Want to rig a card game so you'll win, then insist we play it every time? We'll see about that...
LTL, FTP, etc. I apologize already if I don’t get the formatting right.
This happened several years ago.
I spent most of my time with a relatively small, fairly close-knit group of friends (about 10-12 people). We hung out together probably once a week or so at someone’s house, but not everyone showed up every time, so it was usually 6-8 people each time.
I enjoyed the company of most of these people very much, but I couldn’t stand one guy for many reasons (keep reading - you’ll understand some of them).
Let’s call him David (obviously not his real name).
I’d say most of the people I spent time with were of about average intelligence, maybe even a bit above that (stick with me, this is mildly important for the story).
David, however, had an amazing brain. Picture a mind like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang theory, but without the scientific - or really any major - success (mostly because David smoked way too much pot, but that’s not the point here).
For context, I’m also above average in intelligence, but not on David’s level (I’ll give him that).
Our group of friends would often play board games or card games together into the late hours of the night. I began to notice a pattern emerge whenever David was with us - he would always insist upon playing a specific card game, so we would indulge him (we played other games if someone asked,too).
I’m not sure how many people are familiar with this game, but David called it “Slap Jack”. Basically, for those who don’t know, people sit in a circle with stacks of cards in their hands and toss a card in the middle, and then the next person does the same. Anytime two cards match (like two 3s in a row) OR if a jack comes up, the first person to slap a hand down on the pile gets to keep it. If you slap your hand down when you shouldn’t (it’s not a match to the prior card or a jack), you have to give up all but three of the cards still in your hand. You continue the game as long as you want or until one person has all the cards and they win.
Sounds simple, right?
The big thing was that David went out of his way to create rules to “make sure no one has an unfair advantage” (he would repeat this phrase many times every time we played). His rules were things like you have to put your card down a certain way, you can’t sit a certain way, etc.
OK, whatever. No one objects and everyone wants a fair game.
As we play this game a few times, I begin to notice that David is regularly winning the game - far too regularly for it to be random. No one else is picking up on it and then the game is over and David has won again.
So the next time David insists we play and once again reiterates the rules to “make sure no one has an unfair advantage”, I start watching him more intently but without making it obvious.
I want to find out how he’s winning so much, and soon the answer reveals itself. David’s hand goes out to slap down when a jack hits the board BEFORE he could possibly have seen that the card was even a jack. Still, it was a jack, so he gets to collect the entire pile beneath it. It happens again - and again. He knows what is coming before it arrives.
David loved playing this game because he was memorizing the order of the cards, giving himself an advantage over everyone else.
Normally I wouldn’t care. The guy was going the extra mile to win, so be it. I admire that kind of effort in many cases.
BUT…This was different, because DAVID was the one who designed many rules of this game “to make sure no one has an unfair advantage” Yet that’s exactly what he had, and why he was winning so much.
THE PETTY REVENGE:
Instead of calling him out, I decided to use my newfound knowledge against him.
As we continued to play, I slapped down on a match and won a big stack of cards (David didn’t get them all, just more than everyone else due to his memorization). As the game continued, I used subtle motions to shuffle the cards in my hands as much as I could.
It took a bit, but you can guess what happened next. David slapped down WAY too quickly on what he thought would be a jack coming from my hands - but it wasn’t a jack. I loudly point out his slapping down when he shouldn’t and how he has to give up all but three of his cards.
Still, David made this revenge even better.
“That was supposed to be a jack!” he shouted in anger.
“And you’re supposed to slap when you see it IS a jack!” I said loudly, to laughter from everyone.
I saw realization come over David’s face, and his fire-spitting rage turned to me.
“You’re NOT supposed to shuffle your cards!” he roared.
“Why would that matter?” I asked, smiling back at him. “Matter of fact, I think we should ALL shuffle our cards every time we collect them.”
Then I lay it on him.
“You know, in the interest of making sure no one has an unfair advantage.”
As David’s eyes shot daggers at me when he realized exactly what I’d done, everyone in the group quickly agreed with me and he couldn’t possible object because of his own mantra.
The game continued with EVERYONE shuffling their cards, ruining his advantage of memorizing the order. Surprise, surprise - David didn’t win this time.
Funny, when our group got together after that, David never again insisted upon playing his formerly favorite card game.