Sunday, April 03, 2011

Poker in my novels


Poker is fairly important in some of my novels. It makes sense, really, to include it, to use it, since I’ve played since I was eight years’ old and professionally and semiprofessionally most of my adult life.

When Mike and Ted, the estranged brothers duke it out in The Defenseless the initial sparring is a poker game. The game, with the introduction of The Gambler, both of them is also very much present in later books in the Janus Clan series. They are playing the odds these people, are players, measuring opponents like they would around the tables.

In Your Own Fate Jeremy Zahn meets his opposite number, Timothy Joyce over the poker table, and the game is also used to illustrate Zahn’s growth as the story progresses. A more than memorable and insane game plays itself out in a dump of a casino in Calcutta (Kolcata), India.

Some players claim that it is life itself playing itself out around the poker tables. I don’t really agree with that, but the game has always fascinated me, also because it is a kind of counterpoint, juxtaposing to my radical (beyond radical political views). I enjoy the game. I see beyond the table, into people’s hearts, and everybody is staring at the card of destiny and probability as it is flipped around, revealing the brutal reality hidden beyond its innocent appearance.

Poker isn’t chess, isn’t limited to a square board on a table. Thousands, perhaps millions of variables of coincidences and decisions are played out in every game, and millions of games are played every night, all over the globe, just like there are stars in the sky.

Poker isn’t a game of chance, but of disposition, bluff, counterbluff, risk and gambits. The future isn’t a lottery and not predetermined events, but something in-between and beyond both.

Yes, it isn’t strange that poker plays a fairly important part in my stories.

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