Ever play poker in one of those small, friendly rooms? The same players come every day to start the game. They’re a family. They all know each other and each other’s business. Most of them are senior citizens and wonderful folks. The ones that smoke started when they were young and didn’t know any better. It was cool then. But listening to them talk, intermingled with gasping, spitting, choking and wheezing as they try to breathe, takes your breath away. Especially if they’re blowing smoke at you. Appealing? Hell no!

Smoke rolling out of every orifice in your head after you get pocket Aces beat on the river is one thing, but putting paper rolled tobacco to your lips and sucking it as you torch it – NO WAY! It’s so uncool that it’s beyond STUPID. Some smokers even want to set their ashtray between you and them because they don’t want the smoke coming up in their face. Gee . . . that’s a tough one, dummy. Just put it out! If you turn a fan on them, they’re insulted. My, my, poor baby.
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The melting pot

Ever assess the reasons that people sit at the poker table? Think of the cultural exchange – the massive differences between age, intellectual and financial levels that move in separate circles in our society – they all come together, elbow to elbow, to try and best each other with wit and skill across the felt top. The reasons each of us play manifest themselves in our comments and actions during the course of play. One could spend a million or so hours at the table and still experience unique situations and comments from the gathering.

Suppose you got up this afternoon, stretched, had a few cups of coffee over the morning paper, ozoned your way through a shower and toothbrush session and sped across town to capture a seat in a “friendly” little game of poker.
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