How many times does a person move from northern New Jersey to Las Vegas in a lifetime?
It was the summer of 1985 and the plans had been in the works for months. My parents called me in my dorm one night to tell me that they’ve decided they were retiring to Las Vegas that summer. At the time, they thought that I might transfer to UNLV or one of the UC schools. But, having made many friends and in the middle of pursuing my degree, transferring just didn’t seem prudent. I decided that I would stay at SUNY@Albany.
When I got home for summer break, I found much of our house already packed up. Because they were moving across country, I convinced my parents to allow me to live off campus for my final two years, figuring I would need a place to stay at times when the dorms were closed. In June, we took a trip up to Albany to set up my new room with much of my furniture from my room at home. In early August, we began the 10-day drive across country. We went thru Wilkes-Barre, Toledo, Chicago, St. Louis, Tulsa, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff and Kingman before arriving in Las Vegas.
Once we arrived, I spent an additional two to three weeks in Las Vegas before flying back to New York to get ready for school. For the next two years, Las Vegas was essentially my home. For the following ten years or so, I would visit 2-3 times a year. My parents had an incredible ‘retirement’ in Las Vegas. Well, maybe retirement isn’t the right word. My father would go on to become the ‘godfather’ of video poker and change the casino floor forever with his work on games like Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud and Spanish 21.
It is now the summer of 2011, 26 years later. To quote Yogi Berra – it’s déjà vu all over again. My wife and I have spent the last 6 months staging our house and packing up our stuff in anticipation of our move to Las Vegas. We promised that once my eldest son was in college that we would head out of the New York area. After researching countless cities, we decided that Las Vegas had the most to offer us. Most of our friends think we’re going because of my profession. There are benefits there as well. The ability to see games in person will certainly help me write about games and develop new games. But, the primary reasons dealt with the quality of life that Las Vegas affords us.
As I write this column, we are 2-3 days away from the ‘hurricane of the century’ hitting us almost directly. Of course, it is expected to come in as a Category 1 hurricane, so what we will endure will be seem like a light rain compared to what those in New Orleans dealt with a few years ago. I’m likely to see more rain this weekend than I will the next 2-3 years in the Las Vegas valley. If this wasn’t bad enough, we actually had an earthquake here too this past week. I personally didn’t feel a thing, but about an hour before it hit, we were at the top of the Empire State Building, where I am told it WAS felt. I can’t really say that I won’t deal with the same in Las Vegas. I was there in 1992 when a significant earthquake hit between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and felt my parent’s apartment get shaken up quite a bit.
Several months ago, I announced that I was changing the name of Compu-Flyers to Gambatria. I knew then, that that was the beginning of a good deal of change in our lives. In about 2-3 weeks when we arrive in Las Vegas, the end phase of that change will begin. Compu-Flyers, now known as Gambatria will return to Las Vegas after a 13-year hiatus. From a base of operations in Las Vegas, I hope to be able to write about more up and coming games and to write in more detail about what I see going on in the casinos.
I hope that Las Vegas will be as good to my family as it was to my parents. I hope that I can be as good for Las Vegas as my father was.