Offside Thursday: It’s About Time

Soon it will be Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and before you know it Christmas and then New Years. Wow the year has flown by. I love Halloween. I love the atmosphere, the chaos, the costumes and how angry people get when they don’t win first prize in the best costume of the night contest at a local drinking establishment.

Some people hate Halloween simply because of the pressure of coming up with a good costume. I’m still recovering from the year my mom dressed me as a cabbage patch kid. ( No Kidding) [Read more…]

Grizzlies Fall in Home Opener

Call it an imperfect 10. Ten years in Memphis, ten straight losses in the season opener.

It is traditionally one of the best attended games of the season for the Grizzlies, and also traditionally one of the worst performances. Last night was no exception.

The Grizzlies, who entered the game without center Marc Gasol and lost All-Star forward Zach Randolph early in the game, were manhandled by Atlanta inside and out. [Read more…]

Ashley Ann Vickers on MSL

Former Memphis Grizzlies emcee and current WWE Diva Ashley Ann Vickers joins Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter in studio to talk about  her appearance in Maximher new 2011 calendar, sexy Halloween costumes and more.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Memphisport Live: 10.26.10

Hour 1

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter debate the 2010-11 NBA/Grizzlies season. Plus, the guys discuss Jelan Kendrick’s troubles, local excitement surrounding the World Series, the Titans 27-point 4th quarter and more.

Hour 2

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Former Memphis Grizzlies emcee and current WWE DivaAshley Ann Vickers joins Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter in studio to talk about her appearance in Maximher new 2011 calendar, sexy Halloween costumes and more. Also, the guys  give away a pair of $227 tickets for Grizzlies opening night during another rowdy edition of Hang Up & Listen.  Plus,Andy Skrzat says his final goodbyes.

Seven Sports Stars You Should Know

With a full set of D-I university teams, an NBA team, a AAA baseball team, and a relatively nearby minor league hockey franchise, Memphis doesn’t lack for sports stars and sports heroes. But what about the other guys and gals? What about the unsung heroes of the local sporting world – the interesting, the tough, the dedicated? This story is for them. So get to know these paragons of sporting glory, because through their performance, hobbies or even incredible personality they are all making Memphis a better sports city in their own way.

Daniel Descalsco, Memphis Redbirds

On the field, Redbirds second baseman Daniel Descalsco is a high percentage hitter who bats much more successfully than most would expect for a 5’9” infielder. Off the field, he is a carefree bay area guy who misses his grandmother’s cooking.

Descalsco has played well for the Redbirds since being called up in July of 2009, helping the team win the PCL championship last season, playing a key role on the 2009 USA Gold Medal World Cup Team, and steering the ‘birds to another PCL Championship Series appearance this season.

In the middle of all his success, Descalsco has made time to visit the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, sample the local food, kick back a little on Beale Street, and knock out a few games of FIFA 11 on Playstation 3.

Descalsco is known as something of a prankster, and for the last Sunday home game of 2010, he made sure everyone had a laugh by providing a set of custom walk-songs for the team.

“I changed everybody’s songs to kinda cheesy, teeny-bopper songs but didn’t tell anybody. That was pretty fun.”

Descalsco says he’s quite happy in Memphis, even with this summer’s heat wave, which he described as “brutal.” However he slightly laments the quality of available Italian food.

“I guess I’m spoiled by my grandmother,” he said. “She’s probably the best cook out there. I try a bit myself, but I can’t compare to her.”

Austin Lyons, MMA Fighter

Who picks a career of getting beaten up? In Austin Lyons’ case, a die-hard DC Comics nut, who saw a whole bunch of Superman in himself.

Lyons road to professional fighting started as a senior defensive tackle at Dyersburg High School, where he occasionally trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to “stay limber.” An ACL tear that year and a re-injury of the same knee in college ended Lyons football playing, but instead of forgetting about an athletic career, Lyons just switched focus.

“Once football was over and I rehabbed my knee, I still had that competitive itch,” Lyons said. “A guy from a local Tae-Kwon Do school came into a sporting goods store I was working in, and gave me a card for MMA lessons. Ultimate Fighter was getting big, and the MMA pool was growing, so I just jumped in and started swimming.”

