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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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King of Vegas

19 March 2006

How does that old song go? "There's no business like show business...like no business I know." Hey, I've always been a movie and TV fan. When I was a kid I wanted to be a movie star when I grew up. What a glamorous way to make a living. Plus I wouldn't have to ask my dad for money any more.

Then it happened. A phone call from Spike TV. "We would like you to be a creative consultant for a show we are filming in Vegas." Well, I wouldn't be an actor, and I wouldn't be a movie star, but — creative consultant? That almost sounded better.

The show was called "King of Vegas," with 12 contestants going head to head at all the casino games. One contestant would be eliminated each week, and the winner of the whole shebang would pick up $1 million in cash!

I got to travel, too. Contestant searches took place in Hollywood, Las Vegas and Atlantic City. I envisioned lying on the beach in Atlantic City and sipping some kind of exotic drink with a little umbrella sticking out of it, checking the scripts for typos and okaying scene changes with a flourish of my pen.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to Atlantic City until late Saturday night; the contestant search went from eight the next morning until eight that night; my plane back to Vegas left Monday morning at 5:15. So much for fun in the sun. It rained the whole time I was in Hollywood, and by the time I got home I was suffering from the worst cold I'd ever had in my life.

The shows were taped during December in a huge tent set up in the parking lot at Ballys. For some reason, it was even colder inside the tent than it was outside. By the end of the shooting, everyone was sick except me because I was already sick to begin with.

The hosts of the show were Max Kellerman and Wayne Allyn Root, both of whom treated me almost as an equal. All in all, it was a rewarding experience, although my name went by so fast on the closing credits that you needed the Hubble Telescope to read it.

What was it like being a "creative consultant" on a TV show? Perhaps the following dialogue will explain it better than I can.

First day of shooting

Wayne Allyn Root: "Barney, what does insurance mean at blackjack?"

Tenth day of shooting

Wayne Allyn Root: "Barney, could you get me another cup of coffee?"

Yes, there's no business like show business.

Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson
Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson