Last week I went to Las Vegas for my high school buddy’s 50th. The weekend started off at the MGM, where I crashed in my hotel room after making the drive from LA. After a brief nap, the eight of us joined up at the Rio for a bite to eat at the Voodoo Steakhouse where I ordered fish. Then I went to play casino poker for the first time.
In college I spent years in a house poker game on Thursday nights where some of the pots got fairly robust, including an insane game of in-between where the pot ballooned to $1,200, which for college guys barbacking through school was a lot of cash.
Playing in a casino with a bunch of surly strangers who took every hand very seriously and looked even more chagrined because they were wearing face-masks, was terrifying. My first go turned up nothing. Texas Hold ‘Em was the game and “Giving Away My Money” was my name. After less than an hour I called it quits.
There’s a saying that there’s a sucker at every table and if you don’t know who the sucker (“mark” is also a popular expression), then it’s you. Undoubtedly, I was the mark at that table.
The second night of poker was more conservative. I remained intact for nearly two-and-one-half hours before succumbing to a better hand on a large pot. I held my own, including winning two fairly substantial pots in the no-limit game.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be an effective casino gambler. Tracking eight other players at the poker table was daunting, since I’m used to blackjack where the only person I’m interested in tracking is the dealer.
If you have the desire to see human nature on display and don’t mind losing some money to find out what you’re made of, try some casino poker the next time you get the chance. Just remember: don’t bet without 10’s or better in the hole, unless you are a good bluffer, which I am not.