Vegas Insider: 2012 March

February 2012 sees a darker version of me.Not doom and gloom but tanned due to a wonderful SoCal winter.Many of my days have been spent at,the great race place,Santa Anita Park.Briefly, Bob Baffert has 15 wins from the last 17 races in which he has had runners.A long time pro told me to bet apprentice Eswan Flores blind and thank him at the end of the meet.Eswan has ridden 28 winners this meet including Irish bred Tones at $29.60 on Sunday.

Genting has been the talk of the track.Their casino in Aquaduct NY has been attracting up to 20000 players a day generating far more prize money for the NY owners than their Ca,KY counterparts.Kentucky lawmakers voted 21-16 last week against allowing casinos at racetracks much to the racing communities dismay. It is not even an issue in Ca due to the presence of Vegas size Indian casinos.

Thor Hansen splits his time between racebooks and poker rooms. Thor cashed twice at a WSOP circuit event at the Bike in January. I asked the Vegas resident if he would be around until the end of the LAPC. "I hope so" he replied with a smile. I later learned the Norwegian legend had colon cancer. Fortunately fellow pro Andreas Hoivold has gone to bat for his hero and arranged a consultation with a Santa Monica specialist and was instrumental in organising a couple of fundraiser on Pokerstars. My prays are with you and if you need a bet placing…

The LAPC will be over by the time you read this. Brit invader Stephen Chidwick has made the final twelve. Two other European’s to play Fabrice Soulier and Bertrand Grospellier did not cash in the main event but did so in "consolation" tournaments that TD Matt Savage added during the ME. Elky cashed for $72.5k in a $25k High roller tournament and London based Fabrice won a $2k buy in six handed event for $63.8k.

The ME talking point was the return to public action for some of the players who received monthly cheques from Full Tilt.Phil Ivey,Jennifer Harman and Erich Lindgren all played "in plain clothes". Jennifer and Erich left their other halfs, Erica Schoenberg and Marco Traniello at home though signalling a tightening of the belts.

Evergreen Cyndy Violette has signed the lease and the high stakes stud specialist will be opening a Vegan cafe on Flamingo/Decatur in LasVegas before the WSOP.

Former WSOP champion Jamie Gold used to own a restaurant in LA but has popped up as host in the tiny,eight table poker room at the Tropicana in Vegas. Jamie allows you to run it twice in the $100 buy in NL games.

My next stop will be Harrahs Rincon for a WSOP circuit event.Rincon reminds me of Scotland,only with orange groves and vines trees. Plus lots of warm SoCal weather.

Matt Savage tweeked, and tweeted , his schedule to include tournaments during the ME aimed at the top end market.One of these,the eight game mix, resulted in a Day2 opening table far more interesting than the ME. Robert Williamson, Phil Hellmuth Jr,Elky,Allen Kessler and Jennifer Traniello all early victims in the ME battled for the first prize of $22k .Phil Hellmuth triumphed,His first open tournament victory since June 2007 by my reckoning.

The highlight of the LAPC is usually the Celebrity Invitational.However,this event was postponed this year.Hopefully, the WPT will relocate to the Bellagio,a more suitable location for a marquee event.

The Vegas strip now has a British pub ,the Queen Victoria, at the Riviera.Now you can watch all soccer games live on large screen TV’s without the expense of a taxi ride to the Crown & Anchor.

The Bellagio May WPT tournament will be held on the casino floor rather than in the Fontana lounge.