Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reverse Poker... ummm... What???

Yes! It is exactly what it sounds like. Not the game per se, but the procedure of betting.

Suddenly, out of nowhere all the people in the group (excluding Aditya, Sandeep and me) have started enjoying playing poker. I have tried to understand how that works, but it’s something beyond me (like I already don’t have a lot of jargon to remember than having to learn about what ‘flush’ or ‘royal flush’ or a ‘full hand’ is… I think these are the terms that I heard everyone using and I hope they are used in Poker, or else this is as close as I am to bullshitting); so I didn’t bother further.

What I did like about Poker, was the conversations that happened when everyone was playing, the jokes, the pulling of each others’ legs and of course, the swearing; and that kept me tuned to the game even though it was the others who were playing, I was just watching and was not able to make head or tail out of the damn thing.

For those who don’t know (it’s not as if I know a lot myself… I hope this is close to how the game is actually played…); each player starts with two cards and a minimum amount that you are supposed to pool in (because that’s what the winner gets); there are cards laid out on the table (three first and then two cards are opened later – not sure exactly when and how) and whoever has the highest sequence formed with the two cards in hand and the cards laid out on the table, wins all of the money bet by everyone.

So if you think you have a chance at winning you keep betting more, you raise the stakes and that’s what makes Poker all the more interesting, because you don’t know what cards any of the other players are holding and for all you know, they might have a sequence better than yours. It’s not about technique; it’s not about skill – its pure luck. It’s what cards you get stuck with, what cards are laid on the table and your ability to judge your position and bet accordingly (safely); which means that you could win even with a not-so-great-sequence.

We don’t play with real money, obviously because we don’t have all that much that we can squander over gambling. We use coins and currency from other board games; because at the end of it, it is all for fun. The game we played (and by “we” I mean the others – Jyothi, Amit, Omkar and Vishal – whereas I merely sat and watched whilst reading ‘Eclipse’ – the third book in the Twilight series – and waiting for Sandeep to wake up from his 10 minute nap, which by the way lasted three whole hours) this Saturday night, we used actual currency coins and marbles (The guys called them pebbles, but I’m not sure if pebbles can be pink… Then neither are marbles…) – and no they weren’t the ones that you might think we’d lost.

We even borrow money from the other players (which we do not bother to pay back in our game and I’m sure isn’t allowed in the “real” game) when one of us is short of cash and doesn’t have any money to bet.

This way, the pool increases every time someone bets or raises the stakes – in the normal game; and whenever the betting is over and the cards are out in the open, the winner takes the entire pool. But we went a step (or two) ahead with the whole betting thing.

We reversed the whole betting procedure. Instead of adding money to the pool step by step, we pooled the entire money (the marble stone like stuff and the actual coins) in at the same time, and… wait for it… put our phones in the pool. Now we assigned some values to every object in the pool; like a 1 rupee coin was obviously worth one point; similarly a 2 rupee coin was worth 2; the marbles were worth 5 points a piece and the phones were worth 20 points each!!!

So this is how the reversed game o’ Poker worked. There’s the pool with all the good stuff in it, and you play the game. When you win, you earn a certain number of points. You can utilize those points to save (or rather claim) your phone. So when you earn twenty points, you get to take your phone back, out of the pool (since obviously you’d want to save your own phone first). Then when you earn more points, you can take someone else’s too. And by take, I DO NOT mean take-back-home-as-if-it’s-your-own-and-you-own-it… no; you take it out of the pool and keep it with you, just to give it back to its real owner at the end of the game. So what’s the point in betting the phone, you ask? It’s just for fun.

The guys played this so enthusiastically as if they’d actually gotten the phone from the other person. Jyothi on the other hand was being realistic. She didn’t really care all that much about the phones because she thought (and I agree with her) that if she’s going to get her phone back at the end of the game anyway, why bother at all? It’s not as if she’d lost it for real! At this, she was accused of not taking the game seriously! ?????

For the guys, being able to save their own phone and then claiming someone else’s from the pool as their own was like winning a jackpot! You should have seen their faces! When Vishal took his own phone out, the relief on his face was the kind you see when you realize that you had been falsely detected with some awful disease (sorry… just needed a very strong metaphor!) and he was absolutely ecstatic when he claimed Omkar’s phone next.  And Jyothi face suggested something that sounded like, Seriously people; while I sat there and wondered at how the guys could come up with such stuff!! There’s more to their… wait, here I can include myself… to our innovation and I’ll write a post about that too soon, so you can (almost) fully comprehend the hysteria!

Sometimes it’s a little frustrating to see how we act almost like children, whereas otherwise you find stuff like these absolutely hilarious; and then you realize that you found it frustrating only because you weren’t paying attention! :P


  1. Niki.. the game is called PP ..Prepaid Poker !!!!

  2. It's always funny when we (guys) take a game-for-fun too seriously. I've always felt very odd about it when my friends used to fight in the play ground. It's usually cricket and the fight starts with the first ball and it'll go on till the last. I did try to stop them a couple of times and then realised that I better take that time to straighten my back!

  3. @Vishal: Oh... Thanks... I can't change the title now.. Actually, I can... But I don't want to... Should I??
    Other Than that, have I got the other details of the game right????

    @Ekan: Yes... (you) Guys are like that! :P
    I've seen my guys play cricket too. The day I understand those technicalities, I'll write a post about THAT too.. I'm sure it'll be just as entertaining!!! :D

  4. Can u please explain this...."it's not about technique;it's not about skill- its pure luck"...poker is in fact exactly the opposite...luck plays as much role as it does in any other sport....in fact there is a world series of poker(read WSOP) that happens telecasted on ESPN....

  5. By technique and skill I meant that you can't control what cards you get; you can't control what cards are laid out on the table.. Winning is just through sensible betting...

    Unlike Rummy, where you need decide what cards to give up, and how to make sets from the cards you draw.. I meant THAT technique... :)

    And Poker on ESPN, eh??? Will see if I can catch that!