It’s rare to get four very busy people who live in different cities together for a festive meal. Fortunately, that was the occasion last night at a new restaurant located on Paradise Road, in Las Vegas.
I joined good friends Rich Korbin (who works for one of the better-known companies in the poker business — I’ll leave it at that), Glen Cadamartori (Marketing Director for Caesars Entertainment), and Terrence Chan (one of the best Limit Hold’em players in the world and currently a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter) for drinks and dinner.
We chose a new steakhouse which just opened up about a week ago, called Kelly’s.
The following narrative will be a combination restaurant review and recount of our dinner conversation, which went three all-too-brief hours.
I’m a carnivore. Morten’s of Chicago, Ruth’s Chris, Del Frisco’s, The Palm, Smith and Wollensky — pick any of these places and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a good meal.
Friday night, we decided to go a different route. Since both Ruth’s Chris steakhouse locations have now closed in Las Vegas (victims of the economy, no doubt), we noted that a new restaurant had opened up at the old Ruth’s Chris location on Paradise Road. This is positioned in a busy strip mall, across the street from Del Frisco’s. In fact, Yoli’s — the excellent Brazilian-style steakhouse — is also located along the same row of businesses.
Kelly’s has only one other location, so their excursion into the highly-competitive Las Vegas restaurant market is a major step for the privately-owned landmark based in Long Beach, CA.
Indeed, “Kelly’s Restaurant” has been an institution in Long Beach for more than 30 years. It’s very much an old-style “power lunch” kind of place. However, given its close proximity to the ocean and fresh seafood, there are many other menu options, as well. One has to wonder if this would be a rubber-stamp of the proven Long Beach venue. Or, would the new owners decide opt for a different flair near the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon first glance, Kelly’s looks very much like what was the former Ruth’s Chris restaurant. Perhaps when the new owners moved in, they realized that redecorating costs would be minimal, since the dark-wood, white-table cloth ambiance would perfectly match the atmosphere Kelly’s would be trying to create.
Some holiday decorations around the bar and dining area added to a festive feel. That cordiality was enhanced by very personal attention from the host (actually series of hosts) which greeted our party warmly as we made our way to the table.
Upon taking a seat — the look, the feel, the atmosphere all are what one would expect at a first-class steakhouse. Add live music in the bar area provided by a piano-playing crooner performing old standards, and you have all the makings of a great night out on the town.
73 WINS – 60 LOSSES – 3 PUSHES —– (+ 59.85 units / 1 unit = $100)
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BANKROLL: $15,985.
BEST BETS OF THE WEEK: 9-3-0
I love tonight’s game. This looks like the “Best Bet of the Week.” See full write-up below.
ATLANTA -3.5 vs. NEW ORLEANS (-110) — for 7 units <BEST BET OF THE WEEK>
This is a puzzling spread for two teams that have put up vastly different results this season. Atlanta is arguably the best team in the NFL at the moment, with a 10-1 SU record playing against a 5-6 SU team (worse ATS) that has been a huge disappointment. Normally, a 10-1 team playing a team with a losing record would be lined at more than a touchdown. Add three points for home field advantage, and this line should clearly be at or around the -7 mark. Number is probably shaded downward due to New Orleans playing well historically versus Atlanta. But this game has all the makings of a complete reversal of recent history. Atlanta probably should have won the matchup at New Orleans three weeks ago. The Falcons played one of their worst games of the season and nearly pulled out a victory in the closing seconds (first and goal at the Saints 3-yard line with a minute to go, and couldn’t score). That sets up a nice revenge spot here, for the home team. Moreover, this looks like a tougher travel spot than normal for the Saints, who have performed poorly on the road. Three days off between games clearly favors a good home team off a road victory, versus a struggling team that might have given its best shot the previous week and could be spent. That San Francisco game was a must-win for New Orleans, and I fail to see how the team can regroup on the road so quickly versus one of the NFL’s top teams. Coaching, this is a complete mismatch — as Mike Smith is proven to be on a mission with his team, as opposed to Saints staff which has failed in every conceivable way this season. I have no idea why this line is not at least -6 and perhaps -7. Again, bettors are looking at New Orleans’ history versus Atlanta, but these two teams bear no resemblance to the contests that have been played in the past when Sean Payton was on the sidelines. I’ll take a solid team playing great football at the moment in a revenge spot on a very short week of preparation which is laying no more than a standard toss up home-field number.
