“Three of a kind does not beat two pair,” my soon to be 8 years old friend Finn said defiantly as he stared at my three 5s and his pair of 8s + pair of 4s while I began to rake our biggest pot of chips for the morning toward me.
I stopped raking. “What did you say?” I asked politely.
“I said 3 of a kind does not beat two pair,” Finn repeated.
I shook my head with authority. “Who told you that?” I asked.
“My dad,” he replied and continued. “He plays poker on Friday nights with men who smoke cigars.”
Apparently my poker playing knowledge was suspect on several levels.
Finn and I were playing cards earlier this week because his school had a holiday and his parents Dave and Saskia did not. They had responsibilities at their jobs at the University of South Carolina and had asked me to look after Finn for several hours. Pretty was out of town on business so Finn and I were on our own.
After starting the day making rice krispy treats that didn’t quite live up to my hype, we watched a Woody Woodpecker movie on Netflix. Finn had seen it several times before and was able to tell me in advance about the key scenes in the movie which removed any anxiety I might have had for Woody and his friends’ well being. I highly recommend it. Woody’s shenanigans haven’t changed one bit from the ones I remembered watching six decades ago. Very fun.
Following the movie, I asked Finn what he would like to do next. I mentioned we could play poker on my iPad which we usually did after his swims at our house. As an afterthought, I asked him if he’d rather play with real cards. He nodded, and we were off and running.
His favorite part of the game before the 3 of a kind controversy was our new automatic card shuffler. He was fascinated by it which meant our cards were shuffled carefully and thoroughly for each hand we played.
“Well, let’s call your dad to see if we can get him to resolve this argument,” I said and dialed Dave who couldn’t answer, of course, because he was teaching. Hm…what to do.
“Would you believe me if we saw the poker hierarchy on a computer screen,” I said.
“What’s a hierarchy?” Finn asked.
After explaining what the poker hierarchy was, we went to my office computer and I easily found one while Finn hovered next to me.
“Look at this. High card, one pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, etc.”
Finn sat down in the seat of my walker, folded his arms, looked directly at me and said, “My dad lied to me.”
I burst into laughter, but he was having none of it. We discussed the situation at great length in all seriousness while I argued that maybe he had misunderstood his dad, maybe it was a different game and so on. Finn continued to shake his head and kept repeating his belief that his father was responsible for his loss of the biggest pot of our game.
Finally, I saw that Finn’s competitiveness wasn’t going to allow the biggest pot to get away so I suggested that on this occasion, since an honest mistake was made, why didn’t we split the pot and go on with our game. Finn mulled the idea over for a few seconds as I watched the wheels spin in that clever brain. He nodded and ran off to the table to evenly divide the chips. No audit necessary.
When his mother came to pick him up, Finn wasn’t ready to go so Saskia volunteered to bring our lunch while we kept playing. Never send Saskia for sandwiches – my reuben was on pumpernickel bread. That bread tasted as nasty as the rice krispy treats Finn and I had made earlier. I forgave her, though. Not even pumpernickel bread could take away the sweet memories of my morning of fun and laughter with my young friend Finn.
Until we meet again, stay tuned.
Finn, Charly and Spike love cake
(photo taken at our house earlier this month)