After posting an 11-1 record as an amateur, Lyons began fighting for Empire fights, where he has a 3-1 record with three submissions. Lyons intends to make fighting last as a career, and hopes respect for the sport will grow as his career continues.

“The sport is getting more and more popular, but still needs to get more respect. Right now any joe schmo can be a professional fighter,” Lyons said. “You can’t walk into a bar with a Titans t-shirt on and say you play for the Titans. But anyone can walk into a Buffalo Wild Wings with a Tap-Out shirt on and say they’re a professional fighter. I hate to see guys who devalue the sport by putting on shirts and acting ridiculous.”

This comes from a fighter who has two signature shirts of his own already. But it is likely fans will only see him wearing them at a fight. Otherwise, if he’s not training, Lyons is probably relaxing at home with some Superman or Batman comics.

“I’m a pretty low-key guy.”

Darrell Stoddard, Mississippi Riverkings

Unless the tattoo and expression on this issue’s cover don’t make it clear, let’s spell it out. Darrell Stoddard is tough. The 28-year-old Riverkings forward has made a habit of scoring goals for the franchise, posting 14 last year, but he is most famous for racking up penalty minutes and always welcoming an on-ice fight.

Stoddard racked up 180 penalty minutes last season, his highest since his first year with the Kings when he logged 184 minutes in the box. His public presence largely revolves around his fighting as well, with several YouTube videos documenting his fisticuffs.

Stoddard takes the tough guy attitude off the ice as well, building fences in the offseason (because, seriously, what else would he be doing?) and looking for various ways to keep competing as only a man should.

“Last year I really wanted to enter a tough man competition in Tunica,” Stoddard said,  “but I couldn’t go for it because I had broken my hand fighting.”

Only Stoddard could out-tough himself.

Personally, Stoddard keeps things relatively low-key, spending time with his three-year-old son Caden, and his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter.

“I love going to my son’s tee ball games. He’s a real player. My parents say he’s just as wild and crazy as I was.”

When in Canada, Stoddard used to enjoy snowboarding and dirt biking, but now that he lives in Southaven, he has taken up fishing. No word on whether he catches catfish with his fists.

Kerry Crawford-Trisler, Memphis Roller Derby

The Memphis Roller Derby utility girl known as “Lady Problems” loves her sporting life, but is considerably better known for her much-publicized online love of Memphis, the Crawford-Trisler started the website as a freelance project, and the blog is now financially supported by the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

“The blog is my job; it’s what I do for a living. It’s my life,” said Crawford-Trisler.

The project has proven successful, as Crawford-Trisler has amassed a major twitter following, and significant public coverage, including her appearance on the cover of last year’s 20 under 30 list in the Memphis Flyer.

“That was an awkward week,” Crawford-Trisler said of the cover. “It was just weird seeing myself places. My best friend drew a mustache and a top hat on it, and is still making fun of me.”

Although she doesn’t consider herself an athlete, Crawford-Trisler got into roller derby two years ago after seeing one event in person.

“I’m like the least athletic person ever. I suck at sports, but I went and saw a bout a couple years ago, and it just looked like so much fun. It was these crazy super hero girls hitting each other.”

Now Crawford-Trisler estimates she is good enough on her skates to work at Sonic, and spends at least five hours a week practicing with her team. Best thing about the team? The break her roller derby experience provides from her daily life.

“I think with Derby because you’re not using your real name, and when I skate I don’t wear my glasses, I have a fake name and numbers. So it’s kind of a break from work.”

Allie Prescott, Professional Poker Player

As would be expected from the son of Memphis baseball royalty, Allie Prescott IV grew up playing baseball. He went to Tulane to play baseball. He thought he would have a career in baseball, like his father, Allie Prescott III, who managed both the Chicks and Redbirds and was instrumental in bringing the Redbirds to Memphis.

A torn rotator cuff ended the baseball dream.

“I injured it my freshman year even before the season started,” Prescott said. “I was in rehab for 18 months, but the shoulder just wasn’t the same, and it was too late for surgery, so it was clear this was the kind of injury that would go away, so that was it for baseball.”

So Prescott switched focus. He got a business degree in 2003, and started a local real estate business, Prescott Properties. Oh and he also had some fun at the casinos.

