Poker was, is, and I’m sure will be for some time to come, extremely popular. Many discount card games as merely games of luck rather than skill, but as someone who has played dominoes and draughts (no, I’m not kidding) to quite a high standard in the past, I know that’s not true. It’s not as immediately thought-provoking and cerebral as Chess but, because there is an element of chance, the real skill is being able to deal with whatever comes your way.
All of this would suggest I’m good at poker. I certainly have the right facial ability for it. Sadly, like chess, I’m a real amateur – indeed, less than I am with chess. I’ve played with friends but have to be reminded of the rules each time. And then I usually lose quite quickly.
For an analytical thinking, logical IT professional it’s a bit of a blow.
It’s not the gambling element which invariably goes along with it either that puts me off – I’m no gambler (insert your own “and I’ll bet you £5 I’m not” joke here). I can understand the rules too. I think it’s down to the fact that I’m turned off by anything where I can’t work out the skill and I haven’t played enough poker games to hone that (a bit of a catch 22 there I guess).
When I wasn’t playing dominoes endlessly with my gran as I grew up I was playing patience (or solitaire, as it’s mainly known). No, there wasn’t much in the way of entertainment back then. My Solitaire average is 40% – that is, I win 40% of all games I play. The average, in comparison, where no skill is involved is less than 9%.
Maybe the only conclusion I can come to from all of this is to play more poker. I’ll probably avoid the games that involve money as, at my current skill level, I’d lose an awful lot. But getting together with a bunch of mates with drinks, snacks and poker sounds like a good day to wile away the occasional evening.