Holiday Gift Ideas
No need to get stressed about your Christmas shopping this year. If your loved ones happen to be poker-nuts, there's a plethora of poker presents just for them. Best of all, most of them can be bought online so you can forget all that last-minute traipsing around the mall and queuing ?round the block. Poker has grown so big that it's inevitably got caught up in the Christmas consumer-fest this year, with more merchandise than the last Star Wars movie. So, to ease your burden and save you a whole lot of time, Bluff decided to do some window-shopping on your behalf.
PHIL "THE UNABOMBER" LAAK LIMITED EDITION
Card Cover- Licensed Exclusively by FLOP GEAR.com. This Poker Card Cover protects your cards from being mucked. It features a likeness of Phil Laak, The Unabomber. Collect all 6- Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, Gus Hansen and Phil Hellmuth. Includes Collectible Box. Actual dimensions are approximately 2.5" wide by 2.5" tall. www.flopgear.com Retail $19.
So, what better perfect gift for the aspiring card player? The Hatchet Wire designer frames are pretty much the top of the range. Oakley say they are "40 percent lighter than pure titanium, giving them a finished weight of just over one ounce," which sounds pretty damn amazing, as does the claim that "machined with tolerances of one thousandth of an inch, the digitally rendered contours blend linear earstems with sculpturally integrated hinges, custom-engineered with spring mechanisms for a comfortable fit." We don't even know what that means, but we're completely sold! At $250-$305 they're amongst the priciest, but there are plenty of models on offer for more limited budgets - check out the full list at Oakley.com
WORLD POKER TOUR ENTERPRISES HAVE SPENT THE year energetically signing sponsorship and merchandising deals, so when Season Three hits our screens in March, we'll see a brand-name blitz in stores up and down the country. Everything from boxer shorts to mobile phones will sport the hallowed WPT logo.
In the meantime, they do a fine line in goodies, all available at the WPT site. Apart from the obligatory baseball caps and polo shirts, they offer their own card decks and chips, as handled by the pros. At $7.95 for two decks, WPT assure us they offer "the best snap, feel, and shuffle"' and that they "retain shape after hours of play." For-$149.99 you can have the whole package: a set of professional WPT chips, two decks of cards, and casino dice, all cocooned in a sleek metal case.
BOOKS ALSO MAKE IDEAL
stocking fillers, and typing ?poker? into the Amazon.com search engine will yield a bewildering array, comprising hundreds of titles. There are certain books, however, that the serious poker fan must have in his library: Doyle Brunson?s Super System, Mike Caro?s Book of Tells, and The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky, to name but a few. For an all-round scintillating read, however, Bluff recommends Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker, in which writer and poet James McManus recounts his bizarre adventures at the 2000 WSOP - a must-buy.
But wait! Super System II, the most hotly anticipated poker text since Doyle Brunson?s seminal opus of 1979, is scheduled for publication in January. A late Christmas present, perhaps - but as we?ve already waited twenty-five years for this, we can probably manage another few weeks. Put your order in at Amazon now to ensure you get a first edition, hot off the press.
AND THE BEST WAY TO AVOID ALL
that tiresome TV on Christmas Day is to get your hands on the World Poker Tour (Season One) DVD. All fifteen episodes of the ground-breaking inaugural season are lovingly combined in this five-disc box set, with special features galore, so you can relive those classic moments to your heart?s content.
Not to be outdone, the WSOP offers some pretty cool merchandise too: everything from poker tables to chip racks, and a calculator that doubles up as a hand-held poker game ? the perfect stocking filler.
5STARDEAL.COM, HOWEVER, IS THE ULTIMATE
site for everything poker. Check out their amazing selection of chip sets, from the top of the range to the downright novelty, such as the Ronald Reagan commemorative set.
100% CLAY POKER CHIPS FROM ALL-IN CHIPS
(www.all-inchips.com) Hosting 7-8 people with this allclay chip set is no problem. If the 500chip set intimidates your friends, then the 650 chip set will make them tremble. All-In Chips are the real deal. They are 100% solid, all-claychips - just like what is played in casinos. Pick up
this great gift for only $194.99.
DON'T FORGET THIS GREAT GIFT.
Poker Chip Mart.com offers this wonderful Texas Hold'em folding table top. A great value for only $69.99
IF YOU?VE GOT A SPARE ROOM SITTING EMPTY AND
plenty of cash to burn, why not transform it into a casino? Get down to the Gamblers? General Store in Vegas ? a bona fide gaming upermarket - and take a look at the casino-quality professional poker table they have for sale. This really got us excited, with its exquisite walnut inlay, deluxe nylon poker cloth, and brass ashtray screens and drink holders?wow! This could really liven up your home games and make you the envy of your friends. At $2495, it ain?t cheap, but it sure is beautiful. You can salivate over it at www.gamblersgeneralstore.com.
"One-Of-A-Kind Custom Texas Hold 'Em Tables Call 1-866-592-9862 or visit FriendlyPokerGame.com"
WORLD SERIES OF POKER
And ladies, If you?re feeling particularly indulgent of your poker-obsessed loved one, and your Christmas bonus exceeded all expectations this year, then why not give him the ultimate; the amateur card-player?s dream come true. No, not poker lessons with Annie Duke ? even better than that. Why not pony up the $10,000 and buy him a seat at the 2005 World Series? You may have to forgo your annual vacation, but you?d sure be in someone?s good books.
PRO WISH LIST: All I Want For Christmas?
MEN ?THE MASTER? NGUYEN: Men wants whet every player wants for Christmas: A World Poker Tour win at the Bellagio, please. ANTONIO ESFANIARI: Cool as Antonio, he is after a framed black and white of Al Pacino in the Godfather.
PHIL HELMUTH: ?Normally I?m the most impossible person in the world to buy presents for but this year I know exactly what I want ? a Segway, one of those little two-wheel ?human transporter? things. I was watching MTV Cribs and Shaq showed up at the house riding one.?
CLONIE GOWEN: Clonie has a fabulous list of goodies.
2. palmOne Tungsten T5 Handheld
3. Squissy Travel Pillow
4. Apple iPod U2
5. Eagle Creek Travel Accessories -
Pack-It Sac Large
6. Wireless Laptop Computer
7. Prada Bag
8. LUV Sac
FORGET HALLMARK ? give the players on your list cards they can use. The guys at The Game Preserve (www.gamepreserve.com) have tons of cool, different, and downright odd decks of cards to choose from. Here?s four unique new varieties for the players on your holiday list? FOR THE
STYLISH ? See through cards. They?re cool, they?re kind of weird, and they?re designed by a guy named Pieter Woudt ? so they must be stylish. FOR THE HISTORY BUFF ? The 1864 Poker Deck from US Game Systems lets Civil War buffs tone down their re-enactments and play a
friendly game of stud with this authentic historical deck.
FOR THE NEWBIE ? The Dummies have done it again. Miniature lessons on each Texas Hold ?em for Dummies card give the new guy tips on when to hold ?em and when to fold ?em.
FOR THE KLUTZ ? Premium all-plastic cards from Torcello. Corners don?t dog-ear, cards won?t bend from heavy-handed shuffling - and you can drown them in spilt beer, towel ?em off, and keep on playing.
(© 2005 BluffMagazine. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)