Poker invite? Be careful…

August 24, 2008

So, how’s your poker relationship these days?

Let me clarify – are you happy with your home game group?  Are they fulfilling as challenging, fun, enjoyable company on Friday or Saturday nights?  Or do you seek greener…er…blacker and redder pastures for your skills?

            Better than all those questions might be this one…could you find a different game in your area if you tried?  Or more to the point, one you could trust.

            Let me take you through a story about how these questions popped into my head yesterday.

            I’m out running an errand (my dog crapped on the carpet – again – so after the steam cleaning session, I was tasked with driving out to find a refill of incense), and I figure I’ll combine it with a trip to Gamestop.  They have a 25% off Used PS3 games coupon, and I’m always up for a deal, so I head in to pick up the new Battlefield: Bad Company game (which kicks ass by the way).

            I’ll preface the rest by saying just as I entered the place, the skies opened up and a forceful downpour was to keep me trapped inside for the next 15 minutes.  As I think about how much worse the rain is going to make the flooding from Hurricane Faye, I locate my game of choice, walk around a little bit, and then finally take it up to the counter. 

            Now I’m B.S.’ing with the manager there since I’d prefer not to leave until the rain dies down.  He’s non-offensive enough, I’d say mid-30’s, heavy-ish, poorly gelled hair with black glasses.  We start talking about this demo, and that game, and systems, etc.., and he drops a line to his buddy across the counter about how he needs to get out by 6 p.m. so he can get on to his poker game.

            “Poker,” I repeat casually.

            And thus opens the door to a conversation about this guy’s regular poker game, and how he’s won a ton of money at the place (don’t they all.)

            He plays at some veterans’ lodge where they give 15% of the take to their own cause to keep it legal.

            After talking for a few minutes he realizes I know poker and invites me to a future game.  I tell him I’ll think about it, take down his info and thank him.  All the while I’m noticing how much shiftier the guy looks now than when I first walked up to the counter.  He talks, acts and just gives off the general impression that he’s crooked, that he’d screw you any which way to get a few bucks out of your wallet.

            Still, I’m tempted…mostly because I’ve been in this area for about 5 years, but don’t have many friends outside of work living around here, and it’s not easy to come upon an invite to a poker game.

            Although I suppose a game coming out of a GameStop visit isn’t any more promising than one coming out of somebody I met at a bar.

            And I’m sure I could use some site online to locate a local game, but again for me to trust factor comes into play.  Even if all the other players are completely on the level, you’re still going in completely blind to everyone else’s game, tells, tendencies, betting patterns, etc…

            Puts you at a disadvantage.

            A day later, I think I’m going to just lose the guy’s info and stick to my regular couple games.  The idea of playing with someone new is, as I said, tempting, but I’d rather not drop more than $100 to learn my lesson.

            Pessimistic attitude?  I admit it, sure.

            Now it’s off to kill some evil Russians while crackin’ jokes to my boys in B Company.