Teaching poker to absolute beginners

I like teaching and I like poker, although I’ve rarely tried to combine the two. This week, I’m going to give it a shot. I run a meetup group here in Peoria for single people. I have wanted to host some poker games for the group for some time. I finally decided to go ahead and host one this week. It wouldn’t simply be a poker tournament, it would first be a one hour lesson in the basics of Texas Hold’em tournaments. And then we would do an actual one table tournament with me dealing.

I’ve always thought teaching poker to beginners would be a fun thing to do. My goal with the class portion is simple, demonstrate the basics of the game like how the cards are dealt, how betting works, and how the winner is determined for each hand (and for the tournament). I also want them to understand the rules of betting, and various quirks of how poker is typically dealt, so that if they ever want to play in a casino run tournament, they will be able to sit down and play without asking too many questions. If we have time we will also go over some basic strategy ideas.

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Getting my first motorcycle

I’ve always wanted to ride motorcycles. It hasn’t been a burning passion, more like an interest that I never had time to indulge in. When I was a kid, one of my friends had a dirt bike. I only rode it once that I can remember, and it didn’t go well. I don’t think I got it out of first gear, and I’m pretty sure I stalled it a least once. So for the next 20+ years, I never attempted to get on a motorcycle again, thinking that while I liked them, I just wasn’t cut out for them. And if I hadn’t moved home, I may have left it at that.

When you drive around central Illinois in the summer, motorcycles are everywhere. Harleys seem to be the standard, but there are plenty of others as well, including big cruisers as well as gangs of 20 something Ninja riders screaming through downtown Peoria at night. For me, there seems to be a dearth of things to do around here, but I’m beginning to realize that if you live here, you need to make your own fun. Boating, dirt bikes and street bikes are all popular choices.

Last summer I started thinking about getting my license, but I didn’t get around to it. At the local community college, they offer a subsidized class to learn to ride. They even give you the actual test at the end of the class, so you can get your license without any further hoops to jump through. The problem is that the class is such a good deal that all the spots fill up many months in advance. If you don’t sign up for one by the beginning of May, odds are you might not get in one. My schedule is so hard to predict, that it was close to impossible to pick a weekend to take the class.

I kept thinking to myself, there must be a place where you can sign up for basic riding classes a week or two before. Sure, you will probably pay considerably more for private classes, but there has got to be a market for people like me who find themselves in the middle of the riding season and can’t get into the ones held at community colleges. Sure enough there are two such places in Chicago, Motorcycle Riding School and Ride Chicago. There may be more. I went with Motorcycle Riding School mainly because their class fit into my schedule (the whole thing takes place over a weekend) and because they had decent reviews on yelp.

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