>>> Edited For Content
By staff writer Mike Forest
June 1, 2005

Poker.

Do I have your attention? Good. Now to drop some knowledge: you suck at poker.

Why is it that every guy I meet these days thinks they're the shit at poker? All of you can't be that good. Almost all my guy friends get together once a week or so and play some Texas-Hold ‘Em, Omaha, stud or my favorite: 6-card stud draw where 2's, 5's and 7's are wild and a pair of 3's beat all.

I blame ESPN and hockey. If we still had hockey, maybe ESPN wouldn’t have time to show approximately 35 hours of poker a day. Almost every other channel has a poker show too: Travel, Bravo, MTV, VH1, FSN, QVC, HGTV, Nickelodeon and even CCN is getting into the game with some down-and-dirty card slingin’ straight from Capitol Hill.

“Bluffing is just lying, so practice on your girlfriend. ‘I did not sleep with that hot Nordic chick. I don’t even know what Natalia’s name is.'”

I heard a rumor that the Food Network has a poker show planned for next year with Rachel Ray, the cutie from “30 Minute Meals” and “$40 A Day.” She can deal me a “full house,” 'cause I'm “straight” and we’d make quite a “pair” while “shuffling” if you know what I mean…because I don't.

Disney was going to do a poker show as well, but at the taping of the pilot, Goofy got really drunk and stabbed Donald because he suspected Mr. Duck of cheating…okay this bit sucks, I’ll move along now.

Mind you, none of this is a plea to bring back hockey. I can do without a bunch of toothless guys chasing around a piece of rubber on frozen water.

Back to the point in case: you are no good at poker. I have never seen a worse player than you. All the “skill” that you claim to have is only vaguely apparent because all your friends suck as much as you do.

“But Beech, I win all the time at poker. I even entered a tournament and won.”

Listen here, voices in my head. Much like being a licensed therapist, sitting in your underwear in your dorm room and clicking on virtual cards is not a skill. I hope you all go bankrupt and then I’ll play poker with your cancelled credit cards.

Beech: I’ve got three Capital One blue cards, a Visa Platinum and a movie ticket stub.
You: Damn. All I have is thousands of dollars of debt. I fold.
Beech: You truly are a man among men…dumb, stupid men.

Before you get all mad and send me hate mail about how much I probably suck at poker, let me cool your jets for you: you’re right. I am terrible. Besides for you, I am quite possibly the worst poker player on the planet.

  • The last time I was hanging out while my friends were playing poker and someone said they had a boat, I worried that the stakes were getting a little high if they were bringing watercraft into it.
  • The first time I heard “ante up” I told everyone she died of alcohol poisoning. Wow, did that bring down the mood of the room.
  • When my buddy announced something about trips, I went and got him some ice for his bruises.
  • The last time I played, I had five-of-a-kind. The problem was that they were the kind with the blue backs. Needless to say, I lost that hand…and my pants.

I quit playing shortly after that last one, preferring to waste money tossing dollar bills out of moving vehicles. However, because I am so dedicated to you, the Edited for Content reader, I’ve been watching poker for awhile, and if you’re still convinced that you have the skillz to pay da billz, I give you Beech’s Awesome Guide of Awesomeness on how to be Awesome at Poker:

  • Wear a burlap bag over your head with eyeholes cut out. You will be impossible to “read,” and let’s face it, you’re ugly and no one wants to look at you anyway.
  • Learn all kinds of chip tricks. Anybody can do the finger thingee, the table roll thingee and the chip stack shuffle thingee. Learn to balance a stack of chips on your nose or chip juggling. It’s also funny to knock over people’s piles of chips. Remember, it’s not stealing if you don’t get caught.
  • Learn to bluff better. “Bluffing” is just “lying,” so practice on your girlfriend. “I did not sleep with that hot Nordic chick. I don’t even know what Natalia’s name is.” If you don’t have a girlfriend (and let’s face it, that wouldn’t surprise any of us) become a lawyer or politician. Zing!

  • Have a gimmick. Wearing weird sunglasses, being Asian, being black and being a woman are all taken. Try to break new ground by being the guy at the table who cuts his limbs off one by one, or be the guy with the constantly bloody nose and Tourette's. Personally I like to pretend I don’t know the rules and constantly ask if a flush beats a spare. I’m a huge hit at parties.
  • Get a great nickname. No, you can’t use “The Beech.” Get beyond “the Professor,” “The Master,” “The Bator” or “Old Guy Who Never Shuts the Fuck Up.” Find something truly unique to call yourself like “The Loser,” “Mr. Sucks At Cards,” or “Mike Rouker.” That may not make you a better player, but people might remember you…they’ll still hate you and think you suck at poker though.

If that doesn’t get you one of those fancy bracelets and big pile of cash, then nothing will. I’m going to pick mine up right now. Just let me find my chloroform.

And for gosh sakes, if you’re going to play poker, at least use one of our sponsors. And here I thought shameless plugs were beneath me.

Maybe Rachel will make me a sandwich.

TOTALLY UNRELATED SIDE NOTE: I am going to be moving to St. Louis MO in a couple weeks, if by chance there are any PIC readers down there shoot me an email. I may even let you buy me a drink.

Oh yeah, and there’s some new blog thingee of mine around here too. I know. I’m lame.

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