After iftar, friends meet over coffee, argileh and a game of cards

02-08-2013 05:54 PM

Ammon News - By Muath Freij/ Jordan Times

AMMAN — While most men look for beautiful, smart women to share their lives with, Mahmmoud Jaser’s is dreaming of someone who knows how to play cards.

“I love this game and I hope I’ll find a woman who already knows how to play it,” the engineer said as he yelled at his friends during a game of cards at a café in west Amman after iftar.

“If she doesn’t know how to play cards, I will teach her, so that I can play my favourite game with my wife,” he told The Jordan Times.

Jaser is one of many Jordanians who are “addicted to the game”, joining their friends at cafés after iftar for a game of cards.

At the café where The Jordan Times interviewed him and other players, around eight out of 10 tables included people playing one card game or another.

“Most café goers play cards at night after iftar because it is an inexpensive outing. It’s also the sort of game you can easily play at home,” added Jaser.

Laith Muthana, a university student, said that many choose to play cards because of the lack of entertainment options in Amman.

“The only thing people can do in Amman is to sit at a café, so we need to do something to pass time while we drink coffee or smoke argileh,” Muthana said as he carefully observed his hand.

“There is nothing better to do than play cards,” he said.

Jaser noted that people of his generation became interested in this game when they noticed that their older relatives play it on a daily basis.

“In the beginning, my relatives used to gather at my parents’ house every other night to play cards, so I became interested in learning this game,” he said.

“Once I learned the rules, I was hooked. Now I play more than they do.”

Although local cafés offer customers other games such as backgammon, the most popular game is cards, noted Naseem Salameh, a private sector employee.

“Older men are interested in backgammon, but younger ones just play cards,” he added.

For engineer Muhannad Abu Hantash, cards keep him on his toes at all times, anticipating his opponent’s next play and planning his moves accordingly.

“You need to concentrate. You have to think carefully before you throw the card.”

He said most card players have their own manoeuvres to alert their partners.

“You hardly hear anyone talking, but players find their own means of communication,” he added.

Jaser said that there are several kinds of card games.

“Most young people like playing trex or tarneeb,” he added.

Tarneeb, a trick-taking card game, involves four players in teams of two, and the goal is to win a set of continuous hands.

Trex is a four-player game that includes four cycles, with each cycle consisting of five games. A cycle is called a “kingdom”, with one player, “the king”, deciding which contract to play in each of the five games.

Although playing cards is synonymous with late nights with friends at cafés, some hardcore players, such as Mohammad Tailakh, take the game with them everywhere they go.

“I’ve downloaded several card game applications on my phone so I can play whenever I want,” the private sector employee said.

Although playing with friends is a way to relax after a long day, some games can “get ugly”, according to Tailakh.

“A lot of fights take place in this game if players are sore losers,” he said.

Ashraf Ghaith, another “cards addict”, agreed.

“Some people throw all their cards on the table and leave in a tantrum if they lose,” he said.

“But for me, it’s all about the thrill of the game; it’s not about winning or losing.”

  • no comments

All comments are reviewed and posted only if approved.
Ammon News reserves the right to delete any comment at any time, and for any reason, and will not publish any comment containing offense or deviating from the subject at hand, or to include the names of any personalities or to stir up sectarian, sectarian or racial strife, hoping to adhere to a high level of the comments as they express The extent of the progress and culture of Ammon News' visitors, noting that the comments are expressed only by the owners.
name : *
show email
comment : *
Verification code : Refresh
write code :