Friday, May 22, 2015

2015 Jersey Shore Cast

I attended the Jersey Shore cast last Friday at Stockton University Carnegie Building in Atlantic City. There were two panel discussions. I found them both interesting. The following are excerpts from a press release from Stockton's News and Media Relations Director Maryjane Briant.

The way forward for Atlantic City is to diversify its economy, agreed panelists at the Carnegie Center event, sponsored by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism (LIGHT).
The first panel was an academic one with Busler, Tyrrell and Cooke, and moderated by Dr. Israel Posner, executive director of LIGHT.
The second, with industry experts Wieland, Pepenella and Joseph Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, was moderated by LIGHT’s new associate director, Felicia Grondin.
“This is a transition period and this is a good thing,” said Kelly. “”Starting to diversity is the key.”
He noted that the 85,000-square-foot Bass Pro shop just opened in Atlantic City and that Harrah’s is investing in a major new convention facility, showing confidence that the area will rebound.
Beyond that, Kelly said existing properties in Atlantic City should be repurposed as higher education facilities with a “renewable” customer base, as new students start their educations each year.
Busler said the city should attract or expand health care facilities, which along with the cultural and educational attractions of a university, would lead more Baby Boomers to retire here.
“Meds and Eds,” said Busler, summing up that redevelopment strategy.
Kelly said casinos, conventions and tourism events will always have a place in Atlantic City’s diversified economy. The Chamber sponsors the Atlantic City Air Show, which provides $42 million in economic impact in the region, he said. This year, it will be held in September, extending the season.
If Revel reopens this summer that would change the picture, but it is unclear whether that will happen, both Tyrrell and Busler said. “The hope is that Revel reopening would grow the market, but the reality is, it may take away from some of the other casinos,” Busler said.
Tyrrell also noted that LIGHT issued its quarterly report on Atlantic City Tourism Performance Indicators today, which found that despite the closing of casinos in the last year, much of the gaming-related business remained “captured” in the Atlantic City market.
“Per property performance for the remaining casinos in the Atlantic City market increased,” the 2014 year-end report found. Click to read the full report.

Stockton University acquisition of  Showboat
I want to take the balance of this post to address the elephant in the room. Stockton is involved an acquisition of Showboat Casino. This would immediately revitalize Atlantic City with the "Eds" part of the redevelopment. Add the appeal of staying near the beach to a college student versus inland. The chance to do an internship that is catered to the theoretical perspective and real world application. There should be a way to accommodate education in a gaming environment. UNLV is embraced by Las Vegas.  Atlantic City could open up some of the restrictions that presently stifled development and diversity. The old model does not work anymore.
Here are some of the latest events planned for the shore. They include Summer Festivals and New Places to Eat at the Beach. I want to thank Dr. Posner for inviting me to this event. Stockton is known for providing the metrics of projecting trends that are relevant to Atlantic City and New Jersey. Expect more innovation from the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City from Borgata Casino on May 27-28.
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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Deitra Leak - Chapter Three

I have just written my 300 post on my blog. When I started doing this 3 years ago, my posts ranged  from aspiring casino workers pursuing a second career to prominent gaming executives whose decisions impacted thousands of people. While my present focus is primarily on sports betting and online gaming, I have an affinity and segment of followers that are enchanted with the progression of my original features. So over the next two weeks, you'll see stories that will revisit and introduce you to people whose drive has resonated vicariously with literally hundreds of admirers. This quote is my encouragement to all that read and share this.

                                       Chapter Three

This is the appropriate title for this post. I have written about Deitra Leak 3 times. She has 3 times the inquires and pageviews of anyone I wrote about initially. This is also her third trip back to her hometown of Philadelphia as you read this. We made an agreement that she would let me keep her fan base abreast of her progression. It's been a little over a year. Here's Deitra!

Deitra Leak

1). It's been a year since we talked. Two years since you moved to the West Coast. Is it what you expected?

It will be two years, Aug. 1, 2015! Wow do I love the West Coast, it’s beautiful here. Very all of my east coast actors, so be prepared when you move here! L.A. is everything and more than what I expected. So much I’ve learned in my short time...I’ve grown so much since day one, from an actor’s standpoint. Acting is a business and you have to treat it as such.”


