Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Challenge #1: How to play Poker

I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of an ace gambler (pardon the pun) and I’m not alone, with 73% of UK adults regularly participating in gambling of some sort* I’m quite good at card games, but ask me to bet on which horse will win the Grand National and I probably won’t know the difference between the favourite and the three legged donkey. Blackjack is my strong suit (hehe, these puns just keep on coming), there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you’ve got 21 (or even better, pontoon) and knowing you’ll be raking in the winnings. I usually play with my Gran who is the blackjack queen (this pun wasn’t even intentional, I swear), but she only lets us play with pennies and still doesn’t let me keep them at the end “it’s just for fun love.”

Well, I fancy upping the stakes and the most popular, renowned card game of them all is poker. As I learnt today, there are many different variations of poker, but they all have the same basic rules. The poker game that I am learning is Texas Hold ‘Em, the most popular poker game, and also the fastest growing. Many like me associate Poker with glamour, excess and Vegas. However, I was limited to my kitchen table and some novelty chocolate pretend poker chips I got on a trip to Vegas, funnily enough.

After asking my Grandma about poker failed miserably “I don’t know anything about poker, I don’t know why you’d want to,” I turned to Google, as most people do in times of trouble. The first thing I came across was a WikiHow article that might as well have been written in Taiwanese. “Wild cards introduce an additional hand, five of a kind, which normally ranks above a straight flush,” A flush what now? Like most projects I embark on, I assumed this would be a 30 minute job, 40 tops, and by an hour I’d be so good Vegas would be a-calling. Nope. 30 minutes in and all I’d managed to do was stare blankly at my Disney themed deck of cards and nibble away at the chocolate covered poker chips.

Running out of options, I decided YouTube was a safe bet. Here, I have learnt everything from how to do a fishtail plait to how to chop an onion (yes, seriously.) After watching several videos of elderly males in suits try to teach even a novice like me how to play poker well (they didn’t), I came across a lovely chap called Chris Moneymaker (yes, apparently that is his real last name) who had posted 5 videos entitled “Poker for Dummies.” Right up my street then. Even though his Tennessee accent started to grate after a while, I got pages worth of tips. (Oh, yes, you’re going to want to note a ton of stuff down.) After he had taught me the basics, e.g. what hand was valued the highest, a pretend poker game was then played out with three other men and two women (gender equality and all that.) The aim of the game appears to be to get the highest valuing hand in order to win big. However, this game clearly has a huge amount of skill which can’t just be learnt overnight. What they say about poker faces is so true, give away or ‘tell’ as it is known in poker, how successful your hand is and this could affect the bets placed by other players.

In the absence of anyone willing to play with me, and my mother becoming concerned about my gambling habits “I don’t think I’m okay with my daughter playing poker,” I tried the game out for myself. Party of one, which I would not advise as it is mega confusing. I get the gist though, and it’s easy to see why this game can get so addictive as players become increasingly greedy with each round. I might try it out with my friends, although it might take most of the evening to explain. I don’t think I should be let into to a Casino any time soon though, Vegas will have to wait for me.

Love Georgia x

p.s. If you want to learn how to play poker much better than I can, check out the links below that I found helpful:

http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Poker (not as helpful as the YouTube videos, but you can still grasp the basics from this)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq9MezqmZB4 (or type ‘Poker for Dummies’ into YouTube, you'll come across it eventually)

Happy playing! Remember to gamble responsibly and that there are legal restrictions on gambling if you are under 18. If you need any help, advice or information about gambling, the links below are helpful.

Oh, and be sure to check out the blogs on my blog list to the right hand side, I'm loving fashion and beauty blogs at the moment :-)
Playing like a pro

A Royal Flush, the best you can get in Poker

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