After many, MANY people’s attempts to teach me poker, something finally sunk in a few weeks ago. My dad “taught” me when I was little, and I could get the rules just fine, but I didn’t understand why people bluffed or to what end.
I played once on the ski bus in high school and lost all my Sour Patch Kids to a chick who had four queens, beating my three aces, which I had calculated to be a statistical impossibility. Male friends the world across have sat down to try and indoctrinate me into this one realm of guyhood I’d never yet been able to understand, and could not truly call myself a tomboy if I didn’t master.
Then last week, something clicked, and now I’m hooked, along with my friend Bex. Charlotte and Gabe tag along for the LOLs, and Dave and Kevin bring their poker faces and empty wallets in which to soon collect all our yennies.
Unfortunately, I am the worst liar in the world. Unfortunately, certain friends of mine know me very well, and like to exclaim to the table “Lauren’s got 2 kings; I fold” because apparently it’s a “tell” if you start twitching and giggling uncontrollably when the “flop” is displayed.
Here are some other very important things I’ve learned in the two weeks I’ve been playing.
- When you have a certain good hand, do not start humming the “Full House” theme song.
- If you have a straight, don’t count the numbers with your fingers, even if you have OCD and you can’t be sure you’ve had such good luck if you don’t count the numbers out 5 times. You have a straight, it’s true. Now work it.
- Asking for the paper with the winning hand combinations written on it is also considered a “tell.”
- People don’t actually say “too rich for my blood” when they fold, and if they do, their friend Kevin makes fun of them for it.
- Wearing a green visor IS actually a prerequisite, and if you lend it to Bex, she will win all your money.
- Lauren never bluffs. Kevin always bluffs. Unless you decide to call him. Then he has a royal flush.
- Holy shit, I just got why people say “call your bluff.” Wow. I feel alive for the first time in my life.
- After you finish playing and head for the last train, do not talk to the drunken man who owns the winery next door. He will point at you and call you “Bill Gates.” Even if you insist you are a woman and take off your glasses, he will still insist, “Yes, beautiful, but Bill Gates.”
I look forward to many more weekends of losing my money to Bex, Kevin, and Dave.
–Beautiful Bill Gates