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Living the Dream

by Linda Johnson |  Published: Jul 22, '15


Those once in a lifetime friendships seem to happen to me more often than anyone deserves. My ten-year friendship with the “Hold’em Hotties” from Tulsa is no exception. Having met this group of fun, amazing, smart, and talented women during a visit to Tulsa about a decade ago, our adventures and travels together continue and are always punctuated by laughter, much home-cooked food, and poker. Just this week we concluded one of our semi-annual trips to Branson, MO, the Las Vegas (without the gambling) of the countryside and Heartland.
Jan Fisher and I flew to Tulsa, OK, where we were met by our dear friend Diane Hughes. She picked us up at the airport and took us to her beautiful new home in the suburb of Sand Springs. A newlywed of one year (I had the honor of performing her ceremony on a Card Player Cruises poker vacation last year) she generously insisted that we take the master bedroom for our overnight stay before gathering the rest of the gang and heading, via caravan, to Branson for our three nights of fun. Since her husband was away, we sheepishly took this beautiful master suite and never wanted to leave. It’s a good thing we knew of the good times that lay ahead, otherwise we might have stayed there enjoying the hospitality and comfort.

Early (for us) the next morning, we met up with the rest of our group, Karen, Judy, Deena, Cheryl, and Jane at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino/Tulsa, and began our journey to Branson, stopping along the way for our usual Cracker Barrel lunch. Arriving in Branson to our lovely cabins at the Thousand Hills Resort, we hurriedly unpacked so we could set up for a quick satellite and home cooked meal before heading into town for our first of three shows, the music group SIX. Known for their full sound without the use of instruments other than vocals, we were wowed by their talent and entertained when Jan took the stage to assist in a “dance off’. In my opinion, she won!

Amid shopping, more food, and two more shows, including “Million Dollar Quartet” and “Clay Cooper” (both of which were wonderful) we headed back to civilization and to the Hard Rock for two nights of poker and fun. The first night, they scheduled a game (with a 5pm start time) of $20/40 EO with a half kill. We played late into the night with a cast of entertaining characters. Good times, for sure. We were hosted to a nice lunch with two of the HR executives the next day before heading off to play in the “Sol Game”. That is a game invented by one of the regulars, and a good friend of mine, Sol Bayouth. It’s a $10/20 full progressive kill game. If you don’t know that that is, it’s ok. Reason being, you likely shouldn’t be playing in it! The kill keeps getting bigger and bigger if the same person scoops the pot on successive hands. You’ll want a seat belt for this game.

Linda Johnson
Card Player Cruises

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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