Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 | 6 p.m.
At some point tonight, Las Vegas poker players Jay Farber and Ryan Riess will divide up nearly $13.5 million, but only one will walk away from a table at the Rio with the $500,000 2013 World Series of Poker bracelet.
The winner will take home $8,361,570 and the runner-up $5,174,357. Play resumes early evening now that the other seven members of the November Nine have been eliminated. But final play for the WSOP championship could go into the wee hours of Wednesday.
Jay, 29, who is a VIP management host at Hakkasan at MGM Grand, has a rooting squad that includes many of its gorgeous beautiful cocktail servers. He began as an underdog, but bookies are saying he could win.
Ryan, 23, who moved here from Michigan, is a pro player and has his own fans from here and East Lansing.
CELINE’S NEW CD: It’s French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion’s first English-language album in six years, and, although released today, advance orders indicate that it will be at the top of the charts by Wednesday. Our Caesars Palace resident-headliner songbird is winning raves for “Loved Me Back to Life,” described as “her most vocally challenging and artistically rewarding performance yet” and “easily her edgiest — still at her best.”
You can see her debut on “The Dr. Oz Show” on Wednesday. She also is ensuring its global success with a European promo tour she began Monday. Celine will be on German TV on Saturday, Britain’s “The X Factor” on Sunday and then to Paris for three sold-out concerts and TV appearances before returning to the Colosseum for a run of New Year’s shows starting Dec. 30.
The album features duets with Las Vegas-raised singer Ne-Yo and Stevie Wonder, and the producers included Diane Warren, Kenneth “Baby Face” Edmonds and Sia. During her amazing career, she’s sold more than 220 million albums. Her shows at Caesars have sold more than 3 million tickets, and husband and manager Rene Angelil says she’ll be here through at least 2019.
SHAQ FLOATS: After last week’s morbid, yet fascinating “Raising the Dead’ episode on his Spike TV series “Believe,” magician Criss Angel has us laughing tonight when NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal makes a guest appearance. Who knew Shaq was an amateur magician and can pull off his own tricks?
You will marvel as Criss levitates the 350-pound, 7-foot-1 giant, but this, of course, will be no ordinary levitation. The basketball hero goes way higher than just a few inches off the ground. In fact, Shaq goes up as high as 60 feet and is levitated over a Las Vegas home after touring Criss’ secret warehouse of wizardry.
ON THE ‘CHOP’ AUCTION BLOCK: The rare 1924 Dodge Brothers vehicle that Joshua “Chop” Tobin placed for sale on eBay that we reported a week ago sold for $9,900. He brought it for appraisal to the “Pawn Stars” stars on the History Channel. It made a $2,000 profit that he’s donating to our Three Square food bank.
Comedian Bill Maher, in town for shows at the Palms, dined at Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore. The HBO show host also checked out DJ and producer Mark Ronson’s debut next door at Surrender.
Tongue-twisted KISS co-founder Gene Simmons, wife Shannon Tweed and a large group of friends dined at La Cave in the Wynn.
Nicolas Cage, Carrot Top and Vince Neil dined at La Comida downtown with their significant others. Nicolas was with wife Alice Kim, Carrot Top and gal pal Amanda Hogan and Vince with makeup princess Rain Hannah.
Celine discovery Veronic DiCaire was backstage for a third time in a week for Shania Twain’s Caesars Palace concerts, but, as she explained to me, because her parents visiting from Canada had heard her own “Veronic Voices” impressions show at Bally’s too many times and wanted to hear the real deal. Shania laughed that Veronic did Shania better than she could!
MGM Grand headliner illusionist David Copperfield attended the 21st anniversary celebrations of Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror, which features Nevada’s only rated-R haunted house, “The Gates of Hell.”
Collective Zoo transformed Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel into a “Day of the Dead” party, while alternative-rock band The 1975 took over nearby Vinyl with The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers in the crowd. He went backstage to say hello and then sped to the airport for a late-night flight
Zowie Bowie’s Chris Phillips, launching his new backup trio of gorgeous girls, hung out with singer Pia Zadora after watching her show at Piero’s.
“Defending the Caveman” star Chris Allen had lunch with Jeff Grandy, program manager of Child Focus, at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Henderson to discuss helping the charity with volunteer and fundraising opportunities this winter. Chris also attended the Animal Foundation’s benefit picnic at Sunset Park on Saturday.
Zappos chief Tony Hsieh is the guest speaker at Smith Center to discuss his grand plans for downtown’s mega-millions makeover he is masterminding.
Rocky LaPorte and Ron Morey headline at the Improv at Harrah’s through Sunday.
DJ Paul Oakenfold is at Lavo in Palazzo.
Star chef Mario Batali has a weekend of Italian experiences when he hosts the Venetian’s Winter Carnevale, and we’ve got the rundown. Plus, Rod Stewart returns to Caesars, and will Las Vegas chef Shirley Chung continue her winning ways on Bravo’s “Top Chef” in New Orleans?
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.