At the suggestion of a very wise person, I joined the poker group here at work. As I mentioned before, there are no buses that go directly from Seattle to the casinos nearby and I haven’t been able to find a live game in town through word of mouth. Naturally, I was overly giddy to find that they hold tournaments in the cafeterias four times a week.
I correctly assumed that the MSFT games would match the demographic of the NI home games I used to hold/attend: Almost all male, twenties and thirties, maybe a few older guys in the mix, almost all engineers, and everyone knows each other. I was on the fence about going (the natural nervousness that comes with the idea of attending a function by yourself, knowing that you won’t know anyone there), but decided that I could totally do this. So I did.
Everyone was incredibly nice, but there was no escaping the inevitable. I got called out for being the young white chick at the poker table.
This happens so much that I’m pretty well used to it. It happened as early as my first trip to Vegas (“Smile, honey.”) and Garden City (“Tell your boyfriend to give you some money so you can go play pai gow.”) through my assimilation process at Bay 101 and my stints at various casinos in AC. Some guy always has to say something that he obviously wouldn’t say to anyone else at the table.
Last night, it was an innocuous “Are you here with someone?”
Just to be clear, I’m not offended because I know that the question came so naturally to the guy that he didn’t mean it as an offense. Also, I know that he was not trying to hit on me, as we’d been discussing a trip he and his wife took to Texas prior to his question. The guy was not a gregarious “player” type, just an average dude. If he were simply trying to hit on me, this blog post would cease to be.
I believe his intent was to find out whose wife I was in order to properly gauge the amount of shit-talking he could get away with. Well, that’s why I would have asked the question anyway.
What he implied though, was that in order for a young lady like me to join a poker game, I must have been “brought.” Poker is not a game for women, and while they are generally accepted in most games, it is rare for them to seek opportunities to play.
Such is not the case with me, and since I tend to be a little audacious, I laughingly replied, “I work here. I rode a bus here this morning, saw that there was a game tonight, and decided to play. I know I’m just a woman, but somehow I managed it.”
As I’m saying this, other guys at the table quipped, “You joined the autogroup, right?” and other comments that nodded to the fact that my being there alone was perfectly fine. (Unnecessary, but it feels nice to be accepted.)
So this put him on the major defensive. He didn’t mean it like that, blah blah blah… I just laughed through it all. I think he was more worried about looking like a dick in front of the other guys than upsetting me.
Anyway, I write all this because I think it’s funny how a pair tits and a snatch changes a question like, “I haven’t seen you here before; did you just start at Microsoft?” to “Are you here with someone?”
Addendum: The game was a $20 NL tourney with no rebuys. Around 20 people showed up. I think I played alright, but I didn’t finish in the money. I started off fairly strong, but the blinds went up more rapidly than I could catch a good all-in hand and a caller. To defend myself further, I haven’t played tournament style in a loooong time, as I usually play online where limit games are more lucrative for me.