Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine

Tikay's Table Tales

by Tony Kendall |  Published: Dec 01, 2005

The tower of the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas provides a beautiful backdrop for the Fountains of Bellagio.

Don't you just love Americans?

So, that's what Vegas is like. I've just returned from my first-ever trip and I'm left with mixed conclusions. As a city, it seemed to me to lack character. Vegas sits in the desert, and it's certainly an architectural wasteland. With the exception of Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio, the hotels are some of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen.

Enter a hotel lobby, any hotel lobby, and there is an ear-splitting symphony emanating from 1,000 fruit machines – sorry, slots.

However, it's not all bad, and when Vegas is good, it's excellent. Food is available night and day – good food, too, if you know where to go. The waiter service is top-notch, and the valets' uniforms are, well, minimalist. Also, the hotels have ridiculously cheap room rates. As for the cardrooms, all I can say is, "Wow!" The smallest on the Strip is bigger than the largest Europe has to offer. They're just a different class, and returning to the UK is like a trip back to the Dark Ages.

The American folks? Not to put too fine a point on it, I've spent a lifetime doing them down. Maybe it's their politicians I held in such contempt, but they were all guilty as charged, as far as I was concerned.

While we were in Vegas, the awful terrorist bombings took place in London. As I was making my way down the seemingly mile-long corridor in the Rio Hotel the next morning, I must have been stopped by a dozen or more Americans. "Hope your folks back home are OK." "We will stand with you to stamp out terrorism." "I just wanted to say how sorry we are that those madmen have taken it out on dear old London." "Our thoughts are with you at this terrible time." By the time I reached the press room, I was moved to tears by their kind words.

God bless America!

Whereas, The French …

Barely home from Vegas, I was off to Paris for the World Poker Tour event, held at the refined Aviation Club de France, on the Champs-Elysées. Is there a more impressive address for a casino anywhere in the world? After the monster fields at the World Series of Poker, a positively miniscule 161 runners entered the WPT's only event in Europe. However, small can be beautiful, and Bruno Fitoussi was a most charming host, fussing over us like a mother hen.

The playing hours were civilized and meals took place in exquisite pavement cafes. I got a buzz just standing on the Champs-Elysées, watching what seemed like a million pretty girls wander past, each with a sense of style we Brits see only in glossy magazines.

Paris may well be the world's finest city: wide, cobbled avenues, some of the most beautiful buildings you will ever see, with spectacular views of Le Grande Arch – only a genius could have placed that structure so perfectly, and only a Frenchman could have conceived a building with such a wow factor.

Vivé le France!

And then it was Luton …

Err …

Tony "Tikay" Kendall is the presenter of Poker 425, and a partner in