Tuesday, February 6, 2007

my name is OC girl and i'm a poker-aholic

It all started very innocently, during last year's super bowl. We were all bored and none of us were really all that interested in the game (we were far more interested in the drinking and the snacking). So someone suggested that we play Texas Hold 'Em poker. I didn't know how to play but Jesse suggested that I could learn quickly. We played for the fun of it (meaning there was no money involved) although I imagine it was more fun for others than it was for me because I was too nervous to make a move. However, as the game progressed, I got bolder and somehow I ended up winning. Beginner's luck, I guess.

I'm not quite sure at what point I became addicted but Jesse was definitely my enabler. We often played heads up just for the fun of it (still no money involved). And he even showed me some of the best poker sites on the 'net. We watch the World Poker Tour and Celebrity Poker Showdown whenever they're on TV (the Celebrity Showdown is definitely a favorite and hopefully Bravo will bring it back any day now).

My addiction to poker was held in check for the most part until one day, the worst thing happened. I found a Hold 'Em game for my cell phone and downloaded it. So now, whenever I wasn't at home playing online, I could play poker on my Metro rides to and from work. Pretty soon, I was playing poker on my phone all the time, even while out with friends. I even have a random bump coming out of my thumb because of all the time I've spent playing. Now my cell phone was my enabler.

I had shied away from playing with money because I'm not really the gambling type. Whenever I've been to Vegas, I've gambled simply because everyone I was with was gambling and I didn't want to feel left out. But it pained me to lose my money and come to terms with the fact that I would never see it again. The last time I went to Vegas I came out even and I considered that a big victory. However, I did show some restraint in Atlantic City, which I've only been to once (when you've been to Vegas already, Atlantic City is really no comparison). Jesse and I went there during the early stage of our relationship when all of our dates involved travel and a hotel stays. I really wasn't impressed with Atlantic City (for the exception of that helicopter tour Jesse and I took which was really romantic) but Jesse likes to gamble so I did what any girlfriend should do when her boyfriend is gambling--support him, cheer him on, and hope to be his good luck charm (and my body was showing signs of my addiction).

A few weeks ago, Dave and Enzo hosted a poker night at their place (my first stop on my 2007 poker tour). Enzo was eager to use his brand new, official looking poker chips. And I was interested in finding out how money would change my game. I was pretty nervous. After all, it had been so long since I had played with a group of people and now we were adding cash to the mix. Four hours of poker playing and beer drinking later, I came out in 2nd place and shared the pot with the 1st place winner--Dave, who definitely took advantage of his own beginner's luck. I realized two things that night. One, I love playing with people. It's so much more fun than playing online by yourself (or on your cell phone). And two, money doesn't change my game at all (but my heart does beat faster every time the blinds are raised).

This past Saturday, Jesse, Dave, Enzo and I were invited to a poker party (second stop on the tour). All in all, 15 people showed up to play so we did a tournament style game with two tables and two rounds of poker. The boys and I had a lot of fun. It was a little nerve wracking to be one of 3 girls there, but I had my boys to keep me company. The total number of players alone was enough to make me nervous. But in the end, I won second place at one of the tables and I won back all the money I had put in.

The next day I tried not to think about poker. It wasn't easy especially since Jesse found a new online poker site and started playing in tournaments (great, first it was the XBox and now it's poker). Me? I just can't wait until the next poker night (President's Day weekend).

And I'm itching to play and counting down the days...

Poker Night

Me and the gang at the first stop of my 2007 poker tour
Photo courtesy of Dave, who unfortunately isn't in the photo.


V said...

Ah, memories. I am also a complete poker addict and love to play at every opportunity.

The two tips I’d have is to read as many poker books as you can get your hands on and when you are playing, try not to think about it as money, but units. When you think of it as money and stress yourself out, you might make the wrong call. Of course, don’t jump to the 200/400 or anything, but as long as you are playing within your price range, I’d def work to not stress about the money.

PS I hope you’ve been DVR-ing Poker After Dark. It’s fantastic as you get to see EVERY hand played—a big change from normal poker TV shows.

DCWeddingPhotog said...

I'm not a poker player, mostly because I know I would get totally addicted and take over my life. Looks like you have fun with it, though!

lizzie said...

V--thanks for the tips! i've tried out the whole 'thinking of it as units' theory and you're right. it is less stressful that way. and i'll definitely look into Poker After Dark.

MK--yes it is fun. i think i enjoy it because so far it's been a friend activity. if i was playing with strangers, it definitely wouldn't be as fun!