A New Beginning

I belong to a special group of poker players. Just call us gadabout road gamblers.

This group was started by the legends of poker -- guys like Dolly Brunson, Amarillo Slim, Johnny Hale and Sailor Roberts. Before poker exploded as the most popular gambling card game in the world, there was a circuit of private games that drew the best poker players in the nation.

Today, of course, the indian reservations have changed things. The federal government could not stop indian nations fro building casinos on Indian reservations. The government tried to control the scope of the games without much luck and today there are casinos operating in many parts of the United States.

I have played in poker games in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Montana, the state of Washington and the Caribbean.

GamblingintheUSA

Most of the gamester legitimate and well run. There were one or two I wasn't sure of ... smiles.... but that's gambling for you.

As I write this, I am packing up to travel to the East Coast. The wild wonderful state of West Virginia has a great casino called Mardi Gras that operates in Charleston. it's managed by Jim Gussius, himself a roving tournament poker player who spends a lot of his time playing in tournaments.

I plan to spend a week or so in Charleston before pushing off for Sutersville, PA., my home town There the volunteer fire company runs a poker game three times a week. On the nights the poker games don't operate, you can drive 20 miles to Pittsburgh to play at the Rivers Casino, another first-class card room. Or you might want to travel to The Meadows Casino in Washington, PA., about 40 miles from my home.

The nice thing about moving to another casino is that everything changes. it's a new beginning, facing new faces, new games, and new tournaments.

People do play differently in different geographic areas. In Montana and Washington, for example, players drink a lot more than they do in Arizona and New Mexico. They don't raise as much. They play differently. It's a challenge to figure out how to adapt to their different techniques.

But poker is poker. It's still played with a deck of 52 cards and no joker. The odds of improving a pair or making a flush or straight are still the same.

i am making this trip hoping that the federal government will finally move to correct the wrong they committed against U.S. citizens when they shut down internet poker in 2006 -- Black Friday. It should never have happened. It was a disgraceful act committed against the American people by their own government. it's just one of the reasons Americans are so distressed with the federal government and it's why people are looking forward to throwing the rascals out and putting some new rascals in to run the show.

I am looking forward to seeing my old classmates when I get back to Pennsylvania. And I'm going to interview jim Gussius for a story for this column. I don't want to get on jim's bad side. He's a Charles Bronson look-alike and nobody wants to mess with Bronson.

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