1. ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ by Cassius Coolidge
You know you’re a high roller when you can afford original art so put your paw in your pocket for one of ‘Cash’ Coolidge’s legendary ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ paintings. In 1903, nine such works of genius were commissioned from the American artist by advertising firm Brown and Bigelow. The most famous being ‘A Friend In Need’, depicting a bulldog passing an ace to his mate with his back paw. Ridiculed as kitsch by some, two Coolidge paintings nevertheless sold for $600,000 in an auction last year. Frankly, who needs the Dutch Masters when you can marvel at mutts drinking beer, smoking cigars and cheating at cards?
2. Poker Chips from the movie Rounders
Show me a man who doesn’t want to own the chips from Chris Moneymaker’s favourite poker movie Rounders and I’ll show you a liar and a fool. These star-struck clay babies were the ones actually used by John Malkovich’s character Teddy KGB in the film. Just to prove you’re not being suckered, Miramax will provide a certificate of authenticity and have even agreed to give the profits to charity. If Rounders isn’t your cup of splosh then you how aboutt the chips Sharon Stone launched in the air during Scorcese’s Casino. Sadly though, there’s no sign of Bruce Forsyth’s oversized props from Play Your Cards Right.
3. A night in the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa
If the Hef has taught us anything, and I think you’ll agree he has, it’s that life should be lived like one long stag party. Over 50 years have passed since the magazine launched and the bunny brand is still going at it like a… well, like a rabbit. Only last month an exclusive new Playboy club opened in the appropriately named Fantasy Tower of Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort. For high rollers who truly want to live it large, however, there’s the Sky Villa, a two-story, 9,000-square-foot suite with floor to ceiling glass walls that provide unparalleled views of the Strip and the impressive Spring Mountains. Of course, it goes without saying that the Villa boasts its own personal glass elevator, media room, gym, sauna and outdoor Jacuzzi complete with Playboy logo. But the crowning glory has to be the eight foot rotating circular bed - just like the one Hef has.
4. Gulfstream GV Jet
What flies just shy of the speed of sound, is more comfortable than your lounge and can fit all your freeloader mates? That’s right. It’s your own private jet. Go on, say it: ‘my own private jet’. Sounds good doesn’t it. Now try this on for size: the Gulfstream GV is powered by two Rolls Royce engines, has a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 and a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet. Only military aircraft and Concorde fly higher which means a ride in this beauty is smoother than an Amarillo Slim bluff. Apple Computer's CEO Steve Jobs, Greg Norman and Arnold Schwarzenegger all swear by their Gulfstreams, so pick one up and you’ll never have to slum it in First Class again.
5. ‘World Series of Poker’ Final Table Replica
I don’t really need to sell this to you, do I? After all, is there a red-blooded male out there who wouldn’t dream of caressing the lustrous cushions on this green-baized bitch? Play with her on your own or, if you must, invite round some friends to revel in her 108" by 45” hand-crafted majesty. An exact replica of the WSOP final table as used in the Harrah's-owned Rio Hotel and Casino, this could be considered by your partner as an unnecessarily decadent outlay. Particularly, if it means you both now have to sleep in the kitchen. But consider this. Use this table enough and by the time you reach the WSOP final, you’ll feel like you’re playing with a home advantage.
6. Private Lesson with Poker Legend Tom McEvoy
Cost: $200 per hour
Chances are you’ve got your eye on more than one item on this list. It’s the Gulfstream and Hef’s Sky Villa, isn’t it? Yeah, me too. You’re only chance to secure these goodies is to win big and win often. Who better to help you achieve those goals than Tom ‘Poker Chump’ McEvoy? Don’t be put off by his dodgy moniker, McEvoy is one of the most respected names in the game. He notched his first WSOP title in 1983, just four years after turning pro, and since then has pocketed over $2,500,000 in live tournament winnings. The Chump has written 12 books on poker strategy and is now willing to share some of that genius with you. Just as long as you don’t laugh at his nickname.
7. Cigar in the Bottle
Now you’re a player it’s time to refine that palate. So ditch that Skol six-pack and the Mayfair Superkings for something that would literally ooze class if it wasn’t quite so well packaged. What you’re looking at is a Fuente Fuente Forbidden X cigar slap bang in a bottle of Grand Pommier XS Calvados brandy. Just to whet your appetite, the Calvados comes from the oldest distillery in Normandy, the Père Magloire Calvados Distillery in Pont-l’Evêque. Safely secured within the bottle is a 6_-inch-long cigar with a 49-ring gauge composed of seven tobacco varieties grown on the grounds of Château de la Fuente in the Dominican Republic. A classy combo that will no doubt have the connoisseurs among you secreting with joy.
8. Thoroughbred Racehorse
Here’s an offer you can’t refuse: the chance to buy your very own thoroughbred. If you’re a fan of the Sport of Kings, take a trip down to Keeneland, Kentucky where some of the finest broodmares are available for the right money. Nabbing a nag is an imprecise science though. Just consider the case of Snaffi Dancer who was sold for the handsome sum of $10.2 million back in 1983. Not only was Snaffi too slow for the racecourse but when it came to breeding it turned out the stallion was hung like a hamster. It’s wise to consult a bloodstock advisor before you sink your winnings into horseflesh. Otherwise you just mind end up buying the world’s most expensive tin of Pedigree Chum.
9. Space Trip
If you thought picking up a flush on the river makes you feel light-headed then try flying into outer space. Thanks to Virgin Galactic, the final frontier is no longer such a giant leap for the average Joe. To date only about 500 people have left this planet but by 2009, the VSS Enterprise (thank you Captain Kirk) is set to make it’s first sub-orbital flight. Scheduled to last three hours with about seven minutes of weightlessness, this debut trip looks to be enjoyed by Richard Branson himself as well as Sigourney Weaver, Moby and Paris Hilton and some chancer who reckons he’s collected 2,000,000 frequent flyer miles. If you can squeeze on board with all those egos then the trip of a lifetime is yours.
BOXOUT How I Spent My Poker Winnings
Barry Greenstein My biggest windfall was the $1.3 million I won at the Jack Binion Word Poker Open WPT event in Tunica, Mississippi. As I did with the previous million dollar tournament I won, I gave half the money to a charity.
Chris Moneymaker After winning the WSOP in 2003, I immediately went out and purchased a new house and a Porsche Boxster.
Luca Pagano I was in the Caribbean when I had some good results online at Pokerstars.com, so I decided to go downtown where I spotted some very nice jewellery shops. I entered one out of curiosity and ended coming out with a diamond and gold encrusted necklace, ring and bracelet. Quite an expensive day!