Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Compiled from hard experience.

Ten Commandments of Poker Night on Watersound Terrace

1. Don't bother trying to figure out what Greyghost, Cruickshank or Suchit are thinking. Cruickshank practically invented the poker face, and Greyghost perfected it. Suchit's technique is to make like he's not paying attention to the game--he's always telling a joke, or reading a magazine, or bopping to whatever music is playing, and you don't think he knows what cards he has. He does, though.

2. Don't try to bluff Greyghost. It can't be done. It's not fair, but there it is.

3. Don't underestimate Ingrid. She's been playing poker with her affectionate extended family of vipers and cardsharps since she was four years old, and she has seen it all. She helped put herself through undergrad by fleecing everyone in her dorm.

4. Don't bring a lot of money. It's not a high-stakes game. Cruickshank could buy and sell Ingrid, Nick, Suchit and me put together, and Greyghost is about ten times that rich. So they come down to our level.

5. Don't get scared if Greyghost starts raising big. He thinks he'll always get whatever cards he needs, but in fact this is not among his superpowers.

6. Watch Cruickshank. He's at his most dangerous late in the game when everybody's sluggish and not paying careful attention anymore.

7. Change decks frequently. Nick used to work in a casino, and now has this bizarre skill which allows him to recognize which card is which from the presence of minute dents and marks on the edges and backs. And his memory is excellent for this.

8. When it's your turn to choose the game, don't choose anything with wild cards in it. Greyghost hates them and it leads to unpleasantness all around.

9. If you're the new guy at the table it's your job to fetch drinks and snacks. And don't wait to be asked to do it. You have to anticipate. (Nick was the new guy before I came along. He made a point of drilling this into me.)

10. If you step away from the table for a minute, Ingrid will look at your hand. She says she doesn't consider it cheating and that it's fair game, but that doesn't explain why she does it in such a way that nobody usually notices. Your best bet is to take your cards with you.

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