Sunday, April 23, 2006

An Explanation of Challenge and the Boys of 318

In my next post I'll tell you about my weekend, but first I'd like to explain my distaste for a certain home game we play at Paul's called Challenge. I won't tell you why I'm so upset with the game at this time, but let me explain this heathen game to you all. You will need to understand it for my next blog entry.

It's a guts game, where you challenge the hand of anyone that declares if they are in. Each player antes and posts one chip in front of them. These chips are markers that represent the cost of a challenge, that is if someone declares that they are in for that hand, the loser must pay the winner of the showdown the amount of dollars equal to the amount of markers that are out. These markers increase by one every round. If someone declares that they are in and they are not challenged, then that person gains a mark. A mark is a seperate chip that represents how many points that person has towards winning the game. In each round of challenges, there are 3 hands to play. Each player is dealt 7 cards. The first hand you must declare whether you're in or you're out is your best 3-card low hand, A-2-3 being the best hand one can have. Starting from the left of the dealer and going clockwise, each player declares whether they're in or out. If one person declares that they're in, there is an option for every player at the table, starting from that person's left moving clockwise all the way back around to that player, to challenge him. The person with the best 3-card low hand is paid by the loser. If there is more than 2 people, only the person with the worst hand pays the person with the best hand and the middle man doesn't have to pay anything. After that hand, the betting and challenging starts again, this time to make the best 5-card poker hand. One more round of betting and challenging occurs for the best 5-card LOW hand. After that the deck is shuffled, another marker is added and the cost of challenging goes up that dollar. Another round of 7 cards is dealt and the betting starts over, each round the person who goes first will be the person to the left of the previous one. The winner of the game is the one who reaches the predetermined number of marks. The winner collects the entire pot, which consists of everyone's ante, everone's markers, and everyone's marks.


Here, let me explain further.

Let's say the game is 5 bucks, 7 marks cap. So the most anyone can pay anyone else if they lose is $5 a challenge, which means the most amount of markers that will be out will be 5, and then 5 markers from every player is pulled into the pot. In order for the game to be over, a person must get 7 marks, and then that player rakes the entire pot. For this example we'll say that there are four players: Joel, Manny, myself, and Paul.

At the beginning of the game, every player antes into the main pot once. That is the only time the players must ante. However, every player must place one chip in front of them, which will represent the round that they are on, as well as how much the challenge is worth. Therefore this picture 1 marker
represents that it is round one, and it represents that should one player want to challenge another, it will cost them one dollar (1 chip = 1 dollar, regardless of the value of the chip in-game). So say Joel's first to act, if Joel says that he's in for the 3-card low, Manny passes, I pass, and Paul wants to challenge him, then the 2 players switch cards with each other to see each other's hands, and then they give the cards back; if Joel has A-2-5, and Paul has A-2-3, then Joel must pay Paul a dollar and no marks are given. If Joel passes on the 5-card high, Manny declares that he's in, I pass, and Paul passes, then the challenge is back to Joel. If Joel passes then Manny "marks it" and he now has 1 mark out of 7 necessary to win the game (and the pot). This is done one more time for the 5-card low, which starts on Joel again to pass or play. After that everyone adds a chip to their marker stack and the challenges will cost $2 for that round. This time Manny must go first in all 3 hands.

Therefore, this picture here
4 markers, 1 mark
represents that is round 4 and this person has 2 marks. So if any challenges are called it will cost the loser 4 dollars. This shot shows 2 marks out of the 7 it will take to win the pot, which includes everyone's antes, everyone's marker chips, and everyone's marks.

Ok so that's Challenge. Any questions still?

Take a break, go grab a drink, come back to reading in five minutes.
K you ready?

On Wednesday night the guys got together for a TINY poker game and some disc, disc meaning Ultimate Frisbee, a SoCal favorite among college students. Usually one wouldn't expect a game of disc to be too physically demanding or to be a strenuous activity. However, get a bunch of college guys together for a sports game and find out what happens. I was introduced to disc at the University of California Santa Barbara by Joe and his roommates last year, the occupants of dorm 318 in Fontaine Blue. Joe, Max, Sonny, and Stokes made up the most incredible team of frisbee players ever to be on one team; they were deemed 318.

