Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Christmas ‘flop’…..

At Christmas, we mostly didn’t get Pictionary, Risk, Twister or Monopoly out from the top of the wardrobe. Nor did we indulge in an energetic afternoon of Charades…… "It’s a film, a play, a book and a tee shirt?"….

Our old favourite, Trivial Pursuits - so well used in times past, (we know all the Q&As’ off by heart) was also parked for the duration along with all the cute little cheeses...... No, for this Christmas we decided we should indulge in a little bit of street cred’ gamesplay. And this could only mean one game would fit the bill - Texas Hold’em poker was our pastime of choice for the festive season. We’ve been following the intricacies of the game on satellite TV. Six players and a dealer, huddled round a green baize table, hands like shovels clacking their chips, clack, clack, clack. The little nuances, the bluffing, the stone facing, the big sovereign ringings, the chunky necklaced blingings, the black as black dark glasses, made by 'Mr Inscrutable' of Milan…...

The men look like they’ve lived their whole life standing on their faces. Every bum deal, every all-night drinking session, every 10-grand blow-out etched on furrowed brows, gaunt expressions and aged puffed out cheeks. They all smoke, it helps with the persona. And, of course, they all have ‘Mississippi Riverboat’ type handles (even though they come from Watford, Bingley and Bootle) ….. ‘Fancy Dan’ Smith, Jimmy ‘Cool Dude’ Prentice, ‘Diamond-Deuce’ Dobson, et al….. They all drink Jay Dee obviously. Sucking it through gaps in their gappy-toothed teeth, some white, some brown, some gold, wincing as the Kentucky sour mash hits their nicotine-stained, lily-livered taste buds.

Even the phraseology of playing is sexy. ’The Flop’, ‘Check’, ‘The River Card’, ‘Ace high’……. With a bit of imagination, I’m there, on a Mississippi Riverboat, playing James Garner, the original Maverick - and I'm about to take him to the cleaners with a well disguised Royal Flush……..

We’ve just got to get a set for Christmas, we could play it straight after the Queen's speech at 3:15pm on Christmas Day.

The set is bought from the New Orleans branch of Woolworths. (sort of).

We’ve got the full poker-playing monty – cards, 3 packs. Chips, bloody loads of them – and they really do make a lovely ‘clacking’ sound. Dispenser, shuffler, rulebook. Just to make doubly sure we have enough chips to play a proper game, we invest in a couple of extra packets. We walk slowly, carefully out of the big Dubbya. We're on the look out for muggers and river boat con artists…. After all, for the princely sum of 20 quid, we’ve just bought almost 100 grand worth of chips…..

Christmas came and went. I put the dark sunglasses on – bought from Mr Inscrutable in Milan, but that just made me want to go to sleep. Somehow, we never quite managed to play. We never quite managed to clack those chips, look as if we'd spent our entire lives standing on our faces or gunned down a riverboat rival with a cunningly concealed Deringer pistol..... Never mind, there’s always next year. Meanwhile, we’ve stored the poker set safely, on top of the wardrobe, in the spare bedroom, next to Twister, Risk and Monopoly…….

All the best for the New Year.