Playing Poker: Strategy, Style, and Smiles

Saturday night activities are the breeding grounds for lasting memories and shenanigans. Certain nights will host calm games, puzzles, reading, journaling, arts and crafts, and things alike. One game in particular stands above all else, and is objectively the most fun to participate in. This game is none other than Texas Hold’em Poker.

A cleared table swiftly fills with the necessities: assorted poker chips, a shuffled deck of cards, perhaps a hot drink if it tickles your fancy, and, most importantly, the participants. Throughout the weeks, the crowd has grown around the notorious card game, however, there are certain professionals who have stayed consistent throughout the epic journey of the poker culture here at Chewonki. Allow me to introduce you to each one of them.

Starting with the most ambitious player at the table, often settling on the southern end of the seats, Jack Gross-Whitaker. Whether you want to act upon it or not, you can bet that Jack will see the first hand through, no matter his cards. He is willing to take his odds early on, which makes or breaks his success throughout the game. Knowledgeable in the game, Jack is no doubt calculating all the numbers in his hand, and, when he doesn’t see an opportunity to capitalize on, he will make others question their moves in the way he commonly raises the bet.

Going counterclockwise, we arrive at Eliza Tiles who is always bringing a vibrant mood to the “serious” game. Despite her subpar poker face, Eliza manages to win big when her life is on the line. This trend keeps her at the table throughout the entire game, never running out of funds. However on occasion, especially when she is a dealer, she enjoys departing the game to join a round of two of just dancing. In her words, “If Taylor Swift turns on, I’m leaving.”

Continuing, McKenna D’Amico is observing the competition, subtly consuming others’ wealth. McKenna’s lethality is hard to pick up on because she, when not laughing hysterically, has a dangerous poker face. Between her smart folding and textbook gameplay, McKenna is consistently a threat at the table. The game wouldn’t be the same with her absence, whether that’s for the better or the worse of everyone else’s success.

Nick “from New York” Brodie plays an integral part in supplying the comedic relief during the festivities. Luck never seems to be in Nick’s favor, based off of the commentary we get every time he looks at his hand. Whether this is some strategy I’m simply not smart enough to see through or not, Nick will play as if he has an offsuit 2-7 split. This does make you second guess when he starts playing like Mr. Money Bags.

My fellow Mainer, Oliver Eames, is our supplier. Coming from his own poker set, the game couldn’t take place without Oliver’s contributions. His civility towards the game highlights his business-like etiquette when the dealer starts handing out cards. Oliver wins big, without throwing money away like a mad man. Oliver respects the game, and, seemingly, the game respects him. His classiness and traditional gameplay could win over even the most qualified of poker players’ stamp of approval.

Arguably the voice of the table, Teo Barrachin is a man with a plan. With no time to waste, Teo eagerly wants the game to move along, hoping the river will reveal he has won the pot. Teo will commonly yell at you to “not be that guy” and to just match the bet and not raise. Regardless of what his opponent chooses to do, Teo will continue to see the round through, resulting in a hit-or-miss game. Similar to Nick, Teo apparently gets horrible cards and still manages to be a solid player every time.

This leaves us with our last competitor, Bec Wright. Mentioning how good she is at blackjack is a staple of Bec’s character. I’d be lying if I said I know what that has to do with poker, but I’ve never played blackjack with her so I cannot confirm or deny this. Bec’s unfamiliarity with poker makes for an eventful time. Her rambunctious playing style will confuse and make pros nervous. Whether she is folding with a straight, or going all in with complete and utter garbage cards, Bec is expected to attend every poker night, even if this means we are giving her chips to stay in the game.

In conclusion, poker holds some of my favorite moments of my time here. Whether it be due to the unorthodox manner of how we play the game here, or just because of the memorable conversations among the people you’re around.

Tucker Williams, Greely High School, Cumberland, ME


Please enable JavaScript in your browser.