Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more columns by Palmer here.
Steamboat Springs Last week, I discovered the secret to retirement savings.
I found out about the "trump the chump poker program" during a visit with friends in Baja last week.
They are retired.
I am not.
Now I know why.
They casually mentioned I'd arrived just in time for their weekly poker night. They extolled the virtues of the hostess, a gourmet cook. Since I'll do just about anything not to cook, I agreed.
Let me just state for the record I am a "poker lite" kinda gal, proficient at exactly one game - five-card stud. Although I can also play a mean game of "Go Fish" and "Crazy Eights," I wasn't sure I could draw heavily on that experience.
That feeling was confirmed as soon as I met our host, Dead-Eye Dick. Dead-Eye was known acorss town as a skilled spear fisherman who can hold his breath underwater for more than five minutes. There also was a manly man story circulating about him battling a hungry shark off the coast of Australia somewhere. He won.
They tried to loosen me up by serving a fabulous fish dinner and bantering about their cat, Maxwell. I was not so easily thrown off guard. The fact that the cat entered and exited by scaling a two-story vine outside the house was a dead giveaway that all was not well. As if I needed further proof, Dead-Eye took me on a tour of his garage to show me his spear gun collection.
"I won this in a tournament," he said nonchalantly, handing me something that looked like a weapon a caveman had once brandished against a wooly mammoth.
Clearly, he was trying to unnerve me with the old tried-and-true technique of the "Psych Out."
I resolved to wear blaze orange the next time I snorkeled so no one would mistake me for an oversized tuna.
The psychological warfare continued as they tried to break me down by throwing out names of poker games I'd never heard of:
Tourista Hold 'Em
Follow the Queen
Tell it to the Hand
Although I was tempted to crawl down the vine after the cat, I tried to impress them with my poker vocabulary, peppering my speech with phrases such as, "Ante up," and "My deal!" When it was my turn to shuffle, I put on a dazzling display, practically breaking the sound barrier with the speed of the cards.
Ol' Dead-Eye was not impressed.
"You forgot to cut the deck."
Picky, picky, picky!
People who insist on playing by the rules take all the fun out of the game.
After two hours, the faces of the other players were barely visible over their tower of chips. I'd been had. It was painfully obvious who was the chump.
Unbeknownst to them, I still had a few traveler's checks hidden in my suitcase.