Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our Visit with the Rat Pack

Here in Vegas there is evidence everywhere of the love and admiration of the “Rat Pack”. There are streets named for Sammy, Dean, and Frank all close to the strip, but what I have noticed most is that behind Elvis impersonators – impersonators of the Rat Pack run a close second.

On Tuesday evening after we arrived here in Vegas, the “API Rat Pack” attended the World Series of BBQ Party at the Golden Nugget hosted by Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey. The event was tremendous and we all felt privileged to attend and get our photos taken with, and to speak with the limitless supply of celebrities and professional poker players in attendance. Jerry Yang, the 2007 WSOP Winner approached us, introduced himself and spent a few minutes encouraging us to believe that we too could win at the WSOP. Mike Spencer had his wet dream come true when he got his picture taken with Shannon Elizabeth and Jennifer Tilly. Mike Matasow took individual and group photos with us and spent some time telling us how he got back into shape and every time we saw him this week has said hello to us. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy that has the “brat” image only on the stage he plays. Raphe Furst introduced us around and answered our poker questions – yes Mike Spencer asked about playing pocket 3’s! I finally met my favorite poker player, Phil Gordon, and got a glimpse into his life as he brought his newborn child to the party along with his wife and mother. I spent a good amount of time chatting with Phil’s wife Barbara and his mother talking about the impact of having a newborn in their life, and with his mother about their life back in Georgia when they lived in Stone Mountain. All of this was fantastic, but there was one surprising person we met that all of us related to immediately.

His name is Tom Stevens. Tom came to the party dressed as Dean Martin and anywhere you looked you could see him posing while seemingly playing the fool, so naturally we approached him to learn more. It turned out that Tom Stevens is a singer and impersonator with a show on the strip in the Riviera. As we all got to know Tom better he invited us to his show the next day at 4:00 p.m., told us he’d give us 50% off our tickets, and we decided to give it a shot having expectations that you could describe as limited. As it turned out I think Tom was surprised when we showed up at his show and instead of giving us 50% off told us he liked us and gave us the $50 face value tickets for free. We graciously accepted and headed into the showroom.

In short, Tom Stevens is by far the best, most entertaining, talented performer I have ever had the opportunity to see in Las Vegas. His one man show will not only is energetic, upbeat, fun and you will never believe how well he does the impressions of various performers from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr. to Cher, Sean Connery, and Louis Armstrong. What is amazing is that he not only impersonates somewhere close to 35 different celebrities in his show, he sings some of their songs to a such perfection that if you close your eyes you would swear Elvis had risen along with Ray Charles and many others.

His show may not be the best known in Vegas, but this man is extremely talented and should easily be enjoyed by young and old alike. Thanks for your hospitality Tom. We loved it!

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