Poker is, without a doubt, the very best excuse ever created for men to have a good time.
Every man should play poker. Every woman should let her man play poker.
A gentlemen’s poker night is the most important event that can occur:
Announcement: The country has a new leader.
Announcement: There is to be a royal wedding.
Response: Do the people have to pay for the wedding and the divorce?
Announcement: Turn on all your taps, close your curtains, wrap yourselves in tin foil, listen to your radios and be prepared for a five minute warning.
Response: Will the lights still work, though? It’s ‘poker night’ tonight.
Announcement: The Messiah has arrived!
Response: Can he shuffle?
Announcement: The children and I are leaving you.
Response: Okay, John, here’s your fifty…and I’ll raise you another fifty.
Announcement: I’m inviting the guys round at eight o’clock for poker. Can you get here?
Response: Damn straight I can get there, buddy! I’ll have to leave the mobile on, though, because the wife’s in labour. Is that okay?
Poker is not just about the game. Poker is not just about the winning. A poker night with the lads is an occasion that is to be cherished. It is an oasis of happiness and self-expression amidst the day in day out drudgery of work, bills, wives and general kicks in the nuts.
The poker table is the modern day Colosseum. It is the arena where 21st century men must fight to be the last one standing. It is not for the faint of heart. Those attending must be steely-eyed with resolve and push aside all thoughts of the bollocking that awaits them upon their return to the family home.
If you’ve never before played poker and you’re reading this imagining yourself to be Russell Crowe stepping out to face the barbarian hordes, then don’t bother. Stop reading now and forget about poker. It’s not for you. Russell Crowe is a pussy.
If, on the other hand, you’re imagining yourself more as a Homer Simpson kind of guy, then come on in and take a seat.
Basic requirements for a good, wholesome, entertaining night of poker is as follows:
A sturdy table is needed. Sturdiness is vital. As the night draws on, aggression levels can become raised. Furniture breakage merely gives a wife more ammo and unless you know of a furniture restorer who operates an emergency call out system, prevention is better than cure. Do not use one of those god-awful felt ‘professional’ playing surfaces. They stain easily and soak up liquids (the drying of alcohol/blood can hold up the event). Round tables are preferred by professionals. The efforts of the night can often result in, well, unsteadiness. No corners means no telltale bruises.
Always have at least five sealed packs of cards to hand. Accusations of cheating are best dealt with by an expeditious change of weaponry.
To maintain stamina and enhance performance it is suggested that an absolute minimum of one crate of beer and one bottle of a preferred spirit is available for each participant.
To further maintain stamina and to stave off mind distracting munchies, ensure there is a plentiful supply of snacks. Never, ever, ever provide pretzels. A pretzel is a nest-lining material and is only used by humans when bar scenes are being filmed for detective shows.
The need for a short, direct and unhindered route to the khazi cannot be emphasized enough. It is of paramount importance.
Every participant should have his own first aid kit that is securely attached to his body. Never remove it! You are just as likely to need it when you return to the wife.
A secure lock on all access points is desirable. Women are much stronger than they appear when searching for wayward husbands at three in the morning.
A knowledge of retorts, witty remarks and insults is an absolute must. Banter is a skill all serious players must learn. The following is a basic example for the beginner:
“So, what’s that criminal son of yours doing tonight? Breaking into another wine store?”
“No, the last I saw of him he was banging your wife.”
“In that case, tell him to jot down some clitoral directions. After thirty years of guesswork, it would be nice to know the way.”
From the above it is clear that the opening comment, from the professional, has drawn in the amateur, who thinks he’s won the encounter, and has successfully set up the amateur for the verbal ‘coup de grace’.
Finally, blue cue chalk (which can be borrowed from any pub’s pool or snooker table and returned the following lunchtime) is a well kept secret of the nightime poker player. Prior to returning to the good lady’s early morning interrogation apply a smear of the blue chalk to the forehead.
When asked, “where the bloody hell have you been all this time?” Merely tell her the truth: “my dear, I’ve been drinking, playing poker with the lads and I have lost next month’s mortgage repayment.”
“No you bloody haven’t you lying bastard! You’ve been down that snooker club where that whore of a barmaid works!”
The events of a poker night must never be divulged to females. A thump in the conkers for suspected adultery is nothing compared to the shame and disgrace of dobbing in your mates.
To conclude, poker nights are essential to a man’s well being and, once mastered, will enhance the quality of his life.
And for this, we, the men of this world, owe a debt of gratitude to the yanks.
My most cherished possession is a baseball cap that was given to me by a Tennessee bar owner that has embroidered upon it words that should stir the emotions of any man:
‘Liquor in the front, poker in the rear’