Valley caught up in poker craze
By EMMA CORNFORD
TWICE a week, Barb Weston and her husband Will head to RSL clubs.
On Tuesday it's South Grafton, on Thursday it's Grafton. Both days it's for the same reason ? to play poker.
In the past year, poker's worldwide popularity has soared. In fact, type 'poker' into an internet search engine and you get almost as many results as typing 'bible'.
It is no longer the domain of men in smoky dens ? it's played by everybody. And now it has arrived in the Valley.
Mrs Weston has played ever since she started watching the game on television.
"We got hooked watching it on Austar, so we bought the kit and we've been playing ever since. As soon as they started playing it in town we started going along," she said.
"I never used to go out during the week, but now we head out twice ? it's so much fun. It's good, cheap fun."
Gaming laws make it illegal to play for cash, so prizes are bar vouchers or meat trays. But the real prize is the points you accumulate as a winner in Australian Poker League games.
"Whoever has the most points can play in Sydney and represent this area. I'm 99 per cent sure I'll be in the semifinals," Mrs Weston said.
No doubt many players have the success of Joseph Hachem in the back of their minds ? the Australian man who won last year's World Poker Series and took home a record $A10 million.
"There are more and more girls coming. I think it's a bit of a male thing and some of the men like it that way, but it's good when the girls beat them and get up their noses a bit," Mrs Weston said.