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Facing the Firing Squad: Chris Hanson (Host of “Poker Night in America”)

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Blog, Facing the Firing Squad, General Poker | 0 comments




I thought I knew Chris Hanson.

Then, I read his responses to the most recent “Facing the Firing Squad” series (which are posted below).  That’s when I realized how much I didn’t know about this remarkable man who always seems to be the most popular person in any room, wherever he’s present.  From his answers, both honest and revealing, I came to realize what an uncommonly positive person Hanson is, and why he’s such a joy to be around and work with.  In short, to all who are privileged to know him, Hanson is an inspiration.  He’s genuine.  He’s the real deal.

Hanson is probably best known to the general public for two roles in media.  First, he’s one of the on-air personalities of the top-ranked morning radio show in Fargo, North Dakota– called “Chris, John, and Jane in the Morning.”  Second, he’s the host of the nationally-televised weekly program that airs primarily on CBS Sports, called “Poker Night in America.”  Hanson has also done lots of other work in radio and television over the past decade, mostly in sports.

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Living in “The Lakes” (Las Vegas) — A Narrative History and Photo Tour

Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Personal, Travel, Uncategorized | 15 comments




[Writer’s Note:  See more photos of “The Lakes, Nevada” below]


When people ask me where I live — I answer “Las Vegas.”

However, when asked this same question by someone local, that calls for a more specific answer.  My reply is that I live in a section of Las Vegas called “The Lakes.”

The Lakes seems like an odd name for a residential community anchored in the middle of the desert.  I can’t blame people when they get confused, hearing about “lakes.”  Some misunderstand the reference and think I live way out near Lake Mead.  Others associate the name with “Lake Las Vegas” — a ritzy golf course development with million-dollar homes located on the eastern edge of the city.

Actually, The Lakes is located right smack in the middle of town on the west side.  It’s about seven miles away from the Las Vegas Strip (a.k.a. Las Vegas Blvd.).  It’s bordered by Durango to the east, and Hualapai to the west — then Sahara to the north, and Desert Inn to the south.  If you keep on heading west from where I live, the next development towards the mountains is called Summerlin, which most people have at least heard of.  Not so, with The Lakes.

The Lakes has an interesting history.  In today’s column, I’m going to tell you more about The Lakes and convey its uniqueness as a desert paradise, and a really nice place to live.

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Las Vegas Show Review: “Frank: The Man, The Music” (at Palazzo)

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Music and Concert Reviews, Travel | 0 comments




Of all impersonations, Frank Sinatra’s might be the toughest to pull off convincingly.

The baritone voice, the tuxedoed savoir faire, the quirky and often comical mannerisms, the working-class New York accent — all these classic Sinatra trademarks are relatively straightforward to copycat with some practice combined with the proper flair.

What isn’t so easy to incorporate is the epochal stage presence and the personal charisma.  More like impossible.  Like all of our most celebrated musical icons — Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, The Beatles — the tribute shows might look and sound like the real deal, but they never quite spark the same electrifying voltage of atmospheric energy.  We’re never quite able to shake the awareness that we’re consuming Spam from a can instead of real meat.

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Pre-Register Now for Your Chance to Dine With Me at the 2015 WSOP!

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Blog, Personal, World Series of Poker | 7 comments




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 to dine 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!

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The 2015 WSOP: If the Rio Doesn’t Work Out, Try Planet Hollywood

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in General Poker, Las Vegas, World Series of Poker | 2 comments


nolan dalla at planet hollywood 2015


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.

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The 2015 WSOP: Media Coverage

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in General Poker, World Series of Poker | 3 comments




Note:  This is the second of three posts today about the upcoming 2015 World Series of Poker, which takes place at the Rio Las Vegas — May 27 through July 14.


By now, most poker players and followers of the game have heard that will no longer serve as the primary content provider for tournament coverage at the World Series of Poker.  That arduous task will now fall to the WSOP and its staff, of which I’ve been privileged to be a part of since Caesars Interactive Entertainment (then Harrah’s Entertainment) assumed full ownership and control of the world’s richest sporting competition, back in 2004.

I look upon this development with equal measures of regret, curiosity, and anticipation.  Allow me to explain why such a range of emotions.

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The 2015 WSOP: A Colossus Event

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in Blog, General Poker, Las Vegas, World Series of Poker | 4 comments




Note:  This is the first 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.


A few days ago, Seth Palansky from Caesars Interactive Entertainment and the World Series of Poker, released what I believe to be a very helpful document full of vital information aimed at players expecting to play in what’s to be known as “The Colossus.”

It’s virtually certain that The Colossus will shatter all previous records and will become the biggest live poker tournament in history.  Accordingly, managing such an unprecedented event requires careful planning and execution.  It also demands giving guidance and sharing advice with the many thousands of players and fans who will attend and take a shot at taking down one of the most incredible events ever to be held in poker.

I urge those planning to attend and play to take just a few minutes and read this release, which conveys most of the information needed to make sure you lock up a place in an event that’s already generating buzz at a fever pitch.  Even if you don’t read this entire document, please heed these two words:  Pre-Register.

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Philadelphia Announced as the Next Stop for “Poker Night in America” TV

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Blog, General Poker | 0 comments




Philadelphia’s Sugar House Casino Hosts “Poker Night in America’s” Next Stop — April 26-28

High-Stakes Cash Games Include Appearance by Phil Hellmuth and “Ladies Night II” on Live Stream


PHILADELPHIA — March 12, 2015 — SugarHouse Casino will host its first-ever major poker tournament in conjunction with “Poker Night in America,” as the weekly hit television show makes its next stop at the Philadelphia casino April 26-28, 2015.  Three days of high-stakes cash games will be streamed live online and recorded for later viewing in 2015.

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My Thoughts on Steve Lipscomb’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Blog, General Poker | 7 comments




Steve Lipsomb was honored recently with a special “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  The honor was presented at the 2015 American Poker Awards, held last Friday evening at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.  Those in attendance included about 250 poker luminaries, including 14 other honorees.

I’d like to share a few thoughts about Mr. Lipscomb, which aren’t widely known.  I’d also like to tell a personal story about a somewhat lengthy encounter I had with Lipscomb many years ago which made quite and impression on me and is indicative of the type of person he is.  It also explains, at least in part, why he was the perfect recipient for this inaugural recognition.

First, I’ll borrow a line from Lipscomb spoken during his acceptance speech.  As he was handed the award and stepped up to the microphone at the APA, Lipscomb remarked something to the effect, “just in case you’ve only been in poker five years of less, I’m Steve Lipscomb.”

To which I reply — how could we forget?

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