The amatuer poker boom of the mid to early-2000s was a fun time. In 2003, when the aptly named Chris Moneymaker turned a $39 satellite game into a seat at the historic World Series of Poker Main Event, then took down first place to the tune of $2.5 million, it set off a bevy of starry-eyed wannabes — with access to a set of poker chips and a deck of Bicycles — organizing games with their boys to see if they had what it took to make the big time. Amateur, home poker games exploded from coast to coast. With the boom, the WSOP also grew.
I was somewhat guilty of it myself. I never had professional poker aspirations or sought to turn my game into a means of supplemental income or anything like that, but I was always open to the idea of getting together with friends, slamming back some cold ones and throwing cards and chips around. I occasionally won some walking around money, but more often than not I lost. I didn’t care, though. I had fun, and at times, the games themselves would be secondary to catching up with friends and the across-the-table trash talk and bullshitting that would always ensue.
Fast forward several years and the phase sort of died out, at least among the people I run with.
Then, with the Bicycle Playing Cards and Total Frat Move relationship, our sales guy’s office was filled up with boxes and boxes of promotional Bicycle cards and chips. So naturally, and with this absurd amount of poker essentials at our disposal, we thought “Why the hell don’t we get a poker game together?” So, we did. It was an awesome time and it quickly brought me back to those memories of sitting at the table pretending like I knew what I was doing, and of course cutting up with friends.
Also during our game, I was reminded of the typical cast of characters you’ll find sitting around a poker table. Guys like these:
Shuffling Chips Guy
If this guy wasn’t a serious card player, he wanted you to think he was. In his mind, poker was equally about him impressing his table mates with his ability to shuffle his chips as it was the actual card game in front of him. The Shuffling Chips Guy at my table always seems to go with the single chip over the top of the knuckles trick. Yeah, we didn’t see that one coming.
“Oh, look at this guy, he must be a card shark!” is what he wants you to think. His friends know better, though.
Clueless Guy is also sometimes referred to as “Hey, you haven’t put your blind in yet” guy, “What’s better, a straight or a flush?” guy, or “Hey man, you can’t raise 50 cents on a three dollar bet” guy.
He’s a double-edged sword because he’s annoying as hell, but he’s also someone you’re constantly trying to get involved in a hand with. He’s an easy target.
The Guy Who Takes It Way Too Seriously
We’re not in Vegas, pal. This is a table full of your friends. Chill out. Yeah, we understand you played your set of jacks correctly, and we get it that Clueless Guy called his inside straight draw all the way to the river after you kept placing large bets, but remember, he’s clueless, and this is a friendly game.
Practice for the big leagues on your own time.
Too Drunk To Play Guy
This guy can double as any of the above characters, and often times, while contributing to the eventual demise of the poker game, our whole table turned into the guy who’s too drunk to play.
That usually just meant it was a successful night.