Hooray for the Legit Hall of Fame!

Yeah NBA. They did the right thing. “The Worm” will turn into a Hall of Famer (I hope) in August of 2011.

Baseball Hall of Fame, farce. Until Pete Rose is in there the MLB Hall is illegitimate. I am not a “Charlie Hustle” fan. But the all time hits leader, c’mon. If they want to have an additional “Hall of Shame”, then Pete could be in there also.

Football Hall of Fame, farce. Kickers should wear dresses, so they don’t get in. Well linemen say quarterbacks should also wear dresses and plenty of QBs got in. Kickers are odd so they don’t get in. Well until the Guy gets in the NFL Hall is a farce. Ray Guy should be in with his odd teammates (like “The Snake” Stabler should be also). Ray not only changed games with his punting, he also controlled and won games. No I’m not a Raiders fan, though I do respect them for being the first wild card team to win it all. At least Jan Stenerud, field goal kicker, got in. Ray was in more Pro Bowls than Jan was.

‘Nough said on that.

So the NBA will induct Dennis Rodman into their Hall of Fame even though he wore a dress instead of a tux. Remember? It was a beautiful white wedding dress. Dennis, a tattoo artist’s meal ticket. Dennis, gambling addict. Dennis Outrageous. Even Michael Jordan (who barely snuck into the Hall) and Phil Jackson could not control the court jester “Worm”. This guy was unbelievable. Talk about a nose for the ball. He was 6′ 7″, big compared to you and me; not big under the hole though. There are not a whole lot of guys with 7.3 points per game in the NBA Hall. That’s Dennis’s career average in points scored. Six times he averaged over 15 rebounds per game. Seven times he averaged over 5 offensive rebounds per game, giving his team another chance to score. Twice he averaged over 18 ‘bounds a game. Career average over 13. Since 1998, when Rodman retired, one time a guy averaged over 15 rebounds per game in a season. Dennis almost did it seven years in a row! (He had a 14.9 that ruined it.) Tell you what, they say M. J. doesn’t win his six titles without Scotty Pippen. Well, that may well be. But “Air Jordan” might just say that he couldn’t have done it without the out-of-control “Worm” for 3 years.

Well deserved Dennis. I didn’t think the NBA would do what was right.

NBA you are legitimate…

…and also the best to bet on. If you got nerves of steel. “I’m ahead, I’m behind, I’m ahead, I’m behind.” And a 20 point lead is nothing.

The Game of Draw Poker – A Brief History

In many ways, the game epitomizes the raw bone tenacity of the American spirit that drove the western movement from the Mississippi River in the 1800’s. Life on the frontier was harsh, hazardous and full of risks – the pioneers were literally gambling on their lives each day. To both survive in the untamed west and to win at draw poker a man had to be skillful at what he did and count on lady luck to smile on him. He had to closely watch his adversaries and at times bluff his way out of a situation. The results of his actions could prove very profitable or he could lose it all, sometimes even his life. Draw poker then was a natural choice for the men of the American west who were used to risking it all.

The game was the result of an evolutionary process that started when poker was first took shape in America early in the nineteenth-century. Just when and where it was first played is subject to a continuing debate among historians, as is the game’s origins. Several postulations attribute the game’s lineage to a French game called “poque” or possibly to a German game known as “pochspiel.” British historians state that the game was a direct descendent of the English card game of “brag.” Still other researchers claim that poker evolved from a sixteen-century Persian card game called “as nas” that was played with a twenty-five-card deck containing five suites and has rules similar to five-card stud poker. Since exact documentation of poker’s early history is impossible to determine its inception will probably remain a mystery.

Poker is thought to have started in America sometime in the early 1800’s, possibly in saloons of New Orleans. From there it spread up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers by way of the commercial steam boat traffic. Then as the wagon trains and railroads pushed the frontier west, poker continued to gain popularity with the early adventurers. An English actor, Joseph Crowell, recorded seeing poker being played on the riverboats in his diary of 1829 and later in his 1844 book, Thirty Years Passed Among the Players in England and America. A reformed gambler by the name of Jonathan H. Green wrote about early poker in his book, Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling that was published in 1843. Both men described an early version of poker that was played with a twenty-card deck (A-K-Q-J-10). Each of four players was dealt five cards and bets were placed on these five original cards without discards or draws. When the betting was over the owner of the best hand won the pot – in the order of one pair, two pair, triplets, full house (one pair and a triple), and four of a kind. Due to the limits of a twenty-card deck there was only a single round of betting before the winning hand was declared and this made bluffing a much more difficult maneuver.

As the game evolved it moved to a thirty-two card deck and then eventually to the standard “French deck” of fifty-two cards. Sometime in the mid-1830’s straights and flushes were introduced as winning hands. A few years later draw poker was born and started making the rounds of gambling halls in the west. The first mention of draw poker appeared in the American edition of Bohn’s New Handbook of Games in 1850. In that same year, wild cards were introduced to poker play.

