Friday, August 06, 2010

Her Name Is Rio

Rio All-Suite Hotel and CasinoToday my review of Paul “Dr. Pauly” McGuire’s Lost Vegas appeared over on the Betfair Poker site. For those of you who haven’t picked up a copy yet, check out the review to learn what the book covers and my overall take.

Book reviews are always a bit challenging to write, for a variety of reasons. One problem I always end up facing is having to choose between several different points I want to make about the book. That is, I can’t reasonably share every little response or observation I might have had while reading the sucker, so I have to be selective and often end up setting aside certain points in order to keep the review at a manageable length.

One point about Pauly’s book I had written down but didn’t end up including in the review regarded his account of the 2005 WSOP, in particular his description of Binion’s Horseshoe where the Main Event was concluded -- the last time the WSOP was played there.

As is the case throughout Lost Vegas, Pauly doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is when it comes to describing Binion’s, noting how the place had deteriorated by then into a less than desirable destination for anyone traveling to Vegas, let alone for the WSOP.

However, as Pauly notes, “What Binion’s lacked in class, it made up for in character.” Here Pauly ends up writing a nifty little elegy to the Horseshoe, a tribute of sorts to the birthplace of the WSOP focusing on the moment the WSOP left it for good. Rather than go on at length here, I’ll let those of you who have picked up the book read what Pauly has to say about how “Benny’s Bullpen was a post-modern version of the Roman Coliseum where gladiators fought to the death.”

Like I say, I ended up leaving that comment about Pauly’s discussion of Binion’s out of my review. I was thinking about it again this morning, though, as I read some of the rumors about Harrah’s having finally sold the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

Some are saying the deal has been done, and thus the WSOP will necessarily be looking for a new home in 2011. Pokerati’s short blurb about the sale a couple of days ago appears to have gotten the rumor mill churning in earnest this week. However, the official word from the WSOP appears to be that as far as its concerned the Rio remains a Harrah’s property and thus plans for the 2011 WSOP -- at the Rio -- continue to proceed.

Actually, rumors about the WSOP leaving the Rio began back in the spring, and there was a lot of talk this summer about where it might possibly go. When I interviewed Nolan Dalla, the WSOP Media Director, for Betfair last month, I asked him about the rumors, knowing full well that even if he knew anything he wouldn’t be able to tell me one way or the other what was up.

Dalla’s answer to me was nevertheless forthright. He said to me that “anybody who thinks they know the answer to that question [then, in early July] doesn’t know what they are talking about.” He added that the issue would be examined by Harrah’s soon after the WSOP concluded, but that “those discussions really haven’t started that much yet.”

Whatever happens with the WSOP in 2011, I think it is interesting to compare what people are saying about the WSOP perhaps leaving the Rio with the often nostalgia-tinged sentiments expressed back in 2005 when the Series left Binion’s.

Of course, for me the WSOP and the Rio will always be closely associated, given that I’ve never had the chance to see it played anywhere else. I haven’t any particular fondness for the place, but it has seemed to me a suitable enough location to accommodate the spectacle the WSOP has currently become.

Will be curious, though, to see what happens next for the WSOP. And -- if it does leave the Rio -- what sort of “elegies” (if any) will be written about the WSOP during the Rio years.

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Blogger Michele said...

Shamus, good post. Might I're a master at putting 80's songs in my head.
I can feel it... coming in the air tonight..

8/06/2010 12:47 PM  
Blogger pokeroso said...

Your good friends with Pauly right?

8/06/2010 2:05 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Haha thx, Michele. I did think of you with that one.

Yes, pokeroso, I have gotten to know Pauly, as has everyone who's been at the WSOP over the last half-dozen years -- so feel free to take that into account when judging my judgments of his book/blog.

8/06/2010 3:30 PM  

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