I’ve always been a gambler. I come from a family that takes side-bets during our annual Christmas Bingo extravaganza.
As a kid, after trick-or-treating my girlfriend and I would sit down with our loot and a deck of cards and play 7 Card Stud for the good stuff. Many times I’d sit down with my baby brother and play Go-Fish for chore duties. I’d always win, possibly because I cheat at Go-Fish.
My dad once sat me down at the kitchen table when I was 11 and took me for my weekly allowance and then some. It turned out that he could see the reflection of my hand in the windowpane behind me. He didn’t give me my money back.
These days, I have a pretty regular No Limit Texas Hold “˜Em game going on at my house. Every week, we play with the same cast of characters, and it’s odd but when you consistently gamble with people, it’s like you become bedmates. Over time, you learn what makes them tick, even if they rarely even speak.
For example, there’s this guy we play with that I’ve been friends with for 17 years. This bastard knows me. He brings out the 12-year old in me that wants to be “King of the Tire.”? He knows that if I bet out at him with a mediocre hand, he can re-raise me with nothing and I will call him just to show that I have big balls, too.
The problem is that God loves him more than me. He always hits gold on the river and I end up paying him because I would rather lose than take the chance of giving him the satisfaction of bluffing me.
On the other hand, my husband plays too tight for a cash game. His style is better suited to tournaments. He has no problem folding hand after hand—playing one or two hands for everyone else’s five or six. If we’re in a pot together, he usually over-bets and I’ll fold no matter what because it kinda sucks to be the reason your husband goes to bed crying.
As a girl, I always make more money on those rare nights a stranger sits at our table. Women are naturally underestimated while playing “a man’s game”? and I love that.
But what I love more than anything is winning a hand with a bluff. Bluffing, at its core, is lying and getting rewarded for it. I guess there’s something innately evil about enjoying something like that, but I do.
It’s ironic that while I see myself as a gamblin’ ramblin’ gal, I don’t really like to take risks, and I absolutely hate to be challenged for everything that I have. I must have masochistic tendencies because I subject myself to both all the time. But maybe sitting down to play cards with more money than I can afford to lose is my way of purging those tendencies in a “safe”? environment.
I mean, more money can be made. Everyday, in science and medicine, in driving fast, in drug use, in drinking and driving and in human-to-human relationships, people gamble with bigger wagers than cash all the time.
Sometimes you get dealt awesome cards and the board is fair and all is well. Other times you get good cards and the board screws you over. In the long run it’s not about the cards anyway, it’s about you and what you do with what you’re dealt.
Starr Begley really means it when she says, “Hulk-a-mania Forever.”? MTW