Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for February, 2010

 Criss Cross Variants
 Actually, Criss-Cross is definitively defined as a bona fide Poker game. However, in all its listings, it is defined distinctly as a high-only game using wild cards–usually, the center card (E), being the determining factor. Sometimes, any card matching that card is also wild. In some games in which I used to play, the low card in the hole (and all like it) was (were) wild. However, since I have not played in any wild-card games for over fifteen years, I am not referencing them here.
 
In Criss-Cross games, each player may use his/her own cards plus A E C or his/her own cards plus B E D. In Hi-Lo games, one may use one direction for high and another for low. In addition, one may combine cards in the same direction for both high and low. Specifically, players may only use three cards that are directly related, using either the horizontal row or the vertical row. Players may opt to use some or none of the common cards. Vertical-only cards may not be combined with horizontal-only cards.
 
 
 
 
Back in New York in the 1960’s we used to play a Poker game we called Fiery Cross. It was a declare game with lots of action.

Each player receives two cards face-down, one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed face-down in the center of the table.

                                                                       A

                                                         B           E             D

                                                                       C

There is a round of betting before any common cards are revealed.

Then, A and B are revealed. There is a round of betting.

C and D are then revealed. There is another round of betting.

Then E is revealed. There is another round of betting.

Then each remaining player receives a card face-up.

There is a round of betting.

Finally, each remaining player receives a final card, face-down.

There is a final round of betting.

Then, there is a declare.

Though this game was popular then, it has since lost popularity. I have tried to get it going a few times, to no avail. There are just too many rounds of betting and too little to work with, up front. So, though in the 60’s this game was probably a SIX, now I would have to rate it a FOUR.

GAME: Fiery Cross
RANKING: Four ÅÅÅÅ

________________________________________________________________________

Though my introduction of Fiery Cross led to hardly any acceptance, my introduction of Criss Cross, in other various forms, has taken hold as a Hi-Lo, 8-or-better, lay-down game.

Criss-Cross Get

Process:

Each player is dealt three cards face-down and one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed in the center of the table.

                                                                      A

                                                         B           E             D

                                                                       C

In Criss-Cross Get, A B C and D are dealt face-down; E is face-up.

There is a round of betting.

Then, A B C and D are turned face-up, revealing all five common cards.

There is a second round of betting.

Then, each remaining player gets two more cards before there is the final round of betting.

The first card is dealt face-down; the second, face-up.

The final round of betting occurs. Hands are shown. Best high hand splits pot with best qualifying low hand.

Since there are only three betting rounds, this game works best with each player paying an ante.

GAME: Criss-Cross Get
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

This game and the two following are perfect for seven or eight players. With eight players, if all were in all the way to the end (which is not likely),  instead of each player receiving a second card face-up, utilize a sixth common card that plays like E. Believe it or not, we play these Criss-Cross games with nine players and do not often have to use a sixth common card.

________________________________________________________________________

Criss-Cross Standard

Process:

Each player is dealt three cards face-down and one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed in the center of the table.

                                                                  A
                                                      B          E         D
                                                                  C

Cards A and B are face-up, the others are placed face-down. There is a round of betting.

Cards C and D are revealed. There is a round of betting.

Card E is now revealed. There is a round of betting.

Each remaining player now receives a card, face-up.

There is round of betting. Each remaining player now receives a final card, face-down.

The final round of betting occurs. Hands are shown. Best high hand splits pot with best qualifying low hand.

GAME: Criss-Cross Standard
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

Alternate: Reveal card E first, then A and B, then C and D.

_______________________________________________________________________

Criss-Cross Medium Way

Process:

Each player is dealt three cards face-down and one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed in the center of the table.

                                                                  A

                                                        B       E       D

                                                                 C

In this version of Criss-Cross, cards A B C and D are face-down; E is face-up.

There is a round of betting. Then, the remaining four common cards, A B C and D, are all revealed at once. There is a round of betting.

Each remaining player then receives a card, face-up. There is a round of betting.

Each remaining player then receives a final card, face-down. The final round of betting occurs. Hands are shown. Best high hand splits pot with best qualifying low hand.

GAME: Criss-Cross Medium Way
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Lake Mohegan

I remember the place actually being called [Lake] Mohegan Country Club. It was located on Lake Mohegan, NY, about fifty  miles from New York City. Ironically, since the early 1970’s, “Lake Mohegan” ceased to exist and the nomenclature is no longer used. The area, the lake, community–one and the same–is now “Mohegan Lake.” During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the area developed into a famous resort community.  (One could hardly call  Mohegan Country Club “a famous resort community.” As a matter of fact, in all honesty, one could hardly call it a country club.)

Lured by convenient train travel (a few hours), New York City apartment dwellers came to Lake Mohegan to breathe country air and relax at a picturesque lake.  Nine or ten resorts operated for sixty-plus years. They offered lodging and top-name entertainment. (I never saw any of this so-called, top-name entertainment.)Most of these resorts had their personalized water-fronts and swimming-cribs.  They provided safe harbors for swimming and boating.  One of the more popular resorts was the Mohegan Country Club and Bungalow Colony, located on Route 6.  The Lakeside and Villas condominiums now occupy the space.