With these enhancements draw poker and another version called stud poker became the card games of choice among the soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Originally called, “stud horse” poker, the game was played around the campfires between battles and was a close rival to draw poker in popularity. Both versions are conducive to bluffing but in stud poker, you are not allowed to draw or discard cards. Rather, some of the cards are dealt face down and some face up to the player so that everyone at the table knows a few of the cards being held by each player. Betting occurs after each new face up card is dealt and after the last face down card is dealt. The first mention of stud poker appeared in the American Hoyle of 1864.

In draw poker all the cards are dealt face down to the players and after all of the cards have been dealt there is a round of betting. Then players may discard any number of cards and receive the same amount of cards from the dealer. When all the players have completed their hands there is another round of betting before the winner is declared. Later, in 1870, jackpot poker was introduced in an attempt to prevent players with poor hands from being drawn into a pot that was impossible to win. In this version, players were required to have jacks or better to open betting. If a player did not possess the minimum to play, they were required to fold and lose their ante.

The first recorded set of rules for playing draw poker came about when Robert C. Scheneck, a United States ambassador to Great Britain, introduced the game to the members of Queen Victoria’s court at a party in 1872. Fascinated with the new game the royalty asked Scheneck to jot down the rules of the game so they could play the game after he returned to America. He obliged and his handwritten rules of play were then printed by the queen’s staff for future parties. Later, without his permission or that of the queen’s court, his set of rules were published as a small booklet and sold to the masses. Entitled, A Flowery Path to Wealth: The Game of Draw Poker as Taught to the English Aristocracy, the pamphlet was a major hit with the British people who quite often referred to the game as “Scheneck’s poker”. Scheneck, who had served as general under President Lincoln, was embarrassed by the public release of his rules that he had been assured would be used privately by queen’s court.

John W. Keller, an American, included Scheneck’s rules for draw poker in his own book, The Game of Draw Poker, published in 1887. In addition, he used a portion of a letter written by Scheneck to a political friend, Thomas L. Young; to describe how the ambassador had unwittingly became party to the publication of the first set of rules for the game.

Keller’s book provided a more detailed account of the rules and variations to the game as well as a section on progressive poker, which he described as being “The latest development of draw poker… and doubtless owes its origin to the popularity of progressive euchre.” Contrary to Keller’s comments, progressive poker never caught the attention of American gamblers and its play quickly faded from the gaming scene.

Throughout the book, Keller refers to a noted mathematician, “Dr. Pole” who provided the probability and odds for draw poker hands. At the end of the book, he summarizes Pole’s calculations in a series of probability tables, which have stood the test of time. According to Dr. Poe’s figures, there is an astounding 2,598,960 possible hands in draw poker.

Since Keller’s book was published in 1887, there have been a large number of books printed on the subject of draw poker but few have been as clear and concise on the rules and the strategy of the game. His sage advice to “Study your adversaries carefully; watch the game closely; be patient in adversity and calm in prosperity,” seems right in keeping with the old gambler’s adage of knowing “when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.”

Poker Timeline:

1839 – English comedic actor Joseph Crowell wrote about a poker game being played on the steamboat Helen M,Gregor, bound for New Orleans. He described a game called poker being played by four players using 20 cards (A, K,Q, J, 10) with a single round of betting – highest hand won. In his book, Thirty Years Passed Among the Players in England and America (1844), Crowell said that the game had been invented by the American politician, Henry Clay. The game was based on the British game, brag.

1834 – Jonathan H. Green, a professional gambler turned reformer, wrote about the “cheating game” called poker being played on the Mississippi riverboats in his book entitled, Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling.

1836 – J. Hildreth wrote about poker in his book, Dragoon Campaigns of the Rocky Mountains.

1837 – Poker used a 52-card deck. Straights and flushes were added.

1845 – Poker was first mentioned in an American edition of Hoyle’s Games. (The gold standard for the rules of card games) by Henry F. Anners.

1850 – First mention of draw poker in the American edition of Bohn’s New Handbook of Games.

1850 – Wild cards introduced to poker.

1861- 1866 – During the Civil War, soldiers and others made stud and draw poker the most popular form of the game.

1864 – First mention of stud or “stud-horse” poker in the American Hoyle of 1864.

1872 – Robert C. Scheneck, U.S. minister to Great Britain, introduced the game of draw poker to the members of the court of Queen Victoria at a royal party. He was asked to write down the rules of the game and eventually this was turned into a small booklet. The booklet was published without his permission and called, A Flowery Path to Wealth: The Game of Draw poker as Taught to the English Aristocracy. Scheneck had been an army general under President Lincoln.

1870 – Jackpot poker (jacks or better to open) introduced to prevent players with a poor hand from being drawn into an impossible to win pot.

1875 – The joker (a European invention) was introduced to the game as a wild card.

