These days, it seems that you can hardly change the channel without running into some kind of poker tournament being aired. I think it first gained popularity on ESPN2 as filler time between such exciting events like rodeo, motocross and monster truck shows. But, over time, it seems to have created a niche market of its own. Based on that success, there are even “celebrity” tournaments hosted on some the other channels where people you’ve never heard of compete on behalf of an even more obscure charity like the “Danny Bonaduce and David Cassidy Fund for Reuniting the Partridge Family”. Yes folks, poker has indeed, arrived.

When it comes to the heavy hitters, hardly a day goes by that you can’t see men and women deep in thought and with a look of consternation on their faces as they contemplate the latest hand they’ve been dealt in a life and death struggle known as Texas Hold 'Em on shows such as the World Series of Poker. The seriousness of how they go about their business is often masked by the donning of sunglasses to try and mask whatever “tells” they might display that might give their opponent that extra added insight and cause them to tip their hand.

While they’re busy staring each other down in a scene that looks like it was lifted from High Noon you’ll probably notice them doing something with their hands. Most of the time, they’re either fondling their chips and/or rearranging them into stacks so they can keep track of the booty and know just how much they have left and how much they can afford to wager. There must be something reassuring about the clicking and clacking of the little pieces of plastic as they slip through their fingers and they try and stare each other down

Now, I’m not much of a gambler anymore but back in the day we’d have a pretty standard weekly poker game. Mostly the stakes were low enough so that nobody got hurt too bad and would have to catch the inevitable living hell from their significant other if they happened to drop a boatload of cash. No, these were games that saw people bring over beer and chips and maybe we’d order out for a pizza or two. There was nothing cutthroat about it and for the most part, no hard feelings were ever kept unless somebody spilled too much beer or burned a hole in the carpet. Even those faded after time.

Besides the playing cards themselves, there was always one piece of standard equipment that was brought to each game. Since nobody liked to throw cash around, we all bought our stakes in the form of poker chips from the “bank”. Now, depending on the stakes of the game, poker chips can vary in their worth and denomination and there really is no “standard” amount assigned to each chips and its corresponding color when it comes to a friendly neighborhood game. It’ll usually depend on the person running the game itself to make that call based on what the “buy in “ is but these are pretty standard when it comes to these sorts of games. Note, all of these are based on United States currency.

White =  $1
Red = $5
Blue = $10
Green = $25,
Black = $100

Once your addiction has taken hold and you decide you want to test your mettle against the big boys in Vegas where the stakes are much, much higher and they play for keeps, bear in mind the following.

White = $1
Yellow = $2
Red = $5
Blue = $10
Grey = $20
Green = $25
Orange = $50
Black = $100
Pink = $250
Purple = $500
Burgundy = $1000
Light Blue = $2000
Brown = $5000

Like I said, I’ve given up gambling a long time ago, I’ve got too many other addictions to juggle these days. I guess that happens with age.


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