Saturday, October 15, 2005

Games People Play

I'm not a poker player. I'm too easy to read. It goes against my nature to keep all my cards close to my chest. I like to lay it all out and say, 'take it or leave it, this is it, do what you will.' I guess that's not much fun for some who are more interested in finding out your secrets some other way. I'm not saying that's a bad approach, but it just isn't how I like to play. I like games like chess that you see all the pieces and moves and go from there. Though I do like Scrabble, where you don't see each other's letter tiles, but winning in Scrabble isn't usually determined by knowing what the other person is holding. You are more likely to win by wisely using your own pieces. I don't understand the appeal of all those poker shows on tv now. It seems like almost every cable network has a poker show now, especially the sports channels. Since when was playing cards a sport?

It's not that I don't like mysteries. I do, but I get frustrated when the process is slow. And I also get frustrated by my own slowness in picking up on clues. Maybe that's another reason why I don't like poker. And I'm prone to misreading clues that are too vague. I've never been a big fan of the game Clue. I like to investigate things but on my own terms. I don't like chasing carrots hanging from sticks. I'd rather follow a path of crumbs. And if it leads me to the old hag waiting to shove me into her oven, well I'll deal with that when I get there.

I'm reminded of the line from Fleetwood Mac's song Dreams, "players only love you when they're playing." Growing up I never really understood that line. I was thinking playing as in sports. But now I know it's not about sports but about games. There's a big difference. I'm also reminded of one of mr g's posts that was about the game of bullshit. In it he tells of his former boss telling him, 'don't shit a shitter.' That's good advice. I think my dad has said that before too. And it's kind of the same as 'don't try to play a player.' Maybe the lesson there is to know when you're out of your league.

I'm just not much of a player. I never have been. To be a good player (and gambler) "you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done." None of those are my talents. That's why I don't gamble much, and if I do it's usually slot machines. At times I've lingered too long or started counting my 'winning's' too soon. The few times I've gambled I've been very conservative and cautious. Somehow I think that defeats the purpose.


madman said...

I'm a black-jack player. I always sure about my hand--but always wondering what is being dealt the one holding the cards.

mr_g said...

I've been playing poker for 15 years....started long before it was cool or popular. In fact, it used to be hard to find a good poker room in Vegas, now they're everywhere.

The attraction is multifaceted for me. First, you're playing against other players...not the house. House just takes a rake (% of the pot), you don't take their money.

It's about the strategy of reading the other players and bluffing them out. Or convincing them you're bluffing when you have a wining hand. It's about trying to determine their "tells"...the tell-tale signs that they have good or bad hands. It's about whether or not my bet will force my opponent out or make him go all-in against me.

I think we all have a game or games we love to play. Sometimes they're not "formal" games...we might just enjoy turning certain interactions into a game. We're all players of one kind or another. The question then is, "What IS your game?"

Kat said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean. I am a straight forward person, and I just don't understand the bullshit thing.

And I absolutly HATE being played.

eatmisery said...

I love poker and I love Scrabble, too. At least, at Scrabble, I never lose.

Rae Ann said...

madman, I hate that wondering what others are holding back, you know? That's why I don't like those kinds of games.

mr g, all those reasons are why I don't play poker and am no good at it. I'm not good at bluffing. If I have a 'game' it's probably like Pick Up Sticks. LOL, I throw it all out and see what happenes. I'm not good at chess, but I like that there aren't any hidden cards, etc. in it.

kat, me too!! Totally. And you said it so well.

em, it would be fun to play Scrabble with you. You'd probably beat me, but it would still be fun.

Kristi said...

oh...I hate poker. I am never good at reading other people or hiding my own thoughts. It sucks being an open book.

Solitaire...that's my game. Can you play solitaire in Vegas?

midwest_hick said...

I enjoy blackjack....and have become addicted to lit in yahoo

Rae Ann said...

kristi, I don't know, but I'd say they probably have figured out a way to get people's money even playing solitaire.

midwest hick, LOL, is that real gambling?

FreeThinker said...

Nice Scrabble reference! Scrabble is my favorite board game, and practice makes perfect!

To paraphrase Shakespeare, "The Word-Play's The Thing!"