Gambling In The United States – The Domino Effect It Helped Create

Once just a gentleman’s game, U.S. gambling began its rise to the center of attention around 400 years ago. A time where gambling was the root of all evil, yet it could still help the colonies from financial issues. Deliberation over the subject went on for years and still is today, but gambling never stopped to wait for an answer. While challenges were being discussed, different forms of gambling were being created to stave off bankruptcy and other money problems.

The first company to hold a gambling lottery was a bank in Jamestown, Virginia, which’ of course’ was an instant success. It wasn’t like the state lotteries you see today, but still was beneficial for a short period of time. After awhile, England felt as though they weren’t making a profit from this form of gambling, so they ended up banning it from everyone. However, that wouldn’t last long as all thirteen colonies eventually were allowed to hold their own without question.

Four centuries removed, you can drive along the eastern states and see prestigious universities like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale that were all started by revenue created by state lotteries. As several other venues were being built thanks in part to U.S. gambling, greed started to as people in the colonies wanted freedom and independence from England. While this was over several issues, lotteries were one of the bigger issues never mentioned in history books.

Obviously the most prestigious form of gambling at the time, state lotteries weren’t the only U.S. gambling going on around the country. By this time, horse races had already been around since 1665, but most bets were between owners only and not of a spectator kind. Also making its mark on cities throughout the colonies in the 1800s were casino style gambling with cards and dice. As areas grew, so did the size of gambling halls and local watering holes where games could be played.

Then came the Mississippi River and everything it had to offer with barter and trading through several owners. Business this way was quicker, and several well known individuals met on riverboats to play some casino style gambling. This was the true introduction of the professional gambler. Winning enough money in small towns to play on the riverboats with the big boys was a common tale. After awhile, many were thought to be cheaters and many would perish at the hands of people who lost money to them.

Just as the state lotteries were part of the reason for the American Revolution War, it was the Civil War that ended the time of professional gambling in the 1860s. While not the main reason, it created a business stand still, which led to no traffic up and down the great Mississippi. For the next sixty years, gambling would be loved by many and hated by that many more. States that had good fortune would create gambling booms like in California and Nevada,

As years moved ahead, people like Al Capone and his mob used gambling money to front their businesses, while at the same time sports were becoming one of the major things to bet on during this period. Fast forwarding to the seventies, lotteries held around the country were making over a billion dollars on a annual basis. Gambling in the United States was considered a normal part of living and still is today.

Now we’re in the 21st century and the gambling business is booming with billions upon billions of dollars being made annually. The Super Bowl is the most anticipated gambling event each year, and land based casinos are popping up all over the country. Still, many Americans protest gambling due to family members who have ongoing problems with controlling their addictions. However, the future looks bright and the government will have a hard time trying to give up all the tax revenue that is made off of gambling alone.

Which brings us to the future, and online casino gambling. While the United States was one of the leaders in gambling online, President Bush tried to ban them from using debit cards that are bank issued to try to control the outbreak. It didn’t take long for U.S. players to realize that adding money to different accounts like Netteller or Moneybookers, then transferring it over may take a little longer, but the end result is the same.

There will never be a solution to gambling no matter if it’s online or offline, and others will always protest the morals and what it all stands for overall. A cat and mouse game that will never be solved, and while everyone continues to argue back and forth, the sport of gambling will only become bigger. Hurry, someone go check the odds on that, you might want to bet on it.

Top 3 Best and Yet Affordable Buffet Restaurants in Las Vegas

There are fantastic diners or food boutiques (or anything in between!) in this fabulous city where you can indulge your gastronomic senses in an unprecedented way. You can truly make eating and drinking one of your favourite activities here. Some of them may still be above the price range you may be willing to consider. But, there are some fabulous places which still offer great food, great choices and truly great prices.

1 – Cravings at The Mirage. This fabulous place still offers choice and quality at affordable prices. Located in the upper mid strip and inside a great resort and casino, Cravings Mirage offers the best smoked salmon for breakfast, the very best, delicious, made-to-order salads for lunch, fabulous made-to-order (hot) sandwiches on selected lunch days, and really high quality Chinese soups for lunch. Moreover, they offer roll-over breakfast/lunch/dinner, which makes this places our favourite choice.

2 – Rio’s Carnival World. Ideal if you seek a huge range of dishes at truly affordable prices. Well worth the trip using the free shuttles from several mid-strip locations (Bill Gambling’s Hall, Bally’s, Harrah’s, Paris).

3 – Main Street Station Hotel & Casino (Garden Court). Located downtown, it’s the most affordable place you can enjoy without compromising quality. It’s not serving utmost gourmet food, but you can happily eat here (and eat a wide range of dishes) at truly affordable prices. This is particularly helpful during the outrageous weekend prices everywhere else (yes, this city cranks up the prices during the weekend, in a very annoying way!).