Las Vegas: win some, lose some

There I sat, moments into my first Vegas poker tournament, and my hands were trembling.

Less than two hours later, they’d be shaking again, but not because of nerves this time. I had won the first poker tournament I’d ever played in Sin City.

It was that kind of trip to Las Vegas for me. The casinos can be intimidating, especially when money is being thrown around indiscriminately like it so often is. I was just hoping to not lose a thousand dollars, and here were all these people who gamble for a living.

That’s why I was so shocked to be sitting at the final table in the $55 buy-in poker tournament, playing head-to-head with another guy who was participating in his first Vegas poker tournament.

My first 24 hours on vacation were unreal. I hit a 4-team parlay bet of NFL games that turned $10 into $100. I won $504 in the poker tourney. Every time I walked up to a slot machine, I left with more money than I put into it. However, I was happy to get such a great headstart, because it was short-lived. I lost nearly all of my winnings by the end of the trip.

That’s the way Vegas is, I guess.

Of course Vegas was fun. A lot of fun. And the wins outweighed the losses by miles. I hadn’t played poker in more than a year, and I walked away from my first tournament with first-place money!

Sorry to brag, but that was a good feeling.

I played a lot of poker in college. I never won. Every sportswriter in Tallahassee was better than me, but I played to relax and enjoy a night of talking sports with the guys who were tied closest to FSU sports. Almost every single night, it was Ira Schoffel who would win the big money, and Corey Clark wasn’t far behind.

So thanks, Corey and Ira — your ass-kickings taught me patience and for a few hours, I was King of Vegas.

Good thing they weren’t there to take my money. Again.

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