Poker. What a fabulous game indeed. Fantastically easy to understand, too. You see, the aim of the game is to win money by capturing the pot, which contains bets made by various players during a hand. A player wages the bet in hopes that said player has the best hand, or to give the impression that said player holds a strong hand and this can convince his opponents to fold their hands. Did I say ‘easy,’ I meant the hardest game in the history of humankind. Literally makes no sense whatsoever to me. I cannot fathom it at all. It’s like a huge paradox that makes your brain hurt so much that blood starts trickling out of your ear, probably the first stage of the brain desperately trying to flee the human body to escape the problem. In the category of ‘nobody with an IQ of less than 1000 could possibly hope to understand this,’ a prestigious category, poker is right up there, alongside cricket, golf, tennis and rugby, four nuisances I also hate. They would be my own personal five horsemen of the apocalypse. I know it’s normally four, but I don’t think four dudes on horses have much hope of bringing down the world. Heck, even five wouldn’t make much of a dent…
So it begs the question why anyone would want to play a strip version of this game. That is what I shall endeavour to discover. Strip games are fairly common at parties, and usually involve more than one player. If not, it’s just a lonely guy in his house slowly undressing, all for an audience of one. In said strip games, players are required to remove an item of clothing when someone loses a hand, points, or somehow fails to come out ahead. Almost any game can be adapted to a version involving stripping. Almost. Not all. I don’t think there’s such a thing as strip snooker. God help you if you hit the wrong balls…
Strip blackjack is also common. Oh, hang on, I have six horsemen of the apocalypse now. Music box. Apparently, in this, you pass around a wind up music box until it stops and then off come the socks. Yakyuken, the most popular strip game in Japan. Apparently. Think rock-paper-scissors with stripping. Strip noughts and crosses. Probably. Strip… twister? Oh, God. Oh, please no. People actually… oh, I think I’m going to be sick. There’s even strip Scrabble. That sounds like a fun way to liven up Scrabble, huh? I don’t know how this one works, but I imagine it involves a shit load of port and brandy.
Items of clothing keep getting removed until only one player is left standing, the one with any clothes still on. It is an unwritten rule that anyone can pull out if they feel uncomfortable. Funny, I thought that happened after the game…
Women are at an advantage here as they wear more clothing than men do. Bras, tights… erm, girdles. Do women wear girdles? I’m not entirely sure what one is, if I’m being honest. But this is what I’d do if I were playing strip poker. “What? I always wear 20 coats…”
The home of strip poker is New Orleans, and came around not long after the original poker was created in the 19th century. Around three days. Give or take five days. It’s believed it was created in brothels, clearly by people failing to understand the purpose of brothels is already nudity. The story goes that horny gamblers who had already gone broke from being a bit shit at poker wanted to keep playing but had nothing left to gamble but their clothes. I don’t really know how this would work. Unless the poker player in question won and then took home a bunch of stranger’s clothes. That’s kind of a win, right? “Honey, I got you a bra for your birthday…” “Oh, how nice! Where’d you get it from, honey?” “Erm…”
Of course, because this was the olden days, outside of brothels, only all male or all female groups played strip poker. Mixing it up between the genders only became commonplace during the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s because everyone was depressed and needed cheering up, and thus people thought, ‘Boobs! They’ll cheer us all up since we never see them because we don’t have the internet yet…’
Strip poker remained a bawdry underground form of entertainment until the second half of the 20th century, when it entered mainstream culture. It was seen everywhere, from computer games, to movies, to music videos, to television programmes. One of the most famous depictions came in the 1979 movie, ‘The Wanderers,’ which involved young gangsters playing the game with their girlfriends. That’s crossing a line, surely. I mean, really, who wants to see their best friend’s gal naked, apart from every man on Earth? Hang on, did I say that aloud? Drat.
The 1970s also gave us Dieter Eckhardt who designed the first strip poker computer game, using the computers of an astronomical observatory, as you do. I know, a German. An actual German! Golly, I thought they never took their clothes off…
Come the digital age of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, online and video strip games became the new fad, like speakeasies during the Great Depression or strip poker during the Great Depression. Digital stripping became a whole new industry. Sadly. Popular online strip games also include strip pool, strip darts, strip hangman and even strip mahjong. Strip darts, eh? Better be a good aim.
So why do people do this? All these stripping game shenanigans. To create a fun and frivolous atmosphere, probably. To bring friends together. To heighten the sexual atmosphere by creating sexual excitement. To titillate and excite. To make poker more interesting, although I don’t think the same can be said of strip cricket. Nothing can make cricket interesting. Strip games are something few do, yet it’s something you can’t ignore.
I have never done this or indeed any strip game, like most humans, and therefore, that makes me normal. Nudity is private. It’s not to be shared. It’s intimate. For you and your eyes only, or for you and your partner’s eyes only, but let’s face it, I’m never gonna have one of those. I don’t get all this ‘it’s part of growing up.’ You know what else people put on that list? Smoking. Bad for you. Drinking. Bad for you. Drugs. Bad for you. Sexual experimentation. Fair enough. These things shouldn’t be part of growing up. I never did any of them and I turned out normal. What happened to the world, eh? Young people used to roll marbles down cobbled streets and now they’re playing strip marbles with a healthy dollop of schnapps. I presume young people drink schnapps. Port? Anyway, this isn’t normal, people!
That said, people can do what they like, no matter how unbelievably weird it makes them. Just let it be said that next time you engage in a spot of strip anything, just think of me wagging my finger in disapproval.
Strip games are very naughty indeed…
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