Is that….is that the sun?

October 2, 2007

It’s been a while since I’ve played cards until the sun came up, but back before I actually had to wake up for something the next day, it happened quite frequently. And while it’s not something I’d necessarily recommend, it can and usually is definitely worth it.

I’d say it’s similar to playing bar darts and catching the end that counts just inside the skin of you best bud, Jimmy. If you haven’t done it at least once, you’re not really a player. (Hmm…that may be the most useless comparison I’ve ever made, but it’ s a lot of work to go back and delete, so on we go.)

So how often have you heard the rooster crow while still pushing all in with your eyes so bloodshot you look like a demon spawn? (not that you’d look so great on any other occasion anyway). In fact, I’d be curious to find out how much of the casual poker playing community actually does stay up into the morning hours more than once in a while.

And by morning hours, I’m not talking 2 or 3 a.m., I’m talking more like 9.

There are, in my opinion, three reasons why this happens, and I’ll break each one down and include a personal experience of mine to best illustrate why it makes sense to push being awake for 24 hours over a game of cards. (Like you didn’t already know!)

1.) Time: Sometimes you can’t get your group together until later in the evening. Mikey working at the theater (thanks for the free tickets, by the way), Shoe’s…well….just late, that other kid you only play with because he’s easy money is busy being an idiot, and you only have 2 people available to start at the normal time of 8 p.m. (This is, of COURSE, just an example and not based off any real experiences of my life when we were in high school and had to play at Mikeys house because the rest of us all still lived with our parents.)

All right, anyway, so the game now has to start at 11. What do you do? Shrug your shoulders and resign yourselves to the fact that because some of us had better things to do, that poker will only be 3 or 4 hours that night?

To paraphrase the great Stone Cold Steve Austin – give me a “hell, no.”

No, of course not. You simply slide the entire session later, and thus the ending at 9 in the morning. How else are you going to get in 3 full rounds of hearts and enough money games to the point where you never want to see quarters again?

See, makes perfect sense, on to #2.

2:) The winning streak: This one’s quite simple. When you’re winning, you want to keep winning. I know, big poker secret busted wide open. So you continue to push forward your self-implemented deadline for stopping to accommodate your addiction.

Hey, nothing wrong with that, right? Your watch continues to find ways to betray you by moving forward…not your fault.

I’d cite an example here, but nobody likes reading about someone else’s success. They only want to hear about the time you completely screwed yourself…or the time you lit off fireworks in the park of July 4 before your big annual poker game, only to set the grass on fire and then get caught by the cops (well, that was two separate years.)

Not that that happened, either. (It did.)

3: The losing streak: This one is much more out of your hands, especially if you (like an idiot) brought another financial lifeline with you like a check…or your watch.

You keep pumping those quarters or dollar bills over into the other guy’s pot, and you must keep going until you bring yourself back to even…or only down 10 bucks….or only down $50. As soon as I get back to only being down $50, then I’m done…I’ll be so do(yawwwwwwwwn)ne as soon as that happens.

Of course, if that does happen, that’ll mean you went on an incredible winning streak and…well see #2.

This happened to me once in college. The night game ended, I was down some cash, but only one guy wanted to keep playing. Well, it’s tough to play cards with only two people, so we did the only logical thing to ensure we could keep playing.

We turned it into 4 people.

How? By coming up with double-hand baseball. And, eventually, triple-hand baseball. Which did extend the game, but ultimately only led to me losing the rest of my money three times as fast.

But win or lose, doesn’t it feel amazing to leave the table at breakfast time after putting in a strong 12-hour session? Don’t you feel like you can just take on the world?

Either that, or the feeling that you’d rather be in a coma for the next day. But hey, if I am going to stay up until 9 a.m., better it’s around a card table than being on the tail end a bing-drinking, vomitatious (oh, it’s a word), Denny’s/IHOP night to remember.

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