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By Dianne R. Davis
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Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis unless otherwise noted


Legends of Comedy is Small But Mighty Sammy Shore & Pete Barbutti Create Laughs at Wolf Theater

I was delighted to stand with such great stand-up comics as Sammy Shore (l) and Pete Barbutti.


Sammy Shore? Hmmm, Is he related to Pauly Shore? HA! The fact is that Pauly is related to (the son of) comedian Sammy Shore, a man considered to be a legend of comedy. Thus the title of his show, Legends of Comedy.

I went, I watched, I laughed. You can do the same on Saturday nights at 8 p.m. at the Wolf Theater in the Clarion Hotel.

Sammy gained notoriety by being, “the man who made Elvis laugh” and subsequently opened for Elvis at the International during his legendary run in Las Vegas from 1969 to 1972.  Sammy Shore opened the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, which launched the careers of virtually every great stand-up comedian of our time.

That's good history, but the question is, can this 85 year old man make you laugh now? Yes, he can and so can his usual co-performer Pete Barbutti. Pete, the younger of the two at 78, describes the pair as, “just a couple of geezers”.

Barbutti, who may be best remembered for his numerous appearances with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, is a story teller who winds a tale hither and yon and to yet another yon before nailing the laughter with a punch line that brings it all together to the delight of the audience.

This is a seasoned comic, old school style, not going for the quick punch, punch, punch as some do today, but bringing us along. No, make that stringing us along. Remember when they used to say, “This is a true story.” Translation: Get ready for a ride down Laughter Avenue.

Then enter Sammy Shore who tells us that, “Time flies when you're alive.” Sammy is old school. His idols were the likes of Milton Berle, Red Skeleton, and Jack Carter and he laments that there aren't more like them around now, but says, “I'm glad I'm still able to do this.”

And I'm glad as well. Enjoy the comedy of Sammy Shore, Pete Barbutti, and some occasional surprise guests at the Wolf Theater at the Clarion on Saturday nights at 8 p.m. For information, call 702-990-1524.


Greg Merson Wins Gold Bracelet and $8.5 Million at World Series of Poker


Greg Merson, 24 of Laurel Maryland, captured the gold bracelet, $8,531,853 and the title of Winner of the 2012 World Series of Poker® Main Event (WSOP) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on October 31, 2012. The final table was held in October due to the Presidential election.

Playing in the Penn & Teller Theater, Merson outlasted a total Main Event field of 6,598 players who each ponied up $10,000 for the chance to win poker’s most prestigious tournament.

He also survived a marathon final session of play that spanned almost 12 hours, beginning at 5:45 pm Pacific time on Tuesday and concluding at 5:44 am Pacific time on Thursday.


Merson, who attended the University of Maryland, is a professional poker player. He admits to having developed a drug habit while attending college, but he credits the game with saving his life.

The Main Event victory was Merson’s second seven-figure prize at this year’s WSOP. He also won a $10,000 6-handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament this summer that yielded him $1,136,197.

“I’ve played a lot of long cash games in my career, which helps you prepare for something like this, but this whole stage is something you can’t ever really prepare for,” Merson said shortly after winning the tournament and tearfully placing his gold bracelet on the wrist of his mother. “I couldn’t feel better for everyone who I’m sharing this victory with.”

Merson was the only player at the 2012 WSOP to win more than one coveted gold bracelet. Merson’s presence also attracted the attention of another Marylander, Olympic record-holder Michael Phelps. Phelps, who is a friend of Merson, wished his fellow Marylander good luck via Twitter.

The 2012 Main Event began in July. As has been the custom in the past five years, play was suspended when the tournament reached its final table comprised of nine participants. Play resumed in October. After more than seven hours of competition the field of remaining players was narrowed to three: Merson; Jake Balsiger, 21, of Tempe, Ariz.; and Jesse Sylvia, 26, of Las Vegas and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Three-handed play began Tuesday evening and lasted roughly 11 hours before Balsiger, who had an opportunity to become the youngest-ever Main Event champion, was eliminated in third place. Balsiger collected $3,799,073 for his efforts. Sylvia was eliminated in second place, winning $5,295,149.


Rounding out the final table were:

4th place: Russell Thomas, 24, of Hartford, Conn., $2,851,537

5th place: Jeremy Ausmus, 33, of Las Vegas, $2,155,313

6th place: Andras Koroknai, 30, of Debrecen, Hungary, $1,640,902

7th place: Michael Esposito, 44, Seaford, N.Y., $1,258,040

8th place: Robert Salaburu, 27, of San Antonio, Texas, $971,360

9th place: Steve Gee, 57, of Sacramento, Calif., $754,798

The World Series of Poker® is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world, having awarded more than $1.6 billion in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize.

Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest-running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2012, the event attracted 74,766 entrants from 101 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and awarded more than $222 million in prize money. Participants in WSOP events hailed from 101 countries in 2012. For the first time in 13 years, no player won multiple bracelets during the 43rd annual WSOP. For more information on the World Series of Poker, visit

NF Hope Concert Makes a Difference

Las Vegas performers are generous people. They often lend their talents to charity events. I attended one such event on October 21. The Second Annual NF Hope Concert was a personal matter. Jeff Leibow, one of the principal players in Jersey Boys, and his wife Melody have a beautiful little three year old daughter named Emma who has Neurofibromatosis, also called NF. I've previously written about the concert. It is over for another year. So, you may be wondering why talk about it again. There are a few reasons.

First off, it is not too late to donate to the cause. Simply make out a check to "NF Network" and sent it to NF Hope Foundation, 2356 Spirito Ave, Henderson, NV 89052. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to NF Network, a non-profit organization that serves families and those with nerofibromatosis, know as NF. That number is more than 100,000.

Second, to say bravo to all the performers that donate their time and energy to help a fellow performer. Here's the list:

Delious Kennedy (All-4-One)

Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees)

Clint Holmes

Murray Sawchuck

Chloe Crawford

Doug "Lefty" Leferovich

Chris Phillips (Zowie Bowie)

Melody Sweets (Absinthe)

Niki Scalera

From Jersey Boys:

Deven May

Buck Hujabre

Travis Cloer

Jeff Leibow

Aaron MaKenzie

Doug Crawford

Megan Nicole Arnoldy

Nikka Wahl

Merissa Haddad

From Phantom:

Kristen Hertzenberg

Joan Sobel

Tina Walsh

Emma was center stage as performers took their final bow at the NF Hope Concert.

Third, to say bravo to Jeff and his wife Melody. They face a challenge. They saw a need. They took action. We can learn from them. And we can help them help their daughter.

Yes, there are other worthwhile causes out there. But when you look on the stage, as I did, and see beautiful little Emma, it does something to your heart. Nuf said.

You can find more information about Neurofibromatosis, Inc. at or by calling the office at 630-510-1115.



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