Texas Hold 'Em, Bad Beats and the Game of Life

A "bad beat," for those that aren't familiar with the world of poker, is when you should when, but you lose. It is perhaps my favorite game-originated slang of all time, and applies to everyday life. You are not playing loose, you are making the right moves, and yet still you end up flat on your face. It's rough. It also sounds cool. You could say, "Wow, I did everything well, and yet still I have failed at my endeavors" or you could say, "I got a bad beat." One of those is Jerry Lewis, and one is Dean Martin. And who doesn't want to be Dean?

I have done a lot of living in my twenty-five years, and I have come to the conclusion that you can tell everything you need to know about someone by playing Texas Hold 'Em with them. This is a great tool for sizing people up, but causes two problems.

1. Not everyone knows how to play, and by teaching them yourself you might be influencing the way they would play.

2. How the heck do you non-chalantly throw a poker game right after you meet someone?

Now as to the first problem, I propose the following: Texas No Limit Hold 'Em becomes a mandated part of all high school curriculum. Sure it's encouraging gambling, but isn't attending public schools a gamble these days? Guns, drugs, and sex everywhere you turn, a poker table just seems to fit, doesn't it? Besides think of it as vocational training for some of the not-so-academically gifted students. Sure they can't master Chem 202, or write a proper term paper, but if they can "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" they have a prosperous career ahead.

The second one is a little tougher, but after careful consideration, I figured that one out too. Reinstate the idea of dueling and challenges, but instead of swords, we'll use the poker game. So when your boss introduces you to the new employee you don't have to wonder what kind of a guy he is, just challenge him to a few hands. This plan will of course necessitate that poker tables, chips and cards be available in all workplaces, bars, restaurants etc., but assuming the poker teaching mandate, most people should have the supplies anyway.

So, may all your flops be hot, the blinds be low, and the bad beats few and far between.