It may not be quite according to Hoyle, but two New Mexico men say they are going to play a game of poker to decide which one gets a seat in the state legislature.

Locked in a tie with 2,436 votes apiece after the Nov. 4 election, the young Albuquerque attorneys were told their fate would be decided by the toss of a coin.

They balked. "It would all be over in a second and a half," Democrat Richard Minzner complained. An entire summer's campaigning could come down tails, plunk. They cast about for other ways to meet the state law requiring that tie votes be settled by lot.

"Somebody mentioned the idea of dueling," Republican C. A. Bowerman said, "but I was against that. I offered too big a target."

The burly Colorado native offered to wrestle Minzner for the seat, but Mizner in turn felt he offered too small a target.

Bowerman suggested poker. "At first he wanted us each to start with 2,436 chips and play unitl one of us was wiped out," said Minzner, a Harvard Law School graduate transplanted out West nine years ago. "Being a conservative Easterner, I did not want to make a spectacle of myself."

So it's a single hand of showdown, with the first card down, the next four face up and the winner take all. The county clerk thinks it will fly, and the game is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 25.