Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Racism and Poker...

First things first, a tidbit of useless information. The Seattle International airport, only 2.5
Breakfast of Champions
miles from my house, offers a wake up call at 5:30am which is a boisterous rumble that occurs when the first plane takes off.  I usually hit snooze and fall back to sleep, but this morning I got up. A couple of the neighborhood raccoon's happened to stroll by the front porch just as I walked past the living room window, so I grabbed my camera and a handful of cat food. 
This morning I would like to share the interesting going on's of working in a casino. Having dealt poker for over 9 years, I've seen it all from bottles broken over people's heads to individuals drunk enough to vomit on themselves. Although, at times, not the most glamorous job, the players make it worth it. Seeing the same faces day in and and day out make for a Cheers-like environment. One where, sing it with me, "everybody knows your name" dah dah dah dah dah dah dah. It's a dysfunctional family, for sure, but a family just the same. Many times there will be nine people seated around the poker table before me and not one is the same race - Cambodian, Vietnamese, Russian, Mexican, French, Laotian, Chinese, Korean, and Caucasian - just to name a few. Caucasian's are a minority in this Asian dominated casino, making my nickname, along with a few Caucasian waitresses  "white girl." You may think with all the cultural differences, conflicts stemming from dissimilar beliefs and lifestyles occur frequently, however I've only seen a couple instances, and even during those times, the rest of the players banded together against the prejudiced individual. 

I waize!
Here's a snapshot and a glimpse of what life in a poker family is like: An older alcoholic white lady, who talks like a baby, wants to "waize" (raise) the amount of the bet. The Vietnamese man next to her, dressed up like an army general on an African safari, is upset because she won't shut up and quit calling him "buttacup," all the while looking at me to stop her from talking, which I can't. The Cambodian man to my left is poking me in the side with his finger in a not-so-soft manner in order to let me know his cards would have won and that it is my fault he folded. The other Vietnamese man, two seats to his left, is calling the Russian on the table "mastah" (master) because the Russian is such a good player and that he, the Vietnamese man, is only a "risky," which doesn't make any sense. Soon after, I figure out he meant rookie and not "risky."  At this point, the white baby talking lady and the Vietnamese man are hugging. It will go on like this all night. But, alas, my shift is over and it's time to go home and prepare to do it all over again the next day.  The moral of today's story? When a happily dysfunctional family are betting large sums of cash, there's no room for racism.