By Tony Dunst
It’s hard to say what a night out in Las Vegas costs. That’s because, done properly, a “Vegas Night” requires saying yes to any drink, gamble, place, or hour suggested. That’s a hard lifestyle for more than a few days, and it becomes increasingly harder with age. After a dozen of years in Vegas, I’ve learned to pace myself and wait for those nights instead of force them every weekend. The one event, or weekend, I always save up for is Tiger Jam in May, involving Tiger’s Poker Night Presented by the World Poker Tour.
The World Poker Tour first partnered with TGR Foundation in 2012, and I’ve been privileged to attend Tiger Jam a few times since. The entire weekend is a tremendous celebration in support of an incredible cause. Tiger’s Poker Night is ostensibly a charity poker tournament, but in reality it is a celebrity-filled party inside a luxurious and exclusive lounge at MGM. Tiger’s presence creates enormous gravity and attracts the giants of their fields; I’ve met Mark Cuban, Chris Paul, and Reggie Bush there over the years, and it’s the only setting where I can truly compete with them.
It is not surprising at Tiger’s Poker Night that I’ve never survived my first table. Like most players, I come to drink and socialize. If I happen to play good poker, it’s merely by accident. This year I attempted a hopeless bluff into two players, mostly so I could show if they folded. I lost the rest of my chips soon after and spent the bulk of the party going between the bar and the catering.
The after-party took place around a craps table, where I bought in for the $200 I found in my wallet. A couple players had short rolls and we were even, but the next man up went on a run that seemingly lasted forever. Maybe it was forty minutes or maybe it was five; things were a bit blurry. But by the time he finally crapped out, I had $1,000 and I took the money and ran.
I knew I was faded because a coworker suggested clubbing and I agreed. She led us to Hakkasan and messaged a promoter she knew, who walked us inside and quickly vanished. Some table soon accepted us as new members and welcomed us to their bottles; hard to say why, but they were clearly tourists having a “Vegas Night” of their own.
I reached my room around 4:30 a.m. That may be tame by Vegas standards, but Tiger Jam is an entire weekend and I couldn’t spend all of Saturday recovering. I needed to bring my A-game to Topgolf Las Vegas that night, especially if I was going to hustle Tiger Woods in a driving contest.
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