A while ago, I had gone to see the latest James Bond movie - Casino Royale. All through the opening credits, I wondered why so much animation based on playing cards was being shown. Sometime into the movie, casinos and playing cards came into the picture sporadically. I still did not make the connection. Finally, when James Bond and the villain started playing a high stakes poker game, it finally hit me - the casino in Casino Royale referred to a gambling casino (duh!) and the cards in the opening credits referred to the poker game (ya, I can be pretty slow that way).
Despite this flash of enlightenment, from that point onwards, I could no longer fully follow the movie. You see, though I have dabbled in a few card games (trump, rummy, judgement, literature, ass and so on) poker is a card game which, though I have heard a lot about, I have never actually played and hence could not follow.
While the movie progressed with lots of excitement (for the people on screen) when words like full house and flush cropped up, I was totally lost. The only full house I knew of was when I had a lot of guests over and flush was something I did whenever I used the restroom. This considered, I just decided to decipher the results of the game in the movie based on the reactions of the actors.
Once I got back home, I looked up poker on the ever-dependable Wikipedia. Of course, nothing made much sense. Nevertheless, I dutifully forwarded the article to my parents, who were going to watch Casino Royale the next day so that at least they could enjoy the movie better. And soon forgot all about learning to play poker.
Yesterday, I went over to visit some friends. They had a poker set and we decided to play. V and me were new to poker having never played before. R and S were three games old and being more experienced, were our instructors. They explained the basic rules of play. Then, to help us all with determining our hand, we opened the wiki page with the hand rank details and used it as reference.
To make it more interesting, the four of us decided to start off with a five-buck-a-person supply of chips. After a trial round which V promptly won ("Beginner's luck!" R and S said), we started proper play.
None of us being pros or even seasoned players, each of us settled into our own style of playing. R would keep raising for no special rhyme or reason - his strategy seemed to be based on blind luck rather than anything else. It did not help that his luck supply was running rather low yesterday :-). S would get super excited whenever she got a good hand and would bet very high early on and thus cause everyone else to panic and fold immediately :-). V would keep raising the stakes. When the time came for him to actually show his hand, he would frantically start looking for all permutations and combinations which might lead to a winning hand. I was playing conservatively. If I stayed long enough in a round, it usually meant that I had something to show for it.
Initially, other than poor R, the rest of us seemed to be doing decently. Then, much to R's and V's dismay, the chips started vanishing from their piles and reappearing on mine or S's. Still, there was a lot of good natured teasing, plotting and joking going on. All the while, the excellent homemade fudge and fudge topping made by S kept us company. It was so much fun and we played on for a really long time.
At the end of the day, I had won the most (yaaay!) followed closely by S. R and V had, of course, contributed everything of what S and I won :-D! I happily said that we should do this more often ;-). V declared that the next time I came over I would probably be reaching for the poker set even before I took off my footwear - hehehehe!
So now I am a poker pro (!?!) . Say "poker" and watch me talk with great proficiency about Straight Flushes, Two pairs and what not.
And yet another item on the list of things I have always wanted to learn checked :-).