A lucrative River Run

May 29, 2007 12:22 AM

Every year, when it gets close to late April and the Laughlin River Run, my blood gets boiling more than any other time of the year. I’ve always ridden a big bike and I enjoy immensely the fabulous feeling of booking miles on the open American road.

This April everything happened to fall into place, so plans were put in motion for not only myself — but also for the first time to take my wife as my passenger.

After a night at Harrah’s in Laughlin I rumbled on up to Las Vegas for the world’s most beautiful weather. My wife and I met at Caesars, checked into our room, confirmed our reservation for dinner at Rao’s, and then chatted some on how to spend the day. I was a bit frustrated over the weekend’s glitch, but we were determined to make the most of it.

It was still morning and the decision was for me to go to the bank and withdraw $17,200 so I could play a single-play session with a pre-set $2,500 minimum win goal as sort of an appeasement to a somewhat disappointing start of what was planned out to be a special weekend for us on my Harley. So we rented a car and went to Red Rock Station — a favorite of mine — to play that one session.

It is normal for me never to play with someone with me because of the distraction factor, and this session was no exception — kind of. Cindy stuck around but never bothered me. No matter. I lost on the $1, $2 and $5 levels anyway with no cash outs at all. A quick $3,200 in the hole upset her some but had no effect on me at all. I’ve seen it many times before.

After dinner I decided to continue my session at the $10 machine while my wife wanted to get some much-needed rest. The plan was for her to take the rental car back to the airport the next day for her Sunday night flight home, and I would go back to Laughlin for one more night before heading home on Monday. But once again, fate didn’t let that plan happen either.

The high limit area was absolutely crowded, which is typical for a late Saturday night anywhere on the Strip. I played my 400 credits on a $10 machine and lost all $4,000 without a single cash out. Now down $7,200, I went to the $25 machine and again lost a quick 100 credits on Bonus Poker. The numbers weren’t good. I was stuck $9,700 and was having a bad time to boot since I don’t like crowds when I’m playing.

Yet, I was determined to stick it out amid all the noise enough to finish up with my $25 session and call it quits regardless of what went down with my play. That’s not at all how I usually play, but since this weekend was so helter-skelter I figured my play was just another page in my River Run story.

And indeed it was. On $25 Double Double Bonus Poker I experienced several cash outs of $1,000, started losing again, then upon hitting on a pair of Aces I received two more with the kicker. My good fortune continued as no one blinked, no one cared, and no one made any comments at all. I was out of there with an overall day’s profit of $40,025.

I immediately went upstairs, woke up my wife to tell her how my session went and that I was leaving for home at that moment. I made arrangements to pick her up at the Phoenix airport Sunday evening and I was off to get on my bike and make the 300-mile drive home.

Leaving at midnight is always preferable — especially on any Saturday night. There’s never many cars or trucks on the road at those hours since most people are either home or enjoying themselves in the Nevada hotels. But it was not until after the Hoover Dam that what had happened — and what WAS happening — began to hit me.

There I was, at 1 a.m. on a bike instead of in the usual rental car, AND carrying over $57,000 in cash. It was almost so overwhelming that I had to momentarily stop, remove my helmet, and shake the clouds out of my head before continuing.

I arrived home at 6 a.m. totally exhausted, but I had the cash in my bag and I had made the trip to Laughlin and Las Vegas and back as I had planned. There were several glitches — some bad and others good. But if you follow my strategy for playing video poker then you’ll know that persistence, discipline and determination consistently pay off — sometimes big. This time it all paid off crazy big.