This poker craze just keeps growing.
You can't turn on a cable channel without seeing celebs clustered around some felt-backed table, trying to come out ahead in a cutthroat round of Texas Hold 'Em.
But look around here, and you'll see that poker's even got its hooks in public policy.
Poker has our card-shark politicians in Toledo and Perrysburg-slash-Wood County playing out Wild West gambling scenes.
Look at 'em.
There they all are, hunkered down around one of those game tables, cards close to the vest. In the middle of it all sits the ultra-high-stakes pot: Owens-Illinois Inc.
With poker faces all around, Toledo and Perrysburg closely examined their cards and anted up.
The Big City spoke first.
"I'll open with (dramatic pause) 8 mil."
A quiet gasp, despite the poker protocol that demands no emotion.
The Bucolic Suburb glanced at the pot.
Sure was big ole chunk of change sitting there - that glittery blue-green skyscraper that everyone knew would be better as a horizontal, suburban-style campus.
Perrysburg thought long and hard.
"Eight mil. That's kinda high. Don't know if I can see that. Tell you what, though: I'll counter with $1.9 mil, plenty of green grass, and easier access to lattes."
Toledo sat back in its chair and blinked. It was a just quick flutter of the eyelid, and you had to be looking carefully to see it, but it did, in fact, blink.
"I'm holding," said the Big City.
Meanwhile, the double doors swung open and Wood County and some of its friends strode in, spurs jangling.
The County ambled over to the game table as its close pal, Perrysburg, pushed out the chair beside it.
"Have a seat, my friend. You in?"
The County nodded slowly. Before sitting down, it looked over toward the bar, where its friends - schools, TARTA, even a cemetery - had all bellied up. Without saying a word, Wood County made it plain to all bystanders that he was looking for help.
They all reached deep into their pockets. Toledo blinked again; it almost looked a small tic.
"Tell you what," said Wood County, leaning over toward Perrysburg and handing over a wad of cash. "Count this up and see if it'll help."
Perrysburg busied itself right away, tallying up the cash in its lap, away from the Big City's view. When it was finished, the Bucolic Suburb pushed the cash to the center of the table and said:
"Changin' my bet. Make it more like $5.9 mil - plus, a shorter commute, on accounta the ease of suburban living.
Heck, everybody lives in Perrysburg now."
At the bar, Miss Kitty shook her head slowly. Leaning over to the barkeep, she said:
"When folks talk about bringin' in gambling here, they mean casinos, not this."
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