Burn. Turn. The flop. The river. Those are a few terms from a unique language I learned one Christmas. I used to always buy a new board game for our family to play on Christmas Day. But one December 25th I hadn’t had time to shop for a game. “No problem”, my sons said. “We’ll teach you how to play poker instead Mom.”
Christmas Question #6 is about something new you learned at Christmas. I won’t forget the Christmas I learned to play poker.
I was a little apprehensive about playing poker but my boys were encouraging. We got out old Checkers pieces and some Scrabble tiles to use for poker chips. My younger son made me a reference chart listing the kinds of winning hands and their comparative values. My older son explained the procedures of a typical round of Texas Hold Em poker. I caught on in a few rounds. I was also introduced to the language of poker. ‘Burn’, ‘turn’, ‘flop’, and ‘river’ refer to the different cards you turn over in a hand. A pair of eights are called ‘snowmen’, a pair of nines are a ‘Wayne Gretzky’ after the famous hockey player’s sweater number, and a pair of Kings are ‘pocket cowboys.’ My favorite part of the game was rapping my knuckles on the table when I didn’t want to raise the bet.
My boys were impressed with my progress but told me I was too transparent. I telegraphed clearly through my facial expressions whether or not I had a good hand. In poker you have to be able to fool others to excel. I don’t know that I’ve played poker since that Christmas a decade or so ago when my sons taught me how. Perhaps its time to try it again.