Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.
OVER at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, the dress close is strict: bikinis only.
Inside the casino’s JET nightclub 25 bikini-clad contestants are taking part on the Pole-A-Palooza championships. To the best pole dancer, the spoils. To the worst, a very nasty looking rash and a slipped disc.
The winner is Anika, who won the top prize of $10,000 and a lifetime supply of poles….
FOR those of you who harbour dreams of owning a river boat, news from Canada.
Gateway Casinos is about to move its New Westminster casino from the Royal City Star riverboat to a land venue.
So the boat is redundant. The stern-wheeler can be yours for $5-million – ideal for Al Goreans and Noah Labour types worried about the impending flood…
IF poker has any part of play in England’s game against Croatia, Steve McLaren’s team are doomed.
Blessed with all the guile of Phil Collins in a thong, England could be undone by Slavin Billic.
The former West Ham defender is no mug punter. Alvin Martin, Bilic’s former West Ham team-mate, says of the Croatian manager: “He was great at gaming tables. In many ways that was where he was most at home – poker, mainly.”
Martin goes on to tell the Mail: “He had incredible bottle, an amazing ability to bluff…”
News of Bilic’s bluffing will come as little surprise to Laurent Blanc who missed the 1998 World Cup final against Brazil after being suspended for two matches for breathing in Bilic’s direction…
News reaches the Casino Anorak that flyers aboard British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Airlines jets will soon be playing bingo.
Last year, passengers aboard Delta Airlines were invited to play Texas Hold ‘Em, but only on US domestic flights. With US protectionionism rife, BA and Singapore Airlines are prevented from offering the service on flights into and out of America.
But let’s play. And what with the current security situation, we need a new lingo for the bingo. Eyes down:
Is that gun? – number one
Blame the Jew – number two
WMD – number three
Shock and awe – number four
Bin Laden alive – number five
Hans Blix – number six
Virgins in heaven – number seven
Free Kuwait – number 8
Rumsfeld’s line – number 9
Al Qaeda’s den – number 10
After the death of The Stardust hotel-casino, the New Frontier casino on the north end of the Vegas Strip is now so much dust and bits of cement and plastic.
The casino-hotel that once carried the sign proclaiming “Dirty Women, Cold Beer” is gone.
The 16-story hotel tower will be missed for its Cold Women, Dirty Beer (we know someone who went).
The New Frontier was the place where Elvis Presley made his Las Vegas debut. It was Vegas’ first theme casino, a pioneer with a cowboy village theme. With bikini bull riding.
Do we miss it already?
OVER there, in America, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is looking at online poker. He has considered the game from all angles and thinks it would be best if anyone caught playing online were jailed for two-years and fined $25,000 fine.
The idea is mooted in a bill whose larger purpose is to allow for three new casinos in Massachusetts.
Patrick’s fellow Democrat, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who is sponsoring federal legislation to license and regulate online gambling nationally, asks: “Why is gambling in a casino OK and gambling on the Internet is not?”
There is an easy answer. And David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, tells the Boston Globe: “If you were cynical about it, you’d think that they’re trying to set up a monopoly for the casinos.”
Reason magazine’s Radley Balko writes of Patrick: “I’ve seen the same politician push bricks-and-mortar casinos in one bill while restricting online gambling in another.”
Is the position confused? Balko says states like Texas, Illinois, and Virginia have cracked down on private gambling and poker games while spending millions promoting lottery scratch-offs with card-playing and poker themes. The writer senses evidence of Patrick’s “bald protectionism”.
Anti-competition laws… In America? Never!
DESPITE giving her all in a tight bodice and heels, Penny Lancaster has been dismissed from the Strictly Come Dancing pro-celebrity dance troop amid controversial scenes, of a force not witnessed since last week.
With a high kick that renders games of leap frog with shorter husband Rod Stewart a forgone conclusion, Penny looked capable. And now we read that Rachel Hunter, tall ex-wife of crooner Rod Stewart, is the victim of an “unprovoked attack” at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, Australia.
The Melbourne Herald Sun sees Hunter walking through the foyer of Crown Towers “when a woman ran up behind her and kicked her in the back – knocking Hunter to the floor – before sprinting off”.
Kicked in the back… And then sprinted off… You’d need long legs to reach Hunter’s back. Most of us would only manage to strike her in the buttocks or the back of the knee. And you’d need to be fit to run.
Meanwhile, a woman has been arrested and taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital for a psychological assessment.
ALWAYS good when doing business in foreign lands to know the cultural nuances. Better yet to know them and adhere to them.
So here’s billionaire casino developer Steve Wynn speaking at the Charles Schwab IMPACT 2007 conference. Wynn is the chief executive of Wynn Resorts, which operates a casino-resort in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau.
