The last two customers on the final night, with Darcy and Sally at Buzio’s (Rio)
Our fondest memories are of people and places.
For many, Buzio’s at the Rio in Las Vegas was one of the fondest of places because it was full of so many good people. It was more than just a casual restaurant. Buzio’s was a cradle of friendship and bastion of happiness. It was a boardroom of wheeling and dealing. It was a place to gossip, to drown our sorrows, and to celebrate. If the World Series of Poker, held at the Rio each summer since 2005 had an office, a break room, a social club, a watering hole, and a place of reprieve and relaxation — it was most certainly the public alcove in the form of a once-popular seafood restaurant along the so-called “bad beat hallway” leading back to the main casino.
Buzio’s served its final meal on Saturday night — December 12, 2015. After 25 years, the restaurant closed its doors for the last time, in order to make way for a new eatery which will eventually open on the spot where where poker players clamored each night for dinner reservations, where strategy was furiously rehashed and debated, where millions in poker deals were made over shrimp cocktails, where disappointments were doused and gradually forgotten, where tournament survival was toasted, and where innumerable lasting friendships were founded. Hostilities on hold, competitors who tried to outfox each other during the WSOP competing for their livelihoods often dined out together at Buzio’s. Poker doesn’t have many places around like this anymore. Sadly now, it has one less such place.
Last year, I had the honor of emceeing the induction of Jack McClelland into the Poker Hall of Fame
All poker players owe a debt of gratitude to Jack McClelland, who has dedicated much of his life to the game he loves.
Jack served as tournament director of the World Series of Poker for more than a decade (1988 through 1999). He later ran many of the biggest and most successful events on the World Poker Tour (2002 through 2012). Jack also served as Tournament Director at the Bellagio for many years, until his retirement in 2013. He’s also a devoted poker player.
Because we’ve worked together off and on and been friends for many years, Jack has shared news of his most recent health crisis with me on a regular basis. I knew that many within the poker community — players and industry professionals alike — would want to know about his condition, and be kept up to date as to how he’s dealing with a life-threatening situation. No doubt, thousands of people care about Jack and want him to pull through, while he awaits a heart transplant. He granted permission to release various updates, which culminated in his induction into the Poker Hall of Fame, last year.
Want to avoid long lines? Want to circumvent clamoring for a favorable spot in the pecking order? Want to ward off the disheartening possibility of getting turned away at the 2015 World Series of Poker?
Well, here’s some helpful advice on the best way to avoid rejection and heartache: PRE-REGISTER EARLY.
If your aspiration is todine with me on some early evening between the dates of May 25th and July 16th, it’s highly recommended that you forward your request to me now, because my social and entertainment calendar will most certainly fill up to full capacity. Imagine the despair of boarding an airline and traveling all the way from your home to Las Vegas, only to have your last-minute invitation denied because I’ve already made a commitment to someone else on that night. Don’t let this humiliation happen to you!
Note: This is the third of three posts today about the upcoming 2015 World Series of Poker, which takes place at the Rio Las Vegas — May 27 to July 14.
Photo (L to R): Nolan Dalla, Gregory Grivas, Joel Garcia (who presented me with an outstanding bottle of Duet Zinfandel from Temecula Valley), and Poker Room Manager Christopher Gawlik — posing on the second floor of Planet Hollywood, where the second best tournament series in Las Vegas will be held this summer.
Can we talk straight?
Many of you who are reading this will be coming to the 2015 World Series of Poker, which takes place at the Rio. It’s basically my job to promote the hell out of the WSOP and everything happening on location, and I’m thrilled to do it for no other reason than that’s where the action is. Poker players love action, which makes cheerleading the WSOP an easy assignment.