Thanks to the Travel Channel and ESPN, which broadcast Texas hold 'em tournaments from 'round the world, every dude I know thinks he's the next Scotty Nguyen. Or Phil Helmuth. Or T.J. Cloutier. This includes me, with my stacks of poker how-to's sitting next to the bed (baby books, schmaby books) and my chips wheel next to the deck, in case anyone in the office is feeling lucky; just call me Gefiltefish, and if you get that, you can buy in any time, my friend. (Seriously, call me that...or the Hebrew Hammer; I'm looking for a nickname other than Tighty, which isn't at all flattering and strikes me as oddly disturbing.) Truth is, I am among the bottom-ranked players in our weekly game; I can no more bluff out the likes of Todd or Eric or John or Shane or Randy (howdy, fellas) than I can tell you the names of any disciple save, oh, Judas. Which doesn't stop me from buying in every week and hoping my A-9 suited holds up after the flop. So you may find me and my boys in Grand Prairie on November 1 at the Ruthe Jackson Center, 3113 S. Carrier Parkway. The promise of a hold 'em tournament is just about the only thing that will get me to Grand Prairie, frankly; horses are even less reliable than my sketchy hand, so there. The buy-in's $100, and there are only 50 slots, but the prize is fairly awesome--airfare for two to Las Vegas and a three-night stay at the Bellagio, where you can tell Terry Benedict to kiss your ass while you're stealing his woman and his $150 million...oh, wait, this isn't the movies, and you ain't George Clooney. Nonetheless, the tourney's part of some Roaring '20s costume-party shindig being thrown as a fund-raiser for the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce, which sounds extremely dicey, especially when you consider there will also be blackjack, craps, roulette, slots and a bingo room...very Casino, if you don't pay attention to the fact you're in a Mid-City. And if you see me there--I am the one who looks just like George Clooney, in fact, and will not be wearing a costume, and you can't make me--please, by all means, stay in with 7-2 off-suit. It's a winner every time. No, really. Go to www.grandprairiechamber.org for more information. --Robert Wilonsky
We've uncovered the most chilling place to go this Halloween, but it's neither an amusement park nor a haunted house. It's Deep Ellum, the absolute scariest place in Dallas. Actually, we say that most every day of the year, what with the costumed hoodlums and the creepy music, but this year's Night Fair on Elm Street looks to capitalize on the bad rap. Show up at 7 p.m. for an outdoor screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street, followed by costume and karaoke contests. Also, the C & C Production Company will teach the crowd the dance from Michael Jackson's Thriller video. Afterward, your wristband grants free admission into any Deep Ellum club, and, in the Halloween spirit, each will be disguised as a famous hot spot such as The Blue Note or Studio 54. Get your $15 wristband at www.deepellum.com. --Sam Machkovech
Pretend you're young and enthusiastic, about to finish high school and people keep telling you how talented you are in music, dance, visual arts, theater or graphic design. Never mind that 90 percent of fine arts college graduates never make a living in their chosen pursuit. Swallow hard and head to the Dallas Performing and Visual Arts College Fair on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. at Southern Methodist University. Advisers from 50 higher-ed venues will meet parents and students to plan the most successful path to a future in the arts. Get directions and info at www.nacac.com/fairs.html. --Annabelle Massey Helber
The Write Stuff
It was a book that rocked the foundation of the nation, won a Pulitzer and set the standard for all journalists entering the field of investigative reporting. At 7 p.m. on November 4, Carl Bernstein, who co-wrote All the President's Men with fellow Washington Post writer Bob Woodward, will be the featured speaker at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas' Distinguished Author series. In addition to discussing his role in the historic investigation, Bernstein will talk about his latest book, Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Biography. The event will be at Congregation Shearith Israel, 9601 Douglas Ave. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. Call 214-739-2737. --Carlton Stowers
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