Sunday, December 28, 2014

Archive: September, 2008

POSTED: Tuesday, September 23, 2008, 2:39 PM

The best possible news has emerged from the ongoing efforts by the state of New Jersey to find a new owner for the beleaguered Tropicana Casino and Resort.

Earlier today, it was announced that Gary Stein, the state-appointed trustee charged with selling the property has identified Gomes+Cordish as the potential buyer. The recently formed company has reportedly bid $700 million for the Trop.

Why this is such great news is that Gomes+Cordish is the entity that, above all others, merits getting the casino-hotel, which Columbia-Sussex, a hotel conglomerate based in Kentucky, was forced to surrender last December after it pretty much gutted the Trop and ran it into the ground.

POSTED: Sunday, September 21, 2008, 11:17 PM

Despite some rumors to the contrary, it looks like the proposed sale of Trump Marina to New York-based Coastal Development LLC is on track.

According to various news reports, New York-based Coastal Development has secured all of the $316 million sale price, and expects to close the deal for Donald Trump's perennially under-performing bayside gaming hall by early next year at the latest. Coastal CEO Richard Fields has also announced that--again contrary to some gossip--the property will remain open while the complex is transformed into the Margaritaville casino-hotel.

Coastal's purchase of the Marina, and its planned Margaritaville strategy should prove to be an across-the-board winner.

POSTED: Friday, September 19, 2008, 4:53 PM

A 22-year-old from Seattle playing in his first "live" poker tournament has won the World Poker Tour portion of the 2008 Borgata Poker Open. It took Vivek Rajkumar just six heads-up hands to claim the Atlantic City-record cash prize by being the last player out of 516 standing.

Prior to this week, Rajkumar---whose nickname is "Psyduck"--had confined his poker playing to the online realm. But he beat out such superstars as Mark Seif, Gavin Smith, Roy Winston and 2006 World Series of Poker champ Jamie Gold to claim the top spot.

His final opponent was Sang Kim of Virginia, who took home $750,000 for his second-place finish. The other final table contestants were Dan Heimiller ($387,500), Jason Strochak ($337,500), Seif ($287,500), and Andrew Knee ($237,500).

POSTED: Monday, September 15, 2008, 2:59 PM

As promised there were plenty of famous faces among the 516 hopefuls who hit the felt as the World Poker Tour portion of the 2008 Borgata Poker Open commenced Sunday morning.

Among those vying for their piece of the guaranteed $5 million prize pool (including an AyCee record $1.425,000 for the winner) were Ylon Schwartz and Dennis Philips (two of the nine players who will be present and accounted for when the final table of the 2008 World Series of Poker begins in November in Las Vegas).

Also on board Sunday were Mark Seif, Gavin Smith, Joe Sebok, Matt Keikoan, Roy Winston (last year's event champ) and Jamie Gold, whose 2006 WSOP championship earned him $12 million--the largest poker pot in history.

POSTED: Friday, September 12, 2008, 3:44 PM

It's definitely not the most star-studded weekend in AyCee--partly because the Borgata Poker Open is still camped out in the casino's Event Center. But there are a few shows of interest scheduled.

LYNDA SYNGS: "Wonder Woman," a.k.a Lynda Carter, continues her run at Harrah's Resort. Backed by a quintet of big-time players who've worked with everyone from Toto to Cher to Elton John, the still-fabulous-looking Carter, 57, serves up a mixed bag of jazz-flavored tunes that covers a lot of territory, including Motown and pre-rock pop standards.

Carter's voice won't blow you away, but it's sultry and expressive enough to put across the material. The problem with her set is that the overwhelming majority of tunes are ballads; a few more up-tempo numbers would definitely make for a more sonically interesting 60 minutes.

POSTED: Thursday, September 11, 2008, 12:20 PM

They like it! They really like it!

That's the word from Joe and Jane Q. Public about Atlantic City--at least according to the 2008 Visitor Profile Study released this morning by the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.

Conducted at the ACCVA's behest by Spectrum Gaming Group of Linwood, N.J., the year-long, $100,000 survey tells a tale that belies the town's current economic situation, which finds gaming revenue down (despite a miniscule rise in August relative to August of '07).

POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 7:11 PM

Yesterday's post about the impending total smoking ban in Atlantic City certainly touched some raw nerves, based on the comments posted here and a few e-mails I received. So let me respond:

***Let's start with the perception that I am a gambling smoker (or is that smoking gambler)? With the one-day-only exception of splitting a pack of Tareytons with my best friend at The Who concert at the original Electric Factory in Oct., 1969, I have never smoked cigarettes (although I do enjoy the occasional stogie). And other than once or twice a year, when I might throw some dice, I do not play any casino games of chance (poker doesn't count as "gambling" because it is not mathematically engineered for the house to win, and you don't have to have the best hand to take a pot).

***I know inanimate objects can't "gloat" (I used the word in reference to those who paid for the sign).

POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2008, 8:52 PM

As I was heading down the Expressway to AyCee earlier today, I glanced at a billboard that appeared to be gloating about the impending full smoking ban in the casinos.

It said something about "Breathe Easy Atlantic City," and was most definitely an anti-smoking sign. And it made me wonder about those who lobbied so enthusiastically in favor of sticking it to smokers who gamble: Will they be so giddy when casino jobs are lost because even more players head to Pennsy and Delaware instead of Atlantic City to court Lady Luck? Will they erect a billboard that proclaims their joy at the prospect of some of their fellow citizens applying for unemployment compensation and trying to figure out how to keep their houses from going into foreclosure?

Just wondering...

About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at Reach Chuck at

Chuck Darrow