#36 – Poker

Poker

At a Glance: Poker is as much about the players as it is the game. The subtleties found in bluffing, patterns, tells, playing styles, odds, and reactions all come together for an outstanding time.

Poker, specifically Texas Hold ‘Em, is a card game for 2-10 players where players are dealt 2 cards first, then combine them with 5 community cards to make a poker hand of 5 cards. There are four rounds of betting: first after everyone is dealt 2 private cards, second after the first 3 public cards are turned over (the “Flop”), third after the 4th public card (the “Turn”), and lastly after the 5th public card (the “River”). I specify the Texas Hold ‘Em variant simply because that is what I have played and enjoyed the most, and I have fond memories of watching the World Series of Poker when it was becoming really popular. Unless specified otherwise, there is no limit on how much you can bet, so sometimes you will see players go “All-in” betting all their chips. Whoever is the last person standing or has the most chips at the end of a period of time is the winner.

Many people are at least familiar with some form of poker, and it is pretty amazing how widespread the appreciation is. I have played with real money in the past, but it can be enjoyed either way. Though I don’t gamble much nowadays, I think the game does especially shine when played with real money, because it is more difficult to be so cavalier with your betting and bluffing and reading your opponents becomes much more powerful. That is why it is so entertaining to watch on TV when the stakes are high. The nuances in interacting and trying to read the other players’ intentions make this game as much about the people who play as the game itself.

If you have a nice poker set with weighty chips, it makes a difference. Poker chips seem like they were made to be fiddled with. It feels great to move a stack of them on a big bet or go all-in. The price for a decent poker set is actually not bad at all, considering all the good chips you get. Poker is a beast all of its own and is a legendary staple for a reason. Go all-in…

Check it out: https://amzn.to/2FGm3d2


HONORABLE MENTIONS

There are other casino-style games that fall in the grey area of what might be considered a board game, but are fun nonetheless:

Craps – A dice game that is all about luck and odds, as players may place many different types of bets on what the outcome of the dice rolls will be. The craps table itself is like a work of art.

Roulette – This game also has a lot of different types of bets you can make, but in this game, a small metal ball is dropped on a large spinning wheel with numbers on it in red and black. Again, this one looks really cool.

Blackjack – Maybe the simplest game at the casino that is not just random slots, in Blackjack each player is dealt 2 initial cards, one face up, one face down, then can “hit” by taking more cards or “stand”. The goal is to get as close to 21 as you can and beat the dealer.

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