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Poker Night

Mar 26, 2007 | By David Savona
Poker Night
I clamped my teeth around my Fuente Fuente OpusX Lancero, puffed a cloud of spicy smoke across the table and flipped over a ten and an eight, both of them clubs.

“Flush,” I said with a crooked smile.

Tim threw down his hole cards, skipping the flourish of cigar smoke.

“To the jack,” he said, and reached for the pile of chips.

Getting outflushed in Texas Hold ‘Em isn’t fun, but I didn’t sweat the loss. It was only a couple of bucks, plus it was Friday night after a busy work week, and six friends and I were tossing back adult beverages and smoking great cigars. Who could be upset?

Poker night is nearly always at my house because I have the only cigar-friendly home in the group. My basement is my smoking room, and I have the green light to fire up there at will thanks to my very understanding wife. Her father is a cigar smoker, so when I light a Churchill the aroma reminds her of her childhood. When most of my buddy’s wives smell cigar smoke they get ballistic, rather than nostalgic.

The cards are almost an afterthought. The stakes are modest, with each man kicking in $20 to the start. A few unlucky ones put in a second Jackson to replenish. Take away the poker and we’d still have had a good time. But remove the beer, whiskey and cigars? That would be a problem.

I began the night with cold Pilsner Urquells. My friend Mark, always an adventurer, brought some Costa Rican beer called Imperial. Russ didn’t bring any Scotch, but no one could blame him: a few years ago there was a rather famous game where he came with a bottle of expensive whiskey that had been aged in France. It didn’t last long, and Russ soon looked like a farmer who had lost a bumper crop to uninvited locusts.

Scott, who was new to the table, brought Chivas 12-year-old, which was much appreciated. Kurt, another rookie, brought a full bottle of Booker’s Bourbon, which brought an immediate smile to my face.

Turns out Kurt enjoys strong cigars, so I started him with a Tatuaje Havana Cazadore. I thought it might be too much for him, but he smoked it and smiled. He followed that up with an Ashton VSG. He really does like his cigars strong. (Get this: he’s in training to do an Ironman triathalon--more than two miles of swimming, a 112-mile bike ride and 26 miles of running. Maybe the power cigars will help?)

For the guys in the group who prefer their smokes on the mild side, I started them with Maxx cigars by Alec Bradley. Scott was in the mood for a second, so I gave him a Partagas 160.

My luck turned after the flush incident, and with a wee dram of Booker’s in my glass and a second cigar in my mouth (a Padilla 1932) I soon had a sizeable stack of chips in front of me. But the poker wasn’t nearly as important as the camaraderie. We laughed into the night and let the worries of the workweek fade away.
"oops, I meant a good game. They aren't involved in that sort of business. " —March 28, 2007 15:59 PM
"Always a good dame over at Fume in Montclair if you ever in New Jersey. There is action there every night." —March 28, 2007 15:59 PM
"I don't know Frank, I hear you guys are pretty good at cards down there...but I'll try to make it sometime soon." —March 26, 2007 16:15 PM
"Hey Dave,Good to see you've got the Hold 'Em bug.... so when will you join us @ Club Perfecto for our regular Thursday Night Members game?? You are so right when you mention it is all about the camaraderie - the poker - the great cigars - the chatter and chiding - a tremendous fraternal experience that I look forward to sharing with the fellas @ Club Perfecto each week, and that I miss terribly when I am unable to attend. Noting quite like Bourbon, Bad Beats, Ball Bustin' and BS to cap off the work week! I expect that your Rowayton Rougues provide much the same experience (among this collection are a number of former FP colleagues of mine, so I am confident that the laughs abound). Hope to see you down @ Club Perfecto soon.Big Smoke Rings.....ooo000OOOOBig Frank" —March 26, 2007 14:31 PM

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