“After baseball was done, my friends and I would play together, or we would be hanging out at the casinos they had there in New Orleans, and I started to realize I kind of had a knack for the game.”

The game was poker, and Prescott has such a “knack” for it that it’s now his full time job, taking him around the world and earning him, in some cases, very large prizes.

“My biggest take was about $350,000 from an tournament in Aruba in 2008. We got down to five guys and just split the money evenly. We still played it out even though there wasn’t any more money involved. I’ve had a few other six figure hits but haven’t hit the seven figure score yet. That’s the goal.”

Prescott technically resides in Vegas, though he is so often traveling to tournaments that he is not actually there very often. No matter where he is though, Prescott said Memphis is always home.

“I’m a definite Memphian. I don’t think that will ever change.”

Beth Halldorson, Memphis Flamingos Rugby

Enter the director. Beth Halldorson, an inaugural member and now President of the Memphis Flamingos Rugby team, is at her best when playing the role of the general. On the Rugby pitch, Halldorson plays a mental game as scrum half, helping direct the members of her team to victory.

Professionally Halldorson is a different type of director, one usually associated with Hollywood. Halldorson works full-time as a videographer for mega firm Baker-Donelson, but also finds time to update her YouTube channel (creatively named bethhalldorson), and just finished co-directing the independent film “Scrum.”

One of her YouTube videos, “Rugby 101,” has accumulated more than 1.4 million views, and is the top search hit on the site for “Rugby.” Halldorson said she made the video to help raise awareness of the sport.

“Usually when I tell people about the team or what I do they say something like ‘oh that’s cool’ or, more often, ‘I didn’t know we had a team,’” Halldorson said. “So for people who are interested, that video can help them understand the basics of the game.”

Halldorson’s commitment to the game and the team in Memphis has been impressive. While other Tennessee cities like Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga have struggled to stay solvent, Halldorson made sure the Memphis squad remained intact.

“It can be frustrating, because those other Tennessee teams couldn’t keep it together and just merged into one. So a lot of times it feels like Memphis versus the rest of Tennessee. But it’s ok. We have fun with it by poking fun at them at the ending our pregame song!”

Vendula Strnadova, University of Memphis Soccer

Twenty years old, shy, transplant from the desert, epic soccer player. That’s Vendula Strnadova, the midfielder on the nationally ranked University of Memphis Women’s team.

Strnadova has an interesting background, moving to the United States from the Czech Republic as a child, after her father was offered a scholarship at New Mexico State University.

Not long after arriving in New Mexico, Strnadova began playing soccer, at first on boys’ teams, where she didn’t immediately stand out as a star.

“Playing with boys was a challenge, I had to play faster and stronger and tougher,” Strnadova said.

The challenge paid off around the time Strnadova was 10, as she quickly experienced major recognition, was selected for the U.S. Olympic Developmental National Pool, and played for the Czech National U-19 team from 2006-2009.

Although Strnadova grew up playing with her two sisters, particularly her older sister, when the time came to choose a college, she chose to cut her own path and come to Memphis rather than stay in New Mexico.

“Memphis is a nice change from New Mexico, because that’s a desert, and also it reminds me of Europe because it’s so green.”

Academically Strnadova  is finishing a degree in Health and Human Performance, and has plans to become a physical therapist, massage therapist, or chef.

That is if soccer doesn’t pan out first.

By Doug Gillon, Darrell Stoddard Photo by Chase Gustafson.

The Empire Strikes

On October 9, people worldwide will be focusing their attention on Memphis based MMA promotion, Empire Fighting Championship.

Germantown native and Empire promoter, Tyler Sory considers Empire, the San Pellegrino of the MMA world with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) being Coca-Cola and Strikeforce being Pepsi.

MMA (mixed martial arts) is the fastest growing sport in the world today and the city of Memphis has one of the top fight promotions in the country right here in its own backyard. Empire is so popular that people as far as California, Brazil, and even Israel were ordering the Empire fights on worldwide internet pay per view because they couldn’t be there in attendance. Because of its growing popularity, Empire is on the verge of signing a sports network contract.

