Viva Las Vegas!

nighttime picture with gold lighted eiffel tower

Going to Vegas has been a dream of mine for a long time. Hard to imagine an 11 year old looking forward to their first trip to Sin City? Not for me or those who knew me.
I started playing poker at that age with my grandparents. We would go to taverns in the Triangle and play the free games hosted by World Tavern Poker. At the bar or restaurant you play for a gift card each week. Over time you build up points and win seats for the big games in the Poconos in the spring and the Last Vegas international tournaments as well.
I was 14 when I won my first Tavern Championship. It was an exciting accomplishment for me but not everyone was thrilled. By winning that day I had kept a legal adult, someone 21 or older, from winning a seat in Vegas that could actually be used.After that day they had to make a rule to only allow those who could legally gamble play in the local bars. I understood but was still very disappointed and looked forward to getting back in the game.
Fast forward another seven years and I was finally old enough to go with my grandparents to Las Vegas earlier this month, during my senior year at William Peace University. They were so generous to take me and bankroll my first foray into the gambling world.
While in Las Vegas I played in a couple tournaments I had won seats in like the Tournament of Champions Finals and the WTP National Semi-Finals. There were also buy-in games like the Bounty tournament and the Tag-Team tournament where you switch seats with a partner.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win big in the poker tournaments. It was still a ton of fun to see and play with people who had known me for an entire decade. On the bright side, I actually had much better luck at slots!
I took the opportunity in Las Vegas to explore and be adventurous. My grandfather and I rode the Rio’s Voodoo Zipline which flies 55 stories up in the air between two buildings. It was the most terrifying yet exhilarating thing I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
We went to Fremont Street and the Hoover Dam. Experienced several casinos and the Bellagio’s world famous water show. I was even able to make time to visit the Harry Potter themed coffee shop, Bad Owl Coffee, during my week long trip.
Poker has taught me so much in the 10 years I’ve played the game. Patience is the key to success. If people doubt you, use that to your advantage.
Or perhaps my favorite poker saying, “All it takes is a chip in a chair.” It’s a fancy way of saying you can make it back from anything. Anything is possible.
Facing my last semester at Peace that’s exactly how I feel, like anything is possible. I’ll have to figure out how poker and Vegas fit in to my graduate school lifestyle, but I’m excited to find out what hand life is going to deal me next.

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