Shaila’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘casino

Nothing represents the best of the VIP world better than celebrity gamblers. They are rich, successful, and glamorous. These luminaries make the best out of the luxurious and pampering lifestyle that is offered to them by casinos, tournaments and basically anywhere they go, simply for their star appeal!

George Clooney

George Clooney, former star of E.R. and numerous hit films such as Solaris, Intolerable Cruelty and Syriana, did not only star in gambling related movies such as Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 12, but has also taken an active role in the gambling business when he invested an unknown sum of money in a $3 billion resort in a Las Vegas. He is the co-owner of Las Ramblas, a casino-hotel-condominium complex.

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George Clooney has invested $3 billion in Vegas casino complex.

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“I wanted it to be like old Vegas and old Hollywood. It’s going to be a classy joint,” Said Clooney.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck, star of hit movies such as Pearl Harbor, Armageddon and Daredevil is said to be the most serious gambler in Hollywood. In June 2004, the 31-year-old actor bested a field of 90 poker players in the Commerce Casino’s California State Poker Championship, including professional player Stan Goldstein, who finished 2nd and Chuck Pacheco, president and co-founder of Castle Rock Entertainment, who finished in 3rd place.

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Affleck won $356,400 in that event and a $25,000 seat in the 2005 World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship.

Jennifer Tillly

Jennifer Tilly, is a veteran and semi-professional poker player. The star of The Fabulous Baker Boys, Bullets Over Broadway and Bound, is a regular at tournaments.

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In 2005, Tilly won a World Series of Poker bracelet and $158,625 in the Ladies’ No-Limit Texas Holdem event while outlasting 600 other players. She is the first non-poker celebrity to win a World Series of Poker event. She followed up this achievement and won the third World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament held at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles in September 2005.

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After her victory she appeared on The Tonight Show on NBC to talk about her experience at the WSOP, and garnered a cover article in CardPlayer magazine the following month.

Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maguire, Spiderman himself, was one of the players that were defeated by Ben Affleck at the Commerce Casino’s California State Poker Championship but he soon made a strong comeback when in October 2004 he won $186,000 at a $2,000 buy-in tournament at the Hollywood Park Casino.

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Matt Damon

Matt Damon, the star of Dogma, Saving Private Ryan and The Talented Mr. Ripley, is also the star of one of the best poker movies ever made, Rounders. During the filming of Rounders, Damon and co-star Edward Norton were coached by poker legend Johnny Chan.

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A famous line that Damon had in the movie touches on the view that he admits he has on poker: “Why do you think the same six guys end up at the final table at the world series of poker every year? Are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? No, it’s because they’ve got skills.”

Hugh Hafner

American publisher and founder of Playboy magazine. Hugh Marston Hefner, icon and spokesman for the 1960s sexual revolution and libertarian ideals, was born in Chicago in 1926.  He opened his “Playboy Casino Clubs” which in less than two years had expanded to 12 nationally; and he held casino licenses in Atlantic City and Britain.

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Matthew Perry

Mathew Perry usually goes to Bellagio hotel casino in Las Vegas with his pals to play casino games.

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International IT provider Atos Origin has won a new contract with the UK Gambling Commission to implement systems that support the Commission’s licensing and compliance work for arcades, betting shops, bingo halls, casinos, gaming machine suppliers and lotteries, as well as British-based gambling websites.

The company will implement Siebel 8.0 to provide the Commission with a single, up-to-date view of each operator for both office-based and mobile staff, it announced this week.

This new CRM platform will provide Commission staff with the necessary regulatory information and intelligence at the right time and in the right place, says Bill Butler, Director of Corporate Services at the Commission.

“Following a competitive process, we selected Atos Origin because it demonstrated that it understands our needs and has the capability and experience to deliver,” he said.

Anne Ware, vice president for Public Sector operations at Atos Origin, commented: “Having the correct information to hand at the right time is essential for all organizations. For the Gambling Commission, this new solution will help them to keep gambling fair and safe for all by making it easier to ensure that operators are fulfilling their requirements.”

The Gambling Commission is the independent regulator of all commercial gambling in Great Britain. It is an independent, non-departmental public sector body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Atos Origin has a long-standing relationship with DCMS, the UK Government Department responsible for amongst other things, Government policy on the arts, sport, the National Lottery and the 2012 Olympic Games & Paralympic Games. Source: From CAP Newswire

LAS VEGAS • Siobhan Grennan learned how to play poker to please a man. She was then just old enough to count the pennies from her paper route, and the man – her brother, three years her senior – was sufficiently bored that he was prepared to spend a few hours with his sis. But the hours added up, and by the time Siobhan was 14, her big bro figured she was ready for the big leagues: playing with his friends.