By the time I arrived in the summer of 1954,  the Mohegan Country Club and Bungalow Colony must have been a shell of itself.  It was like a cast-off of the Catskills. Nearby this area in Yorktown, NY,  not too far from Peekskill, was a much fancier community, Lake Mahopac. Mahopac had the reputaion of being “upscale.” In that respect, one would have to label Lake Mohegan Country Club as down-trodden. Yet, this summer of 1954 proved to be a remarkable summer for me–not because of the area, the work, or even the all-night poker games, but because I met someone who eventually changed my life.

In good consciousness, I cannot relate all the facts of how I came to the area that summer.  I can say, I started the summer as a counselor for waiters at a summer camp somewhere near Bear Mountain. Having been a camp waiter a few summers before at a summer camp, Brookside, in Great Barrington, MA, qualified me for the position. I was working at this camp in or near Bear Mountain and enjoying the challenges and responsibility of the job. Not so, however, for the young lady with whom l went there. She had taken the job as counselor for the youngest girls at the camp. As she put it, she was not going to change diapers for spoiled brats all summer.  I can’t vouch for the diapers or any of her complaints.  I can say that she convinced me to quit my job (shame on me), because she was not up to the task.

Off we went in my forest green, 1953, Pontiac Chieftain. She called a friend of hers who had rented a house for the summer in Yorktown Heights. She moved in with that family as their au pair for the summer. There I was–no job, no place to stay, my mother not knowing where I was. I knew nothing of the area around Yorktown. Knowing I needed both a place to stay and a job, I started to drive. I decided that my best bet was to find a job at a hotel–intending to both work and live there.  I traveled from hotel to hotel around Lake Mahopac and Lake Mohegan.  At each place I would ask for the kitchen manager, or restaurant manager, or hotel manager. I would plead my case for summer employment, fudging my waiter experience. After turn-down after turn-down, I lucked out. My persistence finally paid off.

With its lake, its pool, its tennis courts, its rec hall, and such, Mohegan Country Club and Bungalow Colony had all the amenities middle-class, vacationing New Yonkers craved. ( I do not believe there was a golf course affiliated with this country club.) Some of the families stayed the entire summer.  Some families visited for only a few weeks. Like at so many of these summer resorts, it was usually the wife and children who would spend Mondays through Fridays vacationing.  The husbands (dads) would usually join them for the weekend. (I’ll get back to weekends–when waiting tables was more than just a chore, but a challenge.)

As I recall, the diningroom was owned separately from the resort. The gentleman who ran the diningroom  and who hired me must have always been under a lot of pressure.  Being inexperienced with the inner workings of the restaurant business, I just saw him as cranky and bossy. From constantly having to walk in and out of the walk-in refrigerator and in and out of the hot kitchen and then into another temperature zone in the diningroom, per se, I remember seeming to have a cold most of the  summer.

Back to being hired: I was told I had to start that day.  They were short-handed.   Why?   I don’t remember. I was instructed to go to an army-navy store  (There were many around then, selling discontinued and copy-cat military gear and low-end clothing.) in Peekskill and purchase black pants (chinos) and at least one white shirt.  I needed black shoes, as well, but had them with me.  There was no training.  I served dinner that night.

I moved into a room in the adjoining lodge. I am not sure if  Doc (Not wanting to use his actual name, I’ll call him Doc.) was there before me, or whether he arrived after me.  I’m not even sure with whom I bunked.  There was a few other waiters.  I do not recall how many. There were a few busboys as well. Doc was one of the busboys.  He was no more a busboy than I was a waiter. Doc grew up in Brooklyn.  I believe he went to Erasmus High School.  His hard-working mother sent him off to college at Wake Forest, where he achieved as a pre-med major and from where he graduated. Doc wanted to attend medical school.  He applied to Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest and was accepted. However, he was considered too young to attend and was told that he would have to wait a year.

He decided that this hiatus in his education was the perfect excuse to see the world.  He joined, of all things, the Norwegian Merchant Marines. I assume that any Norwegian he learned, he learned on the job. Because he had to get back to attend medical school in September of that year, he jumped ship (Perhaps,  in Argentina, but I am not sure.) and made his way back to New York. My good fortune, he took employment at the same place at which I was working.

Doc and I became best of friends. We had a running joke about the time I introduced him as my busboy. The work was both  time consuming and demanding–setting-up and serving  three meals a day. Once in a while, we were given time off for one lunch meal a week. Every so often, we managed to get an entire day off.  Mostly, we worked seven days a week, three meals a day. The worst days were always weekends.   That is when the husbands (dads) would arrive. Their wives and children were spending the summers, while they, just the weekends. Maybe they just resented that their time was so limited or maybe they just felt that  a whole week’s worth of food was due them on the two days they were there. These guys were ultra-demanding. The diningroom owner, who must have been losing his shirt in this summer venture, took the attitude of “give-him, give-him.”  Those words became his mantra. How Doc and I would laugh.  Sunday dinners were always special. Steak was on the menu. When any of the husbands would demand more steak, the owner would shout at us “give-him, give-him.” Of course, we would eventually run out of steak, so we couldn’t always “give-him, give-him.” On those days when we ran out of steak, we waiters took a lot of grief. Most of the guests tipped at the end of each week, usually on Sundays. We waiters were never happy when we had to tell these demanding husbands that we were out of steak.

