The recent $150,000 “Wild Bill Showdown” Blackjack Tournament held June 15th-16th, 2007 at Grand Casino Tunica left many participants shaking their heads in disgust at the way the event was handled by casino staff. The event truly displayed a level of ineptitude and arrogance that somehow managed to exceed this industry’s already normal “Screw the Customer” mentality. Just how did Grand Casino and its staff give themselves this black eye? Well, let us count the ways…
Sunday’s Las Vegas Review Journal included a letter to the editor titled “Champion of all the players … that Harrah’s allows”. The author Bob Nersesian is well-known in advantage gambler circles, as an attorney with an outstanding track record in defending legal players from the often-illegal tactics used by local casinos to harass them.
In a followup to my last post, Brodie has now been allowed back onto Harrah’s properties, and is now competing in the World Series of Poker events. Read the latest couple of posts at his blog Lion Tales.
In his post “I can play” he says that he’s now allowed back, and says also “As usual everyone at Harrah’s was friendly and professional.” Well, I guess he means other than the part where they told him not to set foot in one of their hotels again! Whatever.
I hope he wins a bracelet somewhere along the way at this year’s WSOP. It will make an interesting story for the press to cover if that happens.
It’s not just skilled blackjack players who incur the wrath of the casino powers-that-be. Any player that exhibits evidence of intelligent thought is subject to harassment by casinos. For example, Richard Brodie is a high-stakes player, and god knows he can afford it. As one of the original developers of the software now known as Microsoft Word, he’s got plenty of cash to spend however he would like. But, as you might guess, he’s no dummy. He knows when he has the best of it in the casino. He’s a talented poker player, and he also plays a lot of video poker, at limits that most of us can barely imagine.
This is the week. Many players are anxiously eyeing the telephone this week hoping for a phone call from GSN’s World Series of Blackjack. The 2006 season of the TV show is set to start filming in less than two weeks, and there are still seats to be filled.
While official numbers haven’t been released by GSN, it appears that of the 40 player seats in the televised event, only 20 to 30 of them have been filled by satellite qualifiers. That leaves between 10 and 20 seats to be assigned by GSN. To that end, many players have been submitting their tournament credentials to the producers, hoping for a freeroll and a shot at the $500,000 first place prize.
After submitting the initial information, many players were asked to provide a short video of themselves. In the last few days, some potential participants have gotten follow-up phone calls asking additional questions. I expect the decisions to be made by the end of this week.
That phone call is worth a cool $25,000 in expected value. Ring, ring.
I’m just back from a blackjack tournament at the Sheraton Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. The venue was new, but the tournament was a familiar one. The former table games manager from Bally’s Tunica has relocated to the Sheraton, and he brought the popular tournaments from that property along with him.
Well, the first season of the new Ultimate Blackjack Tour is a wrap.
In a long but very exciting week, filming finished up in late October at CBS Studios in Los Angeles. The more than $1 million in prize money was big news, but the real impact of these events will come once they hit TV. A new twist on the standard blackjack tournament format is guaranteed to spice up the game for television audiences.
I’m just back from Vegas, where I participated in a new series of blackjack tournaments produced for TV. The new Ultimate Blackjack Tour adds some interesting twists to the usual formula of blackjack tournaments, and I think the new format will be great for TV.
I’ll be the guest tonight on Kenny Einiger’s radio show in Las Vegas. You can tune in at 6 PM Pacific to hear me and Kenny talk about all things blackjack and tournaments. If you’re close enough to Las Vegas to get the signal, tune in to KLAV radio at 1230 on the AM dial.If you’re further away, you can still listen over the internet. Head to http://www.klav1230am.com and you can find links to listen to the show live.
It’s also a call-in show. Here are the numbers:
Call Toll Free @ 1-866-820-5528
or locally @ 1-702-731-1230
Please note the toll free number gets the bulk of the calls so you may encounter a busy signal.The local number has multiple lines available and may be less busy.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kenny Einiger, he was among the competitors I faced in World Series of Blackjack 2004 and 2005. In 2004, he made an early exit when an aggressive approach didn’t pan out. In 2005 though, he went all the way, and earned the title 2005 World Blackjack Champion.
He has a new website at http://www.worldblackjackchampion.com/
Check it out, and check out the show later today!
The James Grosjean and Michael Russo case against Caesars Palace and Griffin Investigations is done, and the jury ruled in favor of Grosjean and Russo, awarding $100,000 in actual damages. Caesars chose to settle with the plaintiffs before the punitive damage portion of the jury deliberations, but Griffin did not. The jury awarded an additional $25,000 to the plaintiffs from defendant Griffin for punitive damages.
For those unfamiliar with the case, Grosjean and Russo were legally hole-carding at the game of three card poker, and were detained by Caesars and accused of card-bending, based on their listings in Griffin Investigations subscription-based service for casinos. Griffin was found by the jury to have been guilty of libel and defamation for having listed the two as cheats with no evidence.
A Las Vegas Review Journal article about the case can be found here:
Caesars settles, Griffin Investigations owes punitive damages