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Lucky in Cards, Game Shows and Life
April 1

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

I have always said that I was rich before I hit it big on game shows...and it was proven to me in a big way as I had a 40th birthday trip this past weekend in Atlantic City with fellow columnist and friend Gordon Pepper. The big surprise was the appearance of Chico the WLTI crew hit Atlantic City in search of profit. Now...we did find a lot of we took Atlantic City for over $900 between the three of us.

But it wouldn’t be complete without a report from the Game Show perspective. Although there were no live casino game shows...there were plenty of game show
slot machines represented including “Jeopardy!” “Wheel of Fortune”, “Match Game”, “The Price is Right” “Deal or No Deal” (in both the casinos and a cheesy boardwalk ticket machine), "The Apprentice--Season 2" and the machine which gave us the big bucks with no whammies... “Press Your Luck” Community Gaming Big Event Slots. (What a Mouthful!)

Todd Newton makes an appearance as the host of the Big Event bonus rounds which include Stack A Whammy, Free Spin Bonus, Vacation of A Lifetime, Smash-A-Whammy and Big Bucks. If you trigger the bonus...everyone who is playing at the time gets the bonus and depending on the could have been a lot of money :) And for us, that was the machine that between the three of us...on our way out....we split $1000 on a free spin bonus.

But even with that...the trip was a major success. We brought a live version of Whammy Theater to Bonus Texas Hold’em and Asia Poker tables. We had fun. And that’s what life is all about...good friends, good luck and being alive. When we split the $1,000....we toasted Peter Tomarken and Rod Roddy at dinner. I am blessed in more ways than I can imagine. This is what friendship and game show fandom is all about.

As I was in my room waiting for the gambling portion of the trip to begin, I saw one of the dumbest things happen in Apprentice history. I caught the CNBC rerun of "The Apprentice" and as the final four was whittled down to two, Donald Trump went for drama over gameplay. Instead of having Piers v. Carol, he thought it would be better to have drama and it’s Piers v. Trace.

Now let me tell you a little about Mr. Morgan. According an article in Monday’s New York Post, Morgan was, for 12 years, one of the most powerful newspaper editors in the brutal world of London's storied Fleet Street tabloids, first for the News of the World (owned by News Corp., the parent company of The Post) and then for The Mirror.

He was famously fired in 2004 after overseeing the publication of what turned out to be faked photographs of Iraqi prisoners supposedly being abused by British troops.

I think this was a dumb move by Mr. Trump. If Trump had some stones, he would make Mr. Morgan the winner, because all through the competition, he has done the most to win. He has done all it takes. If Trace wins, (and Trace is a man I like and admire) it would not be fair from a competitive perspective. We shall see what happens.

I had the pleasure of attending the premiere show of “What’s My Line-Live On Stage” at the Barrow Street Theater. And, as I predicted last week, the show was an absolute blast. I had the privilege before the show to speak with Betsy Palmer, the 81 year old panelist from I’ve Got A Secret and What’s My Line. She was
graceful and remembered me from Game Show Congress 5. I didn’t know that she was Jason Voorhees’s mom from the Original Friday the 13th...and still does horror conventions!

J. Keith Van Straaten was amazing as usual. And the guests for week 1 were terrific. We had Pat Finch...the VERY FIRST contestant from the first episode of What’s My Line in 1950 (she was a Hat Check Girl at the Stork Club), Alan Rosen (who just happens to be the head of Junior’s Cheesecake...and brought
free samples for the audience!). I knew him by face, because of how he kicked Bobby Flay’s butt in a cheesecake throwdown. And trust me. Junior’s Cheesecake is the best cheesecake in the world. Period. Seek it out. Go to We had the principal oboist from the New York Philharmonic, Liang Wang grace us with a performance (with his mom in the audience) and our mystery guest...George Wendt.

As I said have 5 weeks to go...go to See the show. Go can listen later.

Some Price is Right news....In the total no-brainer department...CBS has ordered four more episodes of the “Million Dollar Spectacular”. It has been a ratings hit in it’s time slot...the only problem it might have is the May Sweeps going head to head against Deal or No Deal. But I have faith...because of some quotes in
a recent interview with Variety.

