Day: May 17, 2017

365 Challenge: Day 66 – Card-Shark

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Card-Shark: a person who is skilled in card games

I am a card-shark. I admit this. I am happy about this. It brings me much joy. Now let’s set the record straight on a few things:

  1. Card-Shark also means someone who plays cards professionally or cheats at card games. Neither of those describe me. I am not a cheater. And I am not sure I’m good enough to be a professional player.
  2. In Britain, it’s called Card-Sharp… an interesting little twist. I prefer the American saying.

OK, that said… yes, it’s a noun, but when I thought about things people clearly identify with me, being a card-shark is one of them. Playing cards has run in my family for many generations. As a child, I watched my grandparents and parents play card games nearly every weekend. They watched their grandparents play as children. And their parents watched them play on the boats coming over from Germany. When I went away for college, I setup all the games among my fraternity brothers and friends. {Oh yeah, not sure I ever told you I was in a fraternity for 3 1/2 years… was also its Historian one year, and its President the next… I’ve got some stories, perhaps I’ll find one I can share in a 365 Challenge!}

I love everything about the concept of cards: Two colors, red and black. Four suits, diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. 52 cards, 2 thru 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace.Wild cards. Jokers. Pairs and Straights. Royals and Flushes. These are magical words to me, ever since I was old enough to understand the different games. When I stayed home sick from school (ahem, cough cough), I’d watch the TV Game show “Card Sharks” and dream of the day when I could be a contestant. But sadly, it went off the air by the time I was old enough to legally play it.

My family played games such as Poker, BlackJack, Follow the Lead, 4 of a Kind, Sevens, Criss-Cross. As I grew older, we learned Solitaire, Hearts and Spades. With each new skill, I became a very strong player. And I was never a happy loser. But we’ve talked about that in the past! It’s a game of skill, math, risk, chance, perception, bluffing, psychology… all things that build our brainpower… you know, good stuff.

When I turned 21, my family took me to Connecticut for my first legal gambling experience. I say “legal,” because as a kid, I’d often accompany my mom to Bingo, go with my dad to the lotto store or play betting games on vacation in the Catskill resorts we visited. But at 21, I gave the slot machines a chance and won $1k that night. It seemed I had a knack for this thing they call gambling. For my college graduation trip, some friends and I went to Las Vegas. When they all went to bed at midnight (ha, I say!), I hit the BlackJack tables… found myself a friendly dealer with hardly anyone else at the table, and I put my card playing skills to the test. After a few hours, I walked out of there with another $1K. Call it skill, call it luck, I loved it!

I’ve also said my personality is not all that addictive, so I luckily am content to go to casinos maybe once per year and give it a shot. But playing cards on the weekends is a fairly regular thing. Lately, it’s Spades. My father and I team up against my mother and my better half. I don’t believe any of them read this blog, so I can comfortably say my father and I usually win without them chiming in or being embarrassed. And we did win this last Mother’s Day when we played for a few hours in the afternoon. It was a close one, but Dad and I kept our lead in the final hand and won the game. Some might think I should have let my mom win on Mother’s Day, but a real card-shark couldn’t do that, could he? HaHaHa! (I’m just being funny with my little note of sarcasm here… but I did win…)

I keep track of the cards, so I generally know which ones are still left in the deck. Go ahead… call me a card counter… nothing wrong with it. And I am good at math, so I apply some statistics to decide what my chances are, before making any risky moves.  It’s one of the few things I excel at… so I let myself brag just a little bit. But at the same time, it’s also one of those natural talents I’ve always had — not something I really had to learn. That’s what makes it special to me. It’s a bit of a gift, and I am grateful for it. Bring me a deck of cards (if there aren’t any books available, that is), and I am in total bliss.

How about you? Anyone play cards? Bridge? Pinochle? I’ll even take a Go-Fish!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.