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Last week I tried this on my blog and actually enjoyed it. Mucho mucho. The whole thing was rather freeing. I guess that’s why it’s called free-writing.

Just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. No plan. No topic. Just complete… randomness.

Let’s do this. Again. From my pajamas. It’s my new tradition for these.

Warning: you may think I’m either the coolest, or the weirdest, or the most random, or the most idiotic, or the craziest person ever when this is done.

Poker night.

I do it almost every Thursday.

Nowadays, I play at my new(ish) friend Mike’s house. The dude’s old enough to be my dad, yet awesome enough to be my college buddy. The table is full of the most eclectically diverse crowd.

There’s Senior. I don’t know how old he is. 90 maybe? He sits so quietly, hardly saying a word to anyone. He comes every week. He gets more drama going than any other player, and he barely makes a peep as he does. He just smiles at you with that sly little grin he’s got. And he usually goes home with a lot more than he came with.

There are business owners at that game, a BMX biker, a lesbian (I think someone told me she was) who just kicks all the guys asses all the time, tech geniuses, a boxer. A bunch of others. And of course, me.

I’m still kind of the new guy, though I feel like I’m only a few games away from ditching that title.

Being the new guys kind of sucks when you find something you love, and people you love doing it with. You want to keep getting invited back, so you work extra hard not to step on anyone’s toes.  Sometimes that’s hard in poker.

One of the regulars, he was having a crappy few weeks at the game. And I bluffed his big bet off the table. And I made the mistake of showing my bluff. Within seconds, I thought I might be murdered.

Thankfully I got invited back. And he’s actually one of the coolest guys. I just did the wrong thing at just the wrong time and it was one loss too many for him.

I love the game. I’m not that good at it. I win more than I lose, though I’m usually just above break even overall.

I like it though, because it’s a game of personal mastery. The only way to be really good at poker is to master certain strategies, and to master reading people, and to master quick math, and to master good natured bullshitting.

It’s not like other gambling games where the house always has the advantage. It’s a game where the seasoned and the experienced and the dedicated end up with an advantage (in the long run). It’s a fun level to work toward.

But more than anything, poker is my release for the week. It’s my place to go and just laugh with friends, and to enjoy a little drama, and to let go of life for a few hours. It resets me. Every single time. Win or lose.

At the end of our poker night, we end with a game (or five) of high card. We all throw twenty bucks on the table, and whoever draws the highest card wins it all. I usually am just throwing away twenty bucks every time I do it. But last Thursday? Well… I drew an ace. And I won a hundred bucks. Just. Like. That.

They all wanted to play again. Well, heck yeah, I suddenly had money to blow!

And… I drew another ace.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 2 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!