One of my favorite hobbies is to dream about what I will do after winning a pile of money in a casino.
Smart gamblers don't only dream – they take steps to make those dreams come true.
I love deep sea fishing. I have fished off the coast of Guaymas, Mexico, in the Caribbean, and off Rocky Point, Mexico.
In this case, I was playing a mixed game of poker (Omaha High-Low and seven-card stud high-low) in Phoenix, Arizona, when I got on a rush and couldn't seem to do anything wrong. I won pot after pot and when I cashed in around midnight, I was carrying seven heavy racks of chips. The cashier girl smiled as she counted up my winnings.
“Nice haul,” she said. What do you plan to do with your money?”
I thought about her question for a moment.
“Take my family on a fishing trip to Rocky Point, Mexico,” I said. “They deserve it and now I can afford it.”
The next day, my daughter and I got online and began researching Rocky Point. We found a resort that had reasonable rates and a fishing service that rented boats. There was another place Rossana and the grandkids wanted to visit – Bird Island. We made reservations at all three places for the following weekend.
On Friday we loaded up in the van and headed south for Rocky Point. The drive through the Arizona desert was spectacular and invigorating.
We arrived in Rocky Point about 11 p.m. and found our way to the resort. The hotel help treated us graciously and led us to our suite overlooking the ocean. A patio next to the bedroom gave us a specular view of the swimming pool, the palm trees and the wide expanse of the blue sea.
In the morning, we had a great breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, avocado, mangoes and strong fresh coffee in the restaurant. Then we went to see what we had rented on my poker winnings.
My daughter is uncanny at finding her way in strange places. Somehow she managed to locate the boat we had rented for our journey to Bird Island. We got on board with the other tourists and we were on our way out of the scenic harbor.
It took well over an hour to get to the island. The name was appropriate as hundreds of birds swirled over the piece of rock and vegetation. My grandchildren are good swimmers and they dove overboard to swim.
Dolphins soon appeared in the turquoise water and approached the boat, unafraid. Josie and Harrison were delighted and swam toward them. The boat captain smiled.
“Don't worry,” he said. “The children are safe."
That day I got a good tan. We returned to the resort late in the afternoon and I found my way to the bar where I ordered a mixed drink and listened to a band of mariachis playing Mexican music.
At 6 the following morning, we headed down to the dock where we met Jose, a short Mexican man wearing sandals and khaki shorts. He greeted us with a wide smile.
“I am your captain,” he said. “And I am proud to inform you that I have never lost a passenger in all my years of fishing.”
We climbed aboard the boat and Jose throttled the engine. An assistant on board baited our hooks and we headed out of the harbor.
An hour later, with the shores of Rocky Point in the distant background, Jose cut the engine and dropped anchor. I cast my rod and within 30 seconds felt a strike.
The fishing was incredible. We pulled in trigger fish, red snapper, a puffer and a slim silver fish we used for bait. I lost count of the fish we caught but when the day was over, we had nearly 90 fish on board.
“I am a good fishing captain, no?” he said.
“You are an excellent fishing captain, yes,” I said, shaking his hand.
The next time you gamble and win, don't just spend the money on more gambling. Enjoy life and family. That is what the game is all about.