Two of my daughters learned how to lie this week.
They also learned about the profundity of Kenny Rogers. And to never fold until you know you’ve lost.
That’s right, I’ve been playing poker with my 10- and 11-year-old daughters. We’ve been using leftover, wrapped Easter candy as our ante. Sixlets are worth one apiece. Chocolate eggs are two. Candy bars are five.
Like in a real casino, I couldn’t tell you what those numbers mean. Maybe it’s cents. Maybe it’s dollars. Maybe it’s millions. I’m playing with house candy, so I don’t put much value in them.
My wife’s not that thrilled I’m teaching my kids how to gamble. I claimed I’m teaching them how to successfully navigate risk.
I used to be part of a weekly poker game with some guys back in the late 1990s. Then life started happening for all of us. Weekly became monthly. Monthly became once in a while. Once in a while became not remembering the last time we played. I think it might’ve been 2006, before these daughters were born.
It amused me when my daughters suggested we play poker. They’re really the reason I don’t play much poker anymore. I’d rather spend my nickels and dimes on them than the chance at winning a few bucks playing cards with friends.
After about three hands, I had to introduce them to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.” One of them started counting her candy, and I sang to her, “There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.” It made more sense to her after I played the song.
It’s fun to play with them. I hear all sorts of interesting stories. I get to share some of my own.
We have some laughs, especially when it comes to the art of bluffing. It’s a little unfair being their dad, since with these two I can usually tell when they’re lying to me.
They’re really directing all their acting chops into bluffs, though. I can see them squirm when they have good cards, trying to look stoic about it. Similarly, they’re overacting when they decide they do want to bluff, celebrating like you might if you win a major sports championship.
I was pretty sure my one daughter was bluffing when she said she wanted to raise me a candy bar, or five, mostly since I hadn’t dealt any cards yet.
The other girl let out a whoop that would’ve made “Nature Boy” Ric Flair proud once when she asked for and received one card, supposedly signifying she drew the right card.
I’ve been doing a little bluffing myself with them. I drew the right card to put together a straight all the way up to an ace, one of those treasured hands in poker. One daughter kept betting aggressively, raising me our agreed-upon limit of a candy bar (again, five) at a time.
I finally called her. She was so proud of herself as she showed me her hand, a pair of aces and a pair of queens. It was a good hand, but not good enough to beat mine.
Except it was. I flopped my cards down, admitting defeat to her and bathing in her proud glow of winning the hand.
Sure, it may have been a bit of a lie. But as old Kenny says, “Every gambler knows the secret to survivin’ is know’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep.”