Wacky poker gifts for the Hold'em fan this holiday season

Most poker fans already received their chip sets and how-to-play Texas Hold'em guides last Christmas leaving their loved ones struggling for new gift ideas this holiday season.

But, never fear, several novelty companies have filled that void this December by flooding the market with wacky, cute and just plain useless poker products.

For the Texas Hold'em player with low self-esteem, consider a hypnotherapist-designed product called The Edge. Touted as a way for poker pros to keep their heads in the game, The Edge includes 45 minutes of subliminal positive power messages through downloadable MP3s.

The product's maker, Michele Burghardt, says the messages help players recover from bad beats, boosts their confidence and allows them to relax by altering their brainwaves.

"Go big or go home," declares The Monster Chip Web site and - priced at $28,000 - this gift is big in every sense of the word. The six-foot wide Monster Case includes 1,200 coaster-sized chips, two decks of cards the size of novels, and one outer case of fiddle back maple veneer with teak inlay, cherry lid stands and mohair-upholstered liner.

For the poker fan with a smaller pocketbook - not to mention hands - there is a new deck of cards on the market that promises to keep your hand private. The Shuffle Up playing cards are palm-sized and covered in a protective plastic coating that slides away to reveal if you're sitting on pocket aces. Despite its name, a traditional shuffling of this $29.95 product is impossible: The makers suggest mixing them up in a bowl and passing them around instead.

If hearing Mike Sexton's voice on televised World Poker Tour events isn't enough for your loved one, consider buying him the WPT pinball machine. The poker-themed game includes the voices and images of commentators Sexton and Vince Van Patten.

Perhaps your loved one is a big Joseph Hachem. At $29.95, professional poker player bobble heads from Cardsharx.com are a cute way to honor your favorite pro.

Or, if that gold bracelet is still eluding you but you still want some nice bling at an upcoming tournament, check out poker pro Susie Isaacs' line of Designer Gaming Jewelry. The collection is for both men and women, and features gem-encrusted hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades to adorn earlobes, fingers and wrists.

The shorter your stack, the more notches you'll have to undo on your belt with the Candy Warehouse's new chocolate poker chip set. The milk chocolate disks may not be worth the $25 or $5 denominations on their foil wrapper, but at $14.40 a pound, they'll go down a lot smoother.

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