Rio Sapphire Pool Closes Due to Prostitution, Drug Rings

Visitors to the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in November won’t find themselves headed to the Sapphire Pool. The topless pool was shuttered due to prostitution and drug arrests, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Bikini-clad women hawked the pool during the 2009 WSOP, which was held down the hall in the massive Amazon Room. The Sapphire Pool utilized dancers from the strip club of the same name during the day in a unique marketing scheme. A follow up article by the Las Vegas newspaper noted, “The main pool at the Rio will remain open, but the property has decided not to reopen a topless pool.” The property continues to operate Voodoo Beach. Its website notes, “During the summer, the sexy, splashy, sun-drenched VooDoo Beach at Rio becomes the center of Las Vegas’ pool party universe.”

According to the Sun, Andrea Michelle Campbell, Jennah Lieboff, Melissa Cortney Essmaker, Galiana Slavshea Georgieva, Elizabeth Alma Corbin, Tobi Jean Sorenson, Inna Kokin, and Phoenix Lynn Kuzara all were arrested on prostitution charges. In addition, arrests were made for the use of several drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The newspaper explained, “The decision to close the pool was made by the Rio. [Las Vegas Police Spokesman Bill] Cassell said Metro Police did not force or suggest that the property close the pool. No charges will be filed against the Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club or the Rio.”

Responses from readers of the Sun’s website poured in as news of the suspension of topless bathing permeated the internet. In addition, other periodicals began reporting on the news, including USA Today. The Harrah’s property and home of the annual WSOP told the globally distributed newspaper, “The Rio will continue to conduct integrity checks in the future to ensure that the property’s entertainment offerings are in accordance with the law and provide the best possible experience for guests of the resort.” The L.A. Times received a similar response from the Rio and quipped, “I wonder how a topless pool fails an integrity check.”

The Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio will serve as the host venue for the 2009 WSOP Main Event final table, which will take place between November 7th and 10th. The poker world has been buzzing about the presence of seven-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey, who claimed two pieces of hardware this year before reaching the nine-handed final table. Ivey was the first pro to hit the felts of the new NBC poker show “Face the Ace” on Saturday night and amazingly has finished in the Top 25 of the WSOP Main Event four out of the past eight years.

By every stretch of the imagination, the casino’s 2009 WSOP was a major success. The tournament series set records for the most million-dollar events at 39, the most number of sellouts (10), the largest non-Main Event field (6,012), the largest Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split top prize ($1.5 million), the largest Senior’s Championship field (2,707), the largest Omaha High-Low Split field (918), the largest 2-7 Lowball field (238), the largest Pot Limit Omaha field (809), and the youngest final table in WSOP history (ages 21 to 24).

When the November Nine and poker fans alike return to the Sapphire-less Rio in three months, here’s how the field will stack up:

1. Darvin Moon – 58,930,000
2. Eric Buchman – 34,800,000
3. Steven Begleiter – 29,885,000
4. Jeff Shulman – 19,580,000
5. Joseph Cada – 13,215,000
6. Kevin Schaffel – 12,390,000
7. Phil Ivey – 9,765,000
8. Antoine Saout – 9,500,000
9. James Akenhead – 6,800,000

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest on the 2009 WSOP.

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