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Monday, January 03, 2005

Poker Stuff I Got for Christmas
I'm so behind. While everyone else in the poker blogosphere has already moved onto year-in-reviews, future resolutions, and such, I'm here blogging about Christmas. Oh well.

First off, on the serious "Life > poker" side, my family had one of our best Christmases ever thanks to my mom beating colon cancer. It's kind of amazing how quickly it all happened. On November 11 she had a colonoscopy and the no-bedside-manner physician who found the tumor told her then that "It doesn't look good." Nice. Three weeks later she went under the knife, and that was just scary as heck for everyone. But it went as well as it could have. She was out of the hospital in 4 days (they said it'd be a minimum of 5), and we all were just happy to be together on Christmas. Then on Monday, December 27, my mom saw the doctor again to find out what type of radiation or chemotherapy she'd have to go through. The answer was none: They can't detect any sign that it has spread. They'll monitor her blood for 3 years, but she's got as clean a bill of health as she can. Wow. My whole family is still in this weird, but very good, state of surprise and relief.

Okay, back to poker. This was the year of poker gifts, and I got a bunch. (Mrs. Cheap Thrills told everyone in my family what I'd like.) Here we go:

Two decks of Kem cards. I've been wanting to try these out for a long time, and now I will. To my mind this was the only serious card player's home-game item that I didn't already have.

Ray Zee's High-Low-Split Poker: Seven Card Stud and Omaha Eight-or-Better for Advanced Players. Sweet.

The Rounders Collector's Edition on DVD. B and I already watched a lot of the poker-players' commentary with Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, Chris Ferguson, and Chris Moneymaker. Hellmuth dominates the chatter, of course, but I loved Moneymaker's everyman perspective on things. When Mike McDermott has to go to his law professor for money, the professor writes him a $10,000 check. It's nighttime, and Moneymaker was the only one to note that Mike would have a hard time cashing that check (and would have to pay an exorbitant fee at a check-cashing business in NYC). Also, we forwarded to the parts with Johhny Chan so we could hear him comment on his own performance. Actually Chan is pretty quiet during those parts -- I wouldn't know what to say either. During all the best parts of the movie, actually, the pros are quiet -- caught up in watching the movie rather than commenting on it. Very funny to hear them being fanboy-ish about.

Four ceramic suits-of-cards coasters. They're from Restoration Hardware, and each one has a suit -- a big heart, a big spade, etc. B had already gotten me a set of 6 dice coasters -- one to match each side of a die -- so now we've got nice little coaster set for the game room we plan to have some day.

Four pint glasses with playing cards on them. These will certainly see a lot of use.

A Scotty Nguyen bobble-head! Now the poker-playing Gremlin pictured at the top of this page has someone to play with. (I have them sitting, facing each other, on a shelf in our dining room.) B knew I wanted only the Scotty Nguyen bobble-head, since it serves a practical purpose: to remind me to call people "baby" as much as possible.

An automatic card shuffler. Useful? No. But I think these were going for like $7 at mall shops so it's not surprising I got one. B later told me that she had to convince my family that I didn't also need a dealer's shoe.

And last but not least, Mrs. Cheap Thrills got me a poker blogger "Hammer Time" t-shirt designed by Badblood. How awesome is that?! The funny part was that I got B the very same thing! So now we can look dorky wearing the same thing at our home game. Actually, we'd never do that, so we'll have to fight over who gets to wear it first.

That was all I got on Christmas day, but then when we visited friends after Christmas I actually got 2 more things: A nice little wooden box for holding 2 decks of playing cards (hello, new home for the Kem cards), and a a revolving wooden chip wheel with decent 8.5-gram chips in it. This won't replace my standard, in-the-aluminum-case set of 500 11.5-gram chips, but it does look nice on the bookshelf next to my poker book collection, and the chips will come in handy if we ever do a big enough tournament.

A pretty good haul, huh? Now, next year, will I be able to explain to my family that I have all the poker paraphernalia I could want, but that my poker bankroll could always use more padding? Probably not.

Hammer shirts ROCK! :)
I went back and real the full post, and just wanted to say that it's great to hear that your Mom is doing so well.

Indeed, life > poker.
Thanks BadBlood!
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