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August 22, 2014

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Strip Scribbles: 2013 WSOP, Celine Dion, Criss Angel and Shaquille O’Neal

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Steve Marcus

Jay Farber, 29, a Las Vegas VIP Host from Santa Barbara, Calif., competes during the final table of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em tournament at the Rio on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013.

2013 WSOP Final Table Day 1

A supporter of Jay Farber, dressed in a panda costume, watches play during the final table of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament at the Rio Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Launch slideshow »

WSOP Bracelet Designer Jason Arasheben

The $500,000 2013 World Series of Poker championship bracelet designed by Jason Arasheben of Jason of Beverly Hills on display in his shop in the Cosmopolitan on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Celine Dion

At some point tonight, Las Vegas poker players Jay Farber and Ryan Riess will divide up nearly $13.5 million, but only one will walk away from a table at the Rio with the $500,000 2013 World Series of Poker bracelet.

The winner will take home $8,361,570 and the runner-up $5,174,357. Play resumes early evening now that the other seven members of the November Nine have been eliminated. But final play for the WSOP championship could go into the wee hours of Wednesday.

Jay, 29, who is a VIP management host at Hakkasan at MGM Grand, has a rooting squad that includes many of its gorgeous beautiful cocktail servers. He began as an underdog, but bookies are saying he could win.

Ryan, 23, who moved here from Michigan, is a pro player and has his own fans from here and East Lansing.

CELINE’S NEW CD: It’s French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion’s first English-language album in six years, and, although released today, advance orders indicate that it will be at the top of the charts by Wednesday. Our Caesars Palace resident-headliner songbird is winning raves for “Loved Me Back to Life,” described as “her most vocally challenging and artistically rewarding performance yet” and “easily her edgiest — still at her best.”

You can see her debut on “The Dr. Oz Show” on Wednesday. She also is ensuring its global success with a European promo tour she began Monday. Celine will be on German TV on Saturday, Britain’s “The X Factor” on Sunday and then to Paris for three sold-out concerts and TV appearances before returning to the Colosseum for a run of New Year’s shows starting Dec. 30.

The album features duets with Las Vegas-raised singer Ne-Yo and Stevie Wonder, and the producers included Diane Warren, Kenneth “Baby Face” Edmonds and Sia. During her amazing career, she’s sold more than 220 million albums. Her shows at Caesars have sold more than 3 million tickets, and husband and manager Rene Angelil says she’ll be here through at least 2019.

SHAQ FLOATS: After last week’s morbid, yet fascinating “Raising the Dead’ episode on his Spike TV series “Believe,” magician Criss Angel has us laughing tonight when NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal makes a guest appearance. Who knew Shaq was an amateur magician and can pull off his own tricks?

Criss Angel

You will marvel as Criss levitates the 350-pound, 7-foot-1 giant, but this, of course, will be no ordinary levitation. The basketball hero goes way higher than just a few inches off the ground. In fact, Shaq goes up as high as 60 feet and is levitated over a Las Vegas home after touring Criss’ secret warehouse of wizardry.

ON THE ‘CHOP’ AUCTION BLOCK: The rare 1924 Dodge Brothers vehicle that Joshua “Chop” Tobin placed for sale on eBay that we reported a week ago sold for $9,900. He brought it for appraisal to the “Pawn Stars” stars on the History Channel. It made a $2,000 profit that he’s donating to our Three Square food bank.

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DJ Mark Ronson at Surrender on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, in Encore.

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1975 at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.

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Chris Phillips and Pia Zadora.

STAR SURVEILLANCE

Comedian Bill Maher, in town for shows at the Palms, dined at Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore. The HBO show host also checked out DJ and producer Mark Ronson’s debut next door at Surrender.

Tongue-twisted KISS co-founder Gene Simmons, wife Shannon Tweed and a large group of friends dined at La Cave in the Wynn.

Nicolas Cage, Carrot Top and Vince Neil dined at La Comida downtown with their significant others. Nicolas was with wife Alice Kim, Carrot Top and gal pal Amanda Hogan and Vince with makeup princess Rain Hannah.

Celine discovery Veronic DiCaire was backstage for a third time in a week for Shania Twain’s Caesars Palace concerts, but, as she explained to me, because her parents visiting from Canada had heard her own “Veronic Voices” impressions show at Bally’s too many times and wanted to hear the real deal. Shania laughed that Veronic did Shania better than she could!

MGM Grand headliner illusionist David Copperfield attended the 21st anniversary celebrations of Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror, which features Nevada’s only rated-R haunted house, “The Gates of Hell.”

Collective Zoo transformed Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel into a “Day of the Dead” party, while alternative-rock band The 1975 took over nearby Vinyl with The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers in the crowd. He went backstage to say hello and then sped to the airport for a late-night flight

Zowie Bowie’s Chris Phillips, launching his new backup trio of gorgeous girls, hung out with singer Pia Zadora after watching her show at Piero’s.

“Defending the Caveman” star Chris Allen had lunch with Jeff Grandy, program manager of Child Focus, at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Henderson to discuss helping the charity with volunteer and fundraising opportunities this winter. Chris also attended the Animal Foundation’s benefit picnic at Sunset Park on Saturday.

Tony Hsieh Speaks at South By Southwest

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, gives a keynote address at the South By Southwest V2V tech conference for entrepreneurs at the Cosmopolitan Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. Launch slideshow »

TONIGHT’S TIPS

Zappos chief Tony Hsieh is the guest speaker at Smith Center to discuss his grand plans for downtown’s mega-millions makeover he is masterminding.

Rocky LaPorte and Ron Morey headline at the Improv at Harrah’s through Sunday.

DJ Paul Oakenfold is at Lavo in Palazzo.

TOMORROW’S TEASE

Star chef Mario Batali has a weekend of Italian experiences when he hosts the Venetian’s Winter Carnevale, and we’ve got the rundown. Plus, Rod Stewart returns to Caesars, and will Las Vegas chef Shirley Chung continue her winning ways on Bravo’s “Top Chef” in New Orleans?

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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