Early Memories

Traveling from Corvallis, Oregon to Las Vegas, Nevada by way of Crescent City, California is not the way you want to do anything. A journey of 1100 miles and about 20 hours driving I remember it well. I worked all day and left right from work and headed south toward Crescent City where I would meet up with my friend Ron when he finished up the graveyard shift at six in the morning.

I had $60 in my pocket and Ron has said he would pay for the gas and the room for the trip. I stopped in Grants Pass, Oregon and used my $60 to buy into a $4-8 limit poker game. The game was half Omaha and half Hold’em of which I play one of them pretty well and the other not so much. I figured the owner would extend me credit if I went broke so I had to play there even if it was not my best game. I played tight and hung tough the entire night playing until four in the morning and winning just over $200. I had a little under $300 and that is pretty light for a week long trip but I definitely wanted to go to the World Series of Poker.

We drove straight through and I was doing amazingly well at staying awake for having been up over 24 hours at the time Ron and I began our 15 hour drive to Las Vegas. I had been to Reno many times and that stretch of the road was all familiar to me. When we left Reno and headed south on US 95 down through Nevada that long lonely stretch of nothing was all new to me. Ron drove too fast and we talked all the way, with the exception of the ten minutes or so that the officer from the Nevada Highway Patrol spent giving us a ticket for speeding. Well maybe 90 mph was too fast but we had been going over 100 mph earlier. I would love to tell you we slowed down but we really didn’t.

Driving into Las Vegas for the very first time and approaching from the north the first thing I noticed was the Stratosphere with its 1000 foot high tower. The only other time I had been to Las Vegas was just a stop over on a plane trip to Arizona. We drove straight to Binion’s and never went to the Las Vegas Strip. As we were pulling into valet in the back of Binion’s I was thinking this was kind of a scary area and the casino was a bit rundown and old. We lugged our own bags and got checked in and the elevator to the room was another old tired site. The room was the oldest tiniest sad little room I had stayed in a very long time. This place was making an aging Reno seem pretty nice.

I am sure walking around downtown Las Vegas at one in the morning is not the best way to develop a first impression. I finally headed to bed and of course I slept like a baby after being up for almost 48 hours.

The sites and sounds of the World Series of Poker all arrived the next day as I watched the start of the preliminary event and jumped into the side action. The games were good and there were many of them. I truly enjoyed myself once I got over that early first impression.

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