Never Underestimate The Power Of Bunco

by Kevin Burton

   We seek for signs that normal is returning. We seek them individually. Your heart-warming milestone may leave me totally cold.

   Dismissing the current threat of the virus is a fool’s ploy, despite all the progress. On that I want to be perfectly clear.

   But the tide just may be turning. How do I know this, what evidence would I present? Again, your world is different from mine. But one sign is unmistakable to me.

   Bunco is back.

   I used to call bunco a scourge, until a real scourge hit the world. Have we gotten to the place where bloggers can use the word scourge playfully again?

   And, do you even know what bunco is?

   You could google it, find out how to play it, where and when it started. But don’t waste your time.  Here is all the definition you need:

   Bunco is poker for women.  It’s a dice game. It’s an excuse for women to get together in dangerously-high concentrations, to eat, talk real loud, gossip, plot and plan.

   Bunco lacks the cigar smoke and high-stakes cash payoffs of a men’s poker gathering. Bunco has prizes such as little sets of bowls, canisters or music boxes. It’s a shade or two nicer than garage sale stuff.

    But there are some similarities to poker, and guys, you need to pay attention.

    My wife plays this game. I know what I’m talking about.

   So you’ve got eight women at close quarters, talking. Guys, what do you think they are talking about?  Quebec separatism? Flood insurance? Bitcoin?

   Uh, no, no and no. They are talking about men. And if your wife or girlfriend is in the group, that means you. 

   You men who are dating, maybe you’re getting serious. You better find out what her hobbies are – all of them.  If bunco is among them you better have a plan.

   If we could be sure rolling of dice, ringing of bells and yelling was all that was going on that would be one thing. 

   But there are serious discussions going on there. There is plotting, scheming. 

   You have your tricks, your means of getting your way and making it all look loving and fair? Think of it this way, your wife is thinking, working to undo everything you have painstakingly put together, but now she has seven accomplices. 

   My wife’s group has nothing but intelligent, professional women. You can tell by the way they all got vaccinated.

   Do I stand a chance?

   So the other day my wife’s phone starts emitting these sounds, like the roar of distant drums.  They grew louder and more insistent but I didn’t heed the warning. My guard was down. Why? Last year the ladies didn’t play bunco.

   How soon I forget.  Now opening night is looming.

   When Jeannette first explained her bunco group thing, I thought it benign enough. She’s gone for a couple of hours on a Thursday night. Thursday night is an NFL night. Not a bad way to go.

   But then I realized. These women take turns hosting bunco.  Jeannette gets a turn hosting. That means I get a turn whether I like it or not.  

   This is a whole other terror.

   When my cat Mex was alive she was a considerable comfort to me, never more so than on bunco night when Jeannette was hosting.

   I would always sneak some ham off the dinner platter for Mex and me. We would then hide under the bed downstairs, our bunco bunker, eating our ham, biding our time. Mex had the advantage because she could go to the bathroom without going upstairs. 

    Eight women at bunco. Such screaming you have never heard.  But the silences were even worse. What were they talking about?

   Now I’m listening, not listening, listening, not listening. Mex is smirking.

    When we heard the squealing of the hinges on the front door we’d look at each other. The door closes, then silence. We hold our breath, counting, one, two, three four….

   Safe to come out? Exhale.

   But what kind of world would we emerge into. Mex had nothing much to fear. But I did and still do.

   And guys, you will never know right away what these women have been plotting. These things don’t emerge until juuuust the right time. When that time comes, you better have your wits about you.

   So it all begins again. I have Sept. 9 on my calendar listed as “bunco, away.”  Don’t know when Jeannette is hosting. Will I have my new kitten by then, or must I go it alone?

   Tell me, is there a bunco support group for men, or should I take up poker?

Join the Conversation


  1. Hi Kev. Making me laugh again! I wanted to tell you about something I have noticed on your facebook posts, and don’t know if its just me and my phone or if others using voice over also experience this. The only thing that is spoken is what seens to be a description of a picture like for example black and white text or pink and blue mountains under a bright sky. I get your posts by email so I can read them always anyway, but didn’t know if anyone else had ever told you anything like this before. Always enjoy your posts. Have great weekend. Deb



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