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Dee Gordon, Birthday Boy.

Booking a gambling holiday can be a tricky business as there are just so many great places for you to visit these days. As the rise of the internet has spread throughout the world more and more people are starting to play online casino games and so have found that the hobby is a great one to have.

This has since lead many people to want to go on holiday to a place where they can gamble in a real casino just like they have seen in the movies. But where should you choose to go? Here are a couple of great destinations for you to choose from.

When you think of gambling where do you picture – if not a site like Gaming Club then it has to be  Las Vegas. This is for a reason, Vegas is the gambling capital of the world and it’s easy to see why when you get there.

There are more sights and attractions for you to see than you could ever imagine, with hundreds of hotels, restaurants and of course casinos for you to choose from it can be a bit daunting but rest assured there is something for everyone.

With casinos such as the MGM Grand and the Bellagio there are places that you have seen in many films before and these casinos live up to their on screen image with huge casinos and massive amounts of luxury.

But if it’s true amounts of luxury that you are looking for then Monaco might be more your style with is rich and famous clientele casinos such as the Monte Carlo will make you forget about the troubles you might have at home and instead just feel true bliss with the awesome facilities and casinos that are offered there. This is a quieter, more refined place where luxury is the real reward.

 

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Below is the text of a column I re-post every year around this time. The statistics are current as of March, 2013.

An old episode of Cheers starts with Coach off at the DMV, getting his driver’s license renewed. When he gets back to the bar, Sam asks him how it went. “They asked me for my kidneys, Sam! It used to be just ten bucks!!”

Well, it’s that time of year again, and while we won’t ask you for your kidneys, we’d like to at least broach this very important topic.

Spring is more than just the beginning of another baseball season, important as that is. April is always National Donate Life Month, and this year, April 21 to April 27 marks National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week (NOTDAW). Please take the opportunity to talk to your family about the subject. It’s a difficult one to get into, but there’s no better time.

Let’s set the triple-crown stats aside for a second, and consider another big three. As of today, there are exactly 117,839 people on organ transplant waiting lists in the United States. Picture Dodger Stadium and Camden Yards, standing room only.

19 die each day. That’s like a section of Bleacher Bums splitting in the third inning of a September matinee against the Cards.

From the pool of what you might think are available organs from deaths in this country, only about 5% are termed brain-deaths, the standard used for transplantation. Out of that small number, only 1/2 of 1% are recovered and used to give life to someone on a waiting list. For a variety of reasons.

This much is sure. Carrying a donor card is great, but that in itself assures nothing. Family members still need to give the go-ahead, and in many cases, there’s been little or no discussion about the individual’s wishes, making an agonizing decision that much more difficult.

Yes, there are a few patients – human beings, actual people – who fall through the cracks and are let down by the system; by actual people who mess up. Those few cases make for sensational stories, which is the only reason you even hear about them in the first place. It is because these failings are so rare that they make news at all.

But this isn’t a sob story. It’s not about heart failure, if you will. It’s about heart success. The process works. It needs to work better, but it works.

I speak from what I know, OK, and I’m grateful. I was one of the lucky ones. There was a motorcycle accident somewhere in Los Angeles. The parents of a 19-year-old young man said yes, and within 48 hours, the young man’s heart was thriving inside the chest of a total stranger. His liver had saved the life of another; his kidneys, two more.

It was September 22, 1990. Tommy Lasorda’s 63rd birthday. The Dodgers were in a pennant race when they cut me open, and when I woke up hours later, that kidney was producing you-know-what like nobody’s business. A rather large sample size, if you know what I mean. OK, pee, if you don’t know what I mean.

Meanwhile, in a year when there was talk that the rest of the division was actually pulling for L.A. to lose, the San Diego Padres had rolled over both ends of a doubleheader to the eventual World Champion Cincinnati Reds, and that, my friends, was that. New life for me, sure, but no such luck for the Dodgers.

Like I said, I was one of the lucky ones. I joke about baseball in part because it’s a distraction from the serious stuff. As one of the lucky ones I enjoy that luxury. 117,839 others don’t. Not yet, anyway.

They say there are two times when you’re to be congratulated entering a hospital. One is when you’re having a baby. The other is when you’re having a transplant operation.

It’s spring, a time for optimism. We’re baseball fans. We all feel it. Maybe that’s why donor awareness comes up in April.

Coach got a little excited there. We’re not asking for your organs. Use them in good health. Take them to as many games as possible. Seatbelts fastened, please.

We’re not asking for money. Just talk to your family and make your wishes clear, if you’ve come to grips with them yourself. If you haven’t, please give it some thought. That’s all.

For more information, please visit DonateLife.net.

And remember, glove conquers all. Or at least, almost all.

 Please follow me on Twitter @Howard_Cole

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Poker Tourism

 

The World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic is in the process of wrapping up its main event on March 6 at the partypoker. The number of participants in this leg of the tour was 534 and at the time this article was written, the prize pool was at $5,126,400 with 19 players left. International poker tournaments like these are a sure way to attract poker players and spectators of the sport. But, does Los Angeles actually benefit from these tournaments?

Good for Tourism

A record of 42.2 million people visited Los Angeles in 2013 and is the 3rd consecutive record breaking year for tourism, according to a report by Manhattan Beach Patch. Tourism board officials are optimistic that the goal of 50 million visitors by 2020 is possible due to improved marketing efforts and public infrastructure. Not to be outdone, casinos in the Los Angeles area have become more competitive and the tribal owned casinos are booming and are now being developed as resort destinations. Is Los Angeles gearing toward an all-in-one vacation location like Las Vegas? Only time will tell.

The Online Threat

We’ve previously seen casino owners on the other side of the fence when it comes to dealing with online gambling. But recently, an article in the LA Times showed that even American Indian tribes have come around to the idea the legalizing internet poker, (similar to New Jersey), and licensing tribes and card clubs to offer it may be the best way to address the threat. Bluff reports that New Jersey has gained $8.4 million in revenue in 2013. The Borgata, partnered with partypoker, is the biggest winner in New Jersey, earning $3.75 million due to this much publicised partnership. Whether or not Los Angeles will follow suit, it’s clear that the numbers ARE significant enough for us to take notice.

The WPT and the WSOP are touring various locations this year to promote poker and give a boost to its waning fan base. There is talk among professionals that the recent champions have failed to do their part and promote poker and has instead led reclusive lives, often shying away from the media. Los Angeles’ growing tourism is clearly one of their major markets, with the WPT almost finished and the WSOP starting its run on March 6 at the Bicycle Casino. Poker tourism isn’t a bad way to go for LA and while it may not replace existing tourism plans, it can be a great supplement for it.