Around my initial travelings of the UCSB campus (or frickin city would be a better term), I had heard ramblings of the game the week before where 318 remained undefeated as it took on the quarter's latest challengers. It became apparent that this team of unbeatables were quite the perfect mix. Max was an all-state champion runner, the fastest on the field at all times; he couldn't be caught but he could catch as well as any other. Joe was the wiley man; not as athletic as Max (then again no one was), but he would jump and dive for any disc near him, whether it was intended for him or not. Joe was often the arguer for 318, disputing with the other team whether or not goals, catches, or physical contacts were legal. Sonny and Stokes were both computer gamers through and through; neither of them were as athletic as Joe, but they both had their specialties. Stokes could throw a missle of a disc, and could be counted on to throw game-winners every time he was given the chance. Sonny was a little over 6-foot, and while he was under 150 pounds and looked like a rail, he had the height advantage over the rest of the field, giving him the ultimate reach up, over, and around the opponents. By themselves they were different athletes with different skills, but together they were the ultimate team, they were......318.

For an entire year of 2004-2005, they were undefeated. Players were brought from different universities on the weekend, cheaters came and were defeated, and even the school's best athletes couldn't compete. 318 were the gods of UCSB disc, and no one will ever forget their legacy. Unfortunately for the UCSB disc die-hards, the boys of 318 were disassembled over the 2005-2006 break and weren't to house together again this season, bringing an end to their consistant triumphs on the field.

On Wednesday though, a challenge was brought by a UCSB dorm to reassemble the broken team for another bout of this wonderful game, and so it was done. Sonny is no longer in Santa Barbara or the surrounding area this year, though, so I got the honor of filling in for him, and like the almighty Sonny I had the height advantage over the field. Joe and I headed down to the campus to pick up Stokes and Max, and we were off to the game. We had to find an open field, since the one which was usually used to play on was going through construction. We headed to a field a ways down, and were lucky enough to find one with fresh cut grass and lighting for an adjacent bicycle lot. The light allowed to us to see more than the other field, since there was NO light on that one. In either case we played with a light up disc, so there was no problem there. The jackets were thrown on the floor and lined up for goal markers and we were ready to go. The four of us took on a mixed group of 4 fine competitors who had all taken their shots time and time again at 318, but had ended up on the short end every time.

They fought hard, but we fought harder. We decided to play to 10, which would make for a long and fair game. As was usual for a game of this caliber, there was a little roughing going on. On both defense and offense there was quite a bit of physical contact, and we played our hearts out. The game ended in a 10-4 victory for 318, so a rematch to 4 would be played. 4-1 was the final score as 318 and I dominated the other team. The legacy was defended and it was shown that although 318 was no longer on campus as a whole, they were there on the field, and that's what really counts.

It was a pleasure to play with the guys of 318. They're like the Z-Boys of disc.

Before that match though, The 8 of us played some poker. I was (of course) dominating the amateurs (except for Joe), and when were down to 3 I had another player dominated with my A 10 to his A 5, but when the board came A-2-2-4-J, we chopped it up and I ended up losing to that same player when we got heads up on the end, thanks to his seemingly endless luck.

In recap, the disc was tough but the honor was worth it.

Next time I'll explain why I hate Challenge so much. ;)

Bankroll: $400


Darsky said...

NOW you explain the markers. I already figured that out last time.
One problem with the way its played at Paul's is the "loser pays, middle-man skates" rule. In any challenge game with legs (marks), one of the only real skills is timing when to steal or play a marginal hand because everyone can challenge the first man in. When you only risk losing one bet by getting in first, your odds are never too bad.

Man! I dig ultimate. Haven't played in years but I was damn good. I could throw for distance and make double-breakers.

TreMomey said...

This challenge game seems fun to me, I'm interested to see why you dislike it. I may have to introduce it at my next home game..