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Masks, Poker and the Good Life

A bunion-free G2E, with cushy carpets and no masks, now that's my kind of expo.

Masks, Poker and the Good Life

Wow, G2E without masks.

As you read this out there in the future (don’t tell me what happens; I like to be surprised), I’m guessing you had a boffo Global Gaming Expo last month. But here in the past, I’m just about to embark on my travel to the big trade show.

The travel’s not off to a good start. When I booked my flight, the engine that lets you select your seat wasn’t working. By the time I went back to select, only middle seats were left. For a five-hour flight. I just know I’m going to be wedged between two sweaty 300-pound linemen for five hours, with screaming babies in the rows in front and behind. (Yes, I’m an optimist.)

(UPDATE: It came true. A 300-pound lineman. Quite the pleasant trip.)

But what the hey—as I said, it’s G2E without masks. I don’t have to recognize my industry colleagues by their eyebrows, or interview people to get quotes like “Well, muphruphh, wmmfruff. Absoluphhrff.”

I’m guessing they even had a carpet over the trade show floor this year. Last year, we walked across concrete for three days because they evidently thought Covid would leap up from rugs to attack attendees. (I understand rug germs can even penetrate N95 masks.)

Of course, you already know whether there was a rug this year or not. Or more specifically, your hip joints and bunions know. Mine are still recovering from last year.

But let’s not spend our entire monthly moment of jocularity with me speculating on stuff you already know. There are other things in the industry that require being made fun of. Like that poker scandal in California. In late September at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, poker player Robbi Lew called an all-in bet by Garrett Adelstein, who was showing an open-ended straight flush. He didn’t draw the flush, and she won the $269,000 pot with a jack-high hand.

Adelstein accused Lew of cheating, since she had been playing conservatively all night. There was a heated discussion away from the table, during which Lew asked, “What’s going to make you happy?” According to Lew, Adelstein answered, “To give me my money back.”

And she did. She gave him his money back.

What’s this world coming to? Doesn’t anybody watch cowboy movies anymore? What happened to poker players saying, “You accusin’ me of cheatin’? Them’s fightin’ words!”

I suppose it’s for the best. You don’t want poker players facing off with six-shooters on a California freeway.

Afterwards, Adelstein told a CBS reporter that he never asked for a refund, but the fact she did give him his money back showed there was something going on. Here’s how he described the situation to the reporter:

“Not only did she never consider making a call anywhere close to this before, but she instead very often folded bluff catchers to river bets, only calling when her hand was quite strong. Now all of a sudden she is playing a 10X stack size compared to before and is calling a huge overshove with no pair no draw?”

OK, I guess I need to learn poker-speak, because I didn’t understand a word of that. Folded bluff catchers to river bets and a 10X stack size with a huge overshove? He may as well have been wearing an N95 mask.

Moving on, there are many things I love about my job. I get to visit exotic casino venues and write about people playing games. I may not be in the press box at a ballgame, but it’s still fun.

I also get to peek into how the other half lives—meaning obscenely wealthy high rollers. I recently came across a story on Wynn Las Vegas, and their “ultra-exclusive” series of sold-out wine and dinner parings. In this case, 20 guests at a time are forking over $10,000 per person for dinner and wine tastings.

Well, it does come with a Wynn Tower suite, so that makes it a bargain, right? Ten grand for dinner and wine, highlighted by a sampling of wines from the Domain H. William Harlan family of wineries in the Napa Valley. It says here a bottle of Harlan wine can cost anywhere from several hundred to “many thousands of dollars.”

There’s a six-bottle limit for purchases. Thank goodness. I can see myself carelessly maxing out my credit cards for 15 bottles of the stuff.

Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll save my money for the Hardwood Suite at The Palms. For just $25,000 a night, you get a suite that has a private basketball court, with its own locker room. I don’t play or even like basketball, but I have to find some way to unload all the money I won by cheating Garrett Adelstein at poker.

No, I didn’t give him his money back.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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