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By Dianne R. Davis
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Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis

Celebrity Poker Tournament Benefits Local Charity

The Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas  will receive $216,450 as the result of the Eighth Annual World Series of Barbeque and the Second Annual Suzie and Howard Lederer Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament held at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino on July 2.

The Tournament, which was open to the public, turned out to be a family affair with the win by Mike Dappen, brother of Suzie Lederer, pictured with his brother Duane, left.

In addition to various prizes, Dappen won an exclusive seat on NBC’s hit poker program, Poker After Dark, giving him the opportunity to become a television poker star and win $120,000 in cash. The $20,000 Poker After Dark seat was donated by Full Tilt  Additional prizes were donated by the Golden Nugget and other sponsors.


Food was plentiful for players and spectators and all attending had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items.

Asked to comment on his win,  Dappen said, “I had good cards and I think I actually played them well.  I was at Howard’s table and he had 52 buy-ins.  It’s a generous family.”

Famed poker pro Mike “The Mouth” Matusow sold copies of his book, Check Raising The Devil” and donated profits to the Boys and Girls Club.

Boys and Girls Club Executive Director  Dulcinea Almazan and Chet Buchanan from KLUC’s Morning Zoo were on hand to support the charity.

Buy-in for the tournament was $330 and featured $200 multi re-buys and $100 add-ons. Many  participants were happy to re-buy repeatedly, knowing the money was going to support such a worthwhile charity.

John and Sarah Ferris of Harlingen, Texas had a great time. John, 82 loves to play poker and plans to be back next year.

Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Annie Duke
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

In conjunction with the charity tournament, Suzie and Howard Lederer hosted a pool-side party at theTank, the Golden Nugget’s $30-million pool and shark aquarium with great food, karaoke, and a special fireworks display.

Actor, director, and poker pro Joe Reitman displayed his prize as Annie Duke looked on.  Reitman’s unique performance was judged the winner of the karaoke contest .  Don’t know how anyone can top it!
Photo credit: Dianne R. Davis

I had a chance to chat with actor Dennis Haskins, (Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell) who feels that Las Vegas is very good at supporting people in need.  He just did a pilot with John Schneider and Carmen Electra who he described as, “two of the nicest people.”


Jennifer Harman brought her twin sons, Giancarlo Traniello and Francesco Traniello to the party.

Everyone stayed to enjoy the magnificent displays of fireworks.

Howard Lederer, left, was pleased to welcome Lucas Di Grassi, Phil Ivey, and Taylor Barton to his tournament and party.

Winners of the Poker Tournament

Alain Visinoni, 9th place

Steve Bartlett 8th place,

Andreas Hoivold, 7th place

Steve Capps, 6th place

Daniel Horowitz, 5th place

William Lepore, 4th place

George Garib, 3rd place

Charlie Townsend, 2nd place


Brad Garrett Opens Comedy Club at Tropicana

Brad Garrett was the perfect first guest at his new comedy club at the Tropicana.  He had people laughing even before his show began and the laughter continued when he got on stage.  The Emmy awarding-winning comedian best known for his portrayal of Ray Romano’s brother on “Everybody Loves Raymond”  was mixing with audience members prior to his June 28th show, clowning, posing for photos, and warming up the fans with his antics.

Below photos credit: Stephen Thorburn
George Bugatti

Rob Sherwood

Brad Garrett

Brad Garrett

Brad Garrett as Herman Munster

Brad Garrett as Sammy Davis Jr.

Brad Garrett as Rodney Dangerfield

But don’t come to the Brad Garrett Comedy Club at the Tropicana to see Robert, the character he played on the long running hit  TV show.  “Robert is dead” he told the audience, making it clear that what you get is Brad Garrett, comedian, Vegas style.

That’s fine because Brad is funny. His appearance was preceded by some old fashioned piano music by the talented George Bugatti followed by the comedy of Rob Sherwood who found the humor in the tale of his 19 year old’s DUI. The room was packed with people laughing their @#$%s off as Brad’s jokes and stories  bounced around from Asian Blackjack dealers to Jewish people in Florida to his broken marriage. The audience roared and applauded their agreement when he quoted someone (Ray Romano!) who referred to him as the love child of Herman Munster and Greg Brady.

Garrett’s act isn’t too raunchy by Vegas standards, but don’t expect Brady Bunch type squeaky clean either.  His oral patter was peppered with the F word and he got some good laughs out of his story about dogs who consume their feces Okay, that isn’t exactly the way he said it. You fill in the blanks on that one.

If you are close to the stage, be warned that you are likely to be picked out and picked on.  No doubt you’ll be laughing as the hilarious jabs shoot in your direction. Speaking from personal experience, beware the Q&A session at the end.  Brad offers to answer questions, but if you ask, you may become the subject of some great off the cuff humor.  I did and I was. And it was fun.

Garrett played the opening week and will return both as the announced comic and on occasion without announcement.  He plans to show up periodically to greet patrons at the door and perhaps do some warm-up.

The Brad Garrett Comedy Club will feature comedians ranging from well established to up and coming talent.  Those expected to appear this year are Kevin Nealon, Dom Irrera, Bob Zany, Rondell Sheridan, Rocky LaPorte and other surprise celebrity guests. Showtime is 8 p.m. nightly with an addition 10 p.m. show on Friday and Saturday nights.

Admission starts at $39. VIP package seats are $59 (plus tax and fees) and include a line pass, and preferred venue seating. Guests must be 18 years of age and older.

And as an added note, if you’ve been to the Tropicana in recent years, you will be most pleasantly surprised to see the great improvement they are making in the property.  Check out the Tropicana and the Brad Garrett Comedy Club.Ω

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