January 27, 2001

All In Extras

Poker on The Brain

In trying to understand the mechanics of Texas Hold 'Em and the world of the professional poker player, I read a couple of fantastic books. One was Poker Nation, A High Stakes Low-Life Adventure into the Heart of a Gambling Country, by Andy Bellin. This was a treasure trove of information. I learned some of what it means to lead the life of a professional card player. Of particular interest to me was the Appendix C, The Poker Lexicon. This was a glossary of poker terms that I found fascinating. For instance, you're "coffeehousing" if your augmenting your poker play with a lot of dramatics or talking. A "splash" is when a player throws his chips into the pot before anyone can confirm that it's the right amount of money, a big no-no.

Here's a guide to poker terms if you'd like to find out more.

I also read Read 'Em and Weep, A Poker Bedside Companion. Because this was a collection of short stories, essays, poems, and excerpts, it wasn't as great a research tool, but it was entertaining. I especially liked the historical ones.

The Art of Poker
While writing All In, I, of course, blogged. One Friday, the day of the week I post artwork, I posted the paintings of Teo Alfonso. By chance I had seen that he painted poker related images and so I decided to post some of his stuff. Well, how surprised was I when he emailed me to tell me how pleased he was that I liked his work? Then the man generously offered to GIVE me a painting. How cool is that? Uber cool.

Ol' Blue Eyes
When I realized I wanted to have a scene in front of the fountains at the Bellagio hotel, I tried to recall what the show looked like. Floundering, I described multi-colored fountains but couldn't remember what types of songs I'd heard there. The theme from Titanic didn't feel at all right. Thank goodness for YouTube! I found dozens of videos of the fountain show and to my intense delight even found the Perfect Song. Here's a link to experience it yourself: Fly Me To the Moon.

Bum Titles
It's almost always tough to come up with a title. Here are some of the ones I considered: In the Cards, All or Nothing, Mariah's Wish, Wishing for Tucker, and the very, very bad A Wish and a Player. Okay, they can't all be gems!

Plugged Into Poker
As always, I did some research online. Here are some of the sites I found helpful.

Daniel Negreanu 's Blog at Full Contact Poker - I loved reading about this man's daily life as a pro. I never actually included that much detail about Tucker's job, but I hope that some of the research I did made him come off as someone who made his living playing cards.

The World Poker Tour - This site was invaluable. When I saw it listed hotels and schedules, that's what gave me the idea that Mariah should have followed Tucker's career after they parted ways. I also found bios of various players and how they got started, which helped me create Tucker's background. And the TV show was amazing. I watched it for three hours straight and was surprsingly mesmerized. I was also astonished at how much I had learned about Texas Hold 'Em. I actually followed what was going on as they played. Talk about reversals of fortune! It was exciting television. Really!