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Posted by on Feb 16, 2013 in Blog, General Poker, Las Vegas | 4 comments

A Phil Ivey Story

phil-ivey-493x369

 

The first thing I heard was the roar of the engine.

It was Phil Ivey’s silver Mercedes SLR McLaren and the beast was barreling straight towards me.

If I ever get flattened by a motor vehicle, I hope to hell it’s a $285,000 luxury car.  What a way to go out with a bang.  Far more chivalrous getting mowed down by Ivey who’s late for his a golf match than being mashed by some late night boozer wheeling a Dodge Neon.

I somehow managed to survive that instant in the parking lot at TPC Las Vegas.  Question was, would I survive a full 18 holes playing with Ivey?

Let’s start with the obvious problem.  I’m a terrible golfer.

Wait.

Make that worse than terrible.  What’s a stronger adjective?

I’m horrifically shitty.  In other words, my golf game stinks.

Phil Ivey and Greg Raymer have no idea what they’re in for today.  Witnessing my golf game and sharing the embarrasment of me windmilling my way across the prairie will by like hauling an anvil around what I’m told is a six-mile, 18-hole golf course.  And, we must walk it all.  Carts aren’t permitted here.

Now, here’s where you have to understand what golf is really all about.  Anyone who thinks golf is about chasing some little white ball around a park and trying to hit it into a tiny hole, doesn’t have a fucking clue.  Golf is about two things — status and power.

Unfortunately, you can’t fake either.  Which pretty much leaves me fucked.

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Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Blog, Las Vegas | 4 comments

When a Picture is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

 

Sonny Liston, 1969

 

There’s an old saying, that a picture is worth a thousand words.

But there are also occasions when a picture isn’t quite all that it seems.

That’s the case with an eerie photograph in the corner of the Caesars Palace poker room.  This photo (above), taken by legendary photographer Neil Leifer, shows former Heavyweight Boxing World Champion Sonny Liston popped up at a blackjack table.  The photo was taken here at Caesars Palace in 1969.  Liston was signed as a host and promoter for the casino, which lasted only a short time.

Sonny Liston was a deeply troubled man.  He would be dead less than two years after this photo was taken.

*     *     *

I’ve been working the World Series of Poker Circuit stop here at Caesars Palace.  This marks the seventh straight year I’ve covered the event.

One of the many things that makes the Caesars Palace poker room unique is its collection of classic sports photography.  Most of the photos upon the walls are instantly recognizable to any sports fan.  Iconic images of Muhammad Ali, Vince Lombardi, Joe Namath, Casey Stengel, George Forman, Secretariat, Sonny Liston, and many others adorn the walls while cards are dealt, chips are stacked, and money cycles from pocket to pocket.

Most of the photos show moments of triumph and jubilation.  But one grave image reveals something far more disturbing.

The photo sadly and brilliantly captures Sonny Liston as he must have been at the precise moment it was taken.  This is a frightened man  This is a man who has lost all hope.  It’s a haunting portrait of a man staring sheepishly into the camera lens — his eyes seemingly crying out, help me.

Look closely.  Look into those eyes.  This is not the picture of a boxing champion.  Rather it’s the image of a busted and broken man who was used and ultimately discarded by those who profited from his talent and toil.

Sonny Liston’s story is the working man’s story.

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Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Blog, Las Vegas, Rants and Raves | 5 comments

Mattress Madness

 

Ridiculous Mattress Price

 

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  The sign above is real.

Question — Who the fuck would pay $36,190 for a mattress?

That’s right.

Thirty-six grand…..for a fucking bed!

What are the box springs made of?  24 karat gold?  What was the fabric spun by?  Silkworms?

This eye-popping photo shows a queen-size mattress parked on the second floor of Bloomingdale’s at Fashion Center in Las Vegas.  The store is closing down.  I can’t imagine why, with all these fantastic bargains.

Oh, and this is a queen size.  What does the king-size mattress cost?  Fifty grand?

Just once I’d like to see a Jackass film crew come in, ask to speak to a salesman, and demand half a dozen $36,000 beds.  Then as he’s conducting the transaction and fantasizing about his sales commission, ask to fill out a credit application.

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