Introduction and “that girl”

May 21, 2007

So poker has been mainstream for a couple years now, and everyone knows the game. Or at least everyone knows the language you pick up along the way.

Bad beats, flops, rivers…muck.

Yeah, it’s muck, all right. I have to admit I enjoyed being part of a smaller group of poker enthusiasts, when it was relegated to Western movies, Las Vegas and frat house basements, for the most part. Now it’s taking away the time slot for Baseball Tonight on ESPN.

But that’s fine, one of the positives of everyone from your co-workers to your barber buying in for 25 bucks each weekend is there’s a flood of people to swap stories with.

And, of course, they’re mostly bad beats.

Let me give you the quick bio before I keep going with this.

My name’s J.P., I’m 27 and have been playing since I was 12. Used to be I would play daily, either at school for “credits” since you couldn’t play for “legal tender,” (like that was gonna stop us) or on the weekend rotating houses of our regular group. Kept it up through college (won some furniture along the way), and now with a job, I play a weekly game in some form or another.

There you go, my favorite poker game is Moose, and my favorite money game is hearts. If you don’t know hearts, watch the first 20 minutes of Rounders, and you’ll see how cool it is.
“C’mon Worm, you don’t even smoke.”

Great movie.

Anyway, on the topic of bad beats, everyone has ‘em, and everyone loves to talk about ‘em. I guess we all need to feel part of a help group after dropping half the rent two days before the first of the month.

But most blogs on the Internet now are bad beat factories, and to me it gets annoying.
So I figure we can all enjoy talking about other things in poker that get annoying, instead, mostly during home games, with some weekly game-play situations and other home game topics that pop up, as well.

Today’s issue is one of the worst you’ll ever deal with…the new girl at the table who just read a “Girl’s guide to winning at poker” book.

Even worse if it’s a pink cover.

As a guy, you have to wonder if every Chapter 1 of these pieces of garbage, these collections of fireplace fuel, tell women to win by playing it dumb. And, having never been a female, I can only assume women who play regularly and do know the game must find these girls even more annoying than guys do.

Because, hell, at least we can look at them.

Although, to be honest, some of them ….

So a few months ago I’m with my new regular group, three or four guys and one girl. Well, the girl invites over someone she met in a Yoga class to join us, and then she sits her down right to my left. Needless to say, after an hour I had a nice beer-bottle wall separating the two of us.
But even the mighty barrier of Budweiser couldn’t silence the banter.

“So, wait, three kings beats a straight?….OK, full house wins over all of the same suit, right?”
On and on, and not in a dumb blonde way, either, but more like she was really trying to convince us she was new to the game of poker.

So, I’m polite at first and give her straight answers. Hell, I didn’t know her and didn’t want to embarrass the girl who invited her, for one reason being it was her house we were playing at.

But the questions didn’t stop. And after about a half hour, the rest of us realize she knows what she’s doing. She’s won some hands, hasn’t made any horrible bets.

Fine with us. In fact, I enjoy playing with smart women, but give us some credit, will you?
To ladies who’ve read those books – you don’t gain an edge by playing dumb. We won’t magically let our guard down and take you for granted, and it goes past thinking you’re clever into the dangerous territory of group irritation.

And let’s be honest, we’re playing in home games for 30, 40, 50 bucks, maybe a little more…it’s meant to be fun and social.

Makes it difficult to have a good time with Ditzy Donna clinging to some nonsense she read two days ago, and refusing to let it die.

Now, I’m not saying this routine won’t work for some women, but if you’re at a game where there are regular card players, male or female, it’s a good assumption they’ll be able to see through your B-rate performance very quickly.

So at the end of the night, we’ve all done a pretty good job trying to drown her out with alcohol and the radio.

She leaves up 55 bucks.

That still gets to me, not because she took our money, or that she won at all. Because to her credit, she played well the whole night. But she killed it for the rest of us, and it would’ve been nice to have had something to show for our pain.

Although, I did enjoy the one hand I caught a straight to her two pair in 7-card stud. She only lost 10 bucks or so, but it was funny to see her break character for a moment.

“Oh, bullshit, you caught that?”

I shrugged my shoulders, but I was thinking, “Really? I thought you didn’t know how to play.”
The kicker, though, was before she left she asked the host to give her back the rest of the beer she brought over.

Nice one.

Never saw her again.

So what’s the lesson here? I guess the only thing I can offer is to be wary of girls you pick up at a Yoga class.

See ya next time.