Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Poker.. A Few Thoughts..

In light of last nights inpromptu get together:

There seemed to be an overwhelming feeling of guilt for playing a game of poker on a monday night after the big tourney night on friday. Why do we feel this way? It is any different than going out for a beer with a bunch of guys where all our money goes to the bar, and our bellies get stuffed with obligatory pints and greasy foods? Instead, we get together for a beer in a friends garage and eat yellow peppers, italian roma tomatoes. cucumbers and wash it down with an apple cider. Obviously the better choice. Now, a bunch of guys getting together to eat veggies and have a beer or cider, and there happens to be a poker table loaded with cards and chips. What better way to spend time? Time with good food, good people and a good game. This, in my opinion, is the best way for guys to spend together.

Think about this --> pool halls and golf courses. Guys don't like much to just sit around and gab, we need to be doing something. Some kind of competition. The problem with Pool Halls and Golf Courses, they all require a lot of skill and a lot of practice. Poker on the other hand, is a unique hybrid of skill and luck. It takes very little skill and time to learn how to play, a total rookie can sweep a 20 man tourney, beacuse he's getting "good cards" or "getting lucky" and yet the skill part of the game is a tantalizing potpurree of calculating odds, reading players, manipulation, getting into the heads of players, and mastering the meta game. Poker is an intimate game. The feeling of sitting at a table with stacks of chips in front of you is empowering, and winning a tourney is gigantic! you've out-smarted, out-played and out-drew everyone there. It's the reason you came.

Yea there's a time for pool halls or golf. But for cost and convienience, poker can't be beat.

These are my thoughts. I'd like to hear yours. Click on the comments line below this message and let me know you think. If you don't have a blogger account, just click anonymous when posting, but throw your name in the comment somewhere.


Steely Dan said...

I am sure my thoughts are no surprise. I think it is one of the best ways to spend my time. But that should not fool you into thinking it is my top priority. If I had to mislead my wife to play poker or I was neglecting my job and family or financial responsibilities for the sake of poker, it would be a different story. Or if I began to play poker for money by myself . . . ok, scratch that last thought.

But you get my point. The fact is that one reason I feel free to play poker, even on a "date night" is that Jen knows how much I appreciate hanging with the guys and talking about whatever we talk about (my anti-gab sentiments have been much overblown due to one unfortunate incident.) I have not always had the opportunity to have many close guy friends who were also believers and family men. And I first found both sitting at a poker table with some great guys from my church in GR.

Jen knows that the game is intellectually stimulating for me, feeds some of my competative nature, and honestly has not been a financial drain. Even if I were to lose more than half the time it would be less expensive than equal parts golf or snowboarding.

So I play poker for the fun of it. And with Jen's blessing for the companionship and mental stimulation if gives me. And even though I play alot, I have perhaps a more pressing desire or need to be around friends right about now. So thanks, guys. You can tell your wives you are doing me a favor.

Anonymous said...

dan, i appreciate your response to this post and have had this same discussion with others who have for some reason or another felt guilty about 'gambling' and have suggested that perhaps this activity could lead to an 'addiction'.......the only addiction that i have witnessed is a need to be amongst friends and to use these opportunities to communicate, whether it be through a little ball-breaking (or a lot!) or to vent about something that might have pissed you off, or something that you might have appreciated. The point is, i have never (other than some memorable fishing trips) had such opportunities to communicate with people whom i now consider to be good friends of mine, where in most other circumstances, would not have been able to get to know someone this well. 'the game', when played properly, really creates a porthole into an individual's character, and if you're not prepared to bare all, stay away, but if you are, the game is just beginning. that being said, i am interested to know what dan meant about the 'unfortunate incident'. was it really that unfortunate? (or are you still sore about the last 2 times i took you out?)

Note from the author:
It's all good and happy to get in touch with our feelings, and i really do mean all the things i said above, but lets not get confused here. this is still an incredible game that i count down days to the next game, and i don't want it to turn into a bible study with a box of tissue in the middle of the table instead of chips. there's a time and a place for everything.........

Anonymous said...

Ray, Ray, Ray. It will be you needing the box of tissue when it is all said and done. We are friends, I like your company, blah, blah, blah. Keep your head down next tournament, my friend. That small stack of chips in front of you are on loan from Inevitability.
As for the "unfortunate incident.", I only called it that for those timid wife-whipped souls who think that poker night is "Coffee Break for Men", like we are freaking hair-club or something.
I would act the same way all over again. It was Poker Night (yes, it should be capitalized) and most people present were content to talk about their week and how tired they were or some joke they heard etc without playing the game. They needed constant reminders about who's action it was, who bet what when how much etc. Good grief, get a clue. If you dont know you are not entitled to have two cards in front of you. Look, if playing cards while talking is too much of a strain, stay home. If you need a nap, plug your hole with your binkie and get out your blankie. But when you are dealt cards, you better play the game. In this case, the cake was taken by two gentlemen who shall remain nameless but nearly drowned themselves in a storm on purpose. They spent 30 minutes arguing over the amount of torque it takes to turn a light switch or the temperature of their brains at rest or some such BS they found in the Encyclopedia Brittanica for Plumbers. Too bad the book wasn't hardcover or I night have thrown it at them. Anyway, the "incident" occurred when I yelled at them to shut the F up. I am not sure even that interupted their stream of barely conscious ramblings.
Anyway, it was that TOTALLY JUSTIFIED outburst that led to my reputation as one who does not like table talk. Actually I love it. I just assume that most people playing can walk and chew gum at the same time.
But other than that, I love you guys.

Tan said...

Dan - you are brilliant!

The Big DC said...

HAHA Dan - I Love it!

As one of the two 'nameless' individuals involved in the weighty discussions of the density of water at 4 degrees centigrade I am happy that I played such a pivotal role in your unfortunate incident!

Considering the convoy of SHIT pocket cards that were dealt to me that night that limited my action to no more than 10 hands that entire night- I needed the stimulation to stay awake.

Since the intricacies of modern chemistry and physics appear to not have hit the law school radar screen yet, next time we can talk about something a little more your level and interest like how much force is in a CNRHK.

Pass the gum.