There are some, such as myself who believe the true nature of your opponents come out during a card game. People who you believe historically to be sedate become boisterous. People who are traditionally outgoing become quiet. Some will even reveal an entirely different side of themselves that you never believed existed.
Regardless of temperament or personality or however you describe someone, there's no denying you will in all likelihood discover something you didn't know. What you can be certain of is that it will be interesting.
One thing I've always prided myself on is getting people to behave at the table in a way that makes it easier for me to read them. Most often it starts by getting them to relax and talk to me. In essence, taking their mind off the game, even if it is only momentary. What I've gotten in return is not always expected.
Most recently a new gentleman joined our garage game. He is a real estate professional and a real "gent" as my grandmother would say. Now engaging somebody new in conversation is generally harmless and for the most part uneventful. However, on this particular evening, in our little garage game, things were going to become a little... different.
If somebody were to tell you about a recent outing they had on the golf course or with family or on vacation somewhere, you wouldn't generally expect much more than a casual verbal description of the experience. There would be some gesturing, some postulating perhaps even a brief Q&A but rarely would you expect visual aids. That's why when this kind gentleman was sharing a hilarious story about how his aunt, visiting his home recently, stumbled upon what could only be described as a Family Nudist Photo Album, the last thing any of expected to see was the album itself.
What was most interesting was the challenge from the other end of the card table that the album didn't even exist. The challenge came from a colleague of the man who also played regularly in our game. He believed it was too outrageous to be true. "Oh really," was all he said. The next thing we knew he was stepping away from the table and on his way outside to his car.
At this point the side bets began as to what he was actually going to do. Was he insulted and had decided to get in his car and drive away? Was he going to get a club of some kind from his car to use to beat his friend? Or, was it possible that the mysterious Family Nudist Photo Album was actually about to make an appearance. I was quite amused by the casual demeanor of the entire event. To be honest, I was not certain how one should react upon the presentation by another of a Family Nudist Photo Album. Lets just say I was hoping for the anti-climactic conclusion where our new card player would return only to explain he had to go to the washroom.
In any event, it wasn't long before our friend was back in the garage. In his had he was carrying a black backpack, the contents were a mystery to us all. "It's a bluff," somebody shouted, "he's got his golf shoes in there."
Our friend unzipped the bag. He removed a large silver thermos first, followed by a container I could only guess was used to package a sandwich or salad and then it happened. He reached down to the bottom of the bag and removed what looked like some kind of photo album. He placed it in the center of the card table. "Is that your hockey card collection?" his friend asked. Then without uttering a word, he picked it up off the table and delivered it to his friend, carefully placing it down on the table in front of him so as not to knock over any of his chips.
As it was, we were all about to find out. Without another verbal jibe, he opened it up, flipped a couple pages and studied it intently. A broad smile came over his face. "You bastard," he said as he continued to scan the pages, "you actually had me going." It was photos of his recent anniversary party. Nothing untoward.
I was relieved. To be honest, even if they said it had a bunch of nude pictures of the guy with his family, I would probably have excused myself to go outside. I imagine those would be the kind of photos you'd want to forget but couldn't.
That being said, he had us all going. What was never cleared up however, was whether the Family Nudist Photo Album actually existed. Regardless, I was happy to get back to the game. I am not afraid to admit that the thought of this guy sharing this kind of album with us had me a tad frightened and I came away from the game having learned a simple lesson. If you're ever playing cards with somebody who claims to maintain a family nudist photo album, just take his word for it and deal the next hand.