The sport of the bluff

I used to watch a lot of sports on TV, NBA, NHL and FIFA amongst others, but I’d find that a lot of the time when some sport event was going on somewhere in the world, a recast of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) would be airing instead. As if poker is the most important thing that could be on.

Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of poker. Not online and not for money either but for fun. Despite my ideals that for the game to be fun in first place, money has to be on table, the games have now taken on an air of seriousness.

I used to watch a lot of sports on TV, NBA, NHL and FIFA amongst others, but I’d find that a lot of the time when some sport event was going on somewhere in the world, a recast of the World Series of Poker would be airing instead. As if poker is the most important thing that could be on.

It’s annoying until you start playing and get all addicted to the game – in much the same way a smoker will irk you when they light up nearby, until you start smoking and it stops bothering you.

The real addictive problems come when an object like money is involved.

For the good or the bad, Grand Forks won’t be getting a casino anytime soon, so there won’t be any legal way to wager money on chance. That doesn’t mean you can’t gamble for fun.

A few years ago, in the height of me and my friends’ poker playing, there was nothing I’d rather do than put some money up on anything. This one friend and I, especially, would put bets on anything. Would the light change before we get to the intersection? Would that chicken cross the road? Would the bank machine still give me money after I lost it all at the casino?

These were the important questions we’d ask.

Now though, I find the fiery heat that came with betting my money away has cooled and even as I try to ignite it again, mainly to see what it was all about back then, it doesn’t light.

I’m back to being a “non-smoker” in terms of TV too. When I want to watch sports, it’s not something I can go down to ye olde tavern and play while sipping a pint. I want to see people pushing their fitness on sports channels, not raising their eyebrows at each other. But, like most sports, poker is easy to learn and takes work to get good at, and, if you want, you can wear gym shorts.

– Arne Petryshen is a reporter with the Grand Forks Gazette