This was written 14 years ago, circa this time of the year, as a way of letting people know that there is more to life than the world of poker. Sure, some of the names have become dated; some may even be, shall we say, despised. But rather than update the names, I’ve always left it the way it was originally written…kind of like a time capsule.

As is tradition this time of year, I offer this as a present to the readers. With all due respect to Clement Moore, here’s “A Visit From St. Doyle.”

‘Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house
The only thing heard
Was the clicking of a mouse  

The stockings were hung
By the chimney with care
But nothing was in them
As I looked at two pair  

The tournament was late
The blinds they were high
I considered a raise
And behind heard a sigh  

The children were silent
And snuggled in bed
As thoughts of a boat
Danced in my head  

With mom (who sighed) merrily wrapping
And I in my visor
I had settled in
And considered my raiser  

When out on the lawn
There arose such a clatter
I sprang from my chair
And ignored the chat banter  

Towards the door
I flew like a flash
Threw back the bolt
And opened the latch  

To what did my wondering eyes did appear
The saint of the game and eight of his peers
He had a big cowboy hat and a grand old smile
And with a sweep of his hand ushered in those in the rear  

“In Chris, in Barry,
In Howard and Annie
In Jennifer, in T. J.,
And Phils, Hellmuth and Ivey”  

To the table we flew
The chips they were clicking
The discussion was merry
Over the eggnog we were drinking  

He spoke reverently
As we played through the night
He looked in my eyes
And showed me the light  

“The game, it is great,
The time spent is a blast.
But it isn’t everything,
Enjoy each day like it’s your last.”  

“Play the game and enjoy
Who knows, you may be great.
But remember family and friends
Those things never abate.”

The eight and I nodded in agreement
As a toast was raised to The Man
And he grandly announced,
“Everyone all-in, last hand.”  

The cards whisked to us
As did the flop, turn and river
And we all peeked at our hole cards
To see what was delivered  

It came around to me
And I turned up my hand
I stared down wide-eyed
At the royal flush that I had

The hand went to me
As well as the cheers of the gang
And we all left the table
As the Christmas bells rang  

The mood was joyful
And as they faded from sight
St. Doyle looked back to me
And had one final insight  

“The best to you in the game
And the best in your life.
May your hands be huge,
Merry Christmas and good night.”

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