VAFA Premier C Section – Williamstown CYMS FC preview: “Card Night”


Does the “card night” still exist? Is it still a “thing” amongst the younger generation?


In theory, the concept of a “card night” had much to recommend it: gathering with mates, talking crap, drinking a few beers, and just relaxing in general. With a little luck and deeper thought, by the end of the evening the world’s geo-political problems might also be solved. And so it was that, long before Joe Hachem put the game of poker on the map in this country, we would gather on a monthly basis for a card night. Again, in theory, it was virtually the perfect Friday night pre-match preparation.


The games of choice were pontoon and poker, with the former being the less volatile option given that none of us were really too sure whether a “flush” beat a “straight”: a recipe for a testosterone-fuelled disaster. And just where did a “full house” fit in? The venues would vary, from my run-down over-mortgaged shack in Newport (the memory of 17% interest rates is still raw) to Tommy’s family residence on the Esplanade, known colloquially to all as the “Mansion”. But the nights would run a familiar course.


There was a hard-core crew of about half a dozen of us, with the occasional guest adding to the mix, the most welcome of whom was the late Patrick J. Cannon. When the game was afoot, Pat would crack open a bottle of well-cellared red while the late Dot Cannon would grill up Scotch fillet steaks. They were always overly generous. But both the wine and the choice cuts of meat were wasted on us 20-something philistines. In those days, I was unable to tell the difference between Chateau Cardboard and a deep Barossa Shiraz. Nor, after a dozen pots at the Steam Packet, would it matter what part of the cow we were eating. More often than not, Pat would clean up on the card table. His ability to bluff was beyond compare, and he had us gullible youths convinced that, when he was sitting on 14 in pontoon he could ‘will’ the next card drawn to be a 7.


The nights would invariably end in a dispute of some sort: maybe an accusation that the dealer had cheated; perhaps that a request to “fold” or “show” had somehow been misinterpreted; possibly a sleight of hand had been detected. The table would sometimes be upturned, like we did as children when sent to jail without passing “Go” during a game of Monopoly. Pat would merely chuckle at our immaturity, watching the matchsticks fly in all directions. Yes, matchsticks. To the casual observer we might have been playing for sheep-stations. Luckily, we had that modicum of sense which warned us not be foolish enough to play with real moolah.


Although the nights could drag into the wee early hours, the next day at the footy we would laugh at our lunacy and commence planning the next card night. Talk about pre-match preparation!


And just for the curious: a “full house” beats both a “flush” then a “straight”.


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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    It seems that I was an early starter Smokie

    And go easy on the Monders tomorrow please

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