MORE INTERESTING CHARACTERS
FROM THE WORLD OF TOURNAMENTS
By Sammy Vaughn
Sammy Vaughn is a long-time successful tournament player who finished first and won a million dollars in the Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament. In his column, Sammy reminisces about some of the interesting characters that he had the pleasure to meet while on the tournament trail.
"TANKS A MILYON"
I feel a great need to thank all of the wonderful players that donated to the "phx sam benefit" in 2005 at the Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament. I am the original tournament killer so some of you must have known when they announced this was the final big one at the Hilton that it was going to be mine. As early as 1992, in a short bio for induction into the IGP "tournament players’ hall of fame," it mentioned the events that gave up the ghost when a clown like him can win.
My heartfelt thanks must go to two of the most active figures involved in my life-altering good fortune after finishing first and winning a million bucks in the tournament. In this corner, weighing in as a heavyweight casino executive, we have Mr. Jimmy Wike. I give him all the credit for giving tournament players including the pros the chance to pay for the unheard prize of a million dollars. The top brass at the Hilton was very unsure if they wanted this type of action, and Jimmy must have had his neck on the block for us. But there is more to this story.
In the opposite corner is a heavy, recovering attorney – yes a g.d. lawyer! I believe that without Peter Nathan, this effort would have fallen apart. The powers that be in the top floor of the Hilton re-fused to guarantee the prizes. Peter held their feet to the fire until they capitulated and gave the written promise of the pay-outs. Before these concessions were given, the tournament entries were very small in number, and combined with their totally inept promotion to help the tournament grow, I didn’t think it was going to survive a full year. Hell, I wasn’t going to chance the $1,000.00 a pop entry fee and I play anything.
Now comes the painful part.
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