Tag Archives: Rio

Joey Chestnut Sets World Meatball Eating Record today in Las Vegas: stuffed 6 pounds down in 10 minutes!

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut became the first-ever Martorano’s Masters Meatball Eating Champion today, Sunday, Nov. 8, at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  Chestnut devoured 50 meatballs in the 10-minute Major League Eating (MLE) sanctioned competition. The 6.25 pounds of meatballs eaten in 10-minutes set a new world record in the meatball discipline. The contest featured a star-studded field of Major League Eaters and celebrities all vying for a $1,500 first-place prize and title of Martorano’s Meatball Champion.JoeyChestnut

When asked about the key to his victory, Chestnut quickly pointed to the quality of the meatballs. “The great taste and high quality of the meatballs were evident in every bite,” said Chestnut. “I am honored to have name my forever associated with Martorano’s world-famous meatballs.” 

The competition proved to be fierce with Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti finishing a single meatball behind Chestnut’s total of 50 to finish in second place and win $750. Diminutive 105-pound Sonya Thomas ate 42 meatballs to finish in third place ($500), while rookie upstart Ben Monson ate 38 meatballs to finish in fourth place and win $250. Henderson, Nevada native Rich “The Locust” LeFevre, 65, came out of retirement to compete in his hometown and ate 33 meatballs to finish sixth.   

 “Watching the best eaters in the world eat bowl after bowl of my meatballs was a real compliment,” said Steve Martorano. “It was very important to me that they enjoy the meatballs during the championship and I am proud my meatballs could satisfy the appetites of top Major League Eaters.” 

Playboy cover model and new starlet of Fantasy in Las Vegas, Angelica Bridges, also got in the act and competed at Martorano’s on Sunday. Bridges, who was recently honored by Maxim margazine as one of the “50 Sexiest Women in the World,” was the thumbs up crowd favorite in her competitive eating debut, where she ate 10 meatballs totaling more than a pound of food.


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Final Table of World Series of Poker Starts Saturday in Las Vegas

The final nine poker players will square off next Saturday at Noon at the Rio at the final table of the World Series of Poker.  It will conclude when two remain and await the championship. The winner will receive a payout of $8.5 million; ninth place takes home $1.3 million. 

The top four at the Main Event final table will control 75 percent of the chips. 

If you want to take in the action, the Penn & Teller Theater viewing is free to the public to anyone 21 and older. Space allocated on first-come, first-served basis. 

ESPN will air a two-hour telecast on Saturday and Monday’s final table. 

Las Vegas Backstage Access has followed the action and will continue to do so until the end. 

Player standing and stats going into the Main Event: 

1. Darvin Moon, 45, Oakland, MD, $58.9 million (in chips)

2. Erich Buchman, 29, Hewlitt, NY, $34.8 million

3. Steve Begletter, 47, Chappaqua, NY, $29.9 million

4. Jeff Schuman, 34, Las Vegas, NV, $19.6 million

5. Joseph Cada, 21, Shelby Township, MI, $13.2 million

6. Kevin Schaffel, 51, Coral Springs, FLA, $12.4 million

7. Phil Ivey, 32, Las Vegas, NV, $9.8 million

8. Antoine Saout, 25, St. Martine des Champs, France, $9.5 million

9. James Akenhead, 26, London, England, $6.8 million

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Las Vegas Nightclubs Gone Too Wild?

Even in wild, anything goes Las Vegas, apparently, there are limits on what can and can’t be done in nightclubs.

In July, gaming regulators slapped the Planet Hollywood casino with a $500,000 fine for its Prive nightclub’s bad behavior, including “topless and lewd activity” and dumping club-goers in the casino “in various states of consciousness.”

The same month, the Rio closed its Sapphire topless pool, managed by a local gentleman’s club, after authorities arrested 10 people on suspicion of prostitution and drug crimes. Over Labor Day weekend, eight more arrests on similar charges were made at the Hard Rock Hotel’s pool club party, Rehab.

It’s all part of a crackdown by Las Vegas authorities on what they see as clubs gone wild.

“The quarrel is not, ‘You guys are offering entertainment that’s going to offend Middle America.’ We all want to keep Middle America coming to us to have fun. But we have rules,” said Randall Sayre of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. During the heyday of the “What happens here, stays here” tourism campaign, the must-have accessory for any Las Vegas Strip casino was a pulsating nightclub that lured Hollywood starlets and drunken tourists willing to pay for a few hours of shimmer.