2). Compare the challenges in the acting industry in L.A. and Philadelphia.

It’s not easy as everyone thinks it is, in L.A. I thought that too and boy was I wrong. I just knew I was going to be a superstar as soon as I got off the plane! LOL (jk) In any business...networking and building relationships are pretty much how the acting industry goes. Let’s not forget hustling, doing the work and shining when it’s your time! i.e auditions, meet and greets, parties etc.”

3). Tell the readers your purpose, vision and plan when you decided to go for it?

Here’s the deal...I’m not trying to be a supermega star. If it happens it happens. I just want to be a working actor for a living. Do what I love and was destined to be. Right now, I have about twenty jobs because the cost of living is so high here! I’m on way, I’m getting closer to my reality. It’s a great feeling to see your dreams become a reality. I have an excellent team behind me....Not to mention, I just booked a national commercial! Soooo excited about that! I truly believe I was put on this earth to entertain and inspire people, amongst a whole list of other great things as well.”  


4). Biggest star you met in California so far is ? Well, I’ve been around some great actors...whether it’s at parties, screenings or on set. I must say they are just like you and me...the only thing is they just have more money, fame and fortune. lol Haven’t been star struck yet, but, I have yet to meet my Hollywood crush Idris Elba. It will happen soon, throwing it out there in the universe!”


5). What steps did you take out there that you did not do here? (Perfecting your craft)“Getting an agent/manager and becoming SAG. Also, taking acting technique classes.”

6). How do you balance the job, the career aspirations and family?
It’s hard, but I’ve been BLESSED BY THE BEST and I’m making it happen! I stepped out on faith and God has my back in every way! I can’t ask for a better situation.”


7). What do you miss most about Philly? “(Sigh) family and friends of course. It’s killing me, but everyone is so supportive of me and knows when I get on everybody gets on!”lol Philly stand up! I love you guys so much! I miss my food too!”


8). Best club you've been to since you've been in Cali?

I really don’t do clubs...I know, a shocker right? Miss Party USA and no clubs? I’m staying focused and keeping my eyes on that prize! I can’t get caught up in that LA Life. Although, I do dibble and dabble a smidgen.... Lure and The Supperclub in Hollywood are nice. There are a few lounges I like too.”
 Rihanna at the SupperClub

9). Okay. Which one. Power or Empire?Uhhhh....I started watching Power first and LOVED it! Empire came along and I LOVED it too! Especially, my girl Taraji P. Henson. She murders her role every time! Soooo, I will not pick one! Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to audition for one of them, if not both and make an appearance.”


10). The importance of having an agent/manager is  ?It’s very important to have an agent before you get to L.A. I was fortunate enough to get referred to one, by the director of the feature film I did in Philly ,The Church.  If you can’t land one before hand you can do showcases where they come to you and see your performance, amongst other things. Agents and Managers can get you auditions you can’t get yourself. TV and Film auditions on studio back lots and negotiate deals on your behalf, etc. They have long lasting relationships with casting directors, producers and directors that you don’t. They are the key to everything. Remember that!”


11). Close with encouragement for those who want the next level. What should they do?

“It’s been almost two years since I’ve been here. I have a theatrical and commercial agent, manager and I’m SAG. I’ve been on a bunch of auditions...I’ve had callbacks, and avails. More no’s than yes, so prepare yourself for that. I’ve booked an indie film and a national commercial. I’ve worked on set, behind the scenes for Warner Bros. It’s no easy feat but I LOVE every minute of it! It’s not going to happen over night, so be in it for the long haul. This is a business, you are a brand, know your type and be the best at it! Always take classes to perfect your craft! Always hustle even after you get representation. Be the best YOU there is only ONE! Lastly, don’t be afraid to take risks!"


                                               "This isn’t the bible, but this is my story!”

                             Follow Deitra when she returns to California thru the links below.


                                                Deitra Leak -




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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jessica Dawley - 888 Poker Ambassador in Poker Night in America

While covering the Poker Night in America filming at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Dawley. Jessica was a participant in the Ladies Night II, a cash poker  game of female players. Jessica's road to professional poker is unique.

