My friend J. B. White kindly agreed to drive north with me to Jackson, Wyoming for John Carney's sixtieth birthday bash. J. B. motored over from Ojai, California and stayed with me for a couple of days before we headed up to Jackson. It was his first visit to Las Vegas.
I took him to dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, then over to the card room at the Venetian, where we signed up for seats in a $1-2 no-limit Hold-'em game. (You can just make out our names on the electronic waiting list in the picture above, taken by J. B. with his iPhone.) J. B. is a veteran poker player but he'd never encountered anything like a big Las Vegas card room, and he was smitten by the sheer fun and magic of it.
We played for four hours that night and four hours the next afternoon, at which point J. B. took me to dinner at Bouchon, the great bistro at the Venetian. We had some astonishingly good seafood there — salmon and trout — then hit the felt again for another four hours.
At the end of the night I passed the table J. B. was playing at, on my way out to the casino floor for a smoke, and saw that he had no chips in front of him — he'd pushed them all in on one final hand, hoping to recover his losses for the two days of play. On my way back from the smoke I saw him cashing in his chips — he'd won that last hand, with a monster pot, and was up 11 dollars for the trip. Not bad for a Las Vegas newbie. I was up 21 dollars for the twelve hours we played together — not bad for me, either, considering.
We pocketed our winnings, went home and headed off in the Ghost the next day for Wyoming. Between us, we had dinner at Denny's that night more than covered, with enough left over for a couple of Subway sandwiches further on up the road. To say that we were well satisfied with ourselves is putting it mildly. I mean, there we were — a couple of rounders tooling through Utah, living the high life on somebody else's dime.
It just doesn't get much better than that.