Luck’s Not Always a Lady


Luck’s Not Always a Lady

Illustration: Namaah


y the time the boat dropped me off at the floating Casino Royale in Goa, it was already dark. I went straight to the poker room. Its familiar odour of humans trapped in an air-conditioned room for hours on end, reminded me of how magnificently I’d lost the last time I was here. The hangover of the loss followed me to the table. As I sat down to play, something seemed off. I got up. As a professional poker player, you have no choice but to learn to trust your instinct.

Downstairs, the roulette wheel felt hot. I opened with ten grand, all on straight-up bets – 2, 9, 19, 29, 32, 36. The numbers came to me as if transmitted from the universe. I watched as the white ball did its manic whirl. The exact moment that it nestled into the groove at 36, I looked up from the table. A woman in a green sari with a delicate collarbone had just arrived. Of all the boats in the world, this perfect 36 had to come aboard mine.