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Viva Las Vegas

By: PSO Professor @ 17:21 (EST) / 1264 / Comment ( 10 )

Las Vegas is a city that changes every year and flying into town with my nose pressed up against the window pane I always try and pick out what’s been built since the last time I was here.  The new Aria poker room is one of the most beautiful that the world has ever seen, and the food at the Cosmopolitan hotel next door is divine.

In Las Vegas however I can never help myself from looking to the past as much as ahead, and so at the first opportunity I went downtown to Fremont Street to old Las Vegas where the history of poker still shines bright.  It’s not called the Horseshoe anymore, and no one from the Binion family is associated with the casino or hotel, but every ghost of poker’s past still fills the hallways of Binion’s Casino downtown. 

I could sit for an hour staring at the Wall of Champions, a picture gallery of every World Series of Poker winner from Johnny Moss through to Joe Hachem, who was the last main event champion crowned at the birthplace of the WSOP.  There’s a young Phil Hellmuth, still pimpled at age 24, and the red-nosed 1985 champion Bill Smith, who it was said was the tightest poker player in the world when sober, the greatest poker player that ever lived after just a few beers, and the worst player in the room when he got drunk.  Most every picture in that gallery was taken within hours of victory, and you can see on the faces what being a part of that Champion’s club really means.

Of course no visit to Binion’s is complete without a trip to the steakhouse on the top floor.  It’s still one of the best views in town, and the classic décor makes you feel like Benny Binion himself, the founder of the WSOP, might pop by to say hello which really wasn’t that far off.  I asked our waiter, Louie, how long he’d been working there and Louie blurted, “Thirty  years here, but all of us left have been here that long. “ Did he know Benny Binion himself?  “Know him?” said Louie.  “I loved him.  We all did.  He took care of everyone that worked for him and their families too.”

The prices are reasonable, and the food is top notch.  There’s no reason to go past the steakhouse classics, and we gorged on Shrimp Cocktail and French Onion soup followed by a 16-oz strip steak and a fully loaded baked (that’s a potato with butter, sour cream, bacon, chives, and cheese).  Afterwards, we rode on down the glass elevator to the lobby and spilled out onto Fremont Street just in time for a laser light show alongside Pink Floyd’s the Wall.  Next time you come in town, whether it’s for the WSOP at the Rio or just a holiday with the lads, don’t forget to make a visit downtown and salute the history of poker’s greats.

As I surf the forum today I can see that PokerSchoolOnline has announced details about the ‘Big Bang’ tournament and it looks really exciting. A couple of times a week I also scroll through your blogs and threads here and some of you have really impressed me with the amount of work you put into your posts with interesting discussion, photos, graphs, and hands for review using the replayer. Each month I’m allowed to reward a small amount of you with a ‘Big Bang’ ticket and I’ll post a list in the forum each month of who I give the tickets to. If you don’t get one his month don’t despair as I’ll spread them about as the year progresses. You might also be selected from the comments that are left on my ‘Play My Hand’ blogs so keep an eye out for them. I hope to have another one of them for you this week perhaps on Thursday.

Til’ then keep up the good work!

The Prof.

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