Is Poker the New Golf?

Noticed a trend in the spam on my website of late. Instead of pharameceutical ads, or sex life enhancement ads, I’m getting more and more poker site ads. Texas Hold’em seems to be particularly popular.

Then I got the latest copy of my campus newspaper in my mailbox. At my Jesuit university, just a couple of entries below the one talking about students parking at the cathedral, is an announcement of a Texas Hold’em tournament on campus.

I’m particularly attuned to this poker thing of late due to something I’ve noticed at work. Used to be, the guy talk around the office centered around the football pool and the latest XBox or Nintendo games. Football’s still big (and, unfortunately for my conversational options, still not high on my personal interest list), but electronic games have been dropped as a topic in favor of poker. Seems there’s a regular game, rotating amongst various folks’ homes, that lots of the guys here are in on.

Note that I say “lots of the guys here”. I’ve yet to run across a woman here who’s been in any of those conversations reminiscing about who’s stash got taken at the last game, or who’s set to lose their shirt (so to speak) at the next one.

Curious. Used to be the golf greens were the place to socialize with the guys while the women weren’t around. At least the guys could claim to get some exercise that way, little though it may be for the majority of golf-cart renting golfers. Building business relationships out in the open air, learning how the other guy approaches the shot – is he overconfident? Risk averse? Does he cheat on his score card? There’s a lot to be learned from observing a golfer, I hear. I assume the same’s to be said of how a person plays poker – how high does he bet? Does he bluff often? Can he keep a poker face? How big a pot does he come to the table with? When’s he tend to fold?

Again, just curious. Interesting dynamics in the study of work.

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