According to Bartlett native and Empire matchmaker David Ferguson (Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu owner), the people of Memphis can witness, first hand, the best professional card that the mid-south has ever seen. “I think that any of these guys who are on this card could be a main event on other cards and they have been. All of these fighters, whether amateur or pro have potential to be in a main event fight on any show in the mid-south and we have them all on one card.”

We sat down with Empire matchmaker David Ferguson and he broke down some of these high profile matchups for the event:

AUSTIN LYONS, Memphis Judo and Jiu Jitsu (Memphis, TN) vs.
ZACH UNDERWOOD, Team Relentless (Union City, TN)

“This fight made the most sense to me simply because both Austin and Zach have earned two wins on Empire. They are both 2-0 for Empire and are both two of the top 155’s in the entire area. Zach is experienced having won his Stikeforce debut. Both are extremely tough guys and I do think that there are certain things each fighter can exploit in the other and that makes it a good match up. Both guys like to throw hands. Zach has knock out power, but Austin has more technical hands in my opinion, so it’s going to come down to which guy can really impose their will on the other. Zach is good in the clinch and Austin is good on the ground. Zach is a survivor and he always comes in shape and in a five round fight, anything can happen. I think this is a breakout fight for both of these guys and whoever wins this fight and is the Empire belt holder will definitely have a target on their back. I think for sure they can fight for Strikeforce or Bellator and go in as an up and coming fighter. “

CHARLIE RADER, Power MMA (New Orleans, LA) vs.
ANDY UHRICH, Team Vortex (Memphis, TN)

“Rader is on a two fight win streak with Bellator and Uhrich won his Strikeforce debut. But both guys have lost to a guy named Jake Hecht who is out of St. Louis. The winner of this fight will move on to a rematch with Hecht for the welterweight belt on the next Empire show. The guy who wins this fight definitely puts himself on the next level. If I were a matchmaker for Bellator, Strikeforce, or even the UFC, then I would take a very strong look at the guy who wins this fight. They are both ready for that next level. “

JACOB NOE, Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu (Memphis, TN) vs.
TEL FAULKNER, Gorilla Squad MMA (Natchez, MS)

“This is an interesting fight because Jacob Noe has always fought at heavyweight. He’s been around for a long time and has been fighting in the area off and on for about ten years. I’ve seen him fight in some battles and this is his first fight at 205.  Tel Faulkner is one of those guys who is a gatekeeper. If you beat Tel Faulkner then you move on with your career, and if you don’t beat him you need to reassess. Tel is 5-5-1 and is very tough.  He is always down for a battle.”

DAN SCHROEPELL, Germantown Martial Arts (Germantown, TN) vs.
BOBBY TAYLOR, Striketeam (Lewisberg, TN)

“Both guys were undefeated as amateurs. Dan Schroepell who fights out of Germantown was 6-0 as an amateur and is extremely strong. Schroepell is very athletic and is as strong as a middleweight. He hits very hard and has good ground skills. Bobby Taylor is a guy who completely flies under the radar. Nobody knows who Bobby Taylor is. I know who Bobby
Taylor is. I’ve seen him fight twice already. He is very heavy handed. I think 8 of his 9 wins are by way of knockout. The first time I saw this kid I was extremely impressed with him and he fought off of natural ability. He never even had a trainer, didn’t have a team, wasn’t coached and now he is. Jason Woods of Striketeam is training him hard and his coach was looking for him to turn pro and what a better matchup than a guy who also likes to hit hard and bang it out in Dan Schroepell. There is no doubt…. somebody is getting knocked out.”

CODY FLOYD, Tupelo BJJ (Tupelo, MS) vs.
HARRY JOHNSON, Team Vortex (Memphis, TN)

“Both of these guys have very contrasting styles. Harry Johnson is 4-3 as a pro and is one of those guys who puts it all on the line and gives 100%. No matter what fight Harry is in it is going to be exciting. His weakness is the ground, but he has good takedown defense and he gets up from the ground really well. He is probably the most athletic guy we have on the card. He has knockout power and a little bit of swagger to him. A win for Harry would definitely put him in title contention for Empire in my opinion.