As he said, and as the Associated Press reported it: “That imbecile Mao Zedong almost ruined that country.”
Wynn went on to clarify his remarks, saying: “I said the Cultural Revolution almost ruined the country. It was imbecilic. I didn’t call him an imbecile, I said it was imbecilic.”
Lights down and send granny from the room as Malene appears on Red Hot Roulette. Malene is our ‘Lass Vegas’, two parts of show fronted by Naomi Millbank-Smith.
Says Naomi: “It is my first presenting job and it is live with no autocue so I made sure I swotted up on all the rules and increased my casino knowledge.”
Knowing when to say “black” and when to say “red” and both recognising and reading numbers ranging all the way from zero to 36 is the challenge. Naomi is up for it.
All that remains for you to transform your hovel into a Las Vegas casino is to put Celine Dion on the stereo and grab your chips.
And to increase your chances of winning, the channel is split into Red Hot Amateur, Red Hot All Girl and for older players Red Hot 40 Plus…
“I became ecstatic,” he says. He has just won $1,597,244.10 playing the Mystical Mermaid.
There is much cheering. A man or woman asks for his wallet in marriage. He declines. Why tie himself down. The winner walks home with about $385 and a few free meals at the casino.
“I won money, fair and square, and I’ve been cheated out of my winnings,” Hoffman tells ABC News.
The casino says not. It claims it offered Hoffman the maximum payout of $2,500 for that particular machine. Hoffman says that the machine went into bonus play. The casino says not. The big win was not real. It was a computer error. Thank you, Mr Hoffman, for alerting us to the faulty machine. Enjoy the buffet. Easy on the salmon.
Hoffman is less than delighted. He says a casino employee “became quite intimidating with me, pointed his finger in my face and said, ‘You didn’t win. We’re not paying you any money. Do you understand what I’m telling you? You’re not getting any money.’”
The machine was checked. A technical report showed that the machine’s memory malfunctioned, causing the slot to view a losing spin as a winner. Hoffman had won an “erroneous jackpot.”
“If he had gone into a bank and deposited $1,000 and got back a deposit slip that said a million dollars, he doesn’t get to keep the balance,” says Paul Bardacke, Sandia’s lawyer. “It doesn’t work that way. He knew it was wrong; he knew it was incorrect. That’s why he took a picture of it immediately.”
Hoffman appealed through the tribe’s internal review process but – shock of shocks – he lost. Then he took the casino to court.
But we learn that a jury may never get chance to hear Hoffman’s case. Native American tribes are treated as independent nations. New Mexico law generally does not allow tribes to be sued in a state court over a contract dispute, says Jeremy Kleiman, vice chairman of the commercial gaming subcommittee of the American Bar Association.
Hoffman’s lawyer sees things differently. Says Sam Bregman: “They spent millions of dollars getting these customers, these gamblers, to come in and gamble money, then when someone hits it big, they say, ‘Sorry, we are not going to pay you. The jury is going to be outraged by that.”
Mr Hoffman is single…
And news reaches the Casino Anorak of official goings on in Chicago. The city’s Mayor Richard Daley says he’d like City Hall to own a gigantic casino, “with all the contracts overseen by the city’s gaming board, whose members are chosen by the mayor himself”.
All hail the Chumbolone Casino.
The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass notes: “A casino with all the contracts and jobs and deals hidden from public view should be named for all of us chumbolones who believe taxes will decrease if the casino is built.” Chumbolense, we learn, is a term meaning “stupid idiot”.
Kass tells us the word was coined by Chicago Outfit loan shark and former Chicago Police Officer Anthony “Twan” Doyle. As reported, “Twan was convicted in Family Secrets for passing key information on an Outfit murder to Calabrese’s brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., while the FBI was recording their conversations.”
(Yes, the FBI – the organisation once overseen by Joseph Navarro, king of the tells. Calabrese was a hit man-turned-government witness.)
And who will run the casino? There will be jobs. And while there will be jobs picking up coins, parking cars and cleaning the toilets, there are other jobs in a more organisational capacity.
Kass looks over the CVs and suggests:
Robert Sorich – “the mayor’s former patronage boss, was convicted in federal court as part of a scheme that rigged city job applications to illegally build massive patronage armies for the mayor, in direct violation of a federal court order. Sorich is appealing his conviction on mail fraud.”