LAST SUNDAY’S RESULTS: 4 wins and 6 losses and 1 push for a net loss of 16.0 units
CLEVELAND +1 vs. PITTSBURGH (-110) — for 4 units…..WINNER
NEW ORLEANS +1 vs. SAN FRANCISCO (-110) — for 4 units…..LOSER
BALTIMORE -1 vs. SAN DIEGO (-105) — for 2 units…..WINNER
NEW ORLEANS / SAN FRANCISCO OVER 48.5 (-110) — for 3 units…..WINNER
GREEN BAY / NY GIANTS OVER 51 (-110) — for 3 units…..LOSER
1Q: CAROLINA / PHILADELPHIA OVER 7 (-130) — for 5 units…..WINNER
1Q: MIAMI / SEATTLE OVER 7 (-125) — for 5 units…..LOSER
1Q: ST. LOUIS / ARIZONA OVER 7 (EVEN) — for 5 units….PUSH
1Q: ST. LOUIS + .5 vs. ARIZONA (-150) — for 4 units…..LOSER
1Q: GREEN BAY + .5 vs. NY GIANTS (-135) — for 3 units…..LOSER
1Q: OAKLAND + 3 vs. CINCINNATI (-120) — for 5 units…..LOSER
LAST THURSDAY’S RESULTS: 2 wins and 1 loss and a net gain of 7.7 units
WASHINGTON +3.5 vs. DALLAS (-110) — for 5 units — WINNER
NEW ENGLAND/NY JETS UNDER 48 (-110) — for 3 units — LOSER
6-POINT TEASER: WASHINGTON +9.5 / NEW ENGLAND -1 (-110) — for 6 units — WINNER
I received an e-mail from a loyal reader recently which contained some good advice. He made two suggestions for my blog.
First, he wanted to hear more poker and gambling stories. That’s a reasonable request. So, look for more stories in the near future.
Second, he suggested making my blog more personal by sharing things I do on a day-to-day basis.
I must admit the thought to reducing this site to some kind of sick twitter update — such as informing the world of what I ordered for lunch strikes me as ridiculously narcissistic and utterly immaterial. That said, I very much believe “who we are” is defined by “what we do.” So, I will acquiesce to this occasionally and bore the world with the trivialities of my personal life.
Certain to be one of the year’s most widely-discussed films, in part because it’s open to multiple interpretations, this is a bold cinematic achievement by a master craftsman — namely Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain).
Yet, it’s also fundamentally flawed, its most puzzling script gaps camouflaged by extraordinary special effects and first-rate performances by three actors who portray the lead character at different stages of his life. Indeed, the varied imagery and wide range of emotional demands upon the actors are so compelling that one might actually overlook the glaring contradiction within the film’s most intriguing question — which deals with the storyteller’s relationship with God. The film is such a powerful visual spectacle that the audience deserves an equally consistent storyline — and ultimately just as satisfying a payoff — which compliments the arduous endurance test of sitting through feels like an overly-long 2 hour and 20 minute epic journey across the world’s biggest ocean.
For those who don’t remember Barry, he was probably best known for his widely-read column in Card Player magazine which ran for nearly ten years. Barry also authored two excellent poker books — both on Limit Hold’em, which was his specialty.
Barry was a real poker pro. He spent most evenings playing at the Bellagio, where the $30-60 Limit Hold’em game served as his office. Barry’s contemporaries included highly-respected player-writers — including Roy Cooke, Mason Malmuth, Jim Brier, Dr. Alan Schoonmaker and others who wrote about the game as they played it for a living.
But Barry was so much more than just a poker writer and colleague.
He was one of the most decent men I ever met. He was a genuinely good person. He was both an intellectual and emotional mentor to those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Please take a few minutes to watch this short 11-minute video I made last year as a tribute to Barry. The video was shown at his funeral.
A few notes about this video: Special thanks to Betty Tanenbaum and Lupe Soto for providing many of the photos which appear. Also, thanks to Ashley Adams, the excellent writer and radio personality who provided the two-minute audio clip of Barry which is heard during the middle of this video.
The first part of the retrospective shows Barry’s personal life. The second interlude highlights his career in poker.