I've been playing in a monthly poker game for almost 50 years. While we have lost players and gained players, the purpose of the poker game is not often related to money So who the players are has little impact on the game.
While our players have changed over the years, many of them have been at the table for decades. We have business owners and politicians. We have gentlemen farmers and real farmers. We have government workers and we have those whose occupations and ways of making a living are obscure. But we all have two elements in common - - we're all men and we all like to compete.
When I was younger and played in the group, we would often play until the sun came up on Saturday morning. Now, when midnight rolls around, we start looking for an ending time. We all used to drink and most of us smoked. Now, only one of the players still drinks, but limits it to two beers. And only one of our group still smokes but is trying to quit.
Pre-Covid, we met at each other's house, each taking a turn at hosting the game. We missed a few months of playing because of the virus, but after the vaccine became available we went back to playing. Now we have a common playing area, supplied by one of our players who owns a building.
For a short period of time we had debates over political matters. When the group became concerned that the conversation was interfering in playing the game, we relegated political talk to our mid-game break and the 15 minutes we choose to eat.
Previously, the person hosting the game had to supply the food at the mid-game break. Often it was the spouse who did the meal preparation. Now that we moved away from a private home, that mid-game break is often delivered pizza, or sandwiches from one of the many sandwich shops in town.
Even while the players have changed - the location has changed - the food has changed and the drinking and smoking habits have changed, we continue to meet each month to play poker.
None of us are young. Our physical powers have deteriorated and our mental state has seen a decline. We continue to play poker because it gives us a chance to meet with other males and compete. Competition is the only skill that men never have to learn. And no matter how old we get, we need to compete.
Money is only a means of keeping score.
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