Vegas Mob Stories, VP Software . February 2011 . Vol 12 . No. 2

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December 10, 2010, Detroit, Michigan--Completion of a $100 million bond sale that will finance the renovation of the old MGM Casino for new Detroit police and fire department headquarters.

November 3, 2010, Detroit, Michigan-- U.S. Customs seized $19,901 at the Detroit Windsor Tunnel from two men returning from Caesars Windsor Casino because they tried to avoid declaring the cash.

Vegas Mob Stories, VP Software: Good Bets for Gaming Buffs

By Dana Smith (for Howard Schwartz) - Gambler's Book Shop Las Vegas.

“Vegas was a lot better in the good old days when …” People have been saying that for the two decades I’ve lived in Sin City, often ending their nostalgia with “… the Mob ran things.” Really want to know what it was like in Sin City’s infamous past? Read Steve Fischer’s When The Mob Ran Vegas (224 pgs, $19.95). The grit, the glitz, the gory … you’ll find it all in black type amidst the blood-red stories Fischer recounts in this compendium of “Stories of Money, Mayhem and Murder,” the book’s subtitle.

This “vibrant history” of Vegas, as the author describes his book, kicks off with chapters titled That Damn Kefauver Committee, Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo, and The Havana Mafia Conference. Things move right along from there to Does the Riviera Still Kill Its Executives?, Teamsters Palace Las Vegas, The Great Stardust Skim, and of course, Frank Sinatra’s Cal-Neva Lodge (ya gotta have Frankie and the rat pack, right?).

As fascinating as the bare stories are, Fischer slaps meat on their bones with a colorful flair for taking you there. When the Tropicana opened in 1948, for example, two rival casino owners hit the craps table and hauled their then humongous win of $161,310 to the cage to cash out. “The total cash in the Thunderbird’s cashier’s cage, backroom safe, Big Juice’s wallet, and some extra just-in-case money they hid away amounted to a little over $41,000. Damn! They were a few bucks short.”

So, how did they solve their little problem? Enter, you guessed it, the Mob. You’ll find this vignette and enough escapades, close scrapes and fatal blows to fill Boulder Dam in this fast-paced, photo-filled book.

So many games, so little time! Video poker guru Bob Dancer’s newest software, Video Poker for Winners! ($49.95), gives players a chance to hone their skills on seven types of popular video poker machines: Multi-Line, 50-Play, 100-Play, Super Times Pay, Spin Poker, Multi-Strike and Single Line. Further, you can play multiple versions of video poker games on each type of machine. I haven’t tallied the possibilities, but my best guess is that takes more than the fingers and toes of you and your peeps to count them all.

When the screen first opens, you select one of the seven types of machines you want to play, followed by your game of choice (or least resistance!). I chose Spin Poker, deuces wild, and then selected the payout that my favorite casino offers. I also clicked the program’s “error” option, which pops up every time you make a mistake with your “hold” cards and shows you the correct hold.

At the end of the session, a dropdown menu rates your play, telling you the percent of correct plays you made and noting your win/loss. Dancer also offers a test mode that ranks your skills as a beginner, intermediate or advanced player. And you can see the man himself in several video tutorials, including earning casino comps. The bottom line: An educational and entertaining program—and probably a money-saver as well.

These books are available at Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas. You can order them at or phone the store at 1-800-522-1777 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time. Opened in 1964, GBC is located at 5473 S. Eastern between Tropicana and Russell, just a short drive from the Strip. View the store's complete line of books, CDs, videos and software at the web site.