I remember one incident in particular. One of the families at one of my tables arrived for Sunday dinner after we had depleted our steak supply. The father seemed upset but then, in a polite tone of voice, asked if we had chicken.  Happy to report that we did, I went into the kitchen and returned with a broiled, half-chicken with vegetables and potatoes. “I just want the drum stick,” he shouted, “just the drum stick.” I showed him that the drum stick was there.  He then asked if I knew why he wanted the drum stick. I did not venture a guess. I finished serving his family and went back into the kitchen. Into the kitchen he walked, drum stick in hand. He proceeded to tell me that he wanted the drum stick so that he could tell me to shove it up my ass and get him the steak that was due him. 

Being that all my prior waiting experience was as a camper-waiter, I had no experience with waiting on grownups and catering to their whims. Campers were easy to handle.  I was older than most of them. If need be, they could always be kept in line by a counselor. These weekend-dads were something else entirely.

Doc and I worked well as a team. More importantly, we became best of friends. We socialized then and continued to socialize  for years to come, through various marriages for both of us. Doc eventually became an internist and is now a prominent cardiologist in New York on Long Island.  If it were not for Doc, I would never have gotten out of the food industry. Many years after working at Lake Mohegan, I was working as a store manager for a small supermarket chain, Food Pagent, in New York City, when I received a call from Doc, who I had not seen for a while. He informed me about a job opportunity. His neighbor owned a successful appliance-TV-stereo business, called Brands Mart,  in Long Island City. In chatting with his neighbor, Doc learned that Brands Mart had just lost three key employees, who were setting-out on their own to compete with Brands Mart. Doc told his neighbor that he had a friend, who was not in the appliance-TV business, but he was sure he could run anything. I was soon interviewed. Voila! The start of my new career! Were it not for Doc, I’d probably still be slicing roast beef or bagging groceries on busy supermarket days.

There are countless stories that Doc and I could relate about Lake Mohegan. There was this one guy who slept with a tin can next to his bed so that he would not have to get up at night to pee. The story is really funnier than it reads because of the manner in which he accomplished his feat. How any of us fellow workers were ever able to put in a solid day of work amazes me still. Many nights we played Poker until dawn and then all went directly to work. These mornings we formed a motley crew of disheveled cooks, dishwashers, busboys, and waiters. Some nights Doc would go to sleep at a reasonable hour and cover for me at my waiting station while I grabbed a few minutes of shut-eye. On those nights, I would stay up all night and play Poker, and Doc and I would share any winnings or losses.  The only game I recall playing was Seven-Stud.  Each of us had our own table rules from home games in which we played. At first, there were many disputes.  Finally, we agreed upon our own set of guidelines. Winning or losing fifty bucks was a good or bad night.

The end of that summer sent Doc off to medical school and me back to Rutgers. Indeed, it is not so much the job at Lake Mohegan I recall.  I hardly remember whether I won or lost at Poker. What I think of most–and fondly so–is Doc.

Epilogue: I have not spoken to Doc in more than twenty-five years.  Through the internet, I have located him. Just today, February 12, 2010, I called the only number I could find for him. Bravo! We spoke and plan to meet.  

Read Full Post »

Hats and Bombs

The same player who brought the games Splits and Tits to our weekly games, came across this game (maybe patent-pending?) while trying to patent one of his games.  Though all of us have probably played games similar to this, this one is unique.  However, like other games of this ilk, it is almost impossible to have a made-hand until the final cards are revealed.  So, in many ways, it is a sucker’s game; then, again, aren’t we all suckers–at times.  One advantage of this game is that it can be played by up to ten players. There are always suggestions for other names for this game, but the official name, we were told, is Hats and Bombs.

Here is Hats and Bombs.

Process:

Each player receives four cards face-down.  As in Omaha, player must use only two cards of the four.
There is a round of betting.
Nine community cards are then placed in the center of the table. Cards are arranged in three sets of three cards and turned face-up.
                                                                 AAA    BBB    CCC    (The Hats)  
There is a round of betting.
Three community cards are then placed face-up, below the nine cards.
                                                                    D          E          F     (The Bombs)
There is a final round of betting. 
By using two cards in your hand, plus two  of the three cards from either A or B or C plus one card from D or E or F, you form your best five-card Poker hand. Note, you may not combine any cards from A with any cards from B or C, etc.  You must use only two A cards or two B cards or two C cards with any one of the three D, E, or F cards. As an example, your hand could consist of two of your original four cards, plus any two C cards plus the D card. You may use one such combination for high and another such combination for low, or, in some rare instances, the same combination for both.
That’s it.  Best high poker hand and best low (8 or better) hand split pot.
GAME: Hats and Bombs
RANKING: Six ÅÅÅÅÅÅ

Read Full Post »