The Man Who Loses

9 Mar 2018

English Corner October

Robin Yu, MA student, Department of English │ ISSUE72 Oct 2017 MyUM

The Man Who Loses

When I walk into Lisboa, I feel on my back a gust of breeze from the sea. It reeks of soil and grass after a whole day of rain. When the night falls, all lights are on. Other than Lisboa, I have never gambled at any other casino in Macao, not even Venetian or Galaxy. They surely are grand, but they are too big for me. I like to hear all the sounds made by a mob of players trapped in a small space so that I can timely take heed of every change. And most importantly, Lisboa is my lucky casino – I only play baccarat here. It is not like Black Jack where one can win through one’s speedy card counting. When I play baccarat, I understand that I am wrestling with the law of chance. Baccarat will make one superstitious and I like it when I am that way . I don’t frequent this casino, because I know it takes a long time to recover my luck after it runs out. Usually I visit Lisboa once every two or three months and I always win. Yet tonight I am here to lose. I realise that my life acquires certain meanings sometimes by losing, not by winning.

I grip my gaming chips and pick a table where a banker has got lucky. I take a seat in the middle, with another four players on either side of me, and I lay on the table the chips that are equal to MOP 200,000, hoping that I can lose it once and for all. I have never gamed so handsomely before. The banker displays his score shortly after he deals cards to e very player. ‘Still nine points’, I hear one player on my left utter his complaint. I know I am definitely going to lose all m y chips. When I turn my three cards over, I take a glimpse at them: three poker faces smiling at me.


gust: a strong current of air

reek: to give off smoke, fumes, warm vapour, steam, etc.

grip: to hold tightly in one’s hand

superstitious: showing ignorance or the laws of nature and having faith in ma gic or chance

handsomely: generously

take a glimpse: to take a brief or quick look.


Contributions to this column are from the Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

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