A modern day drama that is a box office hit, God of Gamblers is a Chinese movie that depicts the life of Chinese gamblers, the life-threatening risks they take and the way they rise above the rest to become the most sought after players in the world. Directed by Chow Yun-Fen, the film has received a warm critical acclaim. The movie is a mixture of thrilling martial arts and gambling climaxes that leaves you breathless. Although the movie is full of action, it does not have any real fighting sequences and is more of an overall plot based movie. The movie tells the story of Chow Yun-Fen (Chow), a once well to do businessman who suffers a life-changing stroke that changes his life forever.
In order to compensate for his disability, he accepts the fortune that one of his gambler’s friends gives him, which consists of 200 pieces of a very rare Chinese chocolate. Though this may seem like a small fortune, given the poverty of his background, he must use all of his earnings to pay off his debts and help pay for his injured friend’s surgery. However, having no skill in the gambling arena, he must rely on his wit and sharp instincts to outwit those who have been playing the game against him. The fate of the fortune also rests on the loyalty and good conscience of the ‘odditor,’ who refuses to hand over the fortune to the ‘Gambling Genius,’ which makes for an intriguing and poignant anti-hero character.
In the Chinese tradition, gamblers are said to have the ‘God-given’ talent to be able to predict the future and create an opportunity to come out on top. This ability is said to stem from an innate gambling state known as the “pocket state.” Gamblers are said to enter their casino games with such a state, where they feel as if they are in a childlike state of mind, where there is no real pressure or stress, but only a clear and fluid mentality. This allows them to let their minds wander and be swept up by the strange sensations that they are experiencing in their games, which may include strange visions and feelings of anxiety and excitement.
For the gambler who is able to tap into his subconsciousness and tap into his ‘supernatural’ resources, winning is just not that hard. The key to winning here is to know how to distract the ‘gambling genius’ and win on the ‘card’ table, where gamblers claim to have such’supernatural powers’ to predict the future. One such method is to pretend to lose on the ‘card’ table, so that he (the gambler) can come out of the game with more money. The player then goes on to explain that he does not have the skills to play the ‘card’ properly, but with a little practice, he will learn to do so. The gambler believes that his ‘supernatural’ powers are going to give him the edge and he will walk away a winner!
Another way that this works for the inexperienced gambler is to go for the high stakes, ie the really big stakes. These gamblers go to the river in a big group, so that if one person falls out, the whole group falls out with a hefty sum to split. They then use their expertise in the art of bluffing to get everyone to drop out. The trick is to take all the fun-fat, (chocolates in Chinese), and to have a few pieces left for luck.
A less-hyped, and more common sense way for the inexperienced gambler to walk away a winner is to go for the nuts. This is when gamblers bet chunks of the money on a single hand or, as the Chinese call it, the ‘jelly’ hand. The Chinese believe that this hand has many knives, each pointing in a different direction. The nuts are the many knives, and the jelly hands are the cards that hold the money.
For example, there are thirteen needles pointing in a horizontal line, which represents betting on one of the four ‘legs’ on the hand. If you win this hand, you get all of the needles (even the ones that point in the opposite direction!) but no money. You are in trouble if this holds up for the entire time. Many professional gamblers will use the knife strategy, and they often walk away with sizable winnings from such a short hold.
Of course, there is another way that the God of gamblers may use his powers to walk away with a win. If the gambler is a devout worshiper of the Golden Rule, he may choose to hold back and not reveal all his moves. Many of the ‘house rules’ for gambling prohibit showing everyone your cards, and for good reason. However, if the gambler is truly honest and loyal, he will probably reveal every move that he makes to the designated bettor. This strategy, used correctly, can mean big profits for many avid gamblers, especially those who live in a fast-paced and highly stressful gambling atmosphere.