Dominos and Spades in the Federal Prison Camp

Besides watching TV, playing dominos and a card game known as spades is the next favorite among the inmates to pass the time away. These 2 games are played every night and finding partners and other inmates to play is no problem.

When it comes to which game is most favored and popular by the inmates, well there is no debate and dominos is always the winner. I have seen people play dominos from the time they wake up between breakfast and work details, playing during their lunch break and every other opportunity that comes available. Yes, it’s that addicting.

As a kid I always thought of dominos as a wooden toy block you just stood next to each other and watch them fall down. What an education I received in the prison camp. The energy and enthusiasm that surrounds this simple game is one of the most challenging as inmates show their skills as well as pride of winning. The competition is that fierce, even to the point of some inmates leaving the table filled with anger but not at the other inmate’s but of themselves for making a bad play.

Now spades is more on the relaxed side of playing and usually only played in the evening before bedtime. It’s a time inmate’s play to get to know each other, similar to people going to friends houses to fellowship. For a brief couple of hours or so inmates escape the prison life, with snacks and laughter surrounding the table they would enjoy each others company without a thought of their circumstances. Praise God, for a time of peace.

Another exciting thing about these two popular games was during the holidays. It was a time when the inmates with the support of the BOP recreation department would organize tournaments. This friendly competition brought every inmate out of their shell, players and spectators. Inmates would pair up for the first time making new friendship and the trust of others for a chance to win the prize provided by the BOP recreation department which was usually items from the commissary. So with the sound of shuffling cards, the rattle and drop of dominos the games were played to all hours of the day and evening then ultimately the winners prevailed.

Playing these two easy games was like a ray of hope and by waiting for the next opportunity also brought them closer to their release dates, which was the ultimate prize where every body was a winner.


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