Judy Kay-Wolff

Reporting from Bally’s

Here it is — midweek at the LV Regional — with attendance much better than expected (a deterrent being the upcoming Sectional at The Flamingo in exactly two months and of course, the Summer NABC).   There is only so much bridge the area can handle and with the state of the economy, the early anticipation of attendance was bleak.   However, it seems to be a rather packed house with many local and traveling dignitaries here and an abundance of pros and sponsors.  The playing room is sensational — huge, brightly lit and up to the standards of a top National.  The site itself is a healthy hike from the main thrust but it is a straight walk and hard to get lost because of all the directional signs.  The Directing Staff appears to be top notch and the games have been running smoothly.  Food is not cheap — but nowadays it is usually intolerable in most casinos.  There are oodles of eateries in the walkway between Bally’s and Paris and endless high end shops on either side with unceasing hawking of customers who are making their way to feed the belly.  I hate being preyed upon and they are soooo insistent and undaunted, you actually have to ward them off by ignoring or pushing off on them.  The casino attendance in the early part of the day is almost non-existent with few dealers (going hand in hand with few gamblers).  In the evening, things seem to perk up but the exhaustion from the long walk to the playing space and the intensity caused by the very competitive bridge atmosphere is a deterrent to find one’s way back to the gambling area after the evening session.  I, for one, make a bee-line to our lovely room just happy to go beddy bye.  I remember the lure and excitement of the midnight games of yore but those times are alas no more.   Kudos to the head honchos and their volunteers for a well run event (with marvelous mouth satisfying goodies after the night sessions).  Last evening we enjoyed chocolate covered popsicles sprinkled with luscious nut chunks.  A great way to end the day, though not good for the diet, but beats going to bed on an empty stomach.  Looking forward to the rest of the week with hugs, kisses and handshakes from old friends.


Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 23rd, 2014 at 4:02 am

Here’s the kicker:

We were both exhausted so decided to order breakfast via room service. When the attendant asked if I wanted coffee (not wanting a shockeroo), I inquired how much it was and she replied “$14.00 and you get SEVEN cups — adding “there is only one size.” She had to be kidding. Who needs seven cups unless you are a caffeine freak. I graciously declined and the coffee maker in the room worked perfectly, thank you!!!

Is that Ripoff City .. or what????

Bill CubleyJanuary 23rd, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Ch ching , I have heard, is said in New Orleans. It mimics the sound of the cash register.

I hope you and Bobby are winning. May I suggest the Hilton Head Regional Feb 3-9? The weather is cool. NO snow or ice.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 23rd, 2014 at 6:23 pm


Say it any way you choose, but it equates to the signs of the times. All businesses are hungry for the almighty dollar and in many instances determines their remaining open or closing their doors. Fortunately for the casinos, their income comes mostly from the money garnered at the tables. I have seen very few bridge players partake at the gambling hall here and that must take its toll on the hotel’s expected revenue.

It has become quite apparent to me (reflecting on the eight years we have been LV residents) that the caliber of player (especially the great attraction for the pros with wealthy clients who attend the regionals) has created a field that is much more challenging than formerly. Make no mistake — Sin City is a big draw. The influx of many top bridgers takes its toll on the weaker, non-serious, fun loving participant — but it is in no way injurious for our game. Just makes winning tougher. Nevertheless, the folks I have chatted with are having a blast as the majority are here for the enjoyment and novelty of the setting — not to overlook the coveted masterpoints. We have played only four sessions so far in the K/Os, winning two matches and losing two. The only consolation is that the two teams we did beat (and handily) were both quite good and experienced. However, we took a back seat to two other notable groups which we had a shot to beat — but disappointingly did not. Today we are (as Bobby considers it) “socializing” with a one session afternoon game and then looking forward to a leisurely dinner date. No rest for the hungry! Will end the week with another K/O and the Swiss Team which is always fun.

The Hilton Head event sounds enticing, but we will have to pass, as we don’t do much traveling. Besides, before we know it (in exactly two months), we will be back at The Flamingo for our March Sectional. People can only spread themselves so thin.