That has sometimes proved to be an ill-fated mix. Though the clubs are reliable moneymakers and publicity machines, some have vexed officials with their fraternity-style antics — including stripping contests, fistfights, and alleged drug use and sexual assaults.

In the last decade, smoky lounges on the Strip gave way to three-story mega-clubs and booze-drenched pool parties. Out on the cutting edge of trendy are clubs such as the bronze-walled XS, the centerpiece of casino magnate Steve Wynn’s resort Encore.

Most of the clubs, which pull in tens of millions of dollars from high-volume sales of alcohol and special seating, successfully keep thousands of tourists under control. But the venues, jostling for the same young crowd, have a penchant for envelope-pushing — and the casinos, Sayre said, have mostly kept their hands off the cash machines.

In the last two years, Clark County has warned clubs about a wet-boxer-shorts contest and women shedding shirts at events named “Lose the Tan Lines” and “Boobs or Bust.” Some clubs launched stripping contests; others tried to sneak around no-nudity ordinances by slathering women in body paint.

Many nightlife problems are far graver, however, which could prove problematic for casinos in the long run. Gaming regulators can hold them responsible for most anything that unfolds on their properties.

In 2006, the state Gaming Control Board told casinos it was concerned about reports of violent, excessively drunk and underage club-goers. In the last year, authorities have noticed an uptick in prostitution and narcotics crimes at Strip hot spots, said Officer Bill Cassell of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

But it was “Prive-gate” that truly rattled the town’s after-dark scene and it appears no end is in sight for the enforcement and creation of new clubbing rules to govern Las Vegas partygoers.

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Emmys Honor Las Vegas Entertainers

Although the Emmy awards tomorrow won’t involve Las Vegas nominees for the CBS prime-time ceremonies, they were included in the prior Creative Arts ceremonies on Sept. 12 in Los Angeles.  Las Vegas Backstage Access takes time out to honor their contributions. 

PennandTeller2Emmy nominations honored Rio headliners Penn & Teller, left, and stage designer Andy Walmsley,Andy Walmsley right. Penn Jillette and Teller — along with writer Michael Goudeau, who also performs with Lance Burton — were nominated for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming for their Showtime series “Bullshit!” The “New Age Medicine” episode was singled out in the series that devotes each half-hour to debunking its selected topic.  

The series also was nominated for its editing, though Jillette and Teller were not personally nominated in that category. The series has been nominated 13 times previously, five for writing and four for overall nods in the reality category. In its seventh season, it is Showtime’s longest-running series. 

Walmsley’s set for “American Idol” was nominated for Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music Or Nonfiction Programming. 

The British set designer moved to Las Vegas four years ago and his recent work includes the sets for Mirage headliner Terry Fator and Flamingo magician Nathan Burton. It’s his third Emmy nomination (same category, all for “Idol”). 

Walmsley also is launching a Web site for Las Vegas entertainment professionals: www.vegasliveshowpro.com.

 Although not Las Vegas-based, David Rockwell — the ubiquitous designer who created the sets for “Peepshow,” the custom theater for “Phantom” and retail-restaurant space at CityCenter — is competing against Walmsley. Rockwell is nominated for his stage design for the Academy Awards.

Los Angeles-based choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D’Umo, both graduates of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, were also nominated for Outstanding Choreography for “So You Think You Can Dance,” as was Mia Michaels, who chroeographed Celine Dion’s “A New Day.”

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Chippendales Take on Latin Flavor in Las Vegas

Women, get ready to P-A-R-T-Y– Latin style!  The iconic, steamy-hot bare-chested men of Chippendales, The Show, known as The Ultimate Girls Night Out, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas have spiced their show, appealing to the Latin crowd with their new “Noche Latina Thursdays.”  The Latin-inspired show features a Spanish-speaking MC, Spanish version of featured songs and uptempo Spanish music replacing certain acts.  Chippendales

The Latin show runs on Thursdays, starting at 10:30 p.m., running through September 3, at the Chippendales Theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.  Tickets are $39.95 and $49.95 and are available online at www.RioLasVegas.com or by phone at 702-777-7776.  Every ticket includes a coupon for 25% off dining at one of the Rio ’s dining establishments, including Martorano’s, VooDoo Steak and Buzios Seafood Restaurant.

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Las Vegas ATMs Possessed with Money-Sucking Virus

When heading to Las Vegas on your vacation (or business meeting, God forbid), perhaps it is best to use your ATM machine before you leave. The U.S. Secret Service said this week it is investigating a group of ATM machines in Las Vegas that are debiting people’s accounts but not dispensing cash.


