Saturday, May 26, 2012 | 2 a.m.
The cards may decide winner, but they can't beat the bling.
The World Series of Poker unveiled its championship bracelet for the main event winner Friday night with what the jeweler called the most expensive championship adornment to be offered in any professional sport.
"Every jeweler gets to design earrings and necklaces and bracelets, but this is the chance to do a piece that really means something," said Jason Arasheben, president of Jason of Beverly Hills. "I wanted to pay tribute to Las Vegas, because I have a store here. They don't have a professional basketball or football team, but what says Vegas more than the World Series of Poker?"
The bracelet was presented at the Jason of Beverly Hills store in the Cosmopolitan in a coming out party trimmed with cocktail dresses and flashing cameras.
With 35 carats of diamonds and 170 grams of 14 karat gold, it sparkles brighter than the 2009 and 2010 NBA rings Arasheben designed for the Los Angeles Lakers. He said it contains more diamonds and gold than any World Series ring for Major League Baseball, or Super Bowl ring for the NFL.
"The epitome of Vegas says 'over the top,' and that's what I did here," he said.
The winner of the main event will wear the bracelet as well as take home from $7 million to $8 million in prize money. The WSOP will hand out 60 other bracelets for events that begin Sunday at the Rio.
"This bracelet is worth more than all the other 60 first-place bracelets combined," said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. "Think of it, over 10 days the winner will earn more than (NFL quarterback) Tom Brady earns in a year."
The WSOP, a series of 60 poker tournaments capped by the high-profile main event, runs through July 16.
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.