My cousin won $10,000. Shouldn't he buy me a drink?

Chris Pace for Bundle
Shortly after Christmas, my cousin won $10,000 in an online poker tournament. We had plans to go out later that night, and my cousin didn't even offer to buy a round. I play poker every Friday, and when I win, I usually stop at my local watering hole and buy a round for the regulars. How can someone win $10,000 and not even buy a round of drinks for his family and friends? Am I expecting too much?

You're obviously well-steeped in the gambler's code of honor. Buying a round of drinks is a generous way to spend a portion of your winnings, and probably fun for you as well — when you draw a royal flush, the whole bar celebrates. I bet every guy in that joint is rooting for you, whatever that's worth in karma.

Still, "generous" is the key word. Your gesture is meaningful because it's not a command performance, or one you're making in exchange for something else. It's voluntary — and it's far from the only thoughtful or reasonable way to handle an unexpected windfall. Another person might give money to disaster relief, tithe it to the church, pay off his student loans, buy his kids sneakers, or take his sweetheart out for dinner. Even the guy who uses it to go on vacation to Bali or buys a lifetime supply of Junior Mints has his reasons.

In other words, just because you would spring for drinks doesn't mean you can expect the same of your cousin. He has his own plans for the money, presumably, and be they thoughtful or frivolous, it's his money. Just because you tend to be generous in the same situation, that doesn't make his behavior rude. And hey, maybe he's using it for a World Series of Poker buy-in, and once he wins there, he'll buy you guys TWO round of drinks. Only time will tell.

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