Growing Up Playing Home Poker Games
The Very First Home Game
It was November 1st, 1985. My brothers, our friends, and I sat on my front lawn taking toll of all the Halloween candy we had collected the night before. A few of the kids were playing a game with an empty coffee can. They would set the coffee can about 10 feet away and toss pieces of candy at it, who ever made it in the can would win all the candy that missed the can and they would start over. I ran in the house and got a deck of my fathers cards and the game was on! Draw poker was the only game we knew, so we explained the rules to everyone and shuffled up.
Ante was 1 piece of bubble gum; pre-draw bet was 2 pieces of gum or hard candy; end bet was a piece of chocolate with 3 raises allowed each round. It took us a few minutes of bickering to come to this system, but it work well, for a little while. After about 30 minutes of playing, the betting was out of control, it had turned into a no limit game. None of us knew what "no limit" was. Just that when we thought we had a good hand we could put whatever we wanted in the pot and the other person was forced to call or fold. I broke 3 of the neighbor boys - one in particular I really enjoyed! He was always mean to me; he even stole my money at the arcade one time. What better way to pay him back when my full house beat his flush for about 200 pieces of candy! Little did I know they were all about to run home crying to mommy!
A few hours later my mom came to me and my father watching TV. Their mothers had called my mother (RATS!!!!). My mom asked me what went on, my only defense was to blame it on my brothers! They were older and there too but she didn't seem to care since I won everything and had 2 pillowcases full of candy in my bedroom. She expressed her disappointment and let me know not to EVER let it happen again. After she left the room my dad got up out of his chair, with a HUGE smile on his face, patted me on the back and said, "Good job! Got some MnMs in that bag for daddy?".
Hold'em Poker - The Evolution of Home Games
After that day regular games between my father, brothers, and I were on full swing. Dad taught us 7 stud and Hold' em poker. My brothers and I would save all of our money and play each other at every chance we had. More times than not little sister walked away the winner. It was a great feeling taking their money - I never felt bad once! What little sister would feel bad after enduring the torment of two older twin brothers for 8 years? I finally found a way to pay them back for driving my Barbie car into the pool, or embarrassing me in front of my friends as they did all the time.
As we got into our teen years we knew more games and the betting got bigger (from nickels and dimes to 1's and 5's). It was a regular thing to have all night games on the weekend. One time we played for 30 consecutive hours. Like a lot of home games we liked dealer's choice. Me and my dad always dealt Hold'em and could guarantee one of my brother would deal 5 draw with 2 and 3s wild (or some other off-the-wall game like 2 card poker or baseball). I always hated that - it just doesn't seem like poker with wild cards, its more of a coin toss on who gets the most deuces.
Home games now are straight Hold'em - no wild cards. 50 cents small blind, $1 big blind, $2 minimum bet and $5 river bet. As the night chugs on and we lose players it always turns into a no limit game. Unlike when I was a child, I feel bad now taking my brothers money when they come over. Last time we played I was in the big blind with 2J off-suit. It checked around and the flop was free for me. 222 flopped and I checked, letting my older brother bet and my husband raise into his bet. I (acting mad and reluctant about the bets) call. 4 turns, brother and hubby raise max with me in between them calling. K rivers. They go at it again, sandwiching me. I never had to bet once - they did it all for me. Cards flip. My brother is holding pocket 4s (for 4s over deuces) and my husband is holding pocket aces, which he tried to slow-play. Slow-playing the aces was a huge mistake on his part - he let me see the flop for free and flopped quads. The pot was about $200.00, not bad considering I bought in with 25 bucks and had built a stack big enough to call all their bets that hand.
Home poker games can be a lot of fun. Get a case of beer, a couple of pizzas, a few family members and friends and let the bonding begin! Yes, poker is gambling, but if taught right, skill overrides the gambling part. Have fun, and remember not to let 2J off-suit limp in to crack your pocket aces!
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