BLOG – Poker at school

BLOG – Poker at school

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Yeah, I’m pretty much dying of this illness. But enough about me, let’s talk poker. No, really, don’t worry about me. I’m fine. Honestly, you don’t have to be so concerned. So, yeah, poker – I found the story that students at a high school in Virginia have an after-school poker club really cool. As a man who played a ton of poker in school I have the utmost support for the activity – if you can avoid bunking lessons and still get your poker fix after school then all the better.

My introduction to poker actually came at school, or at least at Sixth Form. This game was what poker was in sepia saloon photographs and whispered tales of hustlin’; a strangely romantic and seedy practise; the game of drifters and criminals – this was the Northwood Sixth Form poker game. It was this daily gamble that first got me hooked on the bastard card game that has taken over my life.

It wasn’t quite Hold ‘em, more like the mutated hunchbacked cousin that Hold ‘em keeps chained in his cellar. However, this was more legendary than The Big Game in Bobby’s Room. By the snack machine and the lockers, several students would be on their free periods or their “free periods” (wink wink nudge nudge) hunched over a battered deck of cards with old plastic chips. This was a single shiny pound sterling to play, and a cross between a tournament and a cash game. The chips before you were real money and a deep-stacked player would often sell chips to newcomers, but mostly we played until one person held all the chips.

The game often grew ten- or eleven-handed with players constantly coming, going and rebuying – a two-period game between break and lunch could see a winner-take-all pot of £30, sometimes more. In college student terms that’s a week’s lunchtime wages, two if you’re a non-smoker.

A buy-in got you four 5p chips, four 10p chips and two 20p chips. There was a 5p ante every round so everyone saw the flop... and the turn. And usually the river. Dharam ‘All In’ Patel was the best player purely because he was the only one who showed any aggression at all. Oh, and he also cheated better than anyone else. Saying he was the best player is very close to being a compliment, but if I had to put PokerTracker statistics on the people in the game I’d say the average would be 95/6.

That game truly screwed up my education since I was bunking half my lessons and playing for literally twenty-four hours a week – that’s more than I slept in that same five days sometimes. However I run good at revising so despite my teachers’ warnings I still got As. That last sentence had nothing to do with poker; I just like gloating about it.
Of course the stern and moustachioed Mr. Hull, Head of Northwood Sixth Form, wasn’t so cool as the George Mason High School maths teacher who organises this poker club. Poker is an excellent game for students to learn for multiple reasons – first and foremost it teaches logic, but unlike a game such as chess that would also teach logic, it also relies on mathematics and psychology to try and work out the information you are denied during the game – namely, your opponents’ cards.

Every school has a chess club; every school should have a poker club instead.

Tags: Poker News, BLOG, , Poker, at, school