My latest for Forbes considers possible downsides of changes to blackjack:
For about two hundred years, blackjack was the casino equivalent of a benchwarmer. Into the 1950s, the most popular casino game in Las Vegas was craps, a rollicking, social game that was seen at its most colorful in Guys and Dolls. When the dice were hot, craps was a party, and when they weren’t, everyone suffered together. Blackjack, by contrast, is a game that pits each player individually against the dealer and often each other. A novice player who deviates from basic strategy and hits when standing is advised might be castigated for “taking the dealer’s ten.” Crapping out, by contrast, can only be blamed on the whimsy of luck, which, as Sky Masterson knew, isn’t always a lady.
One thing I liked about writing for Vegas Seven was being able to write about pro wrestlers, who are consistently the best interviews for me. When I saw a video of a Vegas-based wrestler and tribute artist had gone viral, I knew had a springboard for my first, and hopefully not last, wrestling column for Forbes:
It lasts only 14 seconds, but the only-in-Vegas spot from Future Stars of Wrestling’s Beers and Bodyslams event in Downtown Las Vegas has made Michael Jackson tribute artist Santana Jackson a sudden sensation—the ESPN post alone has 4.9 million views at present. It’s come after years of hard work for Jackson, and a deep love for the man he pays tribute to.
My latest for Forbes looks at what it takes to go far in the World Series of Poker’s Main Event:
It doesn’t seem like hard work when you first think about it. Pay a few hundred dollars to buy into a satellite tournament. Get a few lucky cards, win your seat in the World Series of Poker’s Main Event. Fly out to Vegas. Keep your cool, keep your focus. Catch a few more good breaks, make it to the final table. Keep your cool, and know when to hold em and when to fold em, and you’ll be counting your $8.8 million in prize money and posing with your new gold bracelet.
With the World Series of poker underway, I decided to look first at the history of the game:
The World Series of Poker, whose Main Event got underway last Monday, is today a global phenomenon, with thousands of players hoping to bluff and raise their way towards the millions of dollars at stake. Its first years were considerably smaller scale, but have some interesting lessons that still resonate today.
I wrote a little something to commemorate the Stardust’s 60th birthday for the Mob Museum:
The Stardust opened in a blaze of fireworks on July 2, 1958. With its 1,000 guest rooms, it was bigger than any hotel previously opened in Las Vegas. Size, rather than style, was the hotel’s most prominent feature. Its 16,000-square-foot casino was immense for its time, and the 140-foot bar that ran along much of its east wall was the forerunner of The D’s present-day Longbar in downtown Las Vegas.
My latest for Forbes.com is a look into the revival of bingo in Las Vegas:
Bingo’s not the newest game in town, but in the hyper-competitive Downtown Las Vegas market, one casino is using it to appeal to both traditional and younger players. While casinos often lose money at the game itself, its passionate players make it a jackpot for some casinos.
My latest talk with Craig Shacklett of URComped.com is up. In it we talk about the real impact of the Vegas Golden Knights on Las Vegas, Derek Stevens’ role in Downtown Las Vegas (and his support of the Knights) and the latest obstacles for aspiring slot YouTubers:
As a teacher, one of the most gratifying things is seeing your students go out and make their own success. So writing this story for Forbes about one of my former students was a delight:
Since last December, Michel, billed as “El Mentalista Meixcano” (the Mexican Mentalist) has starred in Ilusión Mental, a mind-reading show that is performed entirely in Spanish. The show, which runs at 5:30 p.m. four nights a week at Planet Hollywood’s Sin City Theater, just notched an important milestone: its 100th performance. And the fact that it is thriving in a crowded, competitive (a quick scan of Vegas.com shows no less than 114 current productions) market says a great deal about the potential for Spanish-language entertainment in Las Vegas.
Last week for Forbes (how time flies!) I wrote about the ultimate impact the Vegas Golden Knights have had on Las Vegas:
Speaking of on-ice accomplishments, it would be hard to script a better first season for the team. Even a Stanley Cup win would have been a worse outcome. To use a gambling analogy: If you hit Megabucks for millions the first time you sit down at a machine, there really is no reason to play a second time. You’ll just never be able to match that jackpot (unless you’re Elmer Sherwin). Had the Knights taken home hockey’s biggest prize in their rookie year, there would have been no place to go but down.