Poker Night At The Big Top


Like many other guys, I became addicted to Texas Hold em poker a few years back. I love to play the game. Fortunately, the rec center over here sponsors a tournament 3 nights a week. We usually get anywhere from 70 to 100 people show up. It's free to enter, but the top three finishers do get prizes ... usually gift cards. I've won my fair share already in the 3 months I've been here so far. But even on nights when I don't win, the real value for me is that it gets me up out of the room. Everywhere we go around base, I'm constantly running into people I know from the poker game. I've even made a few friends that I'll probably keep in touch with even after we get back home.

I started playing Texas hold em after watching a couple of late night re-runs on ESPN2. I played mostly online. Never for a lot of money, but always enough to make it interesting. I am fortunate I guess, that I did a bit of gambling (pool and slot machines) when I was a teenager living in England. I had a good job, and no bills, so it was all in good fun. But one life-long lesson I learned at the time about gambling ...

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER play with money that you can't afford to lose !!!!!

What I really like about poker, is that while it's definitely gambling, there is also a fair amount of skill involved. Even in our little free tournaments, when we get down to the final table or two, most of the faces are usually pretty familiar. My attitude about poker really changed after I read a book, and it dawned on me that to be good at poker, you need to have skill in two areas ... Math, and Psychology. It's a very interesting game to try to master.

And I know Ana (my wife) is just going to say I'm rationalizing, but I do think it can be a valuable use of my time. If you play a lot of poker, you get to practice things like; decision making, risk management, and having patience ... traits that can be invaluable when applied to other non-recreational endeavors.

LOL, and after all that, I'm only back here writing this already because I didn't win tonight. Got knocked out in 9th. Oh well, it was still fun. And besides, the next game is only a couple of days away. ;-)


p.s. the picture above was taken during an actual live hand. I took the shot with the camera basically down on my stomach, while I was looking at the cards, deciding how much to bet.


  1. Todd great pic and an interesting explanation. I dabbled a bit with the cards when I was a serviceman back in the 60's!!

    I agree about the skills involved in poker although I have never played Texas Hold em.

    Was it a winning hand???
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..The Salt Seller =-.

  2. WHATEVER!!! Its boring just like your other boring sport golf.I see nothing relaxing about either one but I find it funny that sometimes you get ticked off over the other players hand

  3. Hi Mike,

    It does seem like almost everyone in the military plays some form or card game on a fairly regular basis during their military career. My dad was also in the Air Force for 24 years. His game was pinochle ... which my parents still play.

    As far as the poker hand from the picture, I can't say with absolute certainty, but I believe I hit a flush on the turn, and took down a decent sized pot. ;-)

  4. Hello my darling ... I love you too !!! :-D

  5. Firstly, cool photo!

    Secondly, lol, I think your wife might be right! It's true, though... the more you learn about poker the more you realize how much there is to learn. Math, probabilities, psychology, body language and lying "tells". It's fascinating. Glad you're having fun!
    .-= Heather Kephart´s last blog ..Texas, Heather. Heather, Texas. =-.

  6. Hi Heather,

    lol, there's no "thinking" my wife might be right (at least for me, the husband). Aren't wives pretty much always right? :-D

    It's all good though, she may find it boring, but at least she lets me have a bit of time for my little "hobbies" ... gotta love her.

    How's the unpacking going?

    ... wait, I guess I could just click on your link below and probably have that question answered for me.

  7. I was at the table and I noticed you take the shot. I think it's a great shot, one I'll remember well after I've left.

  8. Hey John,

    I believe I got at least a couple of shots with you in them ... just haven't gotten around to process all of the pics yet ... was in a hurry that night to just get the "picture of the day" done. Once I edit, I'll send you any that you're in. If you haven't seen anything show up in the next couple of days, give me shout.



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