– Ha ha! – Mr. Jobson laughed joyfully one evening, throwing away the newspaper he had just been reading. “There’s a story about a guy from Montana who taught his wife poker so they could play with each other while enjoying the comfort of home by the fireplace.” She still didn’t know the combinations firmly when she started having a wild streak. As a result, she won all his property, formalized all the documents, and threw him out onto the street! Ha ha! In my opinion, the very idea that the wife of this unfortunate man from Montana, or indeed any woman, is capable of beating even the most miserable little man at poker is simply ridiculous.

– Do you think women can play poker? – Mrs. Jobson asked him and took the next stocking, which she was going to mend.

– Should women play poker? – Mr. Jobson clarified, emphasizing the word “play.” – Mrs. Jobson, there has never been a woman in the world who plays poker, they all just pretend. As for whether it is possible or not, then, of course, there is no problem if the husband and wife are just playing with each other. By God! Come to think of it, it would be nice to teach you the basics of poker; or rather, teach everything that a woman can do. Of course, I could just play solitaire, because I don't think you'll ever be able to tell four of a kind from two pair, but I guess I'll still try to educate you on the value of poker hands, just for fun.

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“However,” said Mrs. Jobson, “I can’t shake the feeling that playing poker for a woman is something terrible ...

“No worse than playing euchre, spinster, or casino,” replied Mr. Jobson in his best reasonable manner. “Well, actually,” he grinned again, “since all of you don’t actually play poker, but only think that you do, you won’t be to blame.” Where is our deck?

“In this cabinet,” Mrs. Jobson said and put her finger to her lips. “But I really wouldn’t want the ladies from my guild to find out that I’m doing such a terrible thing...

“Oh, well, I'm sure a lot of them enjoy playing candy with each other,” said Mr. Jobson, shuffling the deck like a professional aboard the Robert E. Lee or the Natchez on a cruise down the Mississippi.

– Pull up your chair, now I’ll show you the combinations. Then we'll play with matches instead of chips. Watching you catch a straight flush and throw it away, thinking you have nothing, will be more fun than watching a monkey cage. So, a couple... – and he explained to his wife the order of hand strength. She grasped it quite slowly, and she even had to take paper and pencil. After about 15 minutes, having chewed a good half of the pencil, she announced that she was ready.

Mr. Jobson took a hundred matches from the box and divided them into two piles of 50. Handing the matches to his wife, he said with a condescending smile:

– Use them carefully. Try to imagine that each match is a dollar. If you can, think about what kind of raid you can make on the sale racks with that kind of money, and then you'll probably be really careful with your bets. I already told you about bluffs; If you think it's time to bluff, bluff.

He took out a watch on a chain, placed it on the table next to him, and continued:

“And if I don’t win all these matches from you in 40 minutes, then I’ll buy back everything that’s left for a crisp new dollar apiece!”

And they started to play. The idea of ​​bluffing fascinated Mrs. Jobson from the very beginning, as it fascinates almost all women who delve into the intricacies of poker, perhaps because it allows you to get something without giving anything in return. Be that as it may, Mrs. Jobson immediately began to bluff left and right. About eight minutes later, twenty of her matches were in the hands of Mr. Jobson, who was smiling from ear to ear.

“Hush, hush, darling,” Mr. Jobson said condescendingly after catching her on a particularly wild bluff when she tried to squeeze him out of a run-up pot by changing four cards.

– For starters, you can play your hands based on their strength and not overplay. Leave bluffs to experienced players who know how to read their opponents. They have already outgrown the standard game, but you better play according to the card and hope that female luck will allow you to gain the upper hand. I also consider myself obligated to update the offer to buy each of your matches after the stated time has expired: let it be two dollars!

In the next hand, Mrs. Jobson dealt out the cards, looked at hers, and began to study them long and carefully.

– Well? – Mr. Jobson lost patience.

“Okay, I guess I can play for one match,” Mrs. Jobson said doubtfully and hesitantly put her finger to her lip. – I think you said that when the cards go “three, four, five, six, seven” – it’s a straight?

“Yes,” her husband answered and swallowed imperceptibly: he had a full house in his hand.

“Well, let's see what I can get together,” Mrs. Jobson said and changed one card after Mr. Jobson raised and she called. Hearing that he was not going to change cards, she became noticeably sad.

“Your move,” said Mr Jobson as his wife looked sadly at her new card.

With a hesitant gesture, Mrs. Jobson placed one match in the center of the table.

– Well, well... It seems you have 29 matches left? Well, I'm sorry, honey, but I'm going for it. All-in.

Mrs. Jobson, with a mysterious expression on her face, shoved her remaining matches into the jar. Mr. Jobson counted out 29 matches, placed them in the center of the table, and then reached for the pot:

“Full house of kings, dear,” Mr. Jobson smiled. – And only 25 minutes have passed since the start of our match...

– But I won, didn’t I? – and Mrs. Jobson turned over the quad sevens with an innocent look.

Mr. Jobson's jaw dropped.

– Made me believe that you had a straight, huh? – he exhaled, while Mrs. Jobson was arranging the matches she had won.

– Isn’t this part of what you call a bluff? – Mrs. Jobson asked slyly.

Two minutes later Mr. Jobson dealt the cards and received two pair, aces and sevens. Mrs Jobson received a pair, changed three cards, and showed trips at the showdown. All of Mr. Jobson's remaining chips were by that time in the center of the table.

Smiling joyfully, his wife extended her hand:

– One hundred dollars, please!

Mr. Jobson jumped to his feet eagerly.

“Madam,” he said with a stern expression on his face, “I am far from accusing you unfairly.” But when I suggested half an hour ago, out of the goodness of my heart, that we might mutually enjoy a little lesson in the comparative strength of poker hands, I didn't know that you were already an expert in this field. In short, you, Mrs. Jobson, have proven yourself to be nothing less than a liar. I won't venture any guesses as to where you got your newfound knowledge from this game, but I'm going to start investigating the matter first thing tomorrow morning, Mrs. Jobson. First thing!

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Having made his speech, Mr. Jobson went upstairs and went to bed.

Mrs. Jobson leaned back in her chair and smiled.