The dealers are shuffling and the roulette wheels are spinning in the latest ‘Through the K hole’.
The bright gaming room was full of spinning roulette wheels and banks of slot machines which chimed out into the dry, glittering heat of the casino floor.
Somewhere, erupting from this carnival of lights, came excited shouts and waterfalls of coins. The players were in a rich, complicated game – they all knew the odds and had spent years teasing out the probabilities. Some were cautious, playing a few well-balanced chips at a time. Others were more brazen and played their credit thinly, at least guaranteeing some kind of return.
There were many ways of playing the games but much to the players’ alarm the rules would often subtly change, and this had implications which extended outside the gaming hall itself.
It was in one of the side rooms that he found himself losing a lot of money. His opponent was ice-cool and thin-lipped and the cards were riffled and cut across the green baize.
He ran his finger along the edge of one of the cards and felt a subtle indentation.
He realised that they had been tampered with. The dealer, with a well-trained finger tip and a sleight of hand would know exactly which cards he was playing and how to distribute them.
What he couldn’t understand was why someone would want to cheat in this kind of setting. It was for professionals only, and being caught would mean a life-long ban. The event was being closely monitored and cameras were set high into the decorative coving where they silently hunted for idiosyncratic players and unexpected results.
The hall prided itself on conforming to the highest standards of play. He realised that one of the cameras was now trained on him and he began to feel uncomfortable. The gaming chips that he had foolishly sewn into his breast pocket earlier that evening began to feel heavy.
Something was wrong. His opponent was winning too frequently and because he was in the same game he was drawing unnecessary attention to himself. QMAS operatives were everywhere and he decided to cut his losses.
Once outside he gulped the cool night air and tore out the extra chips from the lining of his jacket. As he walked quickly away they dropped to the floor and lay shimmering in the gutter like tiny moons in the street light.
A passer-by would be able to pick out a single word embossed onto their surface.
Written in response to: QOF change ‘could cost GPs hundreds of pounds’ Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.
Click here for more from Through the K hole Through the K hole – credit HaPe Gera, Flickr