LIVE POKER came to the casinos along...

LIVE POKER came to the casinos along the New Jersey coast last week.

Atlantic City's posh gambling dens near the boardwalk and inlet had not been allowed to offer it before this recent inauguration.


It had something to do with players competing with each other rather than against the house.

The casino authorities in Atlantic City say they are worried about cheating and collusion directed at the less experienced players around a table.


A state law enforcement official put it this way:

"The real idea is to keep the pros away from the novices."

We don't know whether Art Donovan is a pro or a novice. But he was one of the celebrities chosen to participate in a ceremonial first poker game at the Sands Hotel and Casino. The game was for publicity and the proceeds were for charity.

Mr. Donovan, the Hall of Fame tackle on the old Colts of the 1950s, was lured up from his home here to play a game of what press accounts make sound like that favorite of Western gamblers, "Hold 'Em."

In this game each player is dealt two cards face down. Then common cards are "flopped" -- turned face up -- for all players to use.

The flop in the premiere deal included two deuces. Artie's down cards were -- two deuces!

It's hard to beat four of a kind, even the lowest four of a kind, and nobody did.

Winning the first hand of the first live poker game is not exactly like starring in "the Greatest Football Game Ever Played" (the Colts versus the New York Giants for the 1958 season championship), but it's at least an interesting footnote to some future history of recreation in 20th century America.


* * *

SEN. Barbara A. Mikulski has written a letter to the editor (which was duly published) to say she is "volcanic" over an erroneous report in this newspaper's news columns that she owns a foreign-made luxury car.

"My current car," she declared, "is a Mercury Sable -- made in America, assembled in Georgia by the United Auto Workers and purchased in Dundalk."

With all due respects to our junior senator, that doesn't pass muster with Gallimaufry's code of political purity.

Her car flunks on two counts:

1.) It is not made in Maryland.


2.) It is not a General Motors vehicle.

To be a true red, white, gold and black Marylander (the colors of our beloved state flag), our Highlandtown senator should be driving a Chevrolet van made in Maryland by Marylanders at the General Motors plant on Broening Highway -- not too far from Highlandtown.

And, of course, the Chevy van should be purchased from a Marylander dealer.

Just how many of our public officials meet this political purity code?