It could have been an average night in Atlantic City for Barney Stinson and his motley crew of hopeless romantics in season two, episode eight of How I Met Your Mother. But it wasn’t. Barney was constantly running into mysterious Chinese business men. It wasn’t until Marshall and Lily decided to get married by a crusty old sea captain that demanded $5,000 that the truth behind the mysterious Chinese business men was revealed.
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Barney confessed to being a hopeless gambler back in the day and that the Chinese business men were actually his old gambling buddies. They used to play a mysterious (and fictional) game called Xíng háishì bùxíng. Barney assures his lovesick comrades that he can easily win them the $5,000 they need to get married by the scurvy riddled sea captain if they just give him all the money they have so he can play xíng háishì bùxíng.
Things get weird when the game gets under way. The game seats four people at a Hold’Em table and consists of cards, dice, domino tiles, the Big Wheel, switching seats with other players, three bikini clad models and a jelly bean.
The rules of the game seem to be lost on the majority of the gathered crowd. It’s confusing as hell to see: it’s like visual gibberish. The game seemed harder to follow and learn than Chinese algebra.
Other hard games to learn
With a plethora of betting options and odds so complex it will leave you cross eyed, it is easy to see why Craps is a hard game to learn. It shouldn’t be though, in theory there are just two dice to contend with, that’s it. But any game that requires up to three dealers and a floor manager to operate at a bricks and mortar casino clearly has some tricky aspects about it.
Pai Gow was once described to me as a mix between baccarat and poker played with domino tiles instead of cards and all of the terminology and calls in the game are in Mandarin. Everything about this game makes me think it’s harder than a honey-mooner’s wedding tackle.
Top three gambling scenes in TV Shows
This scene in How I Met Your Mother is just of many great gambling scenes given to us by our great friend and life partner: television.
30 Rock, Season One, Episode Three
This whole episode revolves around eccentric boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) trying to bond and exert his power over his new employees by joining them in a friendly game of poker until he is bested by the office simpleton. The best scene of the show though is during the first friendly game of the episode with a pot consisting of an Emmy award, a diamond studded neck-chain and Pete Hornberger’s wedding ring. Donaghy casually peels off some notes to match the pot and wins with three Jacks.
Hornberger quickly sinks into a terror sickness at the thought of having lost his wedding ring in a game of poker.
Any poker game with a pile of cash, an Emmy and a wedding ring in the pot is a game worth watching.
The Sopranos, Season Three, Episode 12
At the end of this episode a young up and comer, Jackie Aprile Jnr and his rag-tag crew of misfits decide to rob a Mafia run poker game. Aprile Jnr and two of his friends enter the game wearing balaclava’s and waving guns around while a fourth friend waits in the getaway car out front.
As soon as they burst in on the game things start to go pear-shaped as one of the guys playing cards is a friend of theirs, Chris Moltisanti. An old timer at the table keeps spouting off old turns of phrase and the three would-be robbers are startled when another man unknowingly walks into the room. A volley of shots follows in an intense gun fight that sees one of the robbers and the old timer killed.
At the first sound of shots the getaway driver peels off, leaving the hapless crew stranded. Only Jackie Aprile Jnr manages to make it out alive.
Got to love a poker game that ends in a gun fight. Classic.
Friends, Season Five, Episode 24
This episode see’s the gang in Las Vegas. Monica and Chandler find themselves in the grip of an astounding run on the Craps table.
With every roll of the dice they are escalating: promising to buy everyone at the table a steak dinner, then promising to buy themselves the biggest room in the casino before it comes down to Monica needing to roll a hard eight. Chandler says, “You roll another hard eight, and we get married!”
Monica then accidentally makes a foul roll, hurling one of the dice off the table in the end, rolling a hard eight.
Nothing more romantic than a marriage proposal spouting from a roll of the dice.
Most strange games at online Casinos
Obviously there are some more peculiar games out there on the market. So here are some of the more unique ones available. To me, both of the following online casino games seem as though they were devised by kids and handed to mathematicians to weaponise into bonafide gambling games.
Red Dog Progressive
At first this seems like a very odd game indeed. The layout boasts a points table drawn onto the playing table itself.
You are dealt two cards face up initially. From there you will receive a third card face down. The aim of the game is for your third card to be in between the difference of your first two cards. For example, if your first two cards were a two and a Queen, then to win, your third card would need to be between a three to Jack.
During this game the dealer initially rolls three dice and your aim is to roll those same three dice in as many as three rolls. If you manage to roll the same values as the dealer in the first spin you win with odds of 8/1, if you make the dealers hand on your second roll you get 7/5 and on your third roll you get odds of 1/2.
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