Ball Games


At first, the idea of playing poker for no money struck me as a lousy idea--what is the point of gambling when nothing's at stake?--but around the time I lost my first $100, I came around. Mind you, this happened the very first time I played some years back, and I considered it the high price of taking lessons. But such was the price tag of learning how to play Texas hold 'em back in the good old days; it was either that or hopping on the Internet to play the all-in idiots circling the freeroll felt. Since then, seemingly every bar and topless joint in town is holding tourneys for which you pay nothing to enter and stand to walk away with at least something for your time. Firewater Grill, at 10261 Technology Blvd. off Stemmons Freeway and Northwest Highway, is among the latest eateries to get into the free-tourney biz, but it's not using some local "pro" to run the game. Instead the card-playing cavalry, something called the National Pub Poker League, which offers NPPL prizes at most of its tourneys across the country, has been called in. Winners also garner points to be used to advance to district, regional and national events--kinda like a spelling bee for degenerates. Firewater's offering its tournament during Monday Night Football, which is far less distracting than a topless dancer, so I've been told. Call 214-352-5700. --Robert Wilonsky

Fired Up

Cowboys vs. Redskins used to be one of the NFL's defining matchups, a clash of quality teams and quality players that frequently determined the class of the NFC East. This year? Not so much. Neither the 'Boys nor the Skins are playoff bound this season, but that doesn't mean that the rivalry will be filled with any less hatred or that it will be any less fun. You can still enjoy the historical animosity between the two clubs by creating a little friction yourself. Be sure to heckle any idiot who treads onto Texas Stadium turf wearing a Washington jersey. Let them know, even though your team isn't going anywhere, that the Cowboys are aces in your book. There are plenty of ways to make the game work for you. Just ask Detroit Pistons fans. It's 3:15 p.m. Sunday at Texas Stadium, 2401 E. Airport Freeway W., Irving, for $36 to $78. Call 972-785-4800. --John Gonzalez