I used to play poker a little. Not so much any more.
I favored draw poker.
Poker’s basically like this:
You get dealt some cards – everybody gets the same number.
You get a chance to swap some cards – everybody gets that chance.
Then you take the cards you’ve got in your hand and you try to make a winning hand out of it.
Either you’ve got better cards than everyone else – or you can make everyone else think you’ve got better cards.
Sometimes a guy with “good cards” doesn’t know how to play them, and so he loses, while a guy with not such “good cards” plays them very well and wins.
There’s really no such thing as a “winning hand.”
Any hand can be a winning hand; any hand can be a losing hand. It’s all in how you play your cards.
You have to put up some money in order to have a chance to win. That’s the “ante” and it goes in the pot. Then you go around and guys bet on the hand they have.
Then they discard some cards and draw new ones, hoping to improve their hand.
And then there’s another round of betting.
You can keep up with the bets, or you can fold – in which case you sacrifice all that you’ve put in so far.
If you play your cards well, you win the pot, however much or however little it is.
If you win the pot, you keep the money.
If you don’t win the pot, you lose your money.
Fair and square, right?
Now imagine this:
You’ve got five guys at the table and maybe another 5 guys waiting for a turn to play or watching. Maybe at a classy game there are a couple of guys serving drinks and munchies to the players. Maybe some female admirers, too. Or, hell, some male admirers, for that matter.
Now this one particular guy has a funny take on the game.
First of all, he doesn’t want to ante-up. Instead of taking 10 bucks out of his own wallet to get in the game, he has this Big Thug with him – his “bodyguard,” he says. Huge beefy Neanderthal, armed to the teeth. And he sends this goon around the room to make everybody ELSE chip in for his ante.
Then, when he wins, he keeps the pot, all right. But when he loses, he sends his “bodyguard” around to make everyone ELSE chip in to cover his losses.
HOW he wins is a little creative, too. When HE’S holding a straight flush, he agrees that a straight flush beats 4-of-a-kind. But when HE’S holding the 4-of-a-kind, he claims that it beats a straight flush – and his Bodyguard is there to make sure everyone “plays by the rules.”
It’s no surprise that, by the end of the evening, this guy comes out way ahead.
Now it’s customary for everyone to chip in to cover things like food, booze and entertainment, and leave a nice tip for the servers and clean-up crew. Naturally, the biggest winner is expected to graciously chip in extra, maybe say to the biggest loser “hey, it’s on me this time.”
But not THIS guy.
He’s tossed down as much hooch as anybody else, and stuffed himself on chips, sandwiches and egg rolls. But he doesn’t kick in one lousy dime. Not even a tip for the servers or the entertainment. He leaves it to everyone ELSE to cover it.
He does pay his “bodyguard” well, though. You can see why.
And then, to add insult to injury, this guy crows about what a great card-player he is and tells the rest of us that, if we lost money in the game, it’s our own fault for not being as good a gambler as he is.
Maybe I’m too simple. But it seems to me that this is the same rigged game the big corporations, and the bankers, and their ilk are running on the rest of us – that 99% of us who play the game fair and square.
The rich guys get all kinds of breaks and favors from the government (their bodyguard) that we’re forced to chip in for or ELSE. It’s called “taxes.”
Then the rules flex and change to favor the rich guys – enforced by the government bodyguard, of course.
The rich guy enjoys all the “common” things that we all use – but never chips in to pay for any of it. When he makes money, he keeps it; when he loses money, he gets “bailed out” with our coerced tax money.
And then he has the nerve to claim he’s a “self-made” man.
Me, I wouldn’t stay in a rigged game. Would you?
I wouldn’t invite that guy back, either.
Might even have a quiet chat with him sometime.
Without his bodyguard around.