Following her departure from the military, Dawley returned to life as a regular civilian and graduated from the University of Louisville with degrees in marketing and management. After completing her studies, Dawley was now ready to pursue her dream of becoming a professional poker player. She sold her house, packed her bags, and set off for Las Vegas. With a total bankroll of $3,400, it was sink or swim for Dawley. She managed to build her bankroll up to $10,000 within a few months of grinding cash games at The Wynn. After a sixth-place finish in 2009 Southern Poker Championship event where she won nearly $13,000, Dawley had run her bankroll up over $20,000. Then in 2010, Jessica made a deep run in the Aussie Millions Main Event, finishing 17th for $70,000. She also added a couple World Series of Poker cashes later that summer.In 2011, Dawley packed up her bags again and relocated to Palm Beach, Florida to be closer to her family and the beach. She can now be found grinding regularly at Palm Beach Kennel Club, where she is widely respected as a cash game player.

I follow Jessica on Twitter and she agreed to sit down for a series of questions.

Jessica at SugarHouse Casino in Philly

1).What was your opinion of the Ladies Night II at SugarHouse Casino?
"I had never been there before and was not sure what to expect. I was blown away by the service. The event was well run. It was comparable to some of the events that I have played in Las Vegas in terms of organization. The staff was impeccable.  This is my 3rd Ladies Only game. I played in one as a charity event and I was also in Ladies Night I at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Florida."

2). How long have you bee playing in major events?
"I have been playing major events since 2006. I moved to Vegas with the dream of making it to the level of a professional poker player. That dream came true in 2013 when 888 started sponsoring me."
888 Poker is a sponsor of Poker Night in America

3). What was your best win so far?
"In 2010, I won 70,000 in the Australia Aussie Millions. That was nice!"

4). Who is your toughest opponent and why?
"My toughest opponent is a "fish". A fish is tough to read. They don't know what they have so how can you know what they have?"

5). Give two tips/strategies for a female that may want to start playing poker but is intimidated?
"I would play online to get comfortable with the game. I would suggest playing on 888 Poker for
low stakes. You can get your feet wet without anyone yelling at you. I would also suggest that you don't move up too quickly. Don't get ahead of yourself. Look at cash games first and then tournaments. Tournaments are a huge investment while a cash game is steady income. You must make the final table to make real money."

6). How did you perfect your game?
"Practice makes perfect. I never read books about the game. Since I was in the Air Force as an intelligence analyst, I am more analytical than I am mathematical. I played at least  50 to 60 per
week. I dedicated myself to poker as a job and not a hobby. You can't have it both ways. I do subscribe to the implied odds theory." 

Implied odds are an extension of  pot odds that help you decide whether or not a drawing hand is worth calling in the face of a raise. Essentially, the implied odds of a hand tell you how much you expect to win after you make your draw.
If you expect to win a lot more money from your opponent after you make your draw, you have good implied odds.
If you anticipate that you will not be able to get any more money out of your opponent on future rounds, then you have little or no implied odds.

7) Best place to eat is____?
"Nobu 57 in New York. It's a chain restaurant but the one in New York City is fancier than the others."

8). Best place to play is ____?
"Melbourne Australia is the best place to play. The people are friendly. The weather is gorgeous and the climate is beautiful."

9). What do you do when you are not playing?
"I am big on shopping. I also enjoy going to the beach."

10). Compare a Ladies only game to one of both genders?
"Ladies only games are not as serious. You can actually have fun and enjoy the camaraderie with women. Guys tend to be much more serious and not as receptive. The more events like this the better. More women will want to get involved. At this time,the poker community caters to men."

11).What is your next tournament?
"I am headed to Las Vegas on 5/27 to play in WSOP at the Rio. The buy in is $565 with a 5 million dollars in prize money for the top finishers."

