A Degree of Excitement

I’m not certain how I got into Poker; my grandfather was a cribbage nut, and — subsequently — that was the game I played as a child.

Euchre was the card game in high school.  We played it at lunch, during spares . . . maybe that’s what kept me out of trouble.

At various points during the ensuing decade, I played hearts and gin rummy.  But poker?  That was for the Kenny Rogers set, wasn’t it?

Poker, as you likely know, went mainstream in buckets in the ’90s when on-line .  And now?  You can currently get deeply-discounted World Series of Poker brand playing cards, chip sets, and fold-up table covers with cupholders and chip stack recessions in Walmart.

Look around long enough, and you’ll no doubt find All-In Condoms® “for your short stack.”â„¢

The purpose of all this yammering, incidentally, is to harken back to this entry, wherein I found myself with a seat at the Degree Poker Championship in Niagara Falls.  To make a very long story short, I took some vacation days and attended.


The Niagara Fallsview Casino. Ontario, Canada.

After a long, lon-n-nng bus ride (I left the car with the more sensible half of my marriage), the casino — indeed, the city — was quite a treat on the eyes.  Time didn’t permit exploration, however; I hadn’t slept while taking the overnight bus, getting a room would be an unnecessary expense (especially if I bombed out), and I had to get ready for the tourney.

So.  With no sleep and aching (“Leave the Driving to Us”) butt, I sat down with 240 other people for the preliminary round.  My spot looked like this:


This was the total starting stack.  Players’ cards were
punched as they washed out.

I’ll spare you the play-by-play.  Past ‘final table’ players and those with other TV exposure burned fast, then burned out.  The preliminary round I played in resulted in 24 survivors . . . and I was in their number.  Unfortunately, it would be a few days until the next round commenced.  I had to take the bus home and look forward to a later round trip, too.