My gambling habit started at an early age. My mother used poker as a way to teach me about statistics and probability when I was in elementary school. I grew up watching great movies like The Sting and Maverick where poker was shown as a game of skill and a way of life. Not much changed when we started congregating at Mac’s house. We started out playing mostly 5 card draw, 7 card stud, and a 3 card draw that we learned from Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels. Of course, it wasn’t long before we learned that the World Series of Poker played Texas hold ‘em and we saw Rounders for the first time. What had started as a way to pass the time and engage our overactive competitive sides turned into a part of our daily lives, no different than brushing our teeth or doing our homework*.
*Scratch that, I definitely played way more poker than I did homework.
By high school, we were essentially running an unlicensed casino out of Mac’s basement. We didn’t take a rake, but had cash games daily and tournaments weekly. I stopped working during the school year and just used poker to pay for gas and food money*.
I stopped playing after high school. I never found a steady game in college and couldn’t support both my drinking and my gambling vices. Luckily, the Groomsman Games was there to indulge my erstwhile addiction.
*Life was a lot simpler when I didn’t have to budget in drinking money.
The rules of the game were simple. Each player is given an equal amount of chips. We played Texas hold ‘em until one player held all of the chips. Standings are in reverse order of elimination. There was no money on the line, but that doesn’t mean the stakes were low.
- McCannon – 10 points
- Alan – 7 points
- Bart – 5 points
- Clifford – 3 points
- Elijah – 2 points
- Rudolph – 1 point
- McCannon – 17 points
- Elijah – 12 points
- Bart – 10 points
- Alan – 9 points
- Clifford – 6 points
- Rudolph – 2 points
Testimonial from the Winner – McCannon – Hello and welcome to the first edition of McCannon’s Corner! For some ill-advised reason, the decision was made to only have the winner and loser get face time at the end of these posts. That means you’re going to be making the trip to McCorner a lot (almost always immediately followed by a round of excuses from Rudy “the ball was in the sun” Schmidt. Eager? Scroll down to the bottom of the page).
In regards to the event, I wish I could tell you the Poker match was super-exciting, coming down to the stoic protaganist spotting a tell (involving an oreo…really? How did we not think this was completely ridiculous at the time) at the precise moment it looks like the slick, fast-talking poker pro will walk away with the money our hero desperately needs to pay off the fat-fingered mobster hellbent on buying out the business run by the salt-of-the-Earth type father (a widower) for 45 years (does he vehemently disapprove of his son’s gambling? Of course). Spoiler alert: that didn’t happen. But things still turned out well for the hero.
In reality, our B-level* Poker was only made exciting by the exorbitant stakes on the line (Groomsman Game points**, pride, bragging rights, life validation, confirmation of comforting sense of superiority over friends, the Iron Throne, a permission slip to endlessly berate the “loser bitches”). I remember some aggressive (terrible?) moves not paying off early for Rudy and Eli. I quite literally have no recollection of Cliff or Bart’s play. Heads-up with Al was pretty straight-forward; I think I went in with a considerably bigger stack and he didn’t catch any breaks. And just like that, I had a 5 point lead in the overall standings.
* Like 95% of people who play Poker think they’re much better than they actually are. I doubt our group is any different.
** Can’t stress enough how big of a deal Groomsman Game points are and how seriously everyone took them. Hopefully this is apparent when we recap Knockout (the schoolyard basketball game), which reduced all of us to whiny, bickering 8th-graders in front of innocent park-attending bystanders just trying to have a good time at the playground with their children. Their visits were undoubtably ruined by our moaning over rules; loud, flippant attitude towards swearing; and general lack of regard for the public. Essentially, Groomsman Games Points drove us to become public menaces.
Testimonial from the Loser – Rudolph – Pretty soon we’re going to have to start calling me the cellar dweller. Remember in event #1when I said “don’t call it a comeback?” Well, good thing I have the Rally Monkey on speed dial – I’ll need him for the rest of this competition. I took a calculated risk going all in early with top pair (Queens) and some other meaningless bullshit on the flop. Unfortunately, it turns up that those “meaningless bullshit” cards perfectly matched what Bart had in his hand. I could have really used the Milwaukee’s Best Pocketcam to give me a sneak peak of what Bart had stashed away. But it wasn’t meant to be.
In retrospect, we should have put real money on the line for this competition. When U.S. legal tender isn’t involved, we might as well be playing with Zimbabweian money. With no repercussions of potential financial loss, I was flinging around chips like I was the BMOC. What I failed to realize is that you cannot put a price on the ridicule or shame your best friends hit you with when you get back-to-back last place finishes. I was going to need a miracle (HIT ME WITH IT COACH BROOKS!)