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Full House

No more antes, no more chips, no more green felt. Please. There's little we wouldn't at least consider giving up if it meant we never had to hear another word about poker again. This five-card frenzy has gone on long enough. Isn't Dave Foley supposed to realize that he's wasting his humor on Celebrity Poker Showdown? Wasn't Chris Ferguson supposed to figure out that the black cowboy hat and sunglasses are barely appropriate even on reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger?

Oh, we were into it when the hoopla started. We watched Bravo's Showdown and the Travel Channel's World Poker Tour. And it's not like we jumped on the bandwagon. We learned to play Texas Hold 'Em on the mean porches of Waco, and we don't mess around. You say you joined your poker group last year at the age of 37? Granny had us trained in sly straight-muggin' at the age of 9. But we're over it. And we admit we're resentful.


Michael Kaplan and Brad Reagan sign copies of Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker's Greatest Players at 2 p.m. September 11 at The Lodge, 10530 Spangler Road, then participate in a Lodge amateur poker tournament. Call

Maybe it's our innocent smile or quiet demeanor that keeps us on the fringe of the conversation when the talk turns to cards at the bar. Maybe it's that boy's club mentality that more than occasionally comes with covert poker behind closed office doors--clinking chips just audible to us outside. Perhaps it's because we're close to broke, and no one really wants to lower the blind for a game or two with us. Then again, maybe it's because we actually just play for fun. The game we know is certainly not the one Michael Kaplan and Brad Reagan researched at the World Series of Poker. It's not the one about which they would pen Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker's Greatest Players, a book that chronicles the rise of well-known high-stakes players, all the while incorporating how-tos for a newbie looking to turn aficionado.

Clonie Gowan could take our losing hand and win with it twice. Phil Gordon's styleless Henley shirt could take us if it wanted. But that's just because more than winning, we really enjoy the nature of the game play--the witty banter, the type of competition that results in creative rewards like home-cooked dinners and free tune-ups. It's true. We play our poker more grandma than Gowan.


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