The same goes for Cody Floyd, who recently won his Strikeforce debut. Cody is one of the most talented fighters in the mid-south pound for pound right now. The kid learns so fast and is very humble and has great coaching over at Tupelo BJJ. The kid is like a sponge. He has only been training for two and a half years but he is extremely refined in his skills and looks like a veteran out there. His first pro fight was for Strikeforce in Nashville and he has a real test in front of him in Harry Johnson. This fight is a toss up in my opinion and the one who imposes their style will be the one who comes out victorious.”

The event features seven other bouts incuding  Dustin Rhodes/Flatline MMA (Florence, AL) vs Abe Wilso/Germantown Martial Arts (Germantown, TN), Taylor Callens/Team Relentless (Union City, TN) vs Jonathan Burdine/Team Paragon (Corinth, MS), Chris Hall/Integrated Martial Arts (Lebanon, TN) vs Thomas Vasquez/Bang Gym (Southaven, MS), Brian Hall/Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu (Memphis, TN) vs Brian Horton/Team Rock (Camden, TN), Dave Martin/Bang Gym (Southaven, TN) vs Mike Houston/Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu (Marion, AR), Austin Garner/John Hubbard Martial Arts (Russelville, AR) vs Jeremiah Trundle/Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu (Millington, TN) and Jimmy White/21st Century Martial Arts (West Memphis, AR) vs Adam Denton/Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu (Memphis, TN).

By Rodrigo Galvan, Photo by Jay Johnson. For VIP table tickets call 615-887-8131. For tickets for this event go to, or

Tony the Titan

Tony Brown was a three-year starter on the defensive line for the University of Memphis. He’s been around the NFL and even NFL Europe. Now he’s a key piece of the stout Tennessee Titans defense who just signed a 3-year, $17 million contract extension. The former Tiger turned Titan sat down with Memphis Sport to talk about defense, the best food in the state, DeAngelo vs. CJ, and more.

How does it feel to get your contract extension done, now knowing that you’ll be with the Titans for another three seasons?
It definitely makes me appreciate things. I’ve been working my tail off, you know, and it finally happened for me despite all the obstacles I had to go through to get here. It’s definitely a good feeling to play hard and get rewarded for it.

Just how rewarding is it for a guy like you; someone who wasn’t a first round draft pick, who worked his way through a number of NFL rosters and even NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals?
I can’t even really explain it. You know, it does something for me and my family; it sets us up for the rest of our lives. I tell some of our younger guys you’ve just got to keep going hard and eventually it’ll pay off for you and in my situation it did. I’m just excited about everything.

You started your Titans career in 2006 by coming in to help on the defensive line while Albert Haynesworth served a five game suspension. What was that situation like?
When I got here I couldn’t be a guy that replaced him because he’s a guy that had been outstanding since he’d been here but at the same time I felt like they gave me this chance, this opportunity, and while I’m here I’m going to make it hard for them to get rid of me. I made sure I came in and showed them I really wanted to be here. Not only did I want to be here but I deserved to be here by showing them my heart and my dedication. I had never met him but when he got back I told him I appreciated it because that gave me an opportunity.

Yeah. Thanks for getting suspended, buddy. That helped me out.

You were recently activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list. How are you feeling now that the season has begun?
I played in the last preseason game and I felt good. I’ve been running around and practicing with the team. All I need to do is just hone in because my reps were down but I got to spend a lot of time in the film room so I look at it as a gift and not a curse that I wasn’t practicing. So I’ve been running around with the team and we’ve been looking real good so far.

After a career high five sacks last season, what are your expectations for yourself and the team this season?
Honestly man, I want to make last year my worst year. I think I did a pretty good job so I’m going to try to do better than what I did. I feel like if I do a better job it’s going to help guys around me, as far as the defense, and help the team win games. I don’t have any goals as far as numbers. I just want to stay healthy. If I stay healthy then the football part will take care of itself.

Being a former Tiger and playing just up the road, how closely do you follow the football team now?
Well I know that got some new things going. I think coach Porter’s going to get those guys going. It’s been a slow start for them but I think they’re going to be fine.

As a defensive guy, does it hurt a little to see how their defense has struggled a little over the past few years?
It is because when we were there our defense was pretty good. But when we were there our offense wasn’t all that. Now the offense has gotten better and the defense is trying to works its way back up that ladder, but I think they’ll be fine because they’ve got a lot of younger guys, too. They’ve just got to buy into the system.

