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The Good Life

The Poker Game

| From Cuban Models, May/June 03
The Poker Game

The kids are on sleep-overs and your wife has a girls' night out. In the fridge, bottles of ale and lager are getting frosty, and there's no shortage of spirits. Cigars are primed and ready, the crisp C-notes in your pocket are waiting to be wagered and your bluffing face is on. Yes, yes, it's poker night.

Your buddies gather around the dining room table and you ceremoniously flip over the top to reveal your poker table from Mikhail Darafeev. Hand-carved of Pacific Coast maple with grapevine engravings, the 54-inch table boasts refinement and class, plus the excitement of a casino-quality gaming surface. With its felt centerpiece, chip holders and drink wells, it's well ready for the games to begin. Your buddies sink into the six cushy leather chairs that you've had upholstered to match the room and are ready to be fleeced. ($11,000 for the set, call 800-227-7866 or visit www.darafeev.com.)

When the chips fall, they let your buddies know who's cock of the walk with your personalized inlay design. These top-flight custom-made clay chips come from www.pokerchips.com, a company that made chips for Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo, Meyer Lansky's Riviera, Hollywood movies such as Rounders, and now you. (500 custom chips, $425; walnut case, $275.)

You've boned up with poker champ Phil Hellmuth's excellent primer Play Poker Like the Pros (HarperResource, $15.95). The cards start to fall your way. Naturally, they're from the United States Playing Card Co., the supplier of choice for most casinos. You've picked the classic Bicycle card, but they can also be customized. (Call 800-863-1333 or visit www.usplayingcard.com.)

Your bet is called. With no small deliberation you lay your cigar in one of the rests on the S.T. Dupont ashtray (800-341-7003) made of black Limoges porcelain and nested in a brass base. With a frown you flop your cards. Royal flush!

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