Duck to water: Phelps and poker


Olympic swimming royalty Michael Phelps continues to possess the Midas touch.

We also now know that he's a fast learner.

Six weeks after coming to Las Vegas to learn how to play poker, Phelps made the final table of the Caesars Palace Poker Classic over the weekend.

Proving he can swim with sharks, the poker species, Phelps finished ninth out of 187 entrants in Sunday's $1,570 buy-in event.

And he continues to collect gold medals: While being introduced to the crowd Sunday, Phelps was presented with a gold Caesars Palace medallion by poker room manager Jim Pedulla and supervisor Bill O'Connell.

It will fit nicely with his amazing Olympic collection of 14 gold medals, including a record eight in the Beijing Olympics.

He's letting it be known he wants to play in the World Series of Poker.

MONDAY BUZZ

As the economic hangover looms larger, people are asking: Would MGM Mirage consider selling crown jewel Bellagio for a cash infusion as CityCenter's price tag continues to soar? The rumor's out there. ...

We hear surveillance cameras are being trained on audience members, including media, at a much-discussed show to determine what elements of the show gets a reaction and which fall flat.

POETRY IN MOTION

About 200 Poetry nightclub patrons and others participated in an observance early Sunday at the Forum Shops at Caesars. Patrons were invited to observe the closure of a large fire door about 1 a.m.

The door is at the center of legal action by Poetry owner Michael Goodwin, with partners in Wolfgang Puck's Chinois restaurant. They have sued Caesars Palace and Simon Property Group Inc., the owners of the Forum Shops.

The Poetry lawsuit alleges business is being damaged because the main entrance to the mall is being closed on Friday and Saturday to force Poetry's predominantly black clientele to enter through a back door.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Former heavyweight boxing champ Joe Frazier is visiting The Caring Place, 4425 S. Jones Blvd., Suite No. 1, from 5 to 6 p.m. today to lift spirits. He will be accompanied by Dan Grimaldi, who played twins Patsy and Philly Parisi on "The Sopranos" and comedian Jeff Parami. ...

We hear Joseph Hall, the Elvis impersonator who appeared at the MGM Grand on Friday with the "America's Got Talent" finalists, has something else in common with The King: Backstage spies say the ladies on the show found the Lincoln, Neb., entertainer devastatingly charming. ...

Former KLAS-TV, Channel 8, weekend anchor Colleen May was named Best TV News Anchor at Saturday night's Electronic Media Awards at Paris Las Vegas. It had to be the sweetest of the three she has won since 2005. Last month she was among 17 laid off at KLAS.

SIGHTINGS

Mena Suvari, who plays slaying suspect Sandy Murphy in Lifetime's "Sex & Lives in Sin City: The Ted Binion Scandal," which airs Saturday, has Murphy's character down pat. Other than posing for photos, Suvari didn't want anything to do with the media Saturday at the one-year anniversary party at Blush, in Wynn Las Vegas. No questions, her handler said. ... Josh Henderson of "Desperate Housewives" and the new "90210," on the balcony Saturday at The Bank, in Bellagio. Also in the club: Star chef Bobby Flay and friends. ... Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler of "The Sopranos," making stops Saturday at Lavo, in Palazzo, and Body English, in Hard Rock Hotel. ... Also at Lavo: Cheech Marin, after his show at the Palms, and Apl.de.ap from Black Eyed Peas.

THE PUNCH LINE

"The annual cat show begins tomorrow at Madison Square Garden. Donald Trump was walking by Madison Square Garden earlier today, and that thing on his head arched its back and hissed." -- David Letterman.

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.