Ever play poker in one of those small, friendly rooms? The same players come every day to start the game. They’re a family. They all know each other and each other’s business. Most of them are senior citizens and wonderful folks. The ones that smoke started when they were young and didn’t know any better. It was cool then. But listening to them talk, intermingled with gasping, spitting, choking and wheezing as they try to breathe, takes your breath away. Especially if they’re blowing smoke at you. Appealing? Hell no!
Smoke rolling out of every orifice in your head after you get pocket Aces beat on the river is one thing, but putting paper rolled tobacco to your lips and sucking it as you torch it – NO WAY! It’s so uncool that it’s beyond STUPID. Some smokers even want to set their ashtray between you and them because they don’t want the smoke coming up in their face. Gee . . . that’s a tough one, dummy. Just put it out! If you turn a fan on them, they’re insulted. My, my, poor baby.
Ever assess the reasons that people sit at the poker table? Think of the cultural exchange – the massive differences between age, intellectual and financial levels that move in separate circles in our society – they all come together, elbow to elbow, to try and best each other with wit and skill across the felt top. The reasons each of us play manifest themselves in our comments and actions during the course of play. One could spend a million or so hours at the table and still experience unique situations and comments from the gathering.
Suppose you got up this afternoon, stretched, had a few cups of coffee over the morning paper, ozoned your way through a shower and toothbrush session and sped across town to capture a seat in a “friendly” little game of poker.
What about the guy who comes in for a little recreational poker? He doesn’t play very often and might not even live in your area. He’s just passing through and saw a sign that read “Live Poker”. Maybe the game is 5-card stud and this guy practically trips in his hurry to take the open seat.
The dealer welcomes him into the game and sells him chips. His first hand finds him with an Ace up and he looks at the dealer and says, “Can I split these?”
Is this a tell or what?
Top this one, baby. You’re playing poker at the Drive You To Drink Casino and it’s action city. No one ever lays a hand down – no matter how much it costs – and if you were armed with a machete and a machine gun, they wouldn’t even notice because they’re playing POKER. They came to play.
Ever notice how the player that sits down with an attitude is the one that makes the game? That player can take J-10 suited against your pocket kings head up and pound you so bad that you feel you’re in the sand lot in first grade. It’s “cool” because he KNEW what he was doing. If the roles were reversed, he would be having a fit – faunching and puddying as a friend of mine used to say. In 7-Card Stud that same player bickers and whines at the live one for staying in and catching his card. Wonderful isn’t it?
Where is it written that just because a player thinks they are the best in the world, (even though they don’t have a ‘certificate of wonderfulness’ or ‘winner’ taped on their forehead and they have an ego bigger than Hitler), they are supposed to win each time they decide to raise or play a hand?
It started as fun, just us four,
nickels and dimes, we wouldn’t
play for more.
It took just a few hand. It all
went up in smoke when Dave
drew out and started to joke.
The bet limit was off, we were
playing the pot, screaming and
yelling, a miserable lot.
We woke up the neighbors. They
joined us too. Now every Friday
we gather our crew.
We spin off the hours playing
dealer’s choice. We play just as
hard but with a lot less noise.
Burning and turning . . . Oh what
a life! I thought when I grew up I
might be a wife. Instead I stay up
with the boys all night, dealing
the cards until it’s daylight.
If I could start over, what would I
choose? Secretary, waitress, or
teacher, the thought gives me the
I’ve visited and listened and made
money too. Pushed chips
to everyone, met Henry (he’s new).
I’ll just pick up the deck and
shuffle again, finish my shift, and
leave with a grin.
I’ve got the best seat in the house
and making money’s no sin. I’ll
come back tomorrow. I’ve got a
The temperature is about 100 plus and you started out to clean the garage and finish your yard work, but . . . you know how those well intentioned thoughts get sidetracked when you’d rather play poker. The next thing you know, the auto pilot on your car has taken you to your favorite air-conditioned poker room.
Where do they come from? The endless line.
Waiting in the Queue ’til the end of time.
They reach in their pockets for a chance to play.
Matching wits and skills to survive the foray.
They stack up their chips and then give them
away. What the hell, Brother, they came to play.
The views expressed in this article are strictly those of this writer. They are not meant to infringe upon, imply or describe the religious or spiritual belief of any society, organization or individual.
Ever wonder if the players sitting next to you believe in God? What are their thoughts?
Dear God, If I win this hand, I swear I will never sit at the table again. I can pay the rent and all those people I owe money to and feed my kids. Please God; don’t take this pot away from me.