Saturday, August 06, 2011


Every now and then I mention our Friday night poker game. A few days ago a reader asked for more details.

Poker has a long history on Ocracoke. Years ago island men would often gather around a table in someone's net house, or in a clearing in the woods, drink homemade meal wine, and play poker.

Nowadays there are usually several different games going each week. Although meal wine is only occasionally passed around, beer and a little whiskey sometimes appear. Some groups play Texas Hold-Em; others vary the games. Some are no limit games; others are low stakes games.

Our group has gathered nearly every Friday night for about 12 years. The dealer calls the game. Sometimes it is a traditional poker game -- seven card stud, five card stud, or five card draw. More often we play variations -- follow the queen, spit in the ocean, low Chicago, low hole card wild, Jacks to open; trips to win, etc. Sometimes we play more esoteric (often peculiar to our group) games -- Granny Hemmler, Shifters, Bundles, Tom's Draw, etc. Occasionally we even play non-poker games -- e.g. three-toed Pete or stacks.

Our group always plays low stakes games. Most of us buy $5 worth of chips to start (chip values are nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar). We can buy more chips any time we need them. Maximum bet is 25 cents (50 cents on the last round of betting). Only three raises are permitted per round of betting. I always arrive with just $20 in my pocket. In the twelve years I have been playing I have only twice lost all $20. (Last night I lost $11!). I figure I've probably not won or lost more than $100 in the twelve years.

Friday night poker is a great way to spend time with friends and neighbors. We laugh a lot...and tell stories now and then...but mostly we just play poker!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Lou Ann's story of the Night Blooming Cereus Cactus. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous6:38 AM

    I'll see you . . . and raise you a nickel . . . Big spender.

  2. Anonymous9:26 AM

    I'll play these . . . and raise you a dime.

  3. Anonymous1:44 PM

    I'll be the one with the poker face!

  4. Anonymous7:16 PM

    Sounds like every Friday night there was a full house.