We found it at a garage sale when our kids were 10, 12, and 14, and for $55 we took a chance. The kids weren’t with us that day, so we didn’t know exactly how they would react when they saw it in the basement, but what the heck? If it wasn’t a hit, we would resell it when we had our own garage sale.

Our find of the decade was a six-sided poker table, with a felt-covered center and felt-lined cup holders on each of the 6 sides, priced at an amazing $25. And, for $5 each, we also bought the accompanying 6 retro orange vinyl chairs that sat around the table. Yes, the table and chairs had seen their better days, but they were still pretty cool looking, and not an embarrassment when surrounded by the indoor basketball hoop, the shelves full of board games, the sports and national parks posters, and the makeshift ping pong table already in the basement.

We never could have guessed the impact that table would have on our kids’ teen years. Our basement became the epicenter for our teens’ middle school and high school friends  for the next 5 years. Penny-anty poker, blackjack, Texas-hold’em, and “War” alternated for turns on our table. Coke cans in the cup holders, potato chips within reach, poker chips on the felt, and cards tossed about in celebration and disgust pretty well summarizes weekend nights in our basement.

We never figured out why a real poker table, as opposed to a folding table or the ping pong table, could create such a profound and prolonged attraction to our basement. But what a joy it was to be the house that our kids’ friends wanted to hang out in.

It’s always better to be “the” house, rather than have your teens going to friends’ houses to play video games and you missing all the fun of standing at the top of the basement stairs and eavesdropping on your very own “World Series of Poker.”


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