Nostalgic visit to old Binion’s

May 22, 2006 2:05 AM

Carol, I know you and our daughter "Oklahoma Sarah" played in the LIPS (Ladies in Poker Series) no limit poker tournament out at Caesars Palace last Saturday, and on Sunday you girls hosted a no limit charity tournament at the Gold Coast for the Sign Design Theatre.

Results of those events will be reported to the folks in -GamingToday next week.

Last Friday, I took a little trip into the past and visited the old Binion’s in beautiful downtown Las Vegas.

I played in the World Series of Poker at Binion’s Horseshoe for over 25 years and I kind of like the old place. It was something like going to my poker home again, but they say you can never return to yesterday, but I gave it a try.

The cornbread is still there with the beans at the lunch counter, and many dear old friends still work there. And believe it or not, many poker players are still loyal to the birthplace of big time poker tournaments.

Of course, the name "Horseshoe" is gone — as are Benny, Jack and Becky — but it is still Binion’s.

A few months ago I visited with my friend Jim Delorto, director of poker operations at Binion’s and he invited me to come and talk with him about my hosting a Seniors WCOP event with him at the old downtown location!

But I got busy or lazy and did not get around to arranging a -Seniors event in the American Poker Players Championship, which is now underway.

This new tournament is being hosted by Tom McEvoy, a member in good standing of The Seniors WCOP/Poker Players Hall of Fame. His co-host is one of the great ladies of poker, Susie Isaacs. Yes, if Susie ever gets old enough, I will present her for induction into The Seniors WCOP/ Poker Hall of Fame.

When Harrah’s purchased Binion’s Horseshoe they continued the WSOP there for a short period of time, and then Harrah’s moved the big tournament out to the Rio in Las Vegas and they took with them the name, Horseshoe.

So now, the new owners of Binion’s Gambling Hall (MTR Gaming) are on a mission to recapture the gloried days of yesteryear and big time poker.

When I played poker and in tournaments at the Horseshoe it was with Benny Binion, Puggy Pearson, Austin Squatty, Texas Dolly Brunson, Johnny Moss, Jess Alto, Ron McMillan, Cowboy Wolford, Amarillo Slim, Stu Unger, Nick and all the Greeks, Sailor Roberts and Bobby Baldwin, to name a few,

I would love to write all the names here, but I could go on all day. So I will just invite you to go to my web site, www.ok-j.com and check my photo room and the Hall of Fame players — there must be a few hundred names and pictures.

The American Poker Players Championship poker tournament began May 10 and will continue until Wednesday, May 24, featuring a lot of no limit poker as well as other games, including seven card stud. And it’s even being played upstairs in "Benny’s Bullpen."

But, Tom, I’m disappointed — where’s the razz? You know, Tom, a day without a razz game is like a day without sunshine in the poker world.

Oklahoma Sarah put the American Poker Players Championship on her schedule. "Dad, I want to get in your saddle and ride on down to your old stomping grounds and play some poker where the poker legends were made and millions of dollars were paid," she said.

She selected the $500 + $50 buy-in, no limit hold’em tournament for her first target of opportunity. Yes, I went with her and played in the side games while she played with the old boys and young whippersnappers.

A few hours later Sarah came to the poker room and said, "Dad, they wanted to split the prize pool up in accordance with the chip count method, so I did divide the money with them."

I said that was great, you will never go wrong with the chip count method of dividing a prize pool, but always remember it must be a 100% agreement with all the remaining players and you never have to split if you want to keep playing.

I decided to go to Binion’s on Friday night and play in one of the no limit tournaments. It was a $300 + $30 buy-in event.

Yes, I even got lucky and finished second, and no deal was made: we played it out. I got a little tired about 2 a.m. and tried to bulldoze the young fellow from Sweden.

I had one ace with a kicker, and he had two aces in the pocket. Yet, I was happy to settle for a second place finish.

I had fun and collected enough for a full tank of gas.

Poker Tip of the Week

Yes, you may know the talk, but can you do the walk?

Folks, I love words and here are a few that relate to poker.

Chrestomathy and nomenclature are from a song called "You got to know the territory," from the hit Broadway show, "Seventy-Six Trombones."

Chrestomathy is a compilation of expressions that may relate to any game, even poker.

And nomenclature can be a system of terms used to name parts of any subject, even poker.

Putting the two together, it will make the game of poker more fun and profitable the more you understand and can do the talk of poker, than if you can only do the walk.

Then you can take the money home and count it there.

Until next time stay lucky.