"It's the contestant, not the game, not the host. It's that person up there on the stage who goes on a journey, and the audience is right there with them," Drew Carey says. "The host is just the guide. All I have to do is just show up in a good mood and be nice to everybody." Carey went on, "Whether it's 'American Idol' or 'The Price Is Right,' we invest in these people and want them to win," ‘The Price Is Right' is a genius show on so many levels. The people are so excited and the stakes aren't so high that it's going to change anybody's life. It's all about having a good time."

Carey was quick to look back at the transition of holding the skinny mic and can appreciate Barker's words of wisdom. "His advice was to be myself and 'don't do the show like I did,'" Carey recalls. "That was either good advice or a warning. Maybe it was a threat."

And if you can’t make it to LA, you can download The Price Is Right game, based on the highly successful television show. Players can now "COME ON DOWN" for their shot in Contestant's Row, bid on items in 16 different pricing games, test their luck with spinning The Big Wheel, and experience the winner-takes-all tension of the Showcase Showdown -- all with a simple download.

According to PR Newswire, "'The Price Is Right' is one of the most successful game shows in history, and the perfect format for an interactive game," said David
Luner, Senior Vice President, Interactive & Consumer Products, FremantleMedia Enterprises in North America, licensor of "The Price Is Right". "Not only is the
game incredibly true to the show, it's a lot of fun to play."

Highlighting the quality of the title, Ludia's founder  and CEO, Alex Thabet added, "Our team has worked tirelessly to create an authentic, easy-to-play game that gives players access to 'The Price Is Right' stage on their home computers. This first Ludia game release sets the high standard that we intend to
maintain for each of our upcoming titles."

The Price Is Right game also employs Ludia's innovative "Rank Me In" system that enables players to create or join groups of family and friends to track
each other's winnings.

The Price Is Right downloadable game will be available for PC for $19.99 on major downloadable game destinations, including

The Bachelor and shows like it, in my opinion, make men and woman look really shallow. And then there’s a level where few people fear to tread. And Stacey Elza did it. On “The Bachelor: London Calling”’s premiere episode, Stacey Elza got drunk, and while drunk slipped Matt Grant a pair of her underpants. She said they weren’t on her body, but were an extra pair. She didn’t make it past round 1.

"I never go into anything looking for anything particular to come out of it -- I just ride with it  -- and whatever happens, happens," she explained.  "I'm only 26. If I meet someone that sweeps me off my feet, awesome. But I'm not going to go looking for it. Basically I went there for the experience of it and if it happens it happens. Obviously it didn't. Whatever."

All I have to say is...ain’t love grand?

As for Idol, we had “The Year That You Were Born” week. David Cook had another killer performance, David Archuleta stumbled again, and Chikezie, a very surprising Syesha Mercado, and Jason Castro in the Bottom 3. Chikezie Eze goes home.

The Idol Power Chart goes thusly:

1. David Cook (Same)
2. Syesha Mercado (Up 1)
3. Michael Johns (Up 4)
4. David Archuleta (Down 2)
5. Carly Smithson (Down 1)
6  Brooke White (Down 1)
7. Kristy Lee Cook (Up 3)
8. Ramiele Malubay (up 1)
9. Jason Castro (Down 3)

Random Newsbits time:

- NBC has greenlit a Celebrity version of Family Feud for Primetime in Summer. According to Buzzerblog, Ion and GSN both have picked up John O’Hurley versions for their reruns. This is the year of Mr. O’Hurley and I couldn’t be happier.

- Jeopardy is taping it’s College Championship April 11 and 12th at the University of Wisconsin. Speaking of its host, Alex Trebek will join Robert Osborne on April 12 to guest program with him on Turner Classic Movies.

- Congratulations to Jamie Christenson, who was the 2nd $100,000 winner on Wheel of Fortune this season.

-  Deal or No Deal is going to your cell phone with I-Play.

- -And finally, Ben Bailey of Cash Cab gets a profile in the New York Daily News on Thursday as he was a featured speaker at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission Driver Recognition Ceremony.

That will do it for this week. Until next week, this is Jason Block saying...don't just play to win.

Jason Block is still looking for NYC Taxi 7N76. E-mail at for directions.