Try ‘palavering’ between antes

Oct 17, 2005 3:12 AM

Carol, today I am going to tell the folks a little bit about having fun and "palavering" at the poker table while we play poker.

Naturally, most of us senior players do not wish to lose, but the sociability of being with other people and the fun of playing the game are often the reasons older folks play poker.

Like in all sports you have to keep score, and the money that you win or lose is the score card, but in low-limit poker it really doesn’t matter whether you win or lose — it’s how you play and talk the game!

I am remembering today an old dear friend who was 99 years young. I have played poker with Ted for over 50 years.

Ted played poker almost every day at The Mirage here in Las Vegas. He played from about 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and most of the time he would win.

But winning at low limit Omaha Hi/Lo Split was not why Ted played.

Ted Horning at 99 still played and enjoyed his poker game almost each and every day.

Like so many of us, Ted likes to sit around the poker table and palaver. That is, talk about how it is, what we did years ago, and ask each other whether the young whippersnappers will ever learn to play poker and take care of the world.

It’s sad to say but Ted is now playing in the big game upstairs.

Of course, those of you who read my column know that I love the kids and believe that they are the future of poker and of the world.

But will they ever learn how to palaver?

On the outside chance that there may be just one or two folks who do not understand what I mean by "palaver," I will give a short explanation of what it means.

Basically, it is just idle talk, discussion, beguiling speech or a long parley.

A couple of hundred years ago when the Portuguese and the English sailors would meet during their trading trips along the African coast, the English borrowed a Portuguese word, palavra. This word denoted misleading or idle talk.

The Portuguese word traces back to the Latin parabola, a noun meaning "speech parable" (Carol, do you remember those from the Good book?), which in turn comes from the Greek parabole, meaning "juxtaposition or comparison."

As a side note, I had a little bit of a problem when we were playing poker at the "Old Vic" in London, while we were on our recent Seniors European poker tour.

When you play poker in England you are not permitted to palaver.

When you are playing poker at the "Old Vic," you may only say, "check," "call" or "raise."

Of course, I was able to slip in a word or two while the dealer was shuffling the cards in between the deals.

And I do confess I was able to win and pay expenses of the trip from my poker winnings.

Of course, it was just because I got lucky when I played poker with the old boys and young girls over on that side of the pond.

Because my poker friends know that I like to utter a word or two as I play a hand of poker, the London no palaver rule caused me to play a little different game of poker than I usually play here in Las Vegas.

It’s always good to be back home, especially when you’ve been playing sans palaver.

Until next time remember to always stay lucky.