The controversy here for years has been about an on-campus football stadium. Do you think that would be a good thing for the university?
I think it would. When I was down there, there were a lot of people that wanted to go to games. There were a lot of students that didn’t have cars and going to the Liberty Bowl was kind of out of the way. You think of all these other schools that have the stadium right there in the middle of campus and people can walk right there. I think it’d definitely help. It wouldn’t hurt.

When DeAngelo Williams came in as a freshman in your senior season, could you and your teammates tell how good he was going to be?
Oh yeah. We knew it from day one in like the first week of training camp. We knew it because he came to straight work. He was a younger guy and he was humble and he’s still the same way now. And it paid off for him because he’s one of the best in the league right now.

So you briefly played with a record-breaking running back in college and now you have a record-breaking running back on your team right now in Chris Johnson. If you had to choose one, who would it be?
If it was me, I’d go with CJ. Not just because he’s on my team and it’s nothing against DeAngelo but I’m going to definitely take CJ. He’s got a lot of people gunning for him and it’s just like he knows what to do when people are coming for him. He’s just a good back.

So Chris Johnson has said he’s going to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record of 2,105 yards. Do you think he’s going to do it?
I think he can definitely do it. If we stop the ball and give him an opportunity then I think so.

What team has been the toughest to defend?
Indianapolis. There not one of those teams that’s just going to pound you. The way their scheme is and the way Peyton throws it. You know, you can’t trick him with a blitz or anything because he’ll see it coming a mile away.

Would you rather play a team like the Colts or a team like Baltimore or Pittsburgh who’s just going to run it right at you?
Yeah I’d rather play against one of those teams with a big, strong, physical offensive line that are just going to come at you. That way you know what you’re going to get on this down and distance.

Who is the best offensive lineman you’ve faced?
Overall I’d have to say Chester Pitts, the guard who was at Houston. He didn’t get all the credit he deserved because he was in Houston, but guys respect him around the league. They knew that he was going to bring it. He’s a big, tall, strong guy and he’s athletic. He’s in Seattle now though.

Who do you root for when the Tigers play your hometown UTC Mocs?
Oh I’m definitely going with the Tigers. I didn’t even get a scholarship offer. I didn’t even get a letter from UT-Chat so I’m definitely going with the Tigers.

Favorite place to eat in Memphis?
Ooh, I’ve got two spots. I’m going to have to go to the Rendezvous. No, Butchershop.

You’re from Chattanooga. You lived and played here in Memphis and now you’ve been in Nashville for a few years. Rank the cities.
I’m going to definitely go Chattanooga, Nashville then Memphis.

Oh come on a little! That hurts.
I’ve got to go with my home because they’ve treated me well and I like it here. Memphis was a great stop during the time I was there, though.

Well which city has the best food?
Oh Memphis. No doubt about it.

By Jan Michael Hartelust, Photos by the Tennessee Titans/Donn Jones Photography

Craps Simplified

It’s mystifying why more casino goers pass up on playing craps when it is perhaps the most exciting gambling game going… not counting Russian Roulette.

Craps is an adrenalin rush, like you experienced when you kissed your first date but more fun in the long run.

One reason for being passed by is the layout of the table which can be intimidating to first timers, not to mention the speed of the bets and payouts, and the odds on each roll of the dice.

I went through this same experience the first time I walked up a busy craps table at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with fifty bucks crushed in my sweaty palm. I was scared, players were hollering back and forth, dealers taking and placing bets like machines, the back and forth movement of money, the jostling for tableside position…it was all a little too much for me. But that was a long time ago. Today I am still perplexed by the odds on the layout numbers but I along the way I found a simple way to play craps and one expert author told

me this was the only way to play this exciting game with some hope of winning.

But first, a primer for beginners so you can get to know the basics. Take a trip to Tunica’s glitter palaces and find a game where there not many players. Here’s what you’ll see. Sitting in the middle of the table is the boxman. His job is to watch the ebb and flow of chips and action and make quick decisions on payouts if needed. Directly in front of him is the stickman who moves the dice around and takes bets on the layout in front of him. Across from him are two dealers who handle their side of of table.

