English 10

Holding the Deck

“Most people bring a book with them everywhere they go,” a good friend once noted to me. “It’s very anti-social. You bring a deck of cards.”

There’s something very nice about having your own deck. You never need to rely on someone else’s1 equipment if you want to start a game. If I ever develop a hankering for a friendly game, all I need are a few people. This compulsion is not narcissistic, which2 I just like passing the time with some new or old friends. [3]

Perhaps this is because being4 from a large family and I am accustomed to having friendly faces around. When I travel, I try to keep the whole stack5 of cards visible, in case a stranger is looking to strike up a game. I know I certainly enjoy a ride more to know6 I have made a new acquaintance. Who knows if they7 will be an eccentric millionaire who wants to offer me a job?

Until I started playing on flights, I never realized how many types of games there are. I grew up playing Go Fish, Gin Rummy, and the occasional game of Whist, although I never quite understood the rules. But a random seatmate on a train or long bus ride can open me up to a world of new games and rules.

Rules for dozens of different games blend8 as if in a jumbled encyclopedia, in my head. [9] Generally, though, once I start playing a few hands of a certain game, old instincts kick in, and I am able to hold my own even with seasoned veterans.

My love of playing cards, however, is not without it’s10 fair share of drawbacks. I’m not just talking about the constant need to buy another deck when the corners of the cards start to bend. There’s still11 the fact that I have been inviting12 into high stakes games that are way over my head. Sometimes, I will foolishly comply.

(1) After a recent evening of poker13 with some heavy hitters, my friends advised me not to play for money. (2) But I feel the occasional loss of cash is made up for in the making of new friends. (3) Overall, I am inclined to agree. (4) I had, in fact, lost forty dollars inside of an hour, even though I thought I knew what I was doing. [14] [15]