Monday, August 30, 2010

Poker: The Return

It's been a while since I talked about poker here - December 16, 2006. Back then, my life was much different: Amber was still at Penn State, I lived alone in a Raleigh (Cary) apartment, and I didn't really know anybody here. In an effort to have some kind of social interaction each week (this was before I joined the Triangle Curling Club), I played free bar poker once or twice a week. But I gave that up once I decided I didn't feel like it anymore.

Fast-forward to a few nights ago, when fellow curler, kickballer, and "road enthusiast" told me he was having a poker night at his place. Sign me up! After all, one of the reasons I quit the bar poker scene is because I decided poker is more fun with friends than with strangers. Poker is a pretty non-active activity, especially when you play like I do and fold immediately most of the time (hence the ironic nickname "Action Allen" - for those of you who have always wondered about the web address, there's your answer). Really, poker is just an excuse to get a bunch of people together, socialize, and drink beer.

So...do I remember how to play? I wasn't sure, so I watched two World Series of Poker episodes on ESPN this week. I learned a couple of things: 1) the ESPN poker announcers are even more annoying now than they were four years ago; and 2) I could still do this. It all came back pretty quickly, but I'd rather be over-prepared instead of under-prepared, because I didn't know how serious the other players at poker night would be. Turns out, it was a good mix of knowledgeable players and the didn't-realize-they-had-a-straight-flush types.

How'd I do? Well, poker stories are boring, so I'll keep this short: I finished 5th/11 in the first game, and 1st/7 in the consolation game, so I netted $50 on the evening. I played well, which is what almost always happens after a long layoff, whether it's poker, curling, disc golf, or whatever. I won't give myself too much credit, though, because poker is just probability and gambling.

But I think I gave the impression that I really knew what I was doing, which...that might actually scare some people away next time. It would have been better for the long term prospects of poker night if the more inexperienced players took home the money at first, don't you think?

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