WSOP at Rio in Las Vegas

You can follow Jessica to see how she does in Vegas on Twitter at @JessicaDawley. More coverage of Jessica in Philly is provided by esteemed Philadelphia Daily News reporter @chuckdarrow.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Online Gaming News from Pennsylvania

The Online Gaming talks are continuing in Pennsylvania with both sides presenting bills and testimony before the PA Gaming Oversight Committee in Harrisburg. The bills before the committee
include one by the Chairman Rep  John Payne with Bill 649, and Rep Tina Davis with HB 920.
There is another bill that is Poker only. The two that are mentioned have the best chance of moving forward with bi partisan support.
The opponents of any online gaming legislation are lead by Sands Bethlehem Casino and Vice President of Government Relations, Andy Abboud, stated the position that online gaming would not protect underage children from gaming. He also cited that gaming online would not support the brick and mortar operations. Mr. Abboud was questioned by Rep Davis about mobile apps that are currently used by Sands in Nevada and how that differentiate from what would be considered in Pennsylvania. There was no definitive answer given. She also ask Mr. Abboud about a fine Sands received in Las Vegas for a substantial amount of money. Mr. Abboud was not able to recall the fine and averted the question.

The proponents of the online gaming legislation included Caesars Vice President Michael D. Cohen and Penn Gaming Vice President of I Gaming Chris Sheffield. Cohen cited the success of Caesars Interactive in Nevada and New Jersey while Chris spoke of the integrity and safety nets of the international online gaming community. Sheffield also highlighted the employment opportunities online gaming would add to the state. Cohen and Sheffield jointly agree that the perspective of their testimony would transmit to a proposed online gaming environment in Pennsylvania.

Entertainment at its best


The technical side of the process was provided by GLI Vice President of Government Relations, Kevin Mullaly and GeoComply Operations Manager Lindsay Slader. Each gave either a demonstration or explanation of how technology works in other jurisdictions with gaming online. The consensus was that this is something that can be done and regulated with the controls that the Commonwealth would feel are appropriate.

My take is that all businesses that are successful must have an online presence. If it is minimize, then the amount of revenue is dramatically reduced. If I have a competitor in a neighboring state that can provide a service that I can't, I am at a competitive disadvantage. Will that disadvantage be limited to geographic boundaries?  No! If I want to play in New Jersey, I can still drive there. So if the promotions of playing online entice me to do so, I would play less in my home state. If the same promotion was available where I live, I would play there. Note the staggering decline in gaming revenue in Atlantic City was parallel to the increase of money spent wagering in Pennsylvania once tables and slots were approved. There was a direct correlation.

If this online gaming initiative continues thru May and gains traction in the PA State Senate, things could get very interesting. Stay Tuned!

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Mayweather and the Kentucky Derby with The Business of Sports

This was one of the most anticipated sports weekends in memory. The Mayweather vs. Pacquaio fight was an event that was five years overdue. While the fight was not as epic as some of it predecessors from the previous eras, this was the highest grossing fight ever. Customers paying $100 for a pay per view event is unheard of. Delaying the start so more people would be able to order the event is something unusual. The collaboration of HBO and Showtime was unique in that they evenly plugged the event with the announcing of the fighters and promoting future broadcasts. Mayweather gave a shout out to one of his sponsors, Fan Duel, after the fight.

The celebrities at the fight included Tom Brady, Beyoncé and Jay Z, Bradley Cooper, Charles Barkley, Mary J. Blige, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.
Brady at the Fight
Beyoncé and Jay Z arriving at the Fight of the Century!

The day started for most sports fans with the Kentucky Derby. This year had a field of 18 horses with the odds ranging from 3-1 to 99-1.

The winner was the favorite American Pharoah. This horse is train by Bob Baffett and is his fourth derby winner.
American Pharoah wins!

Number 4 for Bob Baffett
Churchill Downs Saturday's Kentucky Derby was  a first—because the bettors were able to bet money on the race from an iPhone app. Add that to the estimated revenue of  over 400 million for ticket sales and the amount wagered on the race exceeding 120 million.
This is the big business of sports. Events that people will fly to, dress up for, get hotels room and party afterwards. They also talk about these events on social media. Now they bet on them thru their phones. Technology takes the event to unprecedented levels. No matter the outcome, you can connect to and be a part of it. I love it. Tell me if you do.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers odds about to take a turn.

