We had a poker night last night. It's been a long time since I've been in a good poker game, so it was particularly fun for me. I got excited and prepared for the occasion by making chip dip, getting a good folding table, buying several new sets of cards, and procuring real poker chips. Yep, no jars of pennies or cheap plastic tiddly-winks or frozen peas or fingernail clippings or any other betting tokens for us.
It took ages to get a full bevy of players. Many self-professed poker fans said they would love to play but had previous engagements...so many, in fact, that, if I were slightly more paranoid, I would think they were blowing me off. But eventually, we got a full table.
Some of our players, however, were amateurs. This seems like it would be a real advantage, but there were several drawbacks. First, we had to spend an inordinate amount of time explaining rules, hands, betting, and such. This itself wouldn't be a problem...but the two self-professed "poker virgins" were the ones who made the most money through the course of the night...which yes, is slightly aggravating.
I love poker, and while I don't think of myself as a shark or anything, I do have a certain amount of skills. Yet for the first few hours, I was playing horribly. Cards simply were not coming...or, if they did come, someone else would be obviously beating me. We were doing low-stakes ($5), and I started losing around a buck an hour. As the size of my stack shrunk, I started to play more timidly out of necessity...because when everyone else has four to five times the chips, pushing around another player becomes an impossibility. About three hours later, I had to re-buy for $2 more. In about an hour, I had to re-buy again. It was my inaugural poker night, and I was going broke.
Something then snapped. I started to get cards. With the cards, I started to regain the attitude. I pushed all-in a few times and won. I began playing with authority. Eventually, I pulled very close to my original stake...I think I might've lost a quarter or so, but as I was down over eight bucks at one point, I'm pretty happy with the result.
Now if only I could break even at any other part of life.