You sit at a round table covered in some sort of green fabric. The fabric is scratchy, don’t touch it too much. In one seat a trained professional shuffles a deck of cards into an order that will likely never be repeated through all of human history. Ignore that little bit of splendor, you have a poker game to play. The trained professional deals five cards to each other player at the table. It just got real. Take a look at your competition.
To your right: Edwin McCain
Background: Holy crap! The Eddie M? Yep.
What to expect: Absolute cut throat.
Tell: Says, “I’ll be…” quietly when the cards are in his favor.
To your left: Betty Bubbles
Background: Former lounge singer
What to expect: Tom Jones lyrics sprinkled throughout the conversation
Tell: Will slap you if her cards are bad.
Two seats left: A literal cliff
Background: spends most of its time by the ocean
What to expect: Seagull jokes
Tell: Is a bluff.
Two seats right: Ashley Winslowe
Background: Retired Buckingham Palace guard
What to expect: Creepy staring into the middle distance
Tell: Removes that big hat only when holding three of a kind. Otherwise, there’s no telling what’s going on up there.
Two seats to the left: TJ Palmer, co-founder of the one and only APPLEBEE’S!
Background: Defining modern dining on a modern budget
What to expect: Poison in the queso. Be careful.
Tell: Takes a bite of a perfectly fried mozzarella cheese stick when confident.
The dealer: Most people assume the name is “Tex”
Background: Shrouded in mystery
What to expect: No nonsense.
Tell: Not playing. Don’t worry about it. Or do. Tex is the only real wildcard here. Aside from the poison cheese. Worry about that and Tex.
The game is afoot. Play well. Play smart.