Many expats living in places without extensive entertainment options love playing games for fun. Poker and other card games are especially popular, as well as trivia nights at public places, board game nights hosted at expats’ homes, golf outings, and video game marathons. They’re fun diversions from the norm, particularly when “fun” activities such as the theater, sporting events, or (jazz/disco) clubs are few and far between.
Game nights are a great way to get together with your friends and colleagues and socialize in a competitive atmosphere. Still, I’m a contrarian when it comes to competitive game playing. I would rather channel my competitive energy and enthusiasm into something more financially lucrative. While I enjoy socializing and joining acquaintances at an occasional get together, I’ve never really had much of an interest in playing games on a recurring basis. I often prefer to take the money and time I would have spent on the activity and invest or donate it. I once suggested starting an investment club with someone who enjoyed playing poker. They liked the idea but opted to put down $40 a night on a chance to rake in $200 or lose it all. Personally, I would rather spend the four hours and $40 I would have spent gambling and invest it in the stock market. The odds of success are better, and the returns tend to outperform those of game nights.
Although I do enjoy socializing and occasionally participating in a game night, I usually weigh the cost and benefit and then decide whether I want to spend an evening’s worth of precious time playing games. Other activities often take priority and have a much higher return.