They’re called empty Suits for a reason!

Nov 19, 2002 7:40 AM

   OUCH! The Barons of Bet, bless their hearts, are up the creek without a paddle.

   Here’s what happened.

   Not too many years ago racetracks complained that some Las Vegas race books were keeping customers away from the tracks by offering rebates.

   Track suits shed crocodile tears hoping for sympathy from Nevada. The tears may have done the trick. Or, maybe it was the threat of not receiving any more simulcast signals of racing from the major tracks. In any event, Nevada regulators promptly marched to the legislature in Carson City and requested a law prohibiting rebates to horseplayers. It would still be OK if a casino wanted to give money back to table game players, but not to horseplayers said the wise ones.

   The legislature listened and it became law.

   Subsequently, Big Players in Las Vegas who wanted to play the ponies for more than chump change started funneling their bets to the offshore books that didn’t have any problem offering rebates.

   You might think that the racetrack suits would do their best to stop this terrible practice.


   By this time their thinking had changed. The rebaters had made arrangements to put the bets through the simulcasting tracks’ ticket-issuing machines. And, the offshore places were also willing to pay double the simulcast fee; something that wasn’t possible in Nevada because the wise ones had put a cap on fees.

   The racetracks are happy because they are getting 6% instead of 3% on the handle from the offshore books. And, although no one is talking numbers, that handle is said to be sizeable.

   The offshore books are happy because most of their handle consists of exotic wagers where the hold is approximately 25%. So, even though they pay 6% to the tracks they’re making close to 19%.

   Only Las Vegas books aren’t happy. They’ve watched their handle plummet, while offshore books flourish. And, unless someone convinces the legislature to give them back their paddle they’re apt to stay up the creek.


   BLUFF CAN’T HIDE FROM CAMERAS! The World Poker Tour finished up at Foxwoods this past weekend on an interesting note as Howard Lederer won the top prize in the million dollar No Limit Hold ”˜Em Event.

   Other great players to make the final table were Layne Flack, Andrew Bloch, Phillip Ivey, Peter Giordano, Ron Rose, Kathy Liebert, Nick Hanna, John Rowan and Jay Colombo. Congratulations to one and all!

   Even more intriguing was the way the final table was filmed for later broadcast on cable TV. Here’s what they did: Tiny cameras were embedded in the tabletop so that they could record the two, unseen hole cards of each player!

   Talk about the ultimate invasion of privacy! But all the players agreed to it. Of course, none of the shots were available to be viewed during the competition.

   When the tournament is finally broadcast, viewers will be able to see the hole cards, and virtually play along with the players — right through the bluffs, the folds, the raises and everything else that goes into playing a world-class poker hand.

   Many non-poker players have complained in the past that watching a final table is like watching paint dry. Foxwoods has surely changed all that with this ultimate, “under the table” view of poker strategy.

                Now, if they can only adapt that system at the blackjack tables!