Monday, June 26, 2006

Lie with a Straight Face

IF YOU’RE not into ball play (or worried how to spend your hours after the soccer World Cup wraps up in Germany), best start practising how to lie with a straight face because playing poker is becoming the hottest trend.

Thank the home of apple pie for the new card onslaught as a spate of TV programmes, from cable’s Celebrity Poker Showdown (which enjoyed the second-highest audience debut after Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for the Bravo Network) and The World Poker Tour (the most popular series in the history of the Travel Channel) to the new hit TV programme Tilt.

What is different this time around is that poker, which has been around in some form or another since the 1800s, has brushed off its image as a men’s club recreation confined to smoke-polluted back rooms.

These days everyone from teenagers to housewives is getting in on the act. In fact, the Pokerworld website reports that even university professors are using poker exercises to demonstrate deductive and critical thinking skills and probability calculation to their students.

So, if you don’t want to be seen as an ABC player (someone who plays predictably, in poker-speak), you need to brush up on the difference between a straight flush, four-of-a-kind and a full house if you want to make sure you’re the one who walks away with the pot of money.

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