The Mott Street Poker Club
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The Mott Street Poker Club

 

A Great Game

The Club Goes out in a Blaze of Glory

 

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THE now permanent defection of Mr. Gin-Sing, whose spouse thereafter kept him under lock and key, reduced the active membership of the Mott Street Poker Club in such a degree that an accession of new blood was manifestly necessary. Various plans were proposed and discussed, and it was finally decided to increase the active membership of the Club to a dozen, all new members to pay an initiation fee, to be devoted to the furnishing of a club room. Upon this basis the Club was reorganized and recommenced operations on a larger scale, and with a wider scope of usefulness, Mr. Hong-Lung officiating as President, Mr. Lee-Tip as Treasurer and Mr. Hop-Sam as Curator of the Club’s property.

Under this arrangement, Mr. Hong-Lung and Mr. Lee-Tip calculated that within a calender year they would able to retire to their villas at Pekin, with about all the floating cash of the Chinese colony of New York for invested capital.

As for Mr. Hop-Sam, being of a volatile and unreflecting nature, he appeared to be perfectly satisfied with the duty of doing all the work about the Club house and the privilege of taking a hand in the games and losing his money to any one who chose to win it.

Among the duties that fell to Mr. Hop-Sam as curator was the purchase of the supplies of cards. In the execution of this duty he entered a Nassau Street shop one afternoon and demanded of the spruce clerk:

“You sabbe calds playee polkel with?”

“Certainly,” replied the clerk.

“Sabbe him calds havee marks on him?”

“Sure winners?” asked the clerk, winking; “you bet.”

Mr. Hop-Sam grinned, and that evening the Club was well stocked with advantage cards, whose marks had been carefully explained to Mr. Hop-Sam by the obliging salesman.

From that time forth Mr. Hop-Sam’s luck at the cards was quite prodigious. He appeared to be possessed of a charm, and it speedily became whispered through the Club that he had entered into a pact with the superior powers, in virtue of which he could not lose. Wun-Lung, the tea-merchant from Park Street, refused positively to enter the lists with him, and Sin-Tip, the grocery man, another of the new members, resigned from the Club after losing forty-seven games in succession to the redoubtable curator. Mr. Hong-Lung and Mr. Lee-Tip, whose estimation of their old associate was of the lowest order, regarded his luck as a mere freak, however, and after a conference as to ways and means, resolved to bring their superior science to bear to crush him once and forever, and rend his spoil from him.

Mr. Hop-Sam awaited his doom with the calm confidence of conscious innocence. After several preliminary bouts, extending through as many evenings, in which his old luck held to him, the great game was finally reached.

Mr. Hong-Lung had mortgaged his cigar-stand in order to provide funds to meet the superior accumulated capital of their intended victim, and Mr. Lee-Tip had imposed a similar lien upon his wash-house. The momentousness of the occasion brought the Club out in force, and the battle of the giants was watched with entranced interest, varied with dishes of tea and whiffs of cabbage tobacco by way of nervines.

Mr. Hong-Lung opened the game with confidence and a king full. He took the pot and the Club took a dish of tea all around.

Mr. Lee-Tip captured the next pot on a handsome suit of four aces dealt him by Mr. Hong-Lung, and the Club treated itself to a fresh allowance of cabbage-leaf.

Mr. Hop-Sam remained as cool as a fresh cabbage-leaf itself and rattled the money in his pocket.

Out of the next five hands Mr. Hop-Sam gathered in only one pot. Triumph glowed in the eyes of Mr. Hong-Lung, and Mr. Lee-Tip hummed a Chinese love song as he shuffled for the new deal.

The excitement in the audience was intense, and the tea vanished like dish-water down a sink-hole.

On the tenth hand Mr. Hop-Sam again won and Mr. Hong-Lung made the eleventh a jack pot.

Mr. Hop-Sam, who had the deal, won it, and Mr. Hong-Lung and Mr. Lee-Tip looked disgusted.

Mr. Lee-Tip made another jack-pot on his own deal.

Mr. Hop-Sam won it.

Mr. Hong-Lung wiped the perspiration from his brow, dealt himself four kings and an ace, and calmly raised the pile till every dollar he and Mr. Lee-Tip owned was on the table. The Club quivered with ecstatic interest. Mr. Hop-Sam smiled and took the pot.

* * * * * * *

The police reported that it was the hottest fight Mott Street had seen since the Draft Riots. The hospital surgeons say that Mr. Lee-Tip may recover, but that he will never be able to handle a heavy day’s wash again. Mr. Hong-Lung’s friends hope to prove an alibi for him and thus save him from Sing Sing, and Mr. Hop-Sam left San Francisco for China last Saturday.

The Mott Street Poker Club rooms are to let.

 

Mott Street Poker Club

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