Friday, 2 April 2010

Gung Hay Fat Choy

It’s the evening of Chinese New Year and I’m taking my chances in a shorthanded 30/60 game at the Oaks Club. The only reason I’m in this game is the middle aged Chinese megafish to my right and the fact there is no 15/30 game running tonight. The rest of the table seems pretty solid, though not without leaks.

To celebrate Chinese New Year the card room is running an all you can eat Chinese buffet and the line snakes around the lobby. It’s unclear to me how one goes about getting a ticket for the buffet, but they are hot property and are being traded around the poker floor like cigarettes in a prison.

A man painted orange and with loads of orange balloons attached to him ambles around the room, not sure of what he is expected to do. I assume he is supposed to be a tiger, as this is the year of the tiger, but to me he looks like a man painted orange who is waiting for his shift to finish. A little later he accidently pops one of his balloons, causing the old man on the next table to me to almost have a heart attack.

As I take an open seat at the 30/60 table I realise that getting my chips tonight could be a slow process even though it isn’t a busy night.

The job of the chip runner is to take the money from the player at the table and exchange it for chips as quickly as possible. Different games require different denominations and combinations of chips and it is important for them to do the job fast so the action is not held up at the tables whilst players are waiting.

Tonight the chip runner is a lady wearing dark classes and it immediately becomes clear to me that she has some degree of colour blindness. I’m not one to discriminate but I would suggest that a job involving different colours of chips is not the ideal one for someone who is colour blind. She does her job correctly, though slowly and to my surprise the players generally give her a break and don’t moan about waiting for their chips.

Back at the table I go on an insane run and am up almost $3,000 within 90 minutes. Inevitably things turn around and I proceed to lose most of this over the next several hours. I feel like I played ok but for sure made some mistakes and had better ways I could have played certain hands. Such is the nature of poker.

At the table the discussion turns to poker and relationships. A hipster looking guy who is a good player says he keeps meticulous records of all his profits and losses so he can show his wife. Another guy says he doesn’t tell his wife about his wins or his losses at all.

As the conversation continues, the first guy confesses to having some troubles in his marriage of late that have coincided with his recent good run at the poker table. “But I thought your marriage was going well?” enquires someone across the table, “so did I!” he replies. It should also be worth pointing out that tonight is February 14th as this year Chinese New Year coincides with Valentine’s Day.

Meanwhile there is controversy brewing over at the buffet, where it emerges that one guy has been stacking his plate with food and taking it out to his waiting wife in the car park. It’s unclear how many plates he’s taken, but he clearly been able to outwit the Oaks’ security staff and smuggle out a significant quantity of spring rolls in the process.

So that concludes my time at The Oaks. My only regret is that I didn’t cash out when I was $3,000 up. Maybe then there would also have been some food left when I finally got to the buffet.

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