Come on, read me...you know you want to...
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...all revved up with no place to go...

I was thinking back on my first experience with Texas Hold Em.  Not the first time I played the game, because that goes back decades.  But the first time I played it in a tournament setting.

Of course it was after watching Chris Moneymaker win the World Series on ESPN.  Before that, Texas Hold Em was simply a game that was thrown into the mix along with Iron Cross, Acey-Duecy, Follow the Queen (being nice here), and Pass -n- Roll.  Occasionally someone would call for the Omaha version, but Hi/Lo never crossed our minds.

I had played a little in Maryland before moving here, and even played in one American Legion tournament where I figured out that calling everything was dumb, but figured it out too late.  I also played on Party Poker there, but only free stuff and again....really badly. 

Then I moved to Colorado.  Lots of old friends live here.   

So I went to a friend's house one night, and he was going to have his own Texas Hold Em tournament.  Ten or so of us gathered around his tiny little table, and he pulled out two boxes of 500 chips he'd bought at WalMart.  1,000 chips!  I didn't know anyone who owned 1,000 chips.  I had a bunch of plastic ones at the house, but these were almost Vegas-like.  And....two brand new decks of Bicycle playing cards.  Wow, this guy was serious.

So, we began with chips.  How many?  Well, ten guys, a thousand chips.....so 100 apiece.  Don't laugh, we were learning.  Well, there are white, black, red, blue and green.  More whites, less blacks, so...

Whites:  50

Reds:  100

Blues:  500

Green:  1,000

Black:  5,000

Everyone got 30 whites, 30 reds, 20 blues, 10 blacks and 10 greens.  Lets go to the calculator:

Starting chip stack:  74,500 EACH

Blinds?  Start at 50/100

If you've played poker before, you better be laughing now. 

Blinds doubled every 20 minutes, but we tracked them with someone's watch, so they doubled whenever anyone remembered to look at the watch. 

The game ended around 3AM, and at no time did we "chip up".  We didn't have any chips to chip up with.  You basically said..."Lets stop using the whites", and played on.

And that, for my good friends in Colorado and elsewhere....was the beginning of Big Dawg Poker.  Many of my closest friends in the world playing really bad Texas Hold Em. 

Especially EBO, who even with 74,000 starting chips, busted out in 90 minutes.   His last hand was classic.  He called the all in bet, and stood up....slamming his cards on the table, announcing to the world..."THREE PAIR!"

From there I figured out that I had an understanding of this game.  Not a mastery, but at least the concept clicked in my brain.

One player there met a girl who knew some other players, and I weaseled my way into that game.  I met some people there who hosted their own game, so I conned my way into that game.  A player there hosted a whole series of games at homes around Colorado Springs, so I begged my way into those games.

From there I now have my own table, several thousand chips, many decks of cards that cost $16 to $20...per deck, fancy card markers, an iPod to look cool at the table, sunglasses so you can't get a read on me, and a library of poker books that cost as much as a college education.

And you know what?  I miss the Big Dawg early games.

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