Judy Kay-Wolff

Non-stop at the Trop

Returned late Friday night from what appeared at first to be our Bridge Swan Song at the Las Vegas Tropicana. “Wrong again!!” as you will read below. It was an exhausting five day adventure but many more positive aspects than negative. The rooms reserved for players were adjacent to the bank of elevators which led to the playing site. They were roomy and convenient to reach – besides well lit. Many of us participated three sessions daily in our chosen venue but I must confess entering the fray at 9 a.m. was a bit much for this old bitty. The second session began at 1:15 p.m. and if one survived, the last encounter was at 7 o’clock. I did suggest (especially for those Las Vegans who were commuting) that the games should begin at 9:30 and start the afternoon session BEFORE 1:30 (as planned) because a two and a half dinner break is far too long. This will be taken under consideration.

The choices of dining spots (fast foods, coffee shops, buffets, high end dining … whatever … ) were superb!!! You name it, they have it! But even better than the venues available was they catered to locals who were staying at the Trop. With a special card (Trop Plus) your dining tab was reduced by 50%. You didn’t have to gamble to enable you to enjoy this special accommodation. The room fee (which included a resort fee) included complimentary WiFi. The hotel picked up your WiFi charge and I had both a laptop and iPad with me. Manna from heaven. The pool was lovely … but few had time to catch their breath … or even gamble. The action was continual!

Here are the plaudits…

To the Board of Directors – Unit 373 and other affiliated Unit Members from Jane Rubin…

Please bear with me as I have much information to share with you, but I promise it ends with a happy surprise.

Firstly, I want to thank all of the volunteers who have been with Bruce and me since we started running these tournaments under difficult conditions. Charlyn Johnson, Jane Ahnger, Jacque Brickey, Gary McGough, Karen Kimes and Leila Huff have stuck with us through thick and thin without question of loyalty, and have all been exceptional in the work they have done for the tournaments, and for the Unit. In addition I want to thank those who began with us; Tom and Sue Grue who were not only the treasurer/s, but also my right hand at completing so many various tasks at the tournaments including the I/N Program, and Mike McClain who taught me so much about the supplies, equipment, storage shed and set-up. I also want to thank our newer volunteers including Ed Matulis who has taken on the role of Supply/Equipment Chair, with eagerness and gusto, along with the help of Hy Chansky. Our new Treasurer, Chris Hahn, and I/N Chair, who was previously Liz Hamilton, and is now Gordon Fast, have also been outstanding in their efforts and dilligence.

Secondly, I want to thank my husband, Bruce, whom I believe has been maligned by a few, but has certainly been appropriately respected and appreciated by many. Although he isn’t at many of the meetings, I want everyone to know what he has actually accomplished behind the scenes and the amount of money he has saved the Unit. When we first took over the tournaments, we were thrilled with the one tournament that was held at the Riviera, but soon learned that Ballys along with their ill-advised contracts as well as the Flamingo, would be more of a challenge. Caesar’s properties were difficult to work with at best. Bruce soon, with the Board’s approval, entered into a contract with the Tropicana that was for ten years. It included a high number of guaranteed room nights, as he used the number our predecessor used before us. The first disaster was the Sectional in the Spring of 2014, at the Flamingo in which the Linq was opened the same day, and our players had difficulty parking and entering the play site only to find a non-working escalator. Due to the difficulties we encountered, Bruce was able to negotiate the amount we owed for room night shortfall to less than 50%. Better than that, Bruce also was able to eliminate our entire amount due to the Tropicana for room night shortfall after the Fall, 2014 Sectional, even though contractually they had the right to move us into the room that they did. Best of all though, due to the new Board’s request, Bruce did the impossible and procured a mutual release of our ten year contract with the Tropicana with no financial liability to the Unit — “unheard of”!!! He also renegotiated the contract for this past March, 2015 Sectional at the Tropicana, with slightly over half the room night guarantee from the prior contracts, for the same amount of space. Now comes the coup de grace – we still had a room night shortfall that ended up being 43 nights. (The final count was only 300 room nights achieved). In theory we owed over $4,000 for just the attrition. Bruce went back to negotiate and once again, was able to receive a release from any room night short fall liability. We owe them nothing for the shortfall!!! In addition, they are happy to have us back next spring with a similar contract to this past one, if the Board agrees.

Finally, it has been my (and Bruce’s) pleasure to serve the Board and the Unit members as Tournament Co-Chairs under the most extreme circumstances. I wish you all the luck in the future, and am anxious to attend upcoming tournaments as merely a bridge player.


When I catch my breath I will share some exciting hands and plays produced by our teammates. In my book, it takes four to tango!

Onward and upward. Looking forward to our next bridge soire this summer. Details to follow.


Jane AApril 1st, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Hi Judy,

Jacque and I were part of “Team Rubin” from the beginning, and it was a real experience working tournaments in Las Vegas. I ran a few sectionals back in Kansas City, but Vegas is an entirely different situation. Jacque and I were happy to help out and give back, but we have “retired” as well so now we will become just bridge players again. Our unit board will face interesting challenges of their own as they move into running the future tournaments and finding affordable venues. It takes a village to run a tournament.

Look forward to the hands you plan to share. If I remember correctly, you, Bobby and teams did quite well. I also heard that Mr. Gates came to our tournament because he needed silver points, and he got the number he needed. So many of our players were excited that he came.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 2nd, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Hi Jane A (not to be confused with Jane E, the former tournament co-chair),

I am aware of the magnanimous contribution of time and dedication of you and Jacque for quite a while. In fact, I envisioned you enjoying fun and leisure at the tournaments (although bridge in battle is hardly considered the “Life of Riley” .. if you are old enough to recall the old Bill Bendix comedy series).

Good luck, May you both be rewarded for the contributions to our game, unit and district.

Bill CubleyApril 6th, 2015 at 1:21 pm

So there is bridge instead of the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana. A shame they closed the that act. At least I saw the ladies once. They did a fully clothed very exuberant can-can.

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