Raymond ‘Rayjo’ John Tominello – “Rayjo tutored under the famous Don ‘The Wizard of Odds’ Angelini and Dominic Cortina, the Chicago Outfit’s top bookies back in the 1980s, and he pleaded guilty to being one of their top lieutenants and went to prison for his crimes”
Says Jim Wagner, president of the Chicago Crime Commission: “You’ll end up having to pay a tax for all the corruption that will be brought into play, with the contracts, with the sweetheart deals, with the ghost employees and, history has shown, with the corruption of government and law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, over in the UK…
behaviour-reading skills to the equally devious world of international poker.”
Did you know, for instance, the “hunched posture” indicates insecurity and that “joggling legs” suggest confidence. Joseph Navarro does. You may think an inability to control your limbs to be symptomatic of restless leg syndrome or too much caffeine. A hunched posture could be the product of a bad kebab or an advanced peptic ulcer.
“The involuntary non-verbal mannerisms will always betray a player’s hand,” says the caption beneath a shot of cards on a poker baize. Or, as we say, involve medial staff.
Mr Navarro, readers learn, was one of the world’s leading experts on behaviour and was involved in “virtually every US spy investigation between 1993 and 2003, including those of the double agents Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen”.
Now he’s an instructor at the World Series of Poker Academy. He teaches players how to capture their opponent in a wire net and then transport them in a disguised meat wagon to a remote location in the Nevada Desert. Not, not really (although we have to enrol on his course, and cannot be certain). Navarro teaches professional players how to read their opponents.
Says our man with his finger on your pulse: “The involuntary non-verbal mannerisms dictated by the brain will always betray the strength or weakness of a player’s hand.”
The tells – bouncing “happy feet” of a player who is feeling good, “possibly because he has a strong hand”. Indeed. Navarro is good.
“The opposite – a weak hand – is conveyed by pursed lips, a crinkled nose and squinty eyes.” Aha! Genius. Or a head cold.
Says Navarro: “If your boss asks at a meeting, ‘Who is not pulling their weight?’, the shoulders will rise on those who are not confident. It’s called ‘The Turtle Effect’. You are trying to hide your head inside your shoulders.”
Oh, yes. Turtles are famously crap workers. Navarro makes a valid point.
But be warned: “Mr Navarro acknowledged that his techniques can also be used to mislead other players who know the same signals.”
And you may really have an ulcer…
FOUAD al-Zayat is nicknamed The Fat Man. He is a “whale”. We have no picture to hand of Syrian-born Mr al-Zayat and cannot say if this nom-de-guerre is founded on fact or irony.
But he is in the news. In spring of this year the High Court ruled that Mr al-Zayat must pay his gambling losses to London private members’ club Aspinalls.
Mr al-Zayat has been a customer of Aspinalls. In more than 600 visits, he bought £91m worth of gaming chips. He has lost more than £23m of them.
Mr al-Zayat was less than pleased with the ruling. The story goes that he stopped a cheque over a game which he thought unfair. He had asked that the croupier at his blackjack table be changed. He was told there was nobody else available. He later found this to be untrue. He owed £2million. He had written a cheque for the amount. And was then displeased enough to have the cheque stopped.
Al-Zayat claims the cheque was undated. He returned to the club and went on to lose over £10million over the next couple of years.
Aspinalls made limited attempts to recover the £2m until three days before the six-year validity of a cheque would have expired. Mr Zayat claimed that by not moving faster on the cheque, the club had broken the law against giving credit for gambling.
Lord Justice Sedley says: “Aspinalls, instead of burning their bridges with Mr al-Zayat by suing him on his cheque, permitted him for another six years to go on gambling so that he could lose millions more pounds to them. Then, at the last permissible minute, they sued him.”
Lord Justice Sedley says the matter “reflects no credit on either of them”. No pun intended…
SAYS WSOP bracelet holder Richard Lee: “I’m glad it’s over,” and added “Now I need to go win another poker tournament.”
Lee, who won $2.8 million at the 2006 WSOP main event, has not just been trapped in a room for seven hours with Phil Hellmuth. Nothing so terrible. Lee had been facing bookmaking charges in San Antonio, Texas. The police in that locale frown upon online gambling. And last month Lee and four partners were charged with promoting gambling for running a website on which they collected bets.
The SA police considered Lee the bookmaker and his home the base of an online betting operation.
Lee has now agreed to a plea deal to a lesser charge of keeping a place for gambling. He has agreed to hand over $2.2 million in alleged poker earnings.
First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg says: “In Texas, gambling is a misdemeanor, but when you hit them in the pocketbook, that’s where it hurts. The misdemeanor doesn’t hurt as much as the loss of all the ill-gotten gains.”
That’ll learn ‘em. Crime does not pay. So where does the money go from such skulduggery?
As reported. most likely, half will go to the San Antonio Police Department while the other stays in the DA’s office for salaries, equipment and other law enforcement purpose.
Good to see no-one profits from “ill-gotten gains”.