Keep ’em covered, ladies

The pool party might be gone, but the poker tourney’s still on for Sapphire

Hey, you. Front and center. Put your top back on.
Courtesy of Harrah's Entertainment

Remember when strippers took off their clothes? You’d only find them in the dark recesses of a gentlemen’s club, shaking their moneymakers under a black light and leaving a trail of body glitter and wafts of unidentifiable perfume wherever they went. Thanks to Sapphire, dancers all over Vegas are partying it up and putting their clothes back on—but don’t expect to see them sans tops beyond the walls of the “world’s largest gentlemen’s club” again anytime soon.

The bad news …

Sapphire has found success outside of the strip club, though seemingly only at events at which dancers keep ’em covered. The Weekly learned this past Wednesday that the plug has been pulled on the Sapphire pool retreat at the Rio. The topless pool has been closed indefinitely, according to the Rio’s management.

Police spokesman Officer Bill Cassell explained that Metro was invited by the Rio to perform a routine inspection to ensure operations were being run in accordance with current statutes. In the case of the Sapphire pool last weekend, “A small number of arrests were made for prostitution-related activities,” Cassell said. He could neither confirm nor deny while the investigation is open, however, that the individuals arrested were employed by Sapphire. Cassell added that Metro was not responsible for closing the pool nor did they make the suggestion that operations should be suspended. Harrah’s, which operates the Rio, made that call on their own.

The Details

Sapphire Poker Tournament at the Hard Rock
July 31, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Hard Rock Poker Room
Related Stories
Sapphire Pool closed indefinitely (07/29/09)
Adult Guide

The good news …

It isn’t always negative news that plagues the adult-entertainment industry. Despite the Sapphire pool closure, there are still plenty of chances to socialize with the ladies outside of the strip club. Sapphire’s dancers are known for lending their looks to a yearly golf tournament in the name of charity. The self-proclaimed “sexiest golf tournament on the planet” raises thousands of dollars to benefit the Sapphire Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research and the Nevada Cancer Institute.

But Sapphire’s most recent foray into bridging the gap between strip club and the non-naked world takes place this Friday in the Hard Rock Hotel’s poker lounge. Going all-in on July 31, the $5,000 tournament ($65 buy-in) won’t just have dancers strutting their stuff between tables as eye candy and cooing over the winners. These girls are also vying for the prize along with the seasoned poker players.

“It’s always better to play poker with beautiful women around as opposed to a fat guy,” joked Shai Cohen, Sapphire’s director of marketing, and the ladies are getting a bit of help for the tournament.

“They received poker lessons from the Hard Rock,” said Cohen, so you can no longer assume that svelte kitten to your left doesn’t know her bottom pair from her top. Unbeknownst to you, she might just be holding pocket rockets (a pair of aces), and it’s probably not her poker face you’ll be staring at. At least 25 dancers may have the upper hand thanks to their natural (or purchased) distractions. “You never know,” said Cohen. “You hear about beginner’s luck; maybe one of our girls will win!”

Ladies, get your hands off those balls. The party's over.

Ladies, get your hands off those balls. The party's over.

This poker tournament isn’t the first time you’ll find Sapphire’s strippers at the Hard Rock. They’re also dancing it up as the go-go entertainment at Wasted Space Thursdays after Carey Hart’s weekly bike ride from Hogs & Heifers to the Hard Rock.

Plans always seem to be in the works for Sapphire events around town. Get a team together and keep an eye out for Sapphire’s third Ping Pong Palooza, tentatively scheduled for October. And speaking of balls flying at your face, local ladies can always check out the Men of Sapphire revue on Fridays and Saturdays if they’re tired of all this talk about female dancers.

Despite the pool-party hiccup, we think Sapphire will be fine, and the sheer variety and quantity of events will keep Sapphire on top—er—popular and a steady flow of customers coming through the doors. “When you see a [Sapphire dancer] out wearing clothes and she tells you she’s a stripper, you’ll want to come back to the club,” Cohen said. “We sell fantasies. That’s our job.”

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