“This is what’s good about America. There is always some improvisation, something new.”

— Robert Olen Butler, A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain

In 1975, after Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese, thousands of South Vietnamese refugees escaped to the United States. Hiep Doan, a boy of fifteen, stayed…


In the early 1970s, a shaggy-haired sociology major from The University of New Orleans visited Skid Row, a raggedy section of downtown where dozens of winos lounged sadly like stray puppies. The student’s name was Michael Groetsch, and his final project, a study of how local businesses exploited Skid Row’s…


Three years ago in a hold ’em tournament at the L’Auberge Casino, Piyush Mittal got into a confrontation. His opponent, a petite woman wearing an LSU hoodie, shoved all-in and he called with top pair. The good news was that she only had a pair of threes, and, after another…


There’s one word, more than any other, that gives grinders nightmares. Can you guess what it is? Here’s a hint. One day you sit in a no-limit hold ’em game, run queens into kings, and lose. Then you run kings into aces and lose. Then you run aces into kings…


In the summer of 2011, Foster Hays got some good news: he’d been accepted to medical school. To celebrate, he flew to Las Vegas with a friend and entered his first-ever WSOP tournament, a $1,500 no-limit hold ’em event that drew 3,157 entrants. As he started Day 2 with an…


Around three in the morning, when most of us are asleep, Easton Oreman is starting his workday. He drives to the company warehouse, fills a truck with hundreds of loaves of Pepperidge Farm bread — Honey Wheat Bread, Whole Grain White Bread, 100% Whole Wheat Bread, 12 Grain Bread, Sourdough…


“Raise.” Lou Marziale pushed sixteen white chips across the betting line. His 4/8 limit hold ’em opponent begrudgingly called and saw the bad news: Lou had rivered two pair with eight-three offsuit. “That’s just two terrible cards,” he told Lou, shaking his head. “I don’t know why you’re playing those…


In the late 1970s, J. Patrick McNamara was on location in Caesarea, Israel, to shoot The Fury, a film starring Kirk Douglas. Already a veteran stage actor, McNamara was quickly becoming a respected movie actor as well, and Douglas had asked him for help with a vocal problem he’d been…


A few years ago, Joe Meteye was hosting a private dinner inside Ruth’s Chris Steak House, a downtown New Orleans restaurant. Beaming and besuited in front of seventy-five guests, he told them about Clicquot, a luxury champagne from Reims, France. After speaking for thirty minutes — about his career in…


God, please forgive these gentlemen for the slaughter they’re about to commit.

— Peace Marvel

Captain Peace Marvel has an enviable job: he takes people fishing for money. Thanks to a lot of enthusiasm and the Captain’s joky trademark — a morning prayer of forgiveness — Peacekeeper Charters is one…

Ben Saxton

reading, writing, teaching, pokering

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