The Las Vegas Strip is the backdrop tonight as seven major Republican candidates for President take center stage in another GOP debate, as new polls show Herman Cain gaining even more momentum in the GOP race.
The latest CNN poll has Mitt Romney leading with 26%, Herman Cain at 25% and Rick Perry in third at 13%, followed by Ron Paul at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 8%, Michele Bachmann at 6%, Rick Santorum at 2% and Jon Huntsman at 1%.
Huntsman is boycotting this debate, because of a controversy over the date of the Nevada Caucuses next January - instead, the former Utah Governor will campaign in New Hampshire, which wants Nevada to delay its vote.
That means there will be seven candidates on stage this evening, as few expect Huntsman's absence to make any big difference in the debate.
Last week, Cain's 9-9-9 plan dominated the debate, as his colleagues took mild shots at his economic idea - some believe tonight may have a different feel for Cain, especially since he continues to go up in the polls.
Yesterday, new polls showed Cain ahead in both Iowa and South Carolina, and only a few points behind Romney in Florida.
Romney labeled Cain's plan "simplistic" during last week's debate as he tried not to spar with the Georgia businessman - the CNN crew may try to stir the pot a little tonight to see if they can spark a bit of campaign back and forth between the top two GOP hopefuls.
Romney will be in the middle tonight, with Cain on one side and Perry on the other.
For those who have been to Vegas, the debate is being held at the Venetian casino; as I was heading to my hotel room after checking in last night, I stumbled into Newt Gingrich, who was walking almost by himself next to the casino floor.
It was sort of jarring to run into the former Speaker of the House with the slot machines ding-ding-dinging in the background and all kinds of people walking by Gingrich without even batting an eye.
Things got a bit hazy after that - it is Vegas after all - but luckily, I have a pocketful of keno cards and cocktail napkins with random scribbled notes to help figure out what's going on here in Sin City.
Roll the dice. Play the odds. Double down. The River. The Turn. The Flop. No Field Five. Hard Ways.
We can come up with all kinds of casino sayings for tonight's debate, but one thing seems very true - no one is your friend when you're playing cards or battling it out in politics.
Check back for more on the debate and follow me on Twitter @jamiedupree
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