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For those of you who know me (There are a few strangers reading this, I’m told.  Hi strangers!), you know that I can be a bit of a gambler.  I am not addicted to gambling, I don’t go to Vegas every other weekend, I actually have never gambled in an Indian casino (unless you want to count that one time I played bingo), and I don’t buy lottery scratchers.  But, on the occasion that I happen to find myself in Vegas, I do tend to be quite serious about blackjack.  I haven’t lost thousands of dollars or anything, I haven’t won tons either.  I just am serious about it.  If you are sitting at my table and do something dumb, I will tell you. I might tell you under my breath and glare, but you’ll know I’m mad at you.

I inherited my card playing seriousness from my father.  He is a big card player.  He taught me how to play poker and blackjack.  In fact, he and my mother took me to Vegas for my 21st birthday so I could finally play at the tables with him.  It was really pretty fun.  But, he didn’t just teach me illicit games played for money.  He taught me how to play gin, rummy, hearts, and spades too. 

I am now passing on this tradition to James.  He’s been playing Uno and Skipbo for a while now.  We play crazy 8s and war.  A couple of weeks ago I taught him how to play poker.  Five-card draw to be precise.  He loved it.  He loved it because he won his first four hands in a row.  He wants to play all the time.  If he’s not reading or eating, he’s playing cards. 

This week I taught him to play blackjack.  Oh my.  He really likes that.  It combines his favorite things, cards and math (this is according to him).  That makes it okay, right?  He is learning to add quickly and about fractions.  Jeff pointed out that he could also learn about odds and insurance too.  I’m not sure he meant that in a totally helpful way.  Jeff also pointed out that if James ever comes home with his thumbs and kneecaps broken it will be my fault for teaching him to play poker.  I know that wasn’t meant to be helpful at all.

So, I’m the bad-influence mom who teaches her 7-year-old to play card games.  I haven’t taught him the betting parts and I hope that saves me.  I’m not sure he knows that money would even be involved in these games.  I do plan on keeping it that way for a while.  At least until he gets tested on money in 2nd grade.  Surely playing penny poker will teach him about the value of the different coins and how to add them all up.

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