write it. But I did, as I mentioned on last week's podcast, pen a violation of my own in the body of the story, something I felt was suitably clever to be forgivable. Alas, they cut mine out of the piece so they could commit their own. All in all, though, it's less noxious than many of the examples I cite in my new Las Vegas Weekly column, the first one of which you can read here on the topic of WHHSH abuse.