A Tale of Two Satties

Two rooms. A wall separating them. And a door. And through one side, a game of poker, through the other, another game. One time zone. Two gaming arenas. Well, we won’t bore you with filters like one of the rooms was dingy, the other one was lit; like one room had soft, soothing music, and the other loud, chirpy beats; like one room was floored with carpet, the other one was cool, hard granite floor; like one room had a calmer tone, while the other one had a more vibrant one.

We didn’t plan to use these fillers, but we just did. Subtle, right?

Anyway, as you’d have figured by now, there were two live events taking place on either side of the wall. The door was witness to both the games.

The blinds weren’t too high. Rs. 50-100. Buy-in was Rs. 2,000. But there was no dealer, per se. The dealer was the next person, clockwise. And cards were dealt on a table lined with beer cans on the edge. And there were pizzas on a side table. It was getting cold, but fun was more important than pizza that day.

These young men in jeans and tees, and open shirts with the top button undone, and sleeves rolled up sat next to each other around a wooden table with a glass top. The cards glided well on glass. That’s all they could expect out of a hundred bucks worth of a deck of cards: plastic, nonetheless.

There were stories being told. Stories of a few days that past in the absence of each other. Stories, of good times. And justifications on why the others weren’t part of those stories. And there were plans being made. As happens when a good amount of beer sits in the stomach. And there were words of much profundity. Just kidding, it was nothing more than crass words in crass language. We would have included a joint too, but we have a family audience.

But the game of poker they played was more fun than competition. It was more about playing, than winning money. It was more about beating to show their own prowess, or skill, than to beat another. The showing-off was also mediocre.

And then there was kera game of high blinds: Rs. 10,000-20,000/-. No limit Texas Hold ‘Em. A bunch of middle-aged men sat around a green felt table, with markings as to where the cards should be kept. They were of the same age. But it would be better to call them middle-aged, than young. And crystal glasses with Scotch glistened on the polished table edge.

There were anecdotes being shared. And tales, rather boasts of their last winnings, and last tournament played were audible. And travels. Exotic destinations and high roll games. About women. About properties around the world that the men had acquired, or had their eyes on. Boats, huge yachts and spacious jets, and luxury watches, with precious stones studded by master craftsmen, auctions and paintings. There was a lot that each had to say, but quite less that the other wished to hear.

And then there was poker. Oh, what a game they played! Cut-throat, with the intention of leaving the opponents with an empty stack. It didn’t matter to anyone around, if their stack had any money. They could just re-buy. As against teasing the other players, they were engaged in table talks, and provocation. Men in tuxedos, claiming their superiority with a deck of fifty-two cards.

On one side of the door, there was a game of not so rich men playing poker together. On the other side was a high-rollers game of poker among corporate hot-shots. On one side of the door, was poker played amongst friends, on the other, business rivals. On one side, was a real game of poker, on the other, a real game of poker. And that’s the difference between a rich man’s poker, and a poor man’s poker.



Ankit Malhotra

Ankit Malhotra is an erstwhile practising advocate and an active poker enthusiast. He is professionally a content consultant, who happens to be a published poet as well.