The story begins…
I remember my parents playing poker when I was a kid. On Saturday nights they would have friends come over. They sat around drinking beer, eating, and playing cards. All of us kids were shuffled into another room to watch television or play board games. But we would stick out our heads to watch the adults play. Our eyes grew wide at the sight of the pile of silver change and dollar bills sitting in the middle of the table.
Unfortunately, I never learned how to play. That is, not until last summer. It was a holiday weekend and I was invited to a neighborhood cook out. As the hot dogs and burgers were frying on the grill, my friends all sat down to play poker. I sat in the background, feeling left out. Finally, everyone agreed that I could sit in with my friend and learn how to play.
I watched attentively as she shuffled the cards. Then she gave them to the person sitting on her left and they cut them and gave them back. My friend then passed out five cards to each player, starting with the player on her left. My friend yelled, “Ante up”, everyone threw dollar bills to the middle of the table. The person sitting across from us raised his bet to $2.50. None of the other players wanted to bet that high and each said, “fold,” and threw their cards down. I was told that fold means they quit that round of the game. The person across from us laughed mischievously before reaching in and raking up all the money. “Doesn’t he have to show us his cards,” I asked. “No,” said my friend “not if everyone else folded. He was probably bluffing.” (Bluffing means that a player is pretending that he/she has a better hand then they really do in hopes of fooling the other players out of their money.)
Everyone agreed that I could play a hand with my friend helping me out. I knew the basics of what types of hands you can have-four of a kind, full house, straight, etc. But, I didn’t know which hands were best. I felt discouraged looking at my cards. I thought I had nothing, there were no cards with the same number value. I did have a straight but I wasn’t sure if any of the other players could beat that. I showed my cards to my friend and her eyes popped out of her head. “All of your cards are of the same suite,” she exclaimed, “No one can beat that hand.” None of the other players believed it and they all sat around shaking their heads when I revealed my cards. I won $10.00 on the first round I ever played.
I felt a rush of excitement and a great sense of accomplishment. Now I understood what all the fuss is about. But I still had to learn all the different ways to play. I had to practice and improve my skills. My friend told me about www.buildingpoker.com. This website is great. It tells you everything you need to know including how to play, tutorials and poker rooms.