Beginner’s Luck


On the first evening of my latest inpatient stay, I was surrounded by strangers and desperate to find a way to socialize.  A woman we’ll call Stefanie had a deck of cards and a crowd had gathered around to play 500 Rummy.  She invited me to join, but I opted to just pull up a chair and watch for a while, as I didn’t know the rules of the game.

The next evening, I joined the game.  I was 50 points from winning, and far ahead of most other players, when we were interrupted by visiting hours.  We never finished the game, but presumably that means I won.  The other players kept commenting on my “beginner’s luck” and that they “taught [me] so well”.

The next time we played I was again winning when we got interrupted by someone needing to speak to Stefanie.  I was sitting alone with a woman we’ll call Yasmine and I confessed to her that I was not new to playing cards, I just didn’t happen to know the rules of that particular game.  She thought that was hilarious, and she kept it to herself, so I left there with everyone else still thinking they were excellent teachers.  There was some luck involved though – everyone was frustrated by my ability to get multiple wild cards in every round.

My game of choice, which I started playing before my hands were big enough to hold all the cards (I borrowed the racks from Rack-O), is Shanghai Rummy.  It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to play, as I’m rarely with more than one other person who knows the game.  Maybe I should try being an “excellent teacher” with someone new?