“One day, Kevin invited a bunch of guys over for a poker game and he said, ‘Hey, my little sister wants to play, do you mind?’ and they all thought, what a cute kid, sure, and so I played – and cleaned up,” recalls Grennan. “It was the first time I realized that being a girl in a guy’s game has an advantage: Men underestimate me.”

Thirtysome years later and, by most accounts, men are still underestimating female poker players, or they’re intimidated by them, distracted by them or attracted to them – take your pick. Web sites such as womenspokerclub.com and pokergoddess.com encourage women to take advantage of such advantages: “Use your feminine wiles to outwit your opponent,” says one site. “Use their insecurity,” says another.

Such sites classify men into types – for example, Chauvinist, Macho Man, Mr. Flirt and Daddykins – along with tips on how to play each. When playing Daddykins, defined as a man who wants to show off to his little girl, a woman should listen, nod and never challenge his opinion. But she should take note of what he’s revealing about his hand and style of play. When playing a guy who flirts, know that in his attempt to seduce he’ll rarely raise you even if his hand is strong. If he does raise, fold; flirty dude is sitting on a sure winner.

Although Grennan, a 47-year-old single mother and senior producer at MuchMoreMusic in Toronto, relies primarily on her poker skills to win, she admits to playing the girl card. While the genders are equal, they are different, she insists. “For example, men aren’t as good at multi-tasking. And so when I sit down at a table, I always start chatting. It throws them off their game.”

Until recently, her play has been limited to games with friends and in poker tournaments held in local pubs. But she’s always longed to go to Las Vegas to find out if she could hold her own in a “real” casino. The opportunity to do so came about this summer when her 12-year-old daughter, Kate, accepted an invitation to visit Grennan’s family in Ireland for a month. “I knew I had to take this chance to spend a few days of my freed-up time in Vegas and so I called some girlfriends and we all decided to go.”

In mid-July, giddy with the prospect of fulfilling a dream, Grennan hopped on a plane en route to the gambling mecca of North America.

I had the opportunity to shadow her.

When we first met up at the Mirage Casino on the famed Vegas Strip, her aircraft had landed but Grennan was flying. “Isn’t this wild?” she gushed, her eyes dancing like the lights of the nearby slot machines.

It was a blistering hot afternoon, but the cool interior of the vast room, with its low ceilings, dim lighting and unending flow of complementary cocktails, created an ambience of eternal evening. The place was hopping – not surprising considering Vegas’s occupancy level is 90% – and although there were plenty of women around, most were trying their luck at the slot machines, not the poker tables.

Still, casino dealer John Leake, 35, assured me that at a table of 10 players, typically one or two are women, way up from five years ago. In any tournament, it is estimated that 6% to 10% of entrants are female, and a few of them have done very well in recent years.

Last year, Winnipeg’s Cheryl Lynn Deleon placed seventh at the World Poker Tour North American Championship held at Fallsview Casino. A day before her 19th birthday, Annette Obrestad of Norway became the only woman to win the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. She walked away more than $2-million richer.

What’s luring the ladies? Televised poker games give players such as Annie Duke, a mother who has made millions at the game, plenty of attention – thus generating female role models. Online poker sites mean women can learn the game and hone their skills before playing publicly. And because poker is no longer played in a smoke-filled back room but in a designated open area within a casino, the game is more accessible to women. Accessible, but not always welcoming.

Leake, who has dealt cards in Vegas for 15 years, has witnessed many a male with a chip on his shoulder. “Some men don’t like playing against women. I had one guy, after a female had folded, say, ‘See, this is why women shouldn’t play. They ruin the game.’ It’s even worse if they lose to them.”

Grennan took a seat at a Texas Hold ‘Em table, where the only other woman barely glanced her way. The men looked up, though.

Wearing a polka dot dress and matching hair band, Grennan was all charm. She introduced herself in such a way that you’d think she was sitting down to high tea.

I was surprised when the man sitting next to her transformed into a living, breathing stereotype. After shaking her hand, he launched into his life story – he’s from Milwaukee and sings in a barbershop quartet. Picking up on their common interest in music, Grennan chatted about her job at a television station famous for its music videos. Clearly enamoured, he folded his cards and cheered her on with a few quick tips.

