Card Shark

card shark, children's game, grandparentingI want to beat him in cards so badly.

He thinks he’s a master, maybe even a genius at this “game.”

But, he can be arrogant as hell about his card-playing prowess, so I fortify myself before he arrives.

Caffeine first. Our time for cards is usually after 3, so I’m already caffeinated out with my three cups of tea. But this is a serious competition, so I bring out the big guns.

Diet Coke.

I will suffer for this indiscretion.

I will be wide awake at midnight, but if the drug helps me get a leg up, or in this case, a card up, on my foe, it will be worth listening to the clock tick at 2 a.m. . . . . and 2:40 . . . and 3:10.

Next, I search for a sugar hit. Yes! A bowl of leftover peppermint dark chocolates from the holiday. Pure sugar that will keep my brain alert and ready to manipulate the Reverses and Wild Cards so that success will be mine.

Oh no. He’s here. I don’t have time to turn the lights higher in my corner. My eyes need the extra oomph so that I can tell the difference between the Green 2 and the Blue 2.

Wait. We’re only eight minutes into the game and he’s already shouting, “UNO!” which means only one card is left in his hand.children's games, Uno

I don’t care.

I’ve saved the big guns and slowly, ohhhh sooooo slowwwwly put down my

            DRAW FOUR card.

He moans, tears springing into his eyes. “The cards love me,” he declares, “not you!”

UNO!” I reply gleefully to the little 6-year-old card monster, my grandson.


This time, Madre wins.

83 thoughts on “Card Shark

  1. “He moans, tears springing into his eyes. “The cards love me,” he declares, “not you!” LOL! I love the intense look on his face.
    Congratulations on your win…must have been the diet coke and dark peppermint combo.


  2. I love this post!! My kids always played UNO with my dad. It was so funny to watch as he was quite competitive as well and didn´t “let” them win. It´s good for kids to know they don´t always win in life. You are a wonderful Grandma. Hope you were still able to sleep after all that caffeine.


    • My mom had such a wonderful relationship with my kids during their entire childhood into their adulthood. I attribute that to her playing cards with them for hours (as your dad did with your kids). I’m going to keep up the tradition, even if it means many sleepless nights. 🙂


  3. Brilliant! I’m so happy for you, so glad you won – well done 🙂 !!! Played UNO with my family over Christmas, I think I won once…you don’t need to know how many games we played…. Blessings on your weekend, Harula xxx


    • You’re so funny, Harula. “You don’t need to know how many games we played.” YES ! I do! How many? UNO is addictive, for sure. And I’m also sure that you’re a sweet graceful loser. 🙂


  4. How many times I used to play that game!! Brings back memories. Keep playing Madre!!! Your grandson will always cherish these games you play together.


    • The good thing about UNO is that even if you haven’t played it for many years, it all comes back to you quickly. You should see ‘my guy’ play it with THE CARD SHARK. You’d think they were playing chess at a national competition. Really funny. And as you say, building memories. xo


    • Good point, Paula. I didn’t get to snap the quick bout of disappointment on the ‘card shark’s’ face. But it was really a snap expression, because seconds later we were playing the next round (and he won!)


  5. I so remember those days with my son. I remember writing a post about it several years ago where is very adept powers of persuasion convinced me to stay up past his bedtime so that we could engage in one of our epic games of War.

    I know it sounds cliché, but it’s still appropriate. I don’t remember who won or lost that game, but the memory remains vivid, and I didn’t even have any caffeine to keep my senses at full attention. I think that the experience itself was a natural form of caffeine that has been working its magic several years after its initial consumption – the best kind of caffeine, if you ask me 😉

    Thanks for sharing, Pamela – may the odds be forever in your favor – for creating many more of these priceless memories 😉


    • Ah, WAR, another addictive card game that can keep you playing into the middle of the night. Yes, my little ‘Card Shark’ absolutely loves that game, and the only way I can persuade him to stop after what seems like hours of play is to bring out the big guns – dinner or dessert. 🙂 But yes, Dave, the EXPERIENCE of enjoying a fun game with hoots and hollers, grimaces and shouts of ‘oh noooo,’ is beyond exquisite. As always, I love your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh, yes, my little card shark is never lacking in self-confidence, which is one of the things I love about playing cards with children. They learn (and teach us grown-ups) that we should never stop after losing, but just go on to ‘the next game’ and the win-to-be. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • SIX HOURS!!!! Wow, you guys are serious UNO players. Umm, I think I don’t ever want to play with you. 🙂 Another great place to play cards is when we’re vacationing at your neck of the ‘ocean’. After a day swimming and sunning, nothing better than sprawling on the floor and playing a mean game of UNO.


  6. The big guns win.
    What a challenging card shark. I love he can take a loss and better still, he LET Madre win. 😀
    Kids scare me these days because they’re used to being patted on the head and back and told how wonderful they are even when they’re not. How will they learn to face real life when the time comes? o_O


    • Totally agree, Tess. Playing cards with kids is a good way for them to learn the lesson that they don’t get to ‘win’ each time. That losing happens, and that they need to learn how to take the loss gracefully and then go on to the next game. In the beginning, my little Card Shark (who’s quite competitive, as you can tell) lost with a bad attitude. He learned that no one wanted to play with him then, and now we have a great time together winning AND losing. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • In the beginning, when the ‘card shark’ was younger (like 5), he did take the loses quite personally, and when he won, he’d be quite vocal about how great it was. Now that he’s the ripe old age of 6 1/2, he’s much better at realizing ‘you win some, you lose some,’ and that you display admiration for the other player in both circumstances. 🙂


  7. Kids have to accept that sometimes they can lose at cards. Most times adults let the kids win so they’ll feel good. Then here comes a lesson in real life. But what was he thinking? That he could beat “Madre”? 😉


    • Isn’t it neat how everyone can play UNO? It’s like a good ‘family’ movie that’s not too simple or saccharine-sweet for the adults to watch while the kids love every second. Uno is family friendly from 4 to 94 (and I know that for a fact, since my 90-something mom is a master at it!)


  8. Wow! what excitement…I could sense that through your words Pamela! Grandkids are real fun and I would happily lose each time! My grandchildren are too little to play UNO but this is a nice reminder…I must hone my skills before they reach that stage and yep!! I won’t even need caffeine to give them a good challenge! 🙂
    Thanks for the smiles that your words could evoke.


    • There’s something about card-playing that makes everyone EVEN: parent, child, grandparent, friend. And when the giggling commences, and even the snorts of frustration about a bad card, the memory of that game is a joyful one.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, thanks for the encouragement, Donna. I know hearing about other people’s grandkids can be a bit of a snore, but I love how everyone shares their own experiences with their kids/grandkids. After all, this is what makes a happy life. ❤


  9. Pam, this is brilliant!! 😀😃 Oh, you fight dirty…diet pepsi and the mints, how could you!! lol. Congratulations on the win, Uno is the game of skill! So often when my son was very young I tried so hard to lose often failed but now when older we are equally matched, games as intense as these! Go, Madre, Go!


    • Making me smile, Annika, on a bleary dreary Monday morning. Yes, I made myself lose in the beginning of this pup’s card-learning days. But those passed quickly. Now, if I don’t keep my wits (and my caffeine-high), I lose game after game after game. And it ain’t pretty. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I never played Uno ( at least I don’t remember ) but I played a lot of different games. I used to play dominos with my father in law at the cabin. It was so much fun. Enjoy your games with the grandchildren.


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