The Thrill of Poker Night

I love to gamble. I’m not addicted to it, but there is a certain high to winning money. The problem with gambling is the downside – losing. Call me crazy, but I enjoy having money for things such as food and clothing. I also have a wife with an expensive pocketbook habit or as she likes to call them “bags.” If I can’t afford her this one guilty pleasure, “you can’t afford me,” she says, as well as something about “taking half of everything.” I choose the bags. However, do not despair; you can enjoy the thrills of gambling without losing your shirt: poker night.

There’s nothing else like it – the aroma of cigars in the air, and an endless supply of beer and junk food. If you could add Murray the Cop and Felix Unger (sans the sinus attack), you’d have poker nirvana.

However, before you go out and round up the usual suspects, you must realize that poker night does not come without a price. Be prepared to do extra chores around the house or sit through (i.e., suffer through) a “chick flick” as a tradeoff. This is your mission if you’re willing to accept it.

Once you hammer out these all-important terms, you can safely arrange a poker night without retribution from the significant other. Nonetheless, there is still work to do. You must now figure out a way to keep the game going on a regular basis. No small task, I assure you.

Here are 10 suggestions to keep the beer and the Pepto-Bismol flowing, and the chips stacked high:
1) Act as if you’re not looking forward to the game. When speaking to your loved one, say phrases such as “I’m only going because they’re short a player,” and “It’s my turn to bring the food.” Make sure, afterwards, that “it wasn’t that much fun.”
2) Be as polite as possible to wives, girlfriends, etc. during the days leading up to the big game. (Start opening doors again if you have to, chivalry is back…. till after the game.)
3) Wear a pre-stained shirt (holes optional), one on which you don’t mind dumping beer or salsa.
4) Keep the betting to a minimum. Do not view your weekly poker game as your means to early retirement. There are better ways to save for retirement – the racetrack, pyramid schemes, Bingo, cock fighting, etc.
5) Make sure players remain regulars. If necessary, perform an intervention.
6) Avoid eye contact with family members when leaving for the game. They may ask you for last-minute favors that could jeopardize the entire night.
7) Leave a reliable person in charge of the food. The last thing you want to worry about is what time the food is arriving. In addition, do not put a health conscious or lactose intolerant person in charge of food. The key to a fun evening is extra cheese and anything capable of clogging your arteries.
8) Make sure there is at least one player who is god-awful. It’s good to know that you’re not losing the most money or making the dumbest moves.
9) Make sure the worst player, described in # 8, is not you.
10) Don’t feel guilty – or that you’ve done anything disingenuous – afterwards. Keep in mind that your mate occasionally (or frequently) likes not having you around – it gives her a night to herself. Besides, don’t think for a second that she isn’t gloating to one of her girlfriends, “if he wants to play poker, I’m getting new shoes and a mani-pedi.”

Note: You can apply many of these helpful suggestions to one-time events such as the Super Bowl or game 7 of the World Series.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Thrill of Poker Night

  1. John

    Hey Brad,
    Good advice here. You know, I believe I have done these things without realizing them…
    Whenever a “guy” thing happens, you have to do these things to avoid the looks of, “I going to kill him.” Also, it eases the guilt felt by those who have tendencies to be more conscientious. It is great advice and technique for the male generation.

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