Bill CubleyJanuary 24th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Last time in Las Vegas I saw a magician turn a 110 pound woman into an 800 pound tiger and reverse the process. Told his staff this is nothing. Knew a young woman who would just smile in the car and I turned into a 100 ton motel. 😉

JoanieJanuary 24th, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Wish I could have come but too many local commitments with regular bridge dates. How is this hotel compared to others like the Riviera? I can understand your annoyance with the hawking. I would not take kindly to it either.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 24th, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Hello Joanie:

I have mixed feelings about this Regional. It is hard to not attend a local tournament as the game is so engrained in my blood. However, I am falling more and more out of love with the bridge trail. As you may know, Bobby and I have not attended a National except for SF over a year ago. After fifty some years, it has become old hat to me. The aura of the present general scene is not as warm and friendly as before and it no longer holds the unrivaled excitement and intrigue for me. Costs have risen astronomically but you have to roll with the punches. You can’t change that. You either come or stay home. I so much love seeing old friends. Guess I am just a sentimental fool!

The Las Vegas bridge scene has suffered from the changing of the guard and the locked-in commitments pre-arranged for years in advance by those formerly at the reins. Renegotiation seems to be the order of the day. Hopefully this will be the last tournament at Bally’s. Most are looking forward to the Sectional in March at The Flamingo. As far as The Riviera, when I first came to LV, it used to be top hat — but like many of the early casinos on The Strip, it has gone downhill. The present Unit Co-chairs, The Rubins, have gone all out — gearing their objectives to reduced rates, pleasant playing space and the overall enjoyment of their guests. No easy task, especially at this point with the much publicized US economic plights.

However, bear in mind (especially as one grows older), to the average player — bridge is a ‘salvation’ — a great recreational source and a session fee closely resembling the cost of a movie.

Nothing’s perfect!! It is what it is.

Harry HorwitzJanuary 24th, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Judy has a very clear way of expressing her feelings about very large bridge tournaments and echos the feelings of many old-timers.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 24th, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Hi Harry:

Aren’t you one and the same that plays at LVBW, but whom I haven’t had a chance to say hello to?
And yes, I always put my money where my mouth is .. not out of disrespect or contempt — but hoping to change bridge conditions for the better. I think our club has gone above and beyond to show respect to not only the players (good, bad or in-between) .. but to the game itself. Hats off to the owners!



AlanJanuary 25th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

I love your candid approach to the game — past, present and future! Nothing is veiled. You tell it as it is.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 25th, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Yes Alan, I do … and I hope I never change.

I think my comfort with frankness has much to do with this venue, the creators and owners of the site and the politeness of the readers and those who either faithfully or occasionally visit bridgeblogging.com. I have seen little, if not any, venom or sarcasm — just people speaking from the heart about the game they love (sometimes). Not everyone’s approach is the same and as long as the commentary is constructive and polite, one should be able (as you say) .. to “tell it as it is.” This is not necessarily true of all bridge vocalists.

Because of wanting to avoid a twenty-five minute commute each day to Bally’s, Bobby and I stay the the hotel. We are early risers and staying at a site with only one computer per room, we vie for rights to the internet. Hooked up to the hotel site at Bally’s is $13.99 daily and if you want to connect to your Ipad, you double the cost. I enjoy spending money at Chico’s but am not that extravagant to hook up to two computers. So … I patiently (or impatiently) await my turn.

Of course, Bobby is very attentive to his readers of Aces on Bridge and he usually, out of respect and courtesy, gets first dibs. In the interim, I kill time incessantly on my Ipad playing word games (Word Rush is my favorite) and watching the TV news. After our chores are done, we have been enjoying the fairly priced and delicious Sidewalk Cafe which is always packed.

But — here the rub: Since we are not playing in the mornings, after 9:30 a.m. –there are hours to wait until the start of the game at 1:15. The leisure time is great for visitors who want to do some sightseeing or walk around on The Strip, but for residents — the time drags. Of course, the other alternative is to play the slots or challenging games such as poker or blackjack, but often that can subject oneself to losing some serious money.

Luckily, my computer savvy daughter Robin, recently taught her unsavvy mother Judy how to capture her NBC soap opera (Days of Our Lives) so when Bobby is downstairs watching some of the games at the Sportsbook, I can watch this past week’s ‘taped’ action in the room. God Bless the modern day inventions. How did we ever exist without them????

So much for idle time. Only two hours to post time for our next event!

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 29th, 2014 at 7:10 pm

On the brighter side. I had occasion to play in a KO event this week against two up and coming stars. Although we lost handily, I was impressed not only with their know-how, but their manner, courtesy and decorum at the table. Hats off to Justin Lall and Kevin Bathhurst — two talented credits to our game. Bobby remembers Justin as a youngster growing up in Dallas and was proud of his maturity and the tremendous bridge strides he exhibited. He knew little of Kevin but liked what he saw!

The future generation in all its glory!