30 Oct 2008

Lotus of Siam, “The Best Thai restaurant in the United States”

At JetSetWay we don’t always need the fanciest or most expensive. Oftentimes things are just the best. That characterizes Lotus of Siam, in Las Vegas. According to Gourmet magazine, it is the best Thai restaurant in the United States.

Sunday night we had a delightful dinner there. As usual Yarom Limor (to my left) was the organizer. Known poker players joining the group were Dan Alspach and wife, J.J. Liu, as well as James Van Alstyne.

The place is jammed nightly. For sure call ahead for reservations. Probably a full day is needed. Your best bet on the food is to have Bank, the owner’s son, order for you. Additionally he has vast wine knowledge.

It is located a few minutes East of Las Vegas Blvd on Sahara in a very nondescript center.

Here is some pertinent data -, 953 E. Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, (702)735-3033.


23 Oct 2008

Jewish Curacao

Jews have lived in Curacao for over 350 years.  The community peaked in 1800 with over 2,000 Jews living on the island, many of them slave-owners who ran large sugar plantations.  Today, the population has dwindled to about 450.

Consecrated on the eve of Passover in 1732, Curacao is also home to the oldest extant synagogue in the New World.  The Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue covers about a square block, right in the heart of Willemstad, and is a fine example of Dutch architecture. 

Of special interest in the synagogue is the sand floor.  Today the sand is imported from Suriname or Guyana, though historically it had been mixed with sand from Israel.  It must come from riverbeds (not the ocean) to prevent salt corrosion of the mahogany furniture.

Some say the sand represents the Sinai Desert where the Israelites wondered for 40 years when passing from slavery to freedom.  Others attribute the sand to traditions from the Inquisition, when sand covered floors in synagogues (in Spain and Portugal) to muffle footsteps of Jews worshipping in secret.  Either way, its no wonder it is Curacao’s number one tourist attraction and a must see.

Synagogue-Sand floor

22 Oct 2008


Curacao is a beautiful island in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is the largest of five islands of the Netherlands Antilles. As such, it is officially part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

Though the island was granted was granted full internal-affairs autonomy in 1954, the Netherlands is still responsible for its defense. It is located just 35 miles north of Venezuela.

Curacao is unique in that it blends classic Dutch architecture with incredible colors. Rumor has it that in the early 19th century, the Governor-General decreed that none of the buildings are to be painted white. Why? He was said to suffer from migrant headaches, which he believed were brought upon by the sun’s reflection off of the white buildings.

21 Oct 2008

A “W” at Caesar's Palace

Today was a kick. Nine of us returned for the final table after playing yesterday in a 278 person field for 13 ½ hours.

It was Event #4 at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, $500 No Limit Hold’em.

Often play starts slowly at the final table (except for the short stacks), because the big money tends to be in the top three places. Today was an exception.

Play was fast and furious from the getgo. I laid low with plenty of chips because the pots were just too big, and I thought I could hold my own well against the field. I didn’t need to be taking big risks early.

I blinded off about 15% of my chips feeling I had a ring side seat at a spectator sport. Pretty soon half the field was gone and I started to get to work.

I got to heads up with a very nice gentleman from L.A. who had been the aggressor for two days. Over and over I had laid down hands to his raises.

But heads up is a entirely different game. He started making extra large bring in raises and reraises. About one time out of seven or eight I had to move in and pick up his chips. I whittled him down consistently for two hours and finally was able to get all of the chips when my TT held up against his 88.

For those of you who play poker, you know that there is nothing quite like winning a tournament. Great feeling.

(if you are interested in learning or playing poker risk free, check out It's the best).

20 Oct 2008

Meeting Michael Phelps

The Caesar’s Palace Classic Tournament takes place during the final two weeks of October. Allyn and I decided to spend our Sunday playing in Event #4, a $500 No Limit Hold’em tournament.

The 278 person event started at noon. We both played well and even made the dinner break with about 50 others.  I was able to make the final table and will be returning tomorrow along with eight others. I’m playing well and have a good stack. Hopefully both will stay true tomorrow.

However, the real highlight of the day was meeting Michael Phelps. It turns out that he is quite a poker player, as well as an accomplished swimmer. He came in ninth in yesterday’s tournament, and was there today for the final table play.

Caesar’s management was kind enough to give me the microphone to welcome him to Caesar’s and the poker community.  All in all it was a very fun day. Even the sushi at dinner was great. More tomorrow.