My story happened when I was playing poker for the second time in my life.
The first time I played poker had been some weeks before that. Some friends (who had already played poker a few times) had “invited themselves” to play poker in my house and, as I had nothing else to do that night, I accepted it and we played 5 Card Draw for some hours. I really loved the game and my friends enjoyed playing in my house, so, some weeks later, we decided to play again.
This time, we were 5 or 6 people, including some that had never played poker. This wasn’t really a big disadvantage, since the most experienced players had only played once the type of poker game we would play. Let me explain: one or two weeks before that day, two of my friends had played No Limit Texas Hold 'em for the first time and they liked it. So, for my surprise, they decided that we wouldn’t play 5 Card Draw, we would play Texas Hold 'em. Though it was a surprise for me, I was ok with that, since a big part of the fun that night would be drinking with my friends. We had bought a lot of beer and one friend had brought a different and stronger drink called Bacardi (a type of rum, I think).
Before we started, the “most experienced” players wrote the rules in a piece of paper and explained them to everybody. Nobody really knew the rules, so we just believed in whatever they were saying and we started playing.
It was really a mess. The more we drank, the more doubts arose about the rules. I remember some funny situations. There were some hands where the showdown was high card versus a “straight of 4 cards”. As ridiculous as it may seem, some of us didn’t know that a “straight of 4 cards” is worthless. In these situations, we believed in the “experienced players” and were convinced that a “straight of 4 cards” didn’t exist. But then, another doubt came in one of these showdowns: high card versus high card; both were aces, so which one would win? We didn’t know and one of the “experienced players” said that the suits mattered and that the ace of diamonds would win against any other ace. Although it is absurd, he had a reason to think like that. There is a very popular Brazilian card game called “truco”. In this game, the suits matter. A 4 of clubs, for example, worths more than all other 4s of the deck. A 7 of hearts worths more than a 7 of diamonds and both worth more than the black 7s. What I don’t know, even today, is how he was able to affirm that, in poker, diamonds worth more than any other suit. After all the discussion, we continued playing with this bizarre wrong rule.
Around 2 or 3 am, one of the “experienced players” started discussing with the other “experienced” one. One of them was saying that a flush (we used to say “flash”) defeats a full house, the other was saying the opposite. Ok, it was just a newbie discussion, but the interesting thing is that one of them decided to call a friend (it was 2 or 3 am and this friend used to live 240 km away from the city we were) to ask who was right. So, he woke up this friend (I don’t know how pissed he got) and this friend told him that a full house defeats a flush (in fact, I was agreeing with whatever they wanted, since I didn’t know the rules well and was getting drunk).
We kept drinking all night and eventually we found out that one player was cheating. He was stealing cards from the deck and sitting on them so that he could use them when it was convenient. I remember that I and some others were really pissed about this, especially because, after we found out, he started exposing cards on purpose when he was the dealer. He is a good guy, so I guess he was only being a jerk because of the alcohol.
Not long after that, we stopped playing. Our cheater friend would be the vice-champion of the night and, of course, no one wanted to pay him. As almost the whole game had been a confusion, we decided that no one would win or lose money that day.
Some days later, I met one of my friends close to where he works and he asked me: “Hey, when are we going to play “Pruco” again?” I asked him: “Pruco?” And then he said: “Yes, that game we were playing in your house. No one really knew the rules, but I’m quite sure that what we played was a mix between “truco” and poker”.
Today, we rarely play together. But, when we do, there is always a lot of alcohol and I still think that a good part of the fun is drinking (and getting drunk) with my friends. And, after playing “pruco” instead of poker, some of us decided to really learn the rules so that we can play poker the way it is supposed to be.