Gramma Karen Plays Poker

By | 2018-01-29T20:38:59+00:00 January 15th, 2018|

I love my children and I love, love, love my grandchildren. That said, I also love and need having friends, and so do you! Friends keep you young and alive. A Harvard research study revealed that aging and social relationships go hand in hand, if we want to be happy and healthy in our 50’s and beyond. Instinctively I knew that because I watched my parents live long and very social lives well into their 90’s.

As long as I can remember, my dad, Mike, had a weekly golf game with his cronies till he hit 94. He boasted that he hung with the young guys. The young 70 and 80 year olds would pick Mike up each week, drive the golf cart and at times even help him find his lost balls. They loved to have my dad in the game because Mike was a great golfer and teacher. (Read my dad’s tips to live by to stay young.)

When my dad was 95 he and my mom, Rose 91, finally decided to sell their home and move into independent living. That is when I got to see their social life really peak! They were voted onto the resident’s board, played cards, listened to live music, danced, and made a lot of new friends at happy hour. My mom lived to 98 and my dad almost made it to 105. I believe having fun and friends made all the difference.

Throughout my late 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s we lived in a very social neighborhood. My life was filled with wonderful friends and neighbors. When my two kids left for college I was 50 and found myself alone in that big house. I had always wanted to live closer within the city, so I moved into a smaller home inside the the Houston loop. It was bitter sweet. On one hand, I loved the excitement of being deeper within the city, but I was leaving behind many neighbors and friends. I knew I had to make the uncomfortable effort to extend myself. The first thing I did was join a Professional Woman’s Breakfast Club (TPG) and volunteered to be on a committee with women I wanted to get to know. It worked! Today my monthly poker group is made up of women I met in TPG many years ago.

When I was asked if I wanted to join their established poker group I was reluctant because I never played poker. I agreed to be a sub, thinking that they might call me a few times and that would be it. When they did call I was totally intimidated because I did not play poker. One of the members, Kaitlyn who always brings the poker chips, also brought cheat cheats. She gave me one to use that night and I was very grateful for the help. (If you start a poker group hopefully you’ll find someone who plays and has the chips. It really helps.)

Well one thing lead to another and I finally became a member of the group. And sometimes I even win.

The funny thing is that when I tell other women I play poker they all say that they wish they were in a poker group, but they don’t know how to play. What I have discovered is that no one in my poker group is really a fantastic player. We all win some and lose some, but most importantly we laugh and have fun.

How to Start Your Poker Group

Now I want you to have fun too so I created the following, How To Start Your Poker Group Tip List:

  1. Start looking for fun women that want to learn and play Texas Holdem. You need at least 5 players and a sub. We now have 10 regulars, and usually 2 to 3 can’t make it. There are times when everyone does show up, and honestly it’s too many… 6-8 players is really the perfect number.
  2. Each member of your poker group needs 2 full decks of cards and hopefully someone will have the chips. Otherwise, the group will have to make a investment on the poker chips. The number of players will determine how many chips are needed each night. With our group so big, we need a lot of chips!
  3. Learn the rules. I suggest everyone get the same book and watch the same videos (here are some good videos on Texas Holdem) in the beginning so you are all playing with the same set of rules and examples. Don’t forget to print out the same cheat sheets and review the betting.
  4. Get started and watch your poker group evolve!

About the Author:

Hello, my name is Karen McCullough. When I am not a Gramma I am a professional speaker who travels across the country working with organizations, businesses and associations on Generations in the Workplace. I love speaking and traveling, but when I am not on the go I really love being the Grandmother. My Family encouraged me to start a blog to share ideas and the fun things I do with my grandkids. I am really thrilled that they notice, and encouraged me to create a space to share and connect with other Grams. That said, I hope you enjoy my website. I will try and keep you updated on the adventures, activities, ideas and recipes of Gramma Karen.


  1. Karen A Snyder January 16, 2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Karen, these articles and this site is FABULOUS! It so represents you and your voice. Oh, how I wished we lived closer!

    • Karen McCullough January 17, 2018 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      I wish we lived closer too. You and I together…watch out! I am thinking about doing a keynote mastermind/workshop in DC. What do you think?

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