February 15, 2017 “Brandon Steven tried to bring Vegas to Kansas but ended up suing

Brandon Steven’s vision for a new casino in southeast Kansas looked like Las Vegas.

In 2015, Steven and his brother Rodney led a group of 18 Wichita-area investors in a proposal to build the fourth and final casino in Kansas, called Castle Rock.

The drawing for the four-star casino hotel, designed by a Las Vegas architect, showed it rising 20 stories, with a metallic sheet reflecting the endless flat Kansas horizon. The other two casino proposals were much smaller, rising only a few stories, looking more like large shopping mall districts than major casino destinations.

Everything about the Castle Rock proposal was twice as large as the others: It was estimated it would earn revenue of around $90 million per year on twice the number of slot machines and twice the number of tables, whereas the other bids were estimated to earn roughly half that amount. Castle Rock would include 65,000 square feet, and the other two half that. It would employ more than 800 workers, and the other proposals fewer than half as many. And it would cost $140 million to build, the other two roughly half that….Continue reading

February 15, 2017 “How Brandon Steven developed an obsession for high-stakes poker

Brandon Steven was playing high-stakes poker against Beverly Lange, a Texas woman at the televised World Series of Poker in 2013, when she decided to go all in with $435,000 in chips.

“Would it surprise you if I had a king?” Steven asked her. Steven was telling her that he had kings, which would beat the jacks in her hand. Or he could be bluffing.

“No,” Lange said calmly.

“It wouldn’t surprise you at all,” he said, taken aback by her response. “What do you do in Austin?”

Lange said she ran pom-pom drill team competitions and camps for young girls.

“Really,” Steven said, and then, as if trying to see if she was on his level. “You play a lot of poker?”

Steven started mumbling aloud the possible hands she could have. She couldn’t have an ace, could she?

“I’m really not that good of a poker player,” Lange said. “Don’t try to figure out, you know, what I should’ve done, because what you would expect me to do is probably not something I would do. Does that help you?”

Steven laughed: either she had made a mistake, or Steven was being played. “It helps me; it helps me. I know I have the worst hand, and I’m probably still going to call,” Steven said.

“If you have the worst hand, I definitely want you to call,” Lange said.

But seconds later, Steven folded with the kings that would’ve won. “A dagger to the heart of Brandon Steven,” the TV commentator said. Although Steven lost, the hand showed how savvy he had become at high-stakes poker….Continue reading

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