» You know that the international Buffett Cup tournament was played this week in Omaha, but did you realize that another big card event was played last weekend in Paris — the Omaha Cup?
The Buffett Cup was for bridge and the Omaha Cup for poker, two very different card games. One of the bridge superstars in Omaha this week sniffed: “Bridge is to poker as chess is to checkers.”
This week's four-day event at the Hilton Omaha, named for Omaha investor and bridge lover Warren Buffett, pitted 12 top Americans against 12 Europeans, similar to golf's Ryder Cup. (The U.S. won this week in bridge.)
So why is a poker event in France called the Omaha Cup? It's because the players compete in a card game known as Omaha or Omaha Hold 'Em, which is a combination of one's own cards and “community” cards.
“Omaha” actually refers to several poker games, including Omaha Hi-Lo, Omaha/8 and Pot Limit Omaha.
Omaha poker has been popular for at least 30 years at gambling tables in Las Vegas. But why is it called “Omaha”?
An Internet gambling site says the reason for the name is unknown, but “it is widely believed that Omaha poker was not invented in Omaha, Nebraska.”
The late World-Herald columnist Robert McMorris once wrote that the numerous former Omahans with connections to Vegas gambling might have something to do with the name. Anyone have another explanation?
» An economics professor in Tennessee says state government in the Volunteer State has the lowest per capita debt in the nation — and that second place goes to Nebraska.
Malcolm Getz of Vanderbilt University told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that Tennessee's per capita debt is $919 and Nebraska's is $1,276. The median state government per capita debt was reported at $3,410.
» An arrogant Los Angeles Times sports columnist wrote after UCLA defeated Nebraska last week that NU fans “have nothing else in their lives” and that “each Saturday's game will determine whether they are happy.”
Oh, please. That ignorant style of writing is far beneath the level expected in the L.A. Times.
» Husker fans fill Memorial Stadium win or lose — even though the past decade has seen a marked drop-off in success.
In Tom Osborne's 25 years as head coach, Husker teams lost a total of 49 games. Now NU has lost 49 in just over 10 seasons.
Those are the last two years under Frank Solich (10 losses), the four years under Bill Callahan (22 losses) and the four-plus years under Bo Pelini (17 losses). Nebraska went from an average of two losses per season to nearly five per season.
But the Husker brand remains. Greg Biggins, a national recruiting analyst for Foxsports.com and Scout.com, told the Orange County (Calif.) Register last week: “Nebraska is one of the few programs that has immediate name recognition. It carries a ton of weight. The fan support and passion they have is second to none.”
» Exactly two months after starting a cross-continent bicycle trip, retirees Bill Staley and Frank Jenson returned home Friday to Omaha.
They started July 14 in Bellingham, Wash., biking across the northern tier of the U.S. and into Canada before arriving Tuesday in New York City's Central Park — after 3,465 miles.
They were met by officials of the TSA — no, not the Transportation Security Administration. The pair were welcomed by staffers of the national Tourette Syndrome Association. The reason for the bicycle trip was to raise funds and awareness for Tourette's, a neurological condition that has affected Bill since his youth.
After completing the trek, the two friends, both 66, rented a truck for their bicycles and drove home. Their wives are planning to celebrate the completion of the trip with friends at 5 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the VFW Post at 8904 Military Road.
» You probably haven't heard recently about the Nebraska Zephyr, which operated from the 1930s until the late 1960s between Chicago and Lincoln.
One of the trains used in the Nebraska Zephyr service is displayed at the Illinois Railway Museum at Union, Ill., northwest of Chicago. This weekend, in cooperation with Amtrak and the BNSF Railway, the Zephyr zooms again — between the Windy City and Quincy, Ill.
The silver, stainless-steel train was called “the train of goddesses,” Chicago's Daily Herald wrote, because the cars were named for Greek and Roman deities. All proceeds from passenger rides today and tomorrow benefit the restoration of the Zephyr.
» To get a sample of Nebraska's awesome talent, come to Omaha Burke High School at 6 tonight for the finals of “Nebraska's Got Talent.”
Tickets are $10 each, a fundraiser for the nonprofit Together Omaha, a homelessness-prevention agency. I get to be one of the judges for the talent competition, which is sponsored by Mutual of Omaha.
Contact the writer: