Monday, March 19, 2018

QUEEN OF HEARTS!

From the time I was child, I had a keen interest in card playing. I'm not talking about 'Go Fish' or 'Old Maids' though. Every holiday after the dishes were cleared from the dining room table, my Zedo, uncles, and cousins would dig into their pockets and pull out all the cash they had. Zedo would shuffle the deck and a three hour poker game ensued. Although I was too young to participate, I would stand on my grandfather's left side and watch every check, raise or fold that happened throughout those 180 minutes. Occasionally Zedo would point to some cards in his hand and slightly nod. I knew that meant that those were potential winners, and excitedly waited as he threw down the duds and picked up ones that could complete a flush or straight. When he was lucky enough to get the right cards, I'd remain stone-faced as the rest of my insides trembled! Zedo would raise low so that as many as possible would remain in the game. As the group dwindled, usually one of the guys would hang in there, sure that Zedo was most likely bluffing. Zedo never bluffed!

As I got older, I learned to play Gin, Pinochle, Hearts and a bunch of other variations. My hubby enjoyed cards as well, so in the early years of our marriage  we'd spend weekends with friends and family playing the night away either for bragging rights, money, or both!

Currently we haven't found folks that know the games we play or don't have the time. When I'm finished doing marketing online for my children's books, I'll head over to the Facebook GameRoom to play some Hearts. People from all over the world plug in and either accept or decline your offer. Bids range from 20-500 coins. The first time you enter the GR, you receive a number of free coins. If you run out however, you then must purchase coins in order to continue playing. I've never once had to buy coins and have been playing Hearts for over six years!

What I truly love about this game is the mental gymnastics it takes to outwit your opponents. If you play long enough, by the cards in your hand, you can actually predict what the lead-off person will throw. Throughout the game, individuals will try to divert your attention by getting rid of a particular suit. This tactic can be used to set the rest of the group up to 'shoot the moon' thus adding 26 points to their total, or simply eliminate the possibility of oneself from being caught with the Queen. I'm not about to give a tutorial now, but if you're familiar with Hearts you know what I'm talking about.

I just finished a game with Mehmet, Lillian, and Rhonda. After the first hand, I was low man on the totem pole with 24 points. Mehmet, 0, Lillian, 1, and Rhonda, 1. Next round, I had 49 points and looked like I was doomed. However in the third round, I took in all the hearts as well as the queen and handed each of the players 26 points! For the next thirty minutes or so my three opponents continued to add to their count while I remained at 49. When I won what would be the last round, I elected to increase their scores and wound up winning the game! I had 64 points while Rhonda, the loser,  had 103!

In the GR, you can challenge anyone on the list of players. Over the years, we've formed a little group that knows Hearts very well and enjoys playing folks who have similar skills and experience. We love to test each other with crazy moves and sneaky plays. Oftentimes, I'm the QUEEN OF HEARTS and I owe all of my playing prowess to my Zedo for allowing me to listen and learn!