The past 24 hours have not been good for the Cavs. First, Kevin Love injured his shoulder and is expected to be out 2-3 weeks. The injury did look premeditated on the part of Kelly Olynyk, the player from Boston.  See for yourself.
Then in the 2nd half , J.R. Smith hits Celtic small forward Jae Crowder with a backhand, closed fist that knocked him down and out of the game. Crowder also suffered a knee injury on the same play. This looks like a suspension to me of at least 2 games.  How many games does it look like to you?
If the Bulls take care of business against the Bucks Thursday, these teams will meet at the end of the week. Cleveland will be shorthanded two men in the rotation. Even with Irving and James that would be a difficult task against Chicago and Derrick Rose.
The addition of Gasol along with the emergence of Jimmy Butler make Chicago a force even if Rose is less than 100%.  The defense is solidified by Noah and will attempt to surround Lebron.
 I am sure the odds of Cleveland winning the title and the eastern conference have shifted. They were a 11-5 and 5-11 during the season to win the championship and conference finals. I predict they go to 13-5 and 5- 8. Bulls will shift slightly from 12-1 and 5-1 respectively for the same plays to 10-1 and 4-1.   The price of picking Lebron or Kyrie Irving in a daily fantasy league should increase due to more anticipated minutes and shots. Let's see if I'm right.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Sugarhouse Casino and Poker Night in America


This weekend the fireworks and spotlight will be in Philadelphia because SugarHouse Casino is hosting Poker Night in America, a poker based television show that is aired nationally on CBS Sports Net on Monday nights, 9pm EST. The show is sponsored by 888Poker, one of the top online poker and casino operators in the U.S. regulated markets.

On Sunday, Poker Night In America is shooting their second Ladies Night event a SugarHouse starting at 3pm EST. Ten top women poker players will compete in the televised $25/50 cash game that carries a minimum buy-in of $5000. The participants in Ladies Night II Lineup are:

·     Beth Shak

·     Caitlin Hall

·     Ebony Kenney

·     Jamie Kerstetter

·     Jen Shahade

·     Jessica Dawley – 888Poker Ambassador

·     Karina Jett

·     Kristen Olieberg

·     Natasha Barbour

·     Samantha Abernathy

The game will be streamed live on Poker Night in America website and youtube channel and will include live commentary from the players. The first Ladies Night Event was the most watch live stream from Poker Night in America in 2014. Women are excellent poker players, evidenced by the popularity of the event, and they have helped to expand the viewing audience for poker.


Sugarhouse is leading into the event with a 100,000 guaranteed poker showdown, Thursday, April 23 thru Monday, April 27. The buy-in is $250 with a 30 entry fee grand prize tournament. This puts SugarHouse on the same  level with some of the more established poker rooms on the region. This was part of the vision when the poker room open approximately 6 months ago.  Rosemarie Cook is Vice President of Gaming and instrumental in the growth of SugarHouse Poker.
Cook states, "SugarHouse Poker is thrilled to be able to host an event of this stature having only been open for 6 months. It's a first for us and we're very excited. This is not only our first multi-day tournament, but the first one in Philadelphia. We want to introduce the poker room to those who haven't visited yet and keep those who have been here coming back. Hosting Poker Night in America including Ladies Night II and Phil Hellmuth is a great way to do it. Our inaugural event will be one to remember." 

Jessica Dawley

888Poker brand ambassador, Jessica Dawley, and “Poker brat” Phil Hellmuth are adding star power to the event along with many other poker pros. On Monday, Poker Night in America will announce the winners of the First Annual, Golden Ace Awards as part of a media day at the casino. The awards are given to players who excelled in different categories during Season 1 of Poker Night in America. Go to to see a list of the nominees.

    Here is a breakdown of the weekend leading up to the awards.

Phil Hellmuth Autograph Signing

4/24 Friday 6PM






Poker Night in America Taping Schedule
·         4/26 Sun 3 p.m. –  Ladies Night II
·         4/27 Mon 3 p.m. – Cheesesteak Poker (2 p.m. Media Availability/Cheesesteak TBD Stunt).Includes Tony Luke Jr. (Tony Luke's), Frank Olivieri (Pat's Steaks), and Geno Vento (Geno's Steaks)
·         4/28 Tues 12 p.m. – Cash Game taping with Pros
·         All PNIA players are invite only. This is a cash game with a $5,000 initial buy in. They allow a maximum of $15,000 buy in total. The majority of players are professional poker players.
               I will have some live tweets and photos from the Ladies Night II event on Sunday.
As of Sunday evening, this event has exceeded expectations and is an overwhelming success.
Here is the live stream from Poker Night in America.

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