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Issue Date: August 2012


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Lane Strauss

I strut past the Poker Room and push open the doors of the Diamond Lounge, where the high rollers at the Horseshoe can escape subatomic riff-raff like me. Not today though.

With odds longer than a royal flush that I’d ever get in here on my own (the club is reserved for rewards members who earn at least 11,000 points a year), I’m anticipating a night of partying with big money players in a big money room. With its inlayed marble floor, black leather sofas and crystal chandeliers, the room looks as though you’ve stepped back into Cleveland’s art deco era.

But there’s something else: It’s quiet. Really quiet. A handful of people are sipping drinks, chatting, watching TV. Granted it’s early on a Saturday night, but still. Why isn’t the wagering elite embracing their privacy in the most decadent way possible? I look around at the walls lined with large black and white photos showcasing some of Ohio’s most famous entertainers — Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Clark Gable — and I yearn for a little of Martin at Atlantic City’s 500 Club. But this isn’t that kind of place.

“I like to sit down, have a pop, maybe catch a couple of innings of the ballgame and then head back out to the casino,” says Pat from Brooklyn Heights, who estimates he’s wagered more than $50,000 at Horseshoe properties to get into the club.

Baseball? Pop? For the love of Eliot Ness, Pat. Push back your fedora and have a whiskey sour.

Where’s my party, I wonder? Then it hits me like Martin’s big pizza pie. This place is the intermission. The real show is beyond those doors wrapped in neon and felt.


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