I am tasked with writing a story about fire. I write poker stories and when given the topic of fire I have a huge canvass on which I may scrawl a few stray marks and try to reach an audience caught off guard by the presence of fire in my story.

Fire one and you have finally made a move. Fire two and you are starting to embrace some serious risk and your sanity is called into question. Fire three and you become brave, brazen and brilliant. Firing the third shell is rarely successful and yet oh so satisfying. Just tune in, tune out, and listen to the talking heads. For entertainment purposes only people. The bluff has been edited for television purposes. Ever wonder what happens in a poker game between those hands which are televised?

The fire of the diamond is the brilliance. All diamonds begin the journey as something so much less. A diamond must be cut and polished in order to release the brilliance that lies within. A million years of unending pressure applied to create a one of a kind specimen in hopes that it will be discovered. A lump of coal or just another rock? The diamond is the classier big sister all dolled up and ready to dance. They decorate the bracelet that tells the world that you are a champion. The fire is on your wrist.

On Fire! I can’t miss. A poker player experiencing an unbelievable run of luck is said to be on fire. We call it a heater. To go on a rush you must believe in playing your rush. Oh to be that young man again. I think people go on a little rush and it rises to the level of being on a heater and at extreme limits we find the person so hot as to be on fire. Can you be even hotter than on fire? How do I account for people like Tim who have been on a life long heater and if the next 40 years look anything like the last 40 he will make Ringo Starr look like a guy who just ran into a spot of luck.

The fire inside. The burning desire that lies deep within. The passion. The will. The drive. The fire that burns deep inside of every winning player. Those that have it cannot ignore it. Those without it can never kindle the flames. The fire burns bright within the winning player.

Fire alarms going off inside my head; run, run for your life; the message is loud and clear. My brain is telling me to be scared. This is my own internal warning system. My brain has alerted on some tell and is trying to stop my physical person from losing any more chips. The fear associated with fire is so great that my brain calls it up as the ultimate warning signal.

At my bachelor party I learned a new toast where the booze was referred to as the fire. “Here’s to the fire; not the kind that burns down the shacks and shanty’s; but to the kind that takes down the slacks and the panties.” My Native American friends called it fire water. I play in many Native American casinos in California and it is a poison to the natives. The fire water being served at the table takes players out of their right mind and makes the game just a little crazy. To be honest, I could live without the fire water at the table.

The greatest poker player that ever lived, Stuey, is said to have flamed out. He crashed and burned. I believe the pressures of life were too much for Stu Unger and he ultimately made life choices that lead to his demise. I would be remiss if I were to leave out the fire that is so destructive and so clearly symbolizes total destruction.

Thank you for taking the time to read my scrawls about fire. Rather than a story I have given you my disjointed ramblings. A man brainstorming a subject and throwing it all against the wall hoping some of it sticks.


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