Some months after the opening I was sitting in a bar (since closed) called the “Power of Love.” I remember drinking out of a bottle suspiciously marked ‘Black Label’ whiskey. Due to my fast developing headache, I believed that the whiskey was counterfeit, something like bathtub gin, but called Johnny Walker Scotch. However, it was the only drink available. Such were the early days in Poipet.

For those who don’t know, Poipet is a small Cambodian town on the border of Thailand about 3 hours drive from Bangkok. The town is unremarkable except for the fact that there now are 9 large scale (80 tables each minimum) casinos there. The bar in question during those early times was always crowded with Thai gamblers taking a break from the gaming wars by looking for alcohol, drugs, and sex. All were easy to find.

Suddenly a shot rang out. A patron had committed a dance violation, which in Cambodia can be punishable by death! The unfortunate dancer had stepped on another patron’s foot. After several more missed shots, the perpetrator ran out the door, with the enforcer chasing him. The ceiling of the bar was significantly damaged and I was extremely irritated, having spilled much of my whiskey. None of the many shots fired struck the target.

A group of attractive but somewhat sleazy Russian female gaming floor supervisors continued drinking like nothing had happened. They later remarked that these things happened all the time in Moscow, but that Russians were better shots.

Later that night I met the casino manager from another casino. He was drinking hard because he had just been fired. The owner had taken this action because two nights earlier a ‘high roller’ won more then $1 million US dollars in his casino. Of course this was the manager’s fault for not being lucky enough to win every night.

Despite the incapacitating hangover, my casino ended up winning big during that week. I got a raise. Such is life in Asian gaming.

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