Poker has always been a popular pastime in the United States, but it didn’t reach the phenomenal mainstream status in our culture until Chris Moneymaker managed to turn $39 (the entry fee for a tournament) into $2.5 million (the first place prize for the World Series of Poker Main Event). Since then, virtually anyone with a computer can go to http://184.108.40.206/ and start playing poker from the comfort of their homes. It’s also managed to give many online players the confidence to take their skills to the professional arena and challenge the players that have been on television for well over a decade. What about your children?
Before you jump to the conclusion that poker is simply gambling and can only lead to bad money habits, think about what it takes to be a good poker player. In conjunction with lying, a good poker player knows how to read people and can devise strategies within the parameters of the game to manipulate the field to their advantage. Several of these qualities can be applied to the real world where they can be used to advance positions and handle situations calmly. So, how exactly do you teach a savvy six years old how to play poker? Easy: Froot Loops.
While the ins and outs of the game can be taught to anyone at any time, playing poker for money is an entirely different beast. Since your child isn’t exactly going to be carrying out hundreds or thousands of dollars to exchange for chips in a poker game, the next best thing is to use something that you have plenty of and doesn’t cost very much money. Bottle caps too cumbersome and coins are dirty. Your best bet is to use a circular substitute that comes in a variety of colors and thus can be used to represent various different chips and their values.
Start off low with values such as 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 when you first start out. Using the front loops or whatever other colored cereal you find in the pantry is the perfect way to allow your child to begin to associate different value.s with different colors.
While bluffing and making bets may not come as quickly to a five-year-old as it would to a thirteen-year-old, you’ll still be able to teach them what to do with their cards and which combinations are better than others.
Crisis of consciousness? There’s nothing wrong with simply teaching your child a game which they can eventually take and use for the rest of their life (especially if they’re going to be a lawyer or detective). Then again, they might become a professional poker player and poker players generally don’t forget who taught them how to play.