The case came to light after Defcon hacker conference presenter Chris Paget tried to withdraw $200 on Sunday from his account at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. He wanted buy a metallic copy of the Bill of Rights, a joke gift designed to set off airport metal detectors from the magicians Penn and Teller.


The ATM “whirred and chugged,” Paget said, “but no money came out.” His account, however, was debited.


He wasn’t the only one. Paget spoke with an Israeli man who had tried to withdraw $1,000, as well as a woman who tried to take out $400. At least a half dozen people experienced the same problem at various machines in the hotel, Paget said.


Paget, who has expertise in credit-card security and runs a hardware security consulting company, notified the hotel staff, who didn’t take action to shut down the machines. “The best they would do was put a sign on the ATM saying ‘Out of order,'” Paget said. “We were standing by the ATMs warning people.”


Paget’s experience points to the increasing frequency with which criminals are targeting ATMs. One scam is to attach a device to the ATM known as a skimmer that can record details stored on a card’s magnetic stripe. A person’s PIN (Personal Identification Number) can be captured with an overlay on the keypad or a video camera. Then, the card can be cloned.


Security experts have also seen samples of malicious software designed for ATMs that can record card details. Earlier this year, analysts at Trustwave’s SpiderLabs research group said the malware came from a financial institution that had been affected in Eastern Europe.


In Paget’s case, a Rio hotel representative said on Monday that she was unaware of the problem and advised calling the hotel’s accounting office later. A Secret Service officer in the Las Vegas area confirmed the agency was looking into the issue along with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Paget said he left a voicemail with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Paget also contacted Global Cash Access, a company that specializes in managing cash machines for the casino industry. The company told Paget they had no record of the withdrawal, although it showed up when he checked his online banking statement.


Paget said it is possible that the machines have been infected with malware. The program could be directing the machines not to dispense cash, which then is picked up by an insider in on the scam, he said. But it’s too early to tell.  If the problem is not simply malfunctioning machines, it would be at least the second incident of something funny going on with ATMs around Defcon.


Earlier in the week, conference attendees at the Riviera Hotel noticed what was on inspection a bogus ATM machine positioned in the lobby. They shined a light into its screen, which revealed a PC behind it. Law enforcement later confiscated it.


Ironically, one of the talks planned for this year’s Black Hat and Defcon conferences that deals with ATMs was cancelled. A researcher with Juniper Networks, Barnaby Jack, was supposed to detail a vulnerability affecting a popular line of new ATMs. But Juniper barred Barnaby from giving his presentation after the unnamed ATM vendor threatened legal action.

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Strippers Face Temporary Soft Times in Las Vegas

SapphireThe adult entertainment industry in Las Vegas has suffered yet another blow, as some dancers at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club, the world’s largest gentlemen’s club, are being asked to put their clothes back on.   Last week the plug was pulled on the Sapphire pool retreat at the Rio.  The topless pool has been closed indefinitely, according to Rio’s management. 

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Bill Cassell explained that they were invited in by Rio to perform a routine inspection of the adult pool party to insure operations were being run in accordance with current statutes.   Eleven arrests were made for prostitution-related activities by Sapphire personnel.  But since the visit was at the request of Harrah’s, which operates the Rio, it is quite unlikely that further operations or sanctions will occur related to the incident. 

Thankfully, this isn’t all bad news for Las Vegas.  Yesterday, in the Hard Rock Hotel’s poker lounge, Sapphire’s had their well attended $5,000 poker tournament ($65 buy-in), with dancers strutting their proud plumage among the tables.  The gals even received free poker lessons, courtesy of the Hard Rock, according to Shai Cohen, Sapphire’s director of marketing. 

The scantily clad strippers are also revving up blood pressures elsewhere, including Wasted Space each Thursday, providing the go-go eye-candy entertainment. 

Then, tentatively scheduled for October, Sapphire’s will be having their third annual Ping Pong Palooza. 

Speaking of balls flying at your face, ladies can always check out the Men of Sapphire revue on Fridays and Saturdays, if they’re tired of this talk about female dancers. 

So, despite this pool-party hiccup, Sapphire should be fine, with a steady flow of customers coming through their club doors.  

“When you see a [Sapphire dancer] out wearing clothes and she tells you she’s a stripper, you’ll want to come back to the club,” Cohen says.  “We sell fantasies. That’s our job.”

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