Standing next to the stickman is a good position for a novice as a few tips his way will make him your mentor who can answer your questions and correct your errors. He is the guy with control of the game and makes the call after the dice are rolled.

After you place your buy-in money on the table during a lull, the dealer across from you will change it into chips that you place in the table rack in front of you. Keep an arm over your chips as poachers with fast fingers can raid you when the action is hot.

If you are an absolute beginner a sound and conservative way to play is to place your bet, say the $5.00 minimum, on the pass line that is plainly marked and on the layout directly in front of you. You make your bet when the action has paused. If it is your turn to roll the dice and you make a seven, or natural, it’s a winner, as is an eleven and you get paid even money on your pass line bet.

While seven comes up more than any other number, you can also roll a craps on the first toss and that means you rolled a two, three, or 12, and all the bettors on the pass line lose.

If you roll any other number, you now have a point that you have repeat before you “seven out.” Make a lot of points in succession without showing the seven and you will make everybody at the table smile and shout in support.

After you establish your point number, the best bet on the table is the odds bet that is often overlooked by novices. It is the only bet in the game where there is no house edge. For example, you already have $5.00 on the pass line. You can and should place another bet, say $10.00, stacked directly behind your pass line bet.

Frank Scoblete, the noted gaming author and an excellent craps shooter, believes the only and best way to play the game is take the odds bet and make two “come” bets on the

indicated portion of the layout. When the number for your come bets are established after the roll, those bets are moved to the corresponding number on the layout. If you get a six on the come bet, for instance, it is moved to the six. Thus, if nobody sevens out, you will have three points working for you at the same time. I, on the other hand like placing the 6 and 8 along with my pass line bet. You only have to hit a place line bet once as opposed to come bets that have to hit twice. But odds on each bet differ. Come bets are like pass line bets and pay pass line odds depending on the number you’re trying to hit but differ slightly when compared to place bets (which in Tunica County are paid at true odds, less the 5% vig) which makes place bets (except for 6 and 8) buy bets right off the bat. But the difference is you only have to hit a place bet once to win.

Times have changed over the years in Tunica County and the jurisdiction has the best craps games in the country. All casinos have 20-times odds and one of most popular casinos

has 100-times odds. Such things are unheard of in Vegas. But as in all business ventures, remember the golden rule in these simple letters – KISS. Which stands for “keep it simple…stupid.” So when learning the game take it easy, ignore the crazy bets in the middle of the table and ask the dealer for any help…they will be happy to help you on your way.

Making only the three bets described above is a conservative and safe way to play the game, and once you master this method, you can take some flyers on other bets or you can increase your own bets or press those you have in action by adding more chips to the original amount.

If you feel a rush, have made some money, and want to increase your action, the best way is to place a bet on the six or eight, or both. Taking the odds on such bets can be confusing to newbies so just ask the dealer to advise on the correct amount for the odds of any particular number. Slip him a tip and he will become your personal financial advisor.

There is a lot more to the game, but when you play this method the game does not seem complicated after a few tosses ofthe dice. Get in the game, become familiar with the basics and everything else will fall in line without you getting clobbered and miserable in the process.

Rudi Schiffer, the “Voice of Tunica” has been a fixture in Mississippi since the Splash Casino first opened in 1992. He is also producer and co-host of the Goodtimes Radio show, the casino gambling show heard weekly on 730 Fox Sports on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm.

Friday Night Experience

The “Friday Night Experience” has just gotten a little bit better at Memphis University School (MUS) with the installation of a new, state-of-the-art LCD screen, digital scoreboard at Stokes Stadium. It is the first one of it’s kind here in the Mid-South and officials at MUS feel that its something that many other schools will look into possibly getting, because in the long run it will eventually “pay for itself.”

A few different factors led to MUS deciding to invest in a new scoreboard. The first reason is because the company, Pepsi-Cola, that sponsored the Owls previous light bulb scoreboard is wanting to get out of the high school sponsoring business and focus on other things. The second reason is that the old one was not as reliable as it once was and many people around the school felt that it was time for a change.

