Judy Kay-Wolff


Another ‘exciting’ Las Vegas Tournament is almost upon us – the February Sectional from the 7th to the 11th being held at Bally’s on the Strip – a far cry from it’s original setting at The Union Plaza Hotel downtown.

Not being a native Nevadan, I was always curious why it was called the Glitter Gulch Tournament, certainly a catchy name and not hard to remember.   I did a bit of research, starting of course with my cyberspace resources   According to the many articles, I gleaned a lot of information.   Specifically from Wikipedia:

Glitter Gulch may refer to:  Girls of Glitter Gulch

  • Glitter Gulch, nickname for the casino area along Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas
  • Glitter Gulch, specific strip club on Glitter Gulch, in the area under the Fremont Street Experience light-show-and-music canopy.

Out of curiosity, I checked around to see how our tournament got its name.   I learned that the two gals who co-chaired the ultra successful events from the mid eighties until the late nineties, Martha Beecher and Grace Matthews, appropriately named it The Glitter Gulch Tournament because the site of the game, The Union Plaza, was at the head of Fremont Street – the area referred to for decades as Glitter Gulch.

However, now that we have moved far South toward the Strip using both the Riviera (at Sahara) and now breaking ground at Bally’s (at Flamingo) it is time we found a more appropriate name for the relocated venues.

Bobby and I did a “dry run” to check out the site.   Because we did not plan to stay long, just have lunch (at the Mexican restaurant which was terrific/Tequila Bar and Grille), scout the variety of blackjack games (and they do have BJ Switch), we used Valet Parking which presented no problem.   Because of the ‘schlep’ back and forth at all hours of the morning and night, we often stay at the hotel a few nights and find enough dining facilities in the hotel in which to enjoy snacks and meals, not necessitating moving the car.   However, for those driving back and forth, I suggest you check out the parking facilities as there are a couple of options (none of which are great) – but the Strip is very congested with lots of travelers and loads of vehicles and not as convenient to navigate around as was the Riviera.  

I am sure it will be a welcome change.   It is a stone’s throw from The Paris (which I actually believe is adjoining).  So, it should be a lovely change of venue and hopefully it will draw lots of locals as well as out-of-towners.   Vegas is always a wonderful treat to visitors.  

In the meantime, let’s put our thinking caps on to appropriately re-name the non Glitter Gulch tournament as it is miles and years passed its prime!!


Robb GordonJanuary 25th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

OK, help a naive non-gambler –

what, pray tell, is “BJ Switch”?

Mark LombardJanuary 25th, 2011 at 3:45 pm


I think it should remain “Glitter Gulch.” As you said, it’s a catchy moniker, and people associate “Glitter Gulch” to Las Vegas in general, and not to Fremont Street in particular. Sentimentally, it’s among our favorite tournaments–I got my life mastery there in ’98.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 25th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

O.K. Robb:

You play two hands at a time encased in a marked frame. You put up money for each set. Say you get a 6 and a 10 for your bottom cards and then the top cards are a 10 and a 4 respectively. You would normallly have 16 and 14. Not too good, eh? WRONG.

With a a wiggle of your second and third fingers you wave the dealer to switch (interchange) top cards, thereby having a 6 and a 4 (10) and two 10s (20). Other variations (with a circle to bid on pa1rs as well). You can also double down, etc. LOTS OF ACTION. We love it.

Bobby WolffJanuary 25th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Hi Robb,

Being numerate should require a slight continuation in discussing BJ Switch. Blackjacks only pay even money and once a switch is made, if it now consists of an ace and 10, it is NOT BJ, but it is 21. However, by far the biggest advantage to the house is, when the dealer busts with specifically 22, that hand, except for a player’s BJ is declared totally null and void and no money exchanges hands. All in all it is indeed fun, but since many of the strip casinos now have several switch games that fact bodes evil for the player’s chances, except perhaps the faint hope that the reason for that switch action may be relying on the presumed ignorance of the player.


Bobby WolffJanuary 25th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Continuing the continuation,

From a sophisticated BJ player’s standpoint, when the dealer turns over a deuce for himself, my guess is that 2 is not quite as valuable as an ace (even after the dealer is determined not to have BJ), but about the same value as a 10 would usually be in a normal BJ game.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 25th, 2011 at 6:53 pm


Sometimes, what you don’t know won’t hurt you. I was just curious why it was called the Glitter Gulch Tournament as I never heard of such a ravine with that name and just became curious. I learned it had nothing to do with earthy sites but rather strip joints and topless dancers. What can I tell you. I am just an old fuddy-dud at heart and think the title is no longer appropriate.

JaneJanuary 27th, 2011 at 8:10 am

Hi Judy,

I like the name Glitter Gulch as well because most everyone who plays in tournaments knows this is “Vegas, baby!” It is definitely a unique name. I associated the “glitter” part of the name with the bright lights and sparkle of the city. Never even thought about the gulch and what that meant. Seems to me that locations of tournaments can change often, but not names so much. Do we want to fix something that may not be broken? I do not think you are a fuddy dud at all, just someone who takes the time to research something of interest and open a dialogue about it. Also, thanks for the tips about Bally’s. I have not been there yet, so appreciate the advice you and Booby gave about parking, eating areas, etc.

Robb GordonJanuary 27th, 2011 at 9:04 am

Hmm – I guess I will stick to slots – the kind with 3 reels and no cartoons!

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 27th, 2011 at 1:32 pm


Putting the name aside, you say you don’t want to fix something that is not broken. If you played in the LV October 22nd Swiss Team, you would know it was very much broken. The floor directors didn’t get it right, the DIC didn’t know about it until it was too late and the Orlando meeting held by by the righteous Senior Directors in charge saw no bias. Well, people, look again. Check out one of the directors involved and see all the her track record and demotion, It was an absolute farce and the 2nd and 3rd place teams were interchanged because of the directors’ sloth and lack of interest in rectifying the problem.

Hopefully, they will move up a notch this time — but check it out if you really care about the equitable running of a sanctioned tournament that awards master points. Glitter Gulch didn’t glitter!


MarthaJanuary 27th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I loved the name Glitter Gulch. It was fitting as that was the nickname for Fremont Street and that was where we played. It was thanks to Bobby Dunning, who was working at the Union Plaza at the time, that we investigated the site for holding sectionals. He was right. The space was perfect, the hotel rooms were pleasant and reasonably priced, the parking was plentiful and close. Fremont Street presented many eating options and the casinos had many variations on Blackjack. I also loved the name of the Henderson/Boulder City tournment “Best tournament by a dam site”. They no longer have a tournament by a dam site and we no longer are on Fremont Street. The Strip certainly has its own terms, and since that is the new venue the name should reflect that fact.

JaneJanuary 27th, 2011 at 6:18 pm


I was not referring to the issues that happened at the tournament with the Swiss event you mentioned, just that I don’t think the name is broken. Maybe there will be enough people who want to change the name. Just expressing my opinion about what I consider to be a unique name. I still like it even if we don’t play downtown any longer. Who knows, some day maybe we will wind up back there.