Wednesday, May 21, 2008


A blonde moment at the Empire

The Empire Casino is probably my favourite place to play poker in London. It has a good mix of players - Less dickhead cityboys and WPT wannabes than the Gutshot and less grumpy old men than the Vic. Plus it's pretty central, which is always a bonus.

Usually there is a wide variety of the standard of play. Ranging from the sublime, the the SAG (sick Asian gambler) to to the ridiculous (people who don't know the rules of poker). Of course at the weekend the casino gets packed, you are more likely get the latter.

One Friday night at the £1/£2 cash table there was the usual mix of regulars, internet kids and tourists grinding it away. The time charge for the table is £6 per hour and it's a self deal table so progress can sometimes be slow. Things perk up when a very scantily clad blonde girl walks up to the table and coquettishly asks "Hey boys, can I play with you?"

Of course, this perks the table up no end because the girl is extremely good looking and it becomes immediately apparent she has no idea how to play poker. Jackpot!

We play for about ten hands, and after winning a small pot early (to much congratulations from the table), she's called off all of her money. After several consolations of "unlucky love" from the table, she reloads - much to their delight. Of course, the same happens again - her stack dwindles down and she ends up calling the rest off with fourth pair against a young nervous looking Asian guy who flopped a set and ended up raking in a pot of about £120.

Now this is where the fun begins. The femme-fish looks in her purse and discovers she's out of cash. Fixing the winner of the previous pot with her best flirty look, she says "Could you lend me some of my money back so I can carry on playing?", battering her eyelashes and smiling for effect.

Now dear reader, the cold hearted poker machine that I am, I'd like to think that I would be able to resist the financial advances of this admittedly attractive lady - but this slightly nervous Asian kid looked like a rabbit in the headlights and didn't really stand a chance. Soon, and perhaps inevitably, he passed four £5 chips across the table to her.

It was at this moment that the Poker Room manager chose to come over to our table and ask for the £6 table charge. The usual grumbling ensued but everyone put in their six quid until it came to the blonde girl, who protested that she only had £20 and hadn't even won anything. But the Poker Room manager at the Empire has a heart of steel beneath his brown suit and was not to be denied.

After two or three minutes of begging and pleading the blonde girl soon realised that her feminine wiles could not charm and conquer casino charges. And with that she put on her jacket, picked up her bag and stomped (as much as you can stomp in 4" stilletos) out of the poker room. Of course she took the four £5 chips with her, before our money lender had the chance to protest, leaving him open mouthed and shaking his head ruefully.

"I've always said women are the rake of life" quipped a grizzled older man sitting to my left, his tone and weathered face suggesting he was speaking from bitter experience.

"Lol Blondaments" I replied.

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