Moments — Two cards down and five cards up

The small blind


The big blind

Two cards down

The flop

The turn

The river

Best hand wins

These were the terms and concepts that we wrestled with on a Saturday night — the brand of poker that we had decided to play was Texas Hold'em and everyone around the table had either never played poker before or hadn't played in quite a while.

It was friendship that brought us to the table, and I'd wager, it was also the idea of learning something new, having some fun, and enjoying each other's company. The stakes weren't high (the pot was rarely higher than fifteen dollars) but an air of seriousness fell over the table because it was our hard earned money on the line. The objective of this game is simple — have the best five-card combination after all seven cards are dealt onto the table (two face down and five face up).

A Royal Flush beats a straight flush, which beats four of a kind, which beats a full house, which beats a flush, which beats a straight, which beats three of a kind, which beats two pair, which beats a pair, which ultimately beats the highest card of five. Ace is high, then King, Queen, Jack, ten, nine, and so on (by the way, the ace can be both high or low).

Some people had more fun than others, and not surprisingly, it was related to how much money they lost and how well they understood the game — but everyone said they would play again (adding a comment or two that they would study up on the game for the next time). For me, with an extra sixty dollars in my pocket, the experience became a homespun reminder that everyone, no matter how good they are at what they do, will have to work through a learning curve when they attempt something new, and it may be steep, and it will take time.

I look forward to the next time we play to see how everyone is progressing towards "mastery". There is a very good chance I will give back some of that sixty dollars.