Most people that see me walking down the street with my kids or in my kitchen slaving away at a cake would think that I’m a poker fanatic. To be honest it kind of surprised me, too. I had played a little bit of 5 card draw and 5 card stud with my family while I was younger, but didn’t really fall in love with poker until I played in a Texas Holdem style poker tournament with some friends. It was a good mix of men and women, some who thought they were a shoe-in for first place and others like me who needed a cheat-sheet to see whether a straight beats a flush. That night was soooo much fun! The best part about poker and especially tournament-style is that even an amateur can have their day, and that’s exactly what happened. My best friend who was another female had played even less than me ended up winning the whole thing (I came in 3rd, our friends still can’t believe we did so well).
Ever since that night I’ve been completely hooked on poker, and especially the World Series of Poker. That’s the tournament where the biggest and best compete to win massive amounts of money and the sought after bracelet that shows everyone who to watch out for next time they’re at the table. Many of the best players in the world have so much character and it really elevates the fun in watching them. A lot of other women probably pull for Annie Duke as it’s cool to see her beat up on the men, but my personal favorite is Phil Hellmuth, who is a poker savant that is capable of having a hilarious and epic meltdown every now and then. One thing I like about the World Series of Poker (or WSOP) is that no-name folks like you or me practice-up their game and can end up making the big show and even winning it. My husband always talks about how Chris Moneymaker, an accountant and not a professional poker player at the time, won to 2003 World Series of Poker after really just playing online. He turned his $40 entry fee into a fortune. Through the World Series of Poker website you could chase that same dream by playing online in games that are just for fun, and (for those brave enough) to go test out their skills at tournaments all around the country. The site has all of the details of the WSOP players and events, too. This is actually a great time to check out the site as right now the WSOP is in full swing. I haven’t played in any of the events but really enjoy watching it on TV. Each hand is exciting and I learn a lot by just watching. I must say as a side-bar tidbit that the commentators for the WSOP are phenomenal…. other sports commentators should listen and take some notes!
Poker brings together so many great things:
- There’s the social side of itwhich can be fun but also brings about the layer of psychology and reading people. “Are they betting big because they have a good hand or is it all a bluff? Hmm, they keep looking down at their cards… I think they’re bluffing. I call!”
- It involves a lot of mathin trying to figure out all of the different permutations of card combinations for your cards (and if you’re smart and fast enough, running those same calculations for your opponents)!
- It has competitionwhich I love, and for the WSOP the biggest and best. I love all or nothing tournaments like the WSOP… just like March Madness for basketball, one bad move and you’re done!
- And there’s the underdog element. If beginners like my friend and I could place 1stand 3rd amongst our poker-playing friends, anyone else could do it too.
I definitely recommend having a poker night with some buddies if you’ve never done it before. Print out some cheat-sheets for the beginners and have a buy-in amount that everyone is comfortable with. Check out the World Series of Poker website as they have tons of information on the thrilling WSOP tournament (including chip counts, bios, etc.), other games and events going on, poker tips, strategy, and more. It’s an awesome all-in-one go-to site for poker whether the person is a seasoned player or brand new to the game.