Leggo of my Legos

When I was a kid, cards fascinated me. I spent many a rainy day playing “War,” “Gin Rummy,” “Spades,” “Five Card Draw, ” and I even fell for “52 Card Pick-Me-Up” a couple of times. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice – we gonna kick it to the curb.

I still don’t like being fooled. And with this in mind, I was concerned about my son’s ability to hold his own at the card table. He can play a mean game of Mau-Mau (a German card game much like Uno), so I figured it was about time his old man should intrude on his childhood and teach him to play Poker – Five Card Draw.

Now to a four-year-old, chips don’t mean diddly-squat. So I set up a game where we used most of his Legos instead of chips. Legos have meaning to a young boy. They are a tangible item. The small square blue ones were “fives”, double-sized red ones were “tens”, and the long yellow ones were “twenties”. I divvied up the “chips” into equal piles and explained that the object of the game was for him to get as many chips into the pot in order to win mine. I then laid the cards out on the table and demonstrated all the hands from aces high to an RF. He was very receptive and thought it was cool in the way that I shuffled the cards. I’m stylish, man. Makes the opponents forget about the game.

So we began to play. And after about a half hour, he was catching on. Even though I had to keep reminding him about the hierarchy of hands, he got lucky a few times – he even got dealt a pair of aces and pulled up a third after he discarded. It was time to get down to business I thought, and I commenced to kick ass. You should have seen him cry when he lost his last Lego. What a baby. And of course he had to go tell his mom.

So much for playing a little kid; time for cyberland. And yes, Paradise Poker.com was my destination. A little poker paradise was on the agenda after getting ragged on by the ol’ lady for mistreating my “mini-me”.

Checking out the website: good information. One of the first things a cyber-poker player needs to do is to check out the “About Us” section. Who are you about to patronize? You ought to know where your money is going. Paradise Poker is an offshoot of Sportingbet plc, a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange. You want to join a poker room which has indicators that they will be there tomorrow. I believe these guys will be around for awhile.

The website also gives additional information – most of it is useful. One thing that is noteworthy is their leaderboard – a current list of the top 100 players competing for a seat in the World Series of Poker. While checking this out, I pondered how some of these players chose their user names. And perhaps there is some reasoning behind the names possibly to trick one into thinking they might play a certain way. “Cottontail” sounds like a cutesy girlie name, someone a guy like me would feel uncomfortable playing too aggressively against NOT. Ha! Can’t fool me. It’s probably some semi-pro player guy who uses this fluffy name as bait against the careless and macho. “3boys6girls” — obviously this player wants you to think he/she/they are confused – perhaps he/she/they are/is. I know I am now. Approach with caution. “Paleface” – hmmm, a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy? Who knows. The bottomline is that choosing an alias can be a technique which is easily overlooked.

Downloading the Paradise Poker’s software and signing up was just as easy as writing this sentence. No prob. The software is aesthetic and visually appealing. Refreshing theme and design! The tables are named after tropical islands – which is a nice touch. You can even order drinks! And they go beyond the standard game staple with “Misc. Games” where one can find card games such as “Crazy Pineapple” “Five Card Stud”, “Five Card Draw” and “Blackjack”. The menu screen also gives pertinent information such as hands played per minute. The fun thing about online poker is that you can become a predator, searching some of these rooms looking for indicators of inexperienced players. You want to win their money, right? Right.

Novice players tend to play slower than the experienced ones – something to keep in mind. But sometimes I like to take my time, perhaps tricking others into thinking I’m some dweeb who has to refer to odds charts and whatever. It’s all a big mind game, ain’t it?

Paradise Poker gave me the break I needed. I was impressed with the ease of easing into their cyberland. Escapism can be a really cool thing sometimes – especially when a small child is in the other room whining to get his Legos back. Hell, I won them fair and square!