Poker Game

A Crazy Game of Poker:

I spent last night playing poker at the house of a former neighbor of mine, who is the groundskeeper at the local Catholic church. He is a devout Catholic and a proud Virginian, and had invited in addition to me his father -- a retired Chicago police officer, who now works at the Pentagon -- and also the priest, and also a couple of other people. Among those "couple of others" was a fellow I'd never met, whom we shall call Blondie.

Blondie had obviously come for the festivities instead of the poker, as he began drinking with several glasses of beer, and then began "fortifying" the beer with some sort of cheap rum. After several more glasses, he moved on to straight hard liquor.

Oh, and what liquor. The advertisement for Tarantula Tequila begins, "You wouldn't expect Tequila to be blended and bottled in Italy, but..."

So anyway, amid all of this some of us are trying to play poker. Blondie, meanwhile, is so drunk that he accidentally deals about half the cards face up on his deal, can't actually tell whether he has a hand or not so just bets heavily on everything and then lays his hand down at the end of the game to see if he won.

He won almost everything. Seriously -- he must have won two out of three of the hands, all night long. I think I broke even, but two of the other players lost everything they'd brought, and most of it ended up in Blondie's pockets.

I would suspect him of being a cheat, except that (a) I actually watched him drink all that stuff, all of which was provided by others, so I know it was all genuine liquor he was drinking; and (b) in my misspent youth I learned several good ways to cheat at cards, and he wasn't making use of any of them. Furthermore, every time he saw an ace in his hand he would burst out laughing and beating his hands on the table, which isn't much of a poker face.

Anyway, Blondie -- who while still sober had been playfully harrassing his Catholic hosts about the 'high church' aspects of the faith, such as robes and bells and saints -- by the end of the night was demanding to know the name of the patron saint of poker so he could perform some sort of ritual sacrifice in his honor.

I don't see anything quite like that on the internet lists of patron saints -- there are saints for "compulsive gamblers," which I don't think is quite the right idea, and for "playing card manufacturers," but again, not just right. Perhaps one of our Catholic readers could help us discover the right saint.

Anyway, there must be one, because he cleaned up. I shall be interested to see if he follows through on his oft-repeated, drunken claim that he was going to donate it to the local Catholic church ("It'shall goin' ta th' poor, boys," was the usual formulation of this promise.) Though I don't know if less devoted gamblers can also benefit from the veneration, some of you may wish to try it.

UPDATE: I knew I could rely on Southern Appeal, which even today linked to this piece:

I am pleased to announce that we have started a campaign to ask the Vatican to name patron saints for... Texas Hold 'Em[.]
That's the Catholic Church I know -- finding a need and filling it.

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