Since I have a weird schedule, with business and other issues, my playing time is limited. I can’t always go into Portland or down the coast to the Indian casinos to play live poker, and that same schedule keeps me from forming a regular “poker night” with friends and/or work colleagues. So I hop online to PokerStars, Attack Poker, GoldenNugget.com, or, if I’m in a social mood, Zynga.
Zynga has helped replace the social aspect of gaming for me, in that I can actually play at the same table as other people I know. That’s damn near impossible at the casinos or card rooms, and as I mentioned above, the friendly poker night with the boys (and the girls when I lived in Idaho) isn’t a reality. Just today I played with an old high school buddy, a former student, and one other FB buddy that I’ve never met in person (and most likely never will, since the Atlantic Ocean separates us). I LIKE playing with people I know, partly for fun, and partly for the challenge (my old high school friend has been of a tear lately, and I wanted to watch his action – fun stuff, even when I was losing). And it’s so easy on Zynga to find friends and play. Yes, I know PokerStars has their “Home Games” setup, and I’ve used it with some chip-collecting friends, but their weekly tournament doesn’t fit my schedule, so Zynga it is.
And here’s the plus in playing online there – no cheating. Sad to say, while my Idaho and Louisiana home games were friendly, spirited, and fair-played games, my original home poker game experiences in Michigan were anything but. It was a regular weekly event-filled day of golf and poker for about six of us (college guys and one actually employed adult who had a very flexible schedule). I was new to poker, so while I won on the course the best I could do was break even at the table, but it was fun. For about a year or so, and then some new players were introduced into our game.
Now I’m not saying that I think the new guys were cheating – I KNOW they were. I caught them at it, more than once (and that makes a great story in itself – I’ll save it for later). It ruined my taste for home games for a long time, and it wasn’t until I started playing poker again in Louisiana that I felt comfortable with a guy I knew being the dealer, if you get my drift.
Poker for dough has its place in my life, but so does a more relaxed social poker game. Zynga seems to fit the bill for now. So, if you’ve read this and haven’t friended me there yet, do so, and let’s play.
And no cheating!