Just in case the wave of new card-sharp shows on TV (our fave: Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, of course!) and the eleventeen new "Texas Hold 'Em" nights popping up at bars around town (Lemmons, The Phoenix, you name it) haven't clued you in yet, the game of poker -- specifically, Texas Hold 'Em, the easiest version of poker to pick up and start playing -- has definitely crossed over its tipping-point threshold from back-door, barroom hustle to front-and-center mainstream entertainment. (Even now, some Wash. U. kid whose parents sent him to school in a Lexus is playing it in his dorm room.)
If all that still ain't enough to convince you, head on down to the Junior League of St. Louis (10435 Clayton Road, Frontenac) from 6 p.m. to midnight for a Texas Hold 'Em fundraiser, complete with a Lone Star State-style buffet (lots of barbecue) and a raffle with a $7,500 cash prize -- which, let's face it, you've got better odds of winning anyway. For the first-timer, there's an educational table where you can learn the basics, while the big-money hustlers can head directly to the "high stakes" tables. Just keep in mind that the money's going toward the JL's mission of training volunteers for community-improvement programs. Admission is $25 per person, which includes the buffet and a tax-deductible donation. Drinks and poker chips will be available for sale, and $10 raffle tickets can be purchased on-site as well. To buy tickets for the event, call 314-569-3117. -- Rose Martelli
Who Gives a Ship?
The boat people do
Boat people (homo nauticus) are way more fun than non-boat people. The former call their boat bills "monthly fun payments" and christen their watercraft Second Mortgage. Midwestern boat people hate winter but love the St. Louis Boat & Sports Show at America's Center (Broadway and Washington Avenue; 314-567-0020) featuring hunting, fishing and boating fore and aft. There are sparkly yet manly fishing boats. There are yachts that cost more than apartment complexes. Plus, there's "the Boating Guy" to translate nautical mumbo-jumbo for first-time cap'ns. He'll tell you secrets -- like how the cheapest part of owning a boat is buying it. Boat people, you know he's right. Shove off to the show Tuesday through Sunday (February 22 through 27). Tickets are $2 to $8. Visit www.stlouisboatshow.com for daily hours and other useful information. -- Kristie McClanahan