Last night I was invited to a gathering of a friend’s co-workers. It was guitar jam and poker party. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it sounded like fun. We got there and several folks were sitting around a table playing guitars and other stringed instruments, including a mandolin, ukulele and violin. They even broke out a accordion at one point. This is a regular gathering and they all work from a common songbook, with everyone taking a turn picking songs. It was pretty cool watching a bunch of talented musicians work their way through songs and then playing them. This inspired me to think about picking up my guitar again. Or maybe get a ukulele.
And the second part of the evening was the poker part. Let me begin by saying that I have never played poker. I know some of the basic games and hands from when I was younger, but I have never played a real game with betting. First they played regular poker, so that beginners could get the hang of the game. I sat this part out and just watched. I don’t really know why, but I just wasn’t ready.
Eventually, this game ended and they started a Texas Hold ’em tournament. It was $5 to get in the tournament. We had printed copies of the rules that we kept referring to during the game. Even the experienced poker players didn’t have much experience with Texas Hold ’em. You play with 2 cards in your hand and 5 cards face up on the table for everyone to share. You place bets as the cards are dealt.
I tied the first hand (and split the pot) and won the second hand. These early winnings allowed me to play hands that I might have ordinarily folded because I had the money to blow. I was rewarded several times, including getting a straight on the last. If that card didn’t turn, I would’ve had nothing. My luck held through the whole game, including winning the last hand with a full house. It was a friendly, relaxed game, where the beginners were not harassed for making stupid mistakes (like showing a hand too early) and more about fun than winning.
I was the big winner with a total of $32.50 in chips at the end. The tournament rules were that the winner gets 50% of the pot, so I got $20. Fun and money, what more can you ask for?