On Friday evening, I had a unique experience to attend a 5 star restaurant (along with 30 friends) at a place called “The Rez” at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Fl. The average meal there…appetizer, salad, main course and dessert will run you close to $200 per person, that’s before even ordering any drinks! The unique thing was that it cost us “nothing” except for the tip!
One of the guys “Sam” in our meetup group is one of the best poker players in the country and plays regularly in high stake tournaments all over the place and almost every time wins!! He is a genius and is one of those guys who can remember every card that is played and can build a successful strategy to beat the dealer and other players.
The guy to the right in the photo is “Sam”. He is well known at the Hard Rock and this was easily apparent from the way he was greeted at “The Rez” by the owner and the extraordinary service that we all received received throughout the evening. I didn’t count exactly, but we had about 20 bottles of expensive French wine served to us all throughout the evening. Each of these bottles ran well over $ 100 per bottle and again it was all provided to us free compliments of our gracious host “Sam”!
“Sam” sat next to me at the table and I had a great chance to get to know him and his partner much better as they are fairly new to our group. He was a really nice and modest guy despite his notarity in the high stake poker arena. In talking with him, I too found out that several years ago his former partner also passed away from terminal cancer like Terry, so we had a lot in common. What was even more interesting was that his former spouse grew up in Danvers which was the next town from where I grew up in my childhood years. What was the chances of that!
I took my new French Officer friend “Marco” with me. He couldn’t believe the quality of the food and the choice of the very best of French wines served to us. Hey….if a French guy was impressed you know everything was top notch quality!
“Marco” is the guy to the left in the above photo.
That evening I also had a chance to bond with a couple of other super nice guys who were brand new to our group as well who sat across from me. One was originally from Cuba, the other from Columbia and the third guy from Spain. As I told you in a past blog, my passion is to interact with people from other countries. It gives me a warm feeling in my heart to socialize with foreigners and to learn new things from them and likewise from me.
My new friend David from Columbia is the guy to the right in the above photo.
After the dinner, Marco and I hung around the casino until about 2 Am doing a bit of gambling. Marco was so impressed with this place as he said you have to go to Monte Carlo in France to have such an experience. He was so grateful that I exposed him again to another fun place to go to while on his short 6 month tour of duty here. Okay…as usual we didn’t win on the slot machines, but we had fun anyways!
All in all…A wonderful evening with super nice people.