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Poker in the trenches

The sounds of shells exploding nearby used to cause terror to claim you, to take you completely so that you shook and felt all of your being seep out into the dirt of the trench and left you nothing but a quivering bundle of fear. That was quite a while ago, though, and now you’ve been on the front lines for a long time. Still, the shells explode and the fear remains and the only thing that keeps it from being overwhelming is the time you spend in quiet, the time you spend with your fellow soldiers. This camaraderie is the only thing that keeps you going and it’s so powerful that sometimes you hate the explosions most of all because their thunderous echo keeps you from enjoying what you love most, the game you play with the men who have your back, the men who’d die for you and the men you would die for. The shells from the enemy keep you from enjoying the time you spend in a game that makes the hours go by, a game you love.

The enemy shells interrupt your poker game.

In World War I, poker became a mainstay for the troops in combat. Trench warfare was brutal but the brutality was delivered in short bursts separated by long breaks. Those long breaks were filled with poker on both sides of the battle. Card decks became weapons of war. The Germans put caricatures on the faces of card decks to make fun of generals, heads of states, and all of the opponents who would try to fight them. Americans and other allies taught French phrases and filled the decks with information about the Allied effort.

Poker became so important that the German forces and the Allied forces spent millions of dollars making sure their decks reflected current propaganda purposes. In fact, there were special decks designed and special equipment specifications for soldiers who lost a hand or an arm in combat! Some historians believe it was the Civil War that popularized poker in America. Perhaps that’s true. However, there’s no question that World War I, the “War to End All Wars”, is the war that made poker and other card games the household pastime they became in the Twentieth Century all the way to today.

The great news is that you can have all of the excitement of three of a kind with one more card coming and you don’t have to worry about a shell exploding nearby! At the Hangar Poker House in Houston, Texas, you can fight your card battles and you don’t even have to wallow in the trenches. Poker has never been so fun. We’ll see you here. Bring your A game because even if you’re not playing with soldiers, they’re still out to get the pot!

About the Author

W.J. Wright played his first game of poker at the age of eleven. In the late eighties he started playing for money and hasn't looked back. You can usually find him hiding his hole cards while sipping scotch and considering which player and which hand will end up in his next writing project.

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