Another obsession in the cards

May 01, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Lord knows I've had some strange hobbies over the years.

First, it was He-Man. I adored He-Man. I had He-Man everything - the lunchbox, the thermos, the toy figures, you name it.

Hey, I was 5 back then. Give me a mulligan.

Which fits, because golf is another hobby of mine which perplexes me to this day.

It's the language of golf that hooked me. In no other hobby have people come up with so many descriptive words for negative happenings:

  • The chili dip (taking a divot about a foot deep and leaving your approach shot way short, and one time in my case, behind you);

  • The skull (the exact opposite, a line drive rocket off the blade of a pitching wedge or short iron with which you intended to be a beautiful loft);

  • The banana (a severely slicing drive well right, unless you're left-handed);

  • The Big Banana (the proper name of one of my drives);

  • The blue darter (a snapping hook off the tee that drives left of left into deep jungle at the precise moment a Big Banana would have been perfect; right of right, for you lefties);

  • The abominable snowman (a score of 8 on a hole, something I'm ghastly familiar with);

  • The Drowning. Think golf clubs and a body of water. I haven't done this one yet, and I don't know why not.

Maybe it's because clubs are expensive, which is another thing I haven't figured out - why on Earth do we play such an irritating, annoying game for which the equipment costs hundreds (or thousands, for you real nuts out there) of dollars?


I don't know. I play anyway. I love it. Go figure.

But that's not my latest obsession. As of a couple weeks ago, I've moved on to other passions - and the great thing is, I got my colleagues hooked in the process.

In short, it's called Texas Hold'em.

In long, it's called "You spent three hours online playing what?!"

Texas Hold'em is the kind of poker played by the professionals (and amateurs) in the World Series of Poker, a multi-million dollar tournament held each year at Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas. Reruns of the final table of the 2002 tournament were aired last week on ESPN and ESPN2. It's fascinating stuff, mainly because I've never seen men wearing that much jewelry before.

Of course, I thought I was the only one watching. Wrong. Almost all of my co-workers had seen the reruns, as well.

Then I discovered you can actually play the game online at, without risking any real money. That set off a disturbing chain reaction. One day last week, two colleagues and I played against each other after deadline. Another editor got in the act last weekend.

There's nothing better than sharing your newfound addictions with your co-workers. Another way to get bragging rights in the office, which is, after all, the top priority.

You can also play Chinese Checkers at, but I'm not that desperate. Yet.

* In case you were wondering, the Florida State men's basketball coach is Leonard Hamilton, and the idiot who said it was Steve Robinson was me, in my last column.

Thanks to the caller who pointed it out. I certainly apologize for my mistake.

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at

The Herald-Mail Articles