Thursday 03 April 1997
The idea of a poker cruise is to play cards among a group of fellow enthusiasts, while enjoying a vacation at sea. This cruise attracted a group of 320 players and hangers-on. We embarked at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, making several sunny stop-overs at island resorts, as a refreshing break from all-night poker, sailing back to port a week later. The tour, on a white Holland America liner, 15 decks high like a floating hotel, was arranged by a Las Vegas travel agency run by June Field, founding editor of Card Player and a sharp player herself. My trip cost me around $1,150, (pounds 750) sharing a cabin, all on-board expenses included - a bargain.
We played limit raise Hold 'em, seven-card stud and Omaha high-low, with daily tournaments to enliven the action. Stakes ranged American style from $2-$4 up to $10-$20 and $20-$40. A clutch of real gamblers got a pot limit Hold 'em game going in the corner. The games were not too tough, because a certain shipboard jollity infused all the play. But even at these low stakes, it is easy to lose (or win) several hundred dollars. How did I do? "I paid my expenses," is my story. The dealers, taking a break from their regular jobs in Las Vegas casinos, joined in the spirit of a fun trip. They relied on tips, normally a dollar a hand.
One of the pluses of this kind of cruise is that non-poker-playing spouses or companions can also have a good time, snorkelling, sight-seeing or snoozing. The next cruise is from Vancouver to Alaska, 5-12 June, followed by one to the southern Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, 12-22 November. Details: Classic Poker Cruises, 2375 East Tropicana Ave. suite 281, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119 (fax: (702) 798 8981).
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