Speculation abounds about parallels in book about sports betting

After receiving a positive initial reception from the media, Michael Konik's intriguing book "The Smart Money" did a veritable Jimmy Hoffa act in the press.

It's interesting because Konik's work is based on his rare insider's view of his tenure with the sports betting group headed by Billy Walters. Walters, a major golf course developer in Southern Nevada, was said to be ticked off about Konik's project.

Those who have read the book noticed plenty of similarities between Rick "Big Daddy" Matthews and Walters, and Eric "Jox" Brijox and handicapping master Michael "Roxy" Roxborough, but readers have wondered about the identities of some of the other characters in the story.

A few possible answers recently surfaced in the letters section of the street savvy LasVegasAdvisor.com Web site. Among them: The sports bettor "Captain Beefcake" is none other than Hollywood giant Bruce Willis, and the gambler "Heartthrob" is actor/poker bum Ben Affleck. Could the "Boy Wonder" character be based on Ashton Kutcher?

That's the speculation. Presuming those guesses are correct, do you suppose they'd consider playing themselves if "The Smart Money" ever makes it to the big screen?

POLES FOR SALE: And stages, too. Now that the federal government has clarified its intentions to force the forfeiture of the Crazy Horse Too topless bar and move toward selling the place, it's time for a little free advice to the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI.

Don't try to run the joint. The IRS is still trying to live down its stewardship of Joe Conforte's Mustang Ranch.

COURTHOUSE COMPETITION: Regional Justice Center sources continue to talk about the high likelihood of veteran Douglas Smith taking on District Judge Lee Gates. Smith is said to enjoy support from several influential members of local law enforcement.

ANDRE'S ACE: Andre Agassi continues to prove that the true value of a life is how it's spent helping others. Tickets for Agassi's 12th annual fundraiser to benefit at-risk youth go on sale today.

The event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Oct. 6, will feature an eclectic lineup that ranges from Tony Bennett to Carlos Santana with a special performance scheduled by Jerry Seinfeld.

LEGAL MERGER: The law firm headed by veteran trial attorney and First Amendment specialist Dominic Gentile is joining Gordon & Silver Ltd.

Gentile and attorneys Jerome DePalma, Paola Armeni and Mark Dzarnoski are merging into the firm headed by Gerald Gordon and Jeffrey Silver.

REUNION ALREADY? I see the Palms is sponsoring the 15th annual Pimp 'n' Ho Ball this weekend.

Sounds like a reunion of former Clark County commissioners, doesn't it?

CARTER ENDORSEMENT: Former U.S. Senate candidate Jack Carter is keeping his hand in Nevada politics by endorsing the Democratic presidential candidacy of Joe Biden.

Biden, Bill Richardson and Christopher Dodd have plenty of experience but are distant underdogs in the polls in Nevada behind Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. You'd think that fact would make them work even harder to win hearts and minds in this state.

FOOD FIGHT? No, it's just time for two of the valley's most popular gastronomic events, the Greek Food Festival (Sept. 6-9) and the San Gennaro Feast (Sept. 11-16).

The Greek is in the parking lot of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church at 5300 El Camino Road, and Gennaro assembles on the corner of Grand Canyon Drive and West Flamingo Road.

Father Dave Cassaleggio, whose name last made the newspaper in association with his friendship with topless bar mogul Rick Rizzolo, will bless the Gennaro event.

BOOK 'EM: Essays from the late author and UNLV history professor Hal Rothman have been collected in "Playing the Odds: Las Vegas and the Modern West," which is set for publication Oct. 15. Rothman, who died this year from Lou Gehrig's disease, was a prolific writer and widely quoted scholar.

It's not due out until spring, but "Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and $3 Million" has movie deal written all over it. It's the story of the crime spree of Jose Vigoa, and how Metro Lt. John Alamshaw helped bring him to justice.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Attorney and friend JoNell Thomas is leaving private practice to join the Clark County Public Defender's office.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 383-0295.