The elderly gentleman to her right, annoyed by the chatter, gave Grennan a gruff look. He won the pot, however, and she rewarded him by patting his hand.

“You’re very stoic, sir,” she said lightly. “This should make you feel better.”

He couldn’t suppress a smile.

Grennan was playing the game well – in more ways than one – but after about 20 minutes, the $100 pile of chips she had started with has diminished.

Another hand was dealt. She peered at her cards and flushed. I knew she had something good because, earlier, she had told me, “I have a physical thing. When I’m excited I turn red. I’d have to wear a veil if I played poker professionally.”

As she struggled to keep her composure, her cellphone rang.

“May I take this?” she asked the table, a protocol she learned before coming here.

Undecipherable grunts and grumbles all around and so she picked up. During her brief conversation, the game went on, more cards were dealt and bets placed, and our multi-tasker stayed in the game. Within seconds of hanging up, she had won the pot.

“That was my daughter calling from Ireland,” Grennan chirped, sweeping the pile of chips toward herself. “I guess you can call this the luck of the Irish!”

The chap sitting at the other side of the table and watching his fortune being swept away looked as if he’d like to wring her neck.

Grennan’s winnings were the result of two pairs. In the next hand, she got another two pairs and once again, cleaned up.

The potential neck-wringer took a break, giving me a chance to get his take on female poker players.

“Women have a huge advantage at the table,” said Matt Mahoney, a 58-year-old father of three girls from Los Angeles. “They have incredible intuition. I can never get away with a lie to my wife or my daughters. And if a woman is playing poker and she dresses correctly, she can be so distracting. Some lean and stretch in certain ways – or maybe I’m just a letch.”

Grennan hadn’t resorted to undoing a button, but still he was wary. “I immediately put myself on guard when she sat down. I couldn’t tell if she could play well and I waited to see. I think she’s a good player. Luck of the Irish? Hey, I’m Irish, too.”

Not far away, at the nearby Rio Casino, Tiffany Michelle, a 24-year-old actor, singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, was showing the stuff she’s made of at the main event of the World Series of Poker. Like Grennan, Michelle learned the game as a kid playing with her brothers. Unlike Grennan, Michelle is a pro. In recent years, she’s been steadily moving up the ranks in professional poker circles and credits her success to pure skill. Mind you, she believes women have an edge.

“The minute a woman sits down at the table, men are automatically uncomfortable,” she told me. Clad in funky clothes and with a ball-cap pulled low over her eyes, the raven-haired beauty laughed. “I know the guys are intimidated by me and so they don’t play their usual game.”

Of the 6,844 players who entered the multi-day tournament, Michelle will go on to finish 17th, earning the coveted title Last Woman Standing. She also earns a whopping $330,000, the largest amount ever won by a female in the tournament’s history.

Grennan, meanwhile, left Vegas, $13 up.

Both were excited by their performance.

Said Michelle, “Doing well in this tournament is assisting in creating buzz for me in Hollywood. One day I hope to invest the money I make in poker in creating and producing, to get films and stories out there that I want to do. I tell women, if you enjoy poker, do it. Somebody has to win, so why not you?”

Said Grennan: “I wanted to prove to myself that I am good enough. I didn’t lose money which means I am.”

During my time in Vegas I asked various women who do well at the poker tables whether – in addition to winning – they get sweet satisfaction from beating the boys.

Some said no, but here’s the thing: They could be bluffing.   Courtesy: National Post

Advertising is the life of almost every trade and is the key component in any business operation. When legislation was passed last September to allow companies to advertise their product on television the thought was that the online community would feel the effects.

Study done by the Gambling Commission in the UK has found that the advertising has had little, if no, impact for online gambling. The same amount of people are playing now as there was before the new laws.

The Commission claims that only 8.8 percent of people in the UK that were studied have participated in any form of online gambling. That figure is the same as it was in 2007, showing no change from the television ads.

The majority of people that were doing the online gambling were men between the ages of 18-44. There was an increase, however, from last year in the number of women who admitted to taking part in the online gaming.

Computers and hand held devices were the most popular among the gamblers, with 6.8 percent of the people admitting to using these devices while gambling. Mobile telephones were next with 2.3 percent using the phones to gamble online.


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