My very good friend, Crystal, lives in Chicago as a writer with her two sons, Harry and Max. She wrote about starting a Ladies Poker Club when Harry was an infant. Harry is a mere one day younger than Milo and sadly they’ve never met in person. We fully expect that one day they’ll be using Crystal’s instructions in poker for their own mis-education.
Poker is not very motherly. But that’s exactly what makes it so great. Every once in awhile, it feels good to stretch outside the current identity the world has assigned to you. All those people in the grocery store line who think they have you sized up after noting your messy ponytail, baby-weight-disguising clothing, tired eyes and wee little one in hand? They may think that screams MOM, but they don’t know your secrets 🙂
So here’s how to develop your sinful side even while watching the little one:
BEFORE POKER NIGHT:
- Find your gang. To get started, you will need a group of willing ladies (at least 5), a few decks of cards and some poker chips. Emphasize that babies and nursing moms are welcome.
- Learn the rules. Even if none of the members of your Ladies Poker Club has played before, you can get up to speed in no time. Start with Little Black Book Of Poker. The book walks you through different poker games step by step. So what if you read from the book the first few rounds? You’ll all be card sharks soon enough.
- Make it easy. Print out some small, easy cheat sheets that give quick definitions of a full house, a straight, a flush, etc.. List the hands in order to show the best hand you can have, followed by the second best hand, and so on. The list will make it easy for newbie poker players to quickly determine whether their royal flush beats two pair.
- Really easy. Make sure the cheat sheets include a quick rundown of what each poker chip represents. (For example, white chips equal 10 cents, red chips are 20 cents)
- Set up baby areas. Erect a pack-and-play if anyone may need to nap. Make sure the poker club is a nursing-friendly zone so the moms don’t have to disrupt play by leaving the room to nurse.
- Shop for drinks. Be sure to add fun non-alcoholic beverages to the menu. Not just water. Pregnant and nursing moms will appreciate having something special to drink like a sparkling limeade or sassy tea.
DURING POKER NIGHT:
- Pass the babies around. Spread out the love so the new moms get a little break from holding the baby, or maybe just from holding THEIR OWN baby.
- Betting doesn’t have to be big. This is not Vegas. Start with $20. After awhile of playing this way, a $2 bet seems like $2,000. And it’s easier to talk smack or practice bluffing with $2 at risk instead of $50.
Take turns hosting Ladies Poker Night to spread around the work. When it’s your turn to host, don’t be shy about ordering up some pizza. At each poker club, set the next meeting date while everyone is there. It cuts down on emails later.
Have fun and enjoy the time to bond with other females while being a little bit bad. I’ve been part of a poker group that has been together for three years. We’ve had three weddings, four babies and many other life events during those three years, and the poker club has been a great escape and lots of fun.
Thanks Crystal, wish I could join you!