Oh Reno... Reno, Reno, Reno.
When I was a child, my grandpa would always announce: "Here comes trouble!" when my sister and I would walk into a room. Things didn't change as I grew up... But nevertheless, one of my favorite memories from childhood is from a trip to Reno with Gramps, Uncle Jim, Aunt Julie, my cousins, Josh & Joel, Uncle John, Momma Lynn, Papa Leonard, and Colleen. I spent a lot of time with my cousins in the arcade, and there was even a joke with a whoopie cushion I'm sure none of us will ever forget.
Frank and I find ourselves amongst the filthy wealth of Reno at least twice a year. This past weekend marked our third visit of 2014. We ventured north for the Great Italian Festival. Because we're obviously not Italian enough, we had to make it a family affair, with Momma Lynn, Papa Leonard, Frank's parents - Janet & Steve, Auntie Donna, Regina, Uncle John, and Liz.
We gambled, and drank, and ate, and drank, and gambled, and ate, and drank, and gambled. We were getting pretty full and pretty drunk until, finally, we WON! For the first time in our 5 year history of travelling to Reno together, we came home with more money than we arrived with, quite a bit more, in fact. We more than doubled what we had brought to gamble.
While I love slot machines, they are so fickle, I get irritated and lose quickly. I also love Black Jack, but it's easy to get some idiot who doesn't understand that you shouldn't Hit a 14 when the dealer is showing a 3...
So we've found a new love: Pai Gow poker. A pretty simple game (once you get the hang of it), where you can sit and play with $40 for a good 2 hours. Essentially, you have a main bet ($5 minimum), and then you have a bonus bet ($1 minimum). Frank and I used to play just $1 on the bonus. Until his first hand resulted in a royal flush, and he won $100 on the bonus.
So we gambled and our winnings went up a bit more, and a bit more. Then we got smart and started betting $5 on the bonus, and wouldn't you know it, little Miss Miss over here pulls 4 of-a-kind with a $5 bonus and wins $125. All while Frank and I pulled straights (2 to 1), trips (three of-a-kind - 3 to 1), flushes (4 to 1), and full boats (full house - 5 to 1). All resulting in $10, $15, $20, and $25 wins, respectively.
Needless to say, our pockets were heavier, despite some shopping, lots of eating, and excessive amounts of alcohol. In fact, I was so over-served on Friday night/Saturday morning at 4:30 that I thought it was necessary for me to speak Spanish with my Pai Gow dealer, Jesus, whose name tag told me he was from Guadalajara, Mexico.
In any case, thanks for the love, Reno. I'm sure Frank and I will return before the year's over.