• Jasmine Mendiola

Playing Poker

The theme of the year is the comeback of the could-have-beens. Apparently, I left quite an impression five years ago and the comments I’ve received so far include being “the noisy girl from TA”. I think I’ve heard that like four times from random guys who played very little roles in my college life. And so what’s up with the blasts from the past?

Lately too, I’ve been playing a game I shall call Poker. I hate poker. My ex boyfriend loooooved playing poker, with the table and all complete with gourmet pulutan and chips galore. I’d either mingle with the other girlfriends or sit beside him to “coach for tsamba” or just so I look supportive. C’mon, admit it, if you’re not playing the game and you’re a naturally bad liar, why bother right?

My point being, this game I’m playing is something I’ve been trying to master since time immemorial. I’ve lost many times but I’m still at it. And lately, I think I’m getting the hang of it. You sit on a table and study your opponents. The dealer shuffles the cards and equally distributes it. You look at your cards. And then. You either place your bet to play the game or fold. Lately, I fold with my cards facing up. No bluffing, no playing. But I get to sit on the table and have fun anyway.

The thing though about could-have-beens is that they’re not just poker players on a round table. They’re not random and i can’t just sit there and laugh about the game along with them. A lot has happened in five years to which one says,

“Whether a player has a hundred and the other a thousand to place his bet, we’re all gonna be dealt with the same set of cards anyway, so it doesn’t matter how much you have.”

Clap. clap. clap. But points to consider are 1) I’m not a player; 2) How much can I bet or is at stake for me? A lot e; 3) Yes, our cards can be the same but; 4) the way I play this poker game is all in or nothing; and 5) in the end, what matters isn’t if I’m going to win the game or not. It’s if there’s something for me to gain and nothing to lose.

Like I said, we’ve dealt our cards five years ago or so and folded. That went well cod we can all sit in one table again and laugh about it as friends. Another set of cards are dealt now though, and usually for random players, I’d shuffle mine and sit for awhile and eventually fold or stand up and go. But if i’m asked to play a game fair and square, I’m not sure i have the same energy or the time to do that. I’ve played with hardcore poker champs and i’ve been cheated on too. So the only table I’d want to sit on is an honest game with my broken heart up for grabs on the table.

So, anyone up to play poker with a fun, smart, beautiful and responsible person who’s extremely affected, committed and ridiculously tired? Nah. Game’s over.

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Jasmine Mendiola

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