When the decision was finally made to purchase a new scoreboard, Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Bobby Alston, Business Operations Director Rankin Fowlkes, and the Board of Trustees looked at many different options, as well as talked with other high schools around the country about what the best choice would be. After is was all said and done, they decided to go with a leader in the industry, Daktronics. Many well known athletic venues, for example University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium and Memphis’ own FedExForum have scoreboards provided by Dektronics, as well as high schools in Texas and Georgia. The screen itself is 11×20 and cost $184,000, with installation done internally, keeping the costs at just around $200,000.

Fowlkes said the hardest part of the whole process was bascially “keeping fact and fiction straight.” What he meant by that is to make sure everybody that was involved with MUS, which includes students and their families, was well informed about everything that was going on before any type of information was leaked out or rumors were started. This is where Director of Communications Vicki Tyler helped out by keeping the lines of communications open between the staff and the families of students. One other thing that helped out communication was “The Headmaster’s Message” in the August 2010 issue of MUS Today. In the message, Headmaster Ellis Haguewood stresses that “No increases will be made to game fees. No tuition, endowment, or annual fund money was used to pay for this scoreboard.”

Many at MUS feel that it will take 6-8 years to pay for the scoreboard through advertising money. Most of the businesses that advertise currently are ones that usually advertise in their media guide. Fowlkes commented, “these busineses already know what we can provide for them and our clientele.” They tried it out and invited other businesses around the city at their fall scrimmage on August 6th.

Officials at MUS are also very excited about the many different options it gives them, not only at football games, but other uses down the road. Football games are, as Fowlkes put it, “a production in itself.” The production of the game is handled by Chad Holland of Visionary Digital Media, which also produces the games that are broadcast online at During the games fans do have the chance to check out instant replays and maybe even see themselves on the screen during breaks as the camera pans around the crowd. One of the other features is that in spring time when track events are held, they will be able to display all of the track times on the scoreboard at once when the race is finished.

The fact that the screen can be seen at both day and night also opens up more possibilities. Some events that have been discussed such as weekend events and when football season is over, movie nights on Fridays, so year round there could be a “Friday Night Experience” on Hull Dobbs Field at Stokes Stadium.

By Ben Hogan, Photo by Bradley Kolodzaike.

Lauren, Former Co-Host of Jerry Lawler’s Memphis Wrestling

Now that you are in the local wrestling business do you think you will ever run for mayor?
No, that’s been done already! I need to try something original. I do enjoy politics…Maybe I’ll run on the state level!

When was the first time you met “The King”?
We met at Huey’s for a business dinner about a week before the first taping. I remember the waitress already knew what “The King” wanted to order.

If you were a wrestler, what would be your finishing move?
The “sumo suplex pile driving body slamming from the top rope so fast that you never see it coming” move! Lights out.

What do you like most about being a wrestling announcer?
I love the adrenaline rush of it all. But more than that what I love, and sometimes hate, the most is the impromptu nature of announcing while not knowing how things will unfold.

When you were growing up, what TV shows did you watch on Saturday mornings?
Growing up, Saturday mornings always meant swim practice, or neighborhood kickball, or flag football. I wasn’t much of a TV watcher.

What is your favorite time of year?
Now! The fall. The leaves begin to change, it’s my birthday, and of course football is in the air.

Would you rather host Monday Night Football or Monday Night Raw?
That’s a tough one. I’ve worn Cowboy’s jerseys since I was in diapers, so I will have to go with Monday Night Football. They also have the best theme music ever.

Who would win in a fight- Tony Romo or Grand Master Sexay?
Is Jessica Simpson in the crowd? I may actually have to bet on Too Sexay, but only if Wolfie D brings his hub cap!

What was your favorite concession stand item at the The Vine?
Oh their caviar is divine! Actually, I’ve never had enough time to buy any concessions from The Vine! Everyone seems to like the beer.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time? What’s that? (Laughs) It typically depends on what was going on right before I get the free time. For instance, after finishing work on a short film in Jackson last week I went to see Inception again and then went to a bookstore and read for four hours.

If we gave you money right now to play any song you wanted on Jerry Lawler’s jukebox, what would it be?
“The Weary Kind” by Ryan Bingham.

Interview by Kevin Cerrito, Photo by James Buchanan.