Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bowling for Dollars

The only thing I've done in the past month that even resembles poker is during my bowling league. And I can't even win that.

I think the absolute worst thing that someone with a gambling problem can do, other than going to Vegas, or just walking into a casino is joining a bowling league. I don't think there's anything that happens during a night of bowling that doesn't get wagered on.

First off, for those of you who have never been a league, the whole concept is gambling. You pay X dollars a week to play and at the end of the season there's a payout for the top teams. But its not just based on who's the best bowler because everyone is handicapped based on their average. So in theory everyone is equal and whoever wins is determined by the team that was lucky enough to have a good game that particular night.

But that's the boring stuff. The real gambling is amongst team members.

First there's the split pot. It's relatively simple. You bowl a split, put a dollar in the pot. Pick it up, collect half the pot. Miss everything on your second ball, put another dollar in the pot. I've think we've gotten it up to $30 or $40 before the expert bowlers on our team would "accidentally" get a split they can easily pick up for an easy $15-$20 payout.

It's also fairly common for teammates of approximate equal skill to wager lunch on the results of any given game. People have had free lunches for a week before losing it all on a double or nothing bet on the last game of the night.

Then there's the prop bets. I don't know what triggers it, because we don't always start betting on random things, but I think it might be when we are getting killed by the other team so we need something else to keep our interest. So we'll put over/unders on the number of pins the current bowler will pick up, or bet on whether or not they'll get a strike, or pick up a spare, or pretty much anything. Bowling gets to be a pretty expensive activity. I haven't even factored in the beer yet. MMMmmmmm beeeeeeeer.

Finally, there's the poker. It fairly simple. Everyone throws a buck in the pot before the game. Every time you mark (that's a strike or spare for you non-bowlers) you get a card. Best five card poker hand wins. I think many there's another rule where if you strike twice in a row you get two cards on the second strike, but we have a pretty diverse group as far as skill, so to keep it fair we don't include that rule. We also spot a few of our teammates some cards before each round to even up the odds a bit.

I have the worst luck in these poker games. I think most cards you can have without getting a pair or better is 11, and I've made it as far as 9 cards while still only having ace high. I've also been known to get four pair on a few occasions. That's always fun when you have twice as many cards as the guy who beats you. Typically it takes a high flush or full house to win, but two pair has been sufficient on a few occasions.

The game also makes for some great bad beats. Some one will have an flush after bowling in the tenth only to see someone else strike out to hit a full house he didn't even think he was drawing to. Plus since you have so many cards you usually have about 15 outs by the last frame.

So yeah. There's the extent of my poker play in recent weeks.

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