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At MGM Grand, Dave Woos Lady Luck

When he uses the term probability, The Early Show's weatherman Dave Price usually is talking about snow or rain.

But in Las Vegas, Nev., for a conference, Price delivered his weather from the MGM Grand hotel and casino and got some lessons in another kind of probability at the casino's blackjack table.

First, dealer Mary Ann Melchionne advised him to get some insurance. Price noted he was well covered for liability.

Looking at his cards he observed, "This is where math skills come in. So meteorologists do well."

But alas, he ended up asking for more money from his producer. Co-anchor Harry Smith did not do well the night before either, Price joked, claiming Smith had to take a second job to cover his losses.

In all seriousness, he said, the MGM Grand gets approximately 35 million visitors a year. There are over 130,000 rooms in the hotel.

Price said, "You can actually bring a small town here and everyone can vacation for a weekend. Average age of the people visiting, about 50 years old. And, of course, the average budget to gamble is about $500. Then of course people go over budget and leave crying."

Casino shift manager Arnie Cope had an interesting gambling story to tell. He said, "Just a short while ago, we had a lady sit down at a table. She brought in $600 and started playing $25, $50. And she kept playing and playing. Didn't really know how much money she was winning. Kept piling it up. Twenty-four hours later, she cashed out: $280,000."

Because she was not a professional, Cope noted, the woman "had no idea how much she had." Obviously, Price wanted to get her phone number. But since that didn't happen, he decided tpo interview Mori Eskandani, a professional poker player.

Eskandani pointed out poker playing is probably the most popular indoor game people play now.

"It's amazing it took this long. It's been played by 50 some million people," Eskandani said. Finally, we get diverse kinds of people that play poker." A professional poker player can make from $1 to a million, Eskandani said. Cope has seen someone win $150,000 in one shot.

The largest chip in the casino is worth $25,000.

Always wanting to investigate further, Price tried to take one of the big-ticket chips home. "We're going to do a special on MGM security. I got to go," he said.

But as he was running away, security nabbed him and sent him back.

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