07/05/2007 12:00AM

Calendar's triple 7s fuel Vegas promotions


The date doesn't look like anything special. But when you write it out as 7-7-07, it seems to take on a mystical quality. Here in Las Vegas, it's hard to avoid all the hype, as advertisements are everywhere for the "luckiest day of the year" or the "luckiest day of the century."

The daily newspaper the Las Vegas Review-Journal even put out a special section Thursday to mark the occasion (and reap the advertising dollars, of course). All types of industries are trying to cash in on a day that will have Vegas filled to capacity with people trying to be in the gambling capital of the world on such a lucky day. Restaurants and nightclubs are advertising heavily with special $7.77 meals and $7 cover charges. The city's wedding chapels are close to being fully booked, and lines are expected to be long at the Marriage License Bureau, where it costs just $55 for a Nevada wedding license and no blood test is required.

But it's the casinos that are really trying to lure the masses. Many are shortening the date to 7-7-7 so it looks like a winning slot machine. Some places are even having cash drawings, including $77,777 at every Station and Fiesta casino, $77,000 at the Suncoast, $777 at the Sahara, and $10,000 at the Rampart (okay, someone didn't the memo).

Since I was in my formative (pre-gambling age) years on 7-7-1977 and am a big longshot to make this century's 7-7-77, it would appear this is the luckiest day in my lifetime.

But I have my doubts.

For one thing, it's more than a little ironic that the casinos are going out of their way to bring in customers on this so-called "lucky day." If it was so lucky, you would think the casinos would be locking their doors until midnight. But with all the players feeling lucky and probably betting more than they should just because of a coincidence of the calendar, and with the house having the edge in every casino game, it's more than likely that the casinos will be the lucky ones.

World Series Main Event begins

The World Series of Poker has been going on for the last month at the Rio, and the $10,000 buy-in World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold'em - aka the Main Event, as dubbed by ESPN - was to begin at noon Friday. Actually, with the field having grown so much in recent years, Day 1 is actually split into four separate days on Friday through Monday, with a quarter of the field competing each day. The entire field will be combined Tuesday and play will continue with the final table to be contested July 17.

Last year, there were a record 8,773 players who put up the entry fee. However, in a lot of cases, the entry fee was paid by Internet gaming companies where players earned their way in. This year, due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed by Congress last October, the World Series is no longer allowing "third-party" registrations from dot-com companies, so the number of players is expected to drop. However, a lot of the smaller events have continued to break records this year, so it's possible that last year's record will be reached.

For those who can't make it here to view the action live, ESPN is beginning its Tuesday night shows next week and (with the exception of July 24) will continue with new shows every week through Oct. 30 when the final table of the main event will be shown.

* Last year, I played in the media/celebrity tournament and was at a table that included Internet model Cindy Margolis and porn star Ron Jeremy. For some reason, my wife didn't believe me when I told her I outlasted Jeremy. This year, they separated the media and celebrity tournaments. I blame it on the paparazzi, but the official reason was the Ante Up for Africa fund-raiser event that was held at 4 p.m. Thursday with a star-studded field and was open to anyone for a $5,000 donation to aid survivors of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. I lasted an hour this year in the media tournament before going all-in with A-K suited, but lost to pocket kings when an ace didn't hit the board.

New promotions for Del Mar meet

On July 16, the New Frontier Hotel-Casino on the Strip is scheduled to be closed to make way for El Ad Properties' construction of a replica of its New York icon, the Plaza Hotel, despite a Plaza Hotel already existing in downtown Vegas.

That's bad timing for horseplayers as the New Frontier was one of the few places that offered a special Del Mar wager the past few years: a jockey challenge prop bet. But the good news is that at least two casino companies have stepped up to fill the void with other contests.

Station Casinos is holding a Last Man Standing elimination contest, just like it has during the football season and March Madness, using Del Mar.

Entries, which started being taken this past Tuesday even though the Del Mar meet doesn't open until July 18, are $25 apiece with an offer of buy three get a fourth free. Contestants pick a horse each day to finish in the money until they are eliminated. If a horse gets scratched, the contestant gets the post-time favorite in the same race. Stations is guaranteeing a $20,000 winner-take-all prize and entries will be taken at the Station properties (Palace, Boulder, Sunset, Texas, Santa Fe, Green Valley Ranch, and Red Rock Resort) and the Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson. Daily picks can be put in at any property.

The Las Vegas Hilton is launching a SuperBook Saturdays contest on July 21 and it will run through the Del Mar meet. Each Saturday is its own contest, with entries costing $30 each with a maximum of three per person. Contestants will make six mythical $100 win-and-place bets on the card. The Hilton will seed the prize pool with an additional $500. The only Saturday during the meet when the contest won't be held is Aug. 18 when the Hilton hosts its Pick the Ponies tournament.