Sacred 2:The Winning Gambler

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Interesting Facts about Ancaria
The Winning Gambler

The Winning Gambler

By Husganson the Elder

They say you only need three things to win the game:

  • A good knowledge of the rules
  • A clear head
  • Luck

But who wants to rely on unpredictable things such as luck when the table’s bending under the sheer weight of the gold and the moneylender already sent his thugs after you? Isn’t it more intelligent to have some advantages like knowing which cards your opponents have in their hands?

The successful (or desperate) gamer should buy certain skills and items, if these arguments sound reasonable to them. One thing that’s helpful, especially when playing cards, is to wear clothes with wide sleeves where you can hide some cards occasionally to improve a lousy hand later on. Take heed that you don’t slip and play a fifth ace or similar nonsense that will get you caught! For these occasions it’s helpful to have a swift horse, never be a miser when it comes to your mount. As the formerly great gamer Jonah No-Finger once said: “If I had paid attention to this simple wisdom I wouldn’t need another person to scratch my nose now.”

Players should start with smaller games in villages, and act naïve. It’s also advisable to lose the first rounds. Occasionally ask about the rules or do some awkward shuffling to give the impression of being less skilled than you are. If you should by chance win a round you should be generous. Buy a strong wine for everyone and your opponents will be more careless in the future, just don’t drink it yourself.

In these circles every player can train their finger nimbleness. They should find out what kind of cards and dice are common in the areas they plan to travel, and they should buy a large supply of them. About half of them should remain untouched so they can be checked if anyone gets suspicious. Then you mark the rest of the cards with tiny symbols on their backs. Try to buy cards with an especially patterned backside, as they are commonly used in the southern provinces and marks aren’t as noticeable in the pattern. You should make the symbols as inconspicuous as possible, but they shouldn’t be too small either – you don’t want to stand out by making strange movements with your eyes or your head. A good rule of thumb for this is: If you can’t distinguish a horse form a bucket when you’re twenty feet away then you shouldn’t try to mark your cards.

These players shouldn’t despair, because they can always make their own luck in a nice game of dice instead. The marking of dice was reserved for the carpenter’s guild for a long time, but since their secret was unraveled you don’t have to pay them large amounts for this service anymore. You just drill into the points on the side opposite the one you’re interested in, fill the hole with lead and paint the points above it again. Be careful because even in the country it’s common to exchange the dice before playing, or to pass them in circles on one tip to find out if they have been manipulated. Nimble-fingered players should keep their dice in the the wide sleeves of their clothing and exchange them for normal ones after every round. Players whose fingers aren’t nimble enough should lay the dice aside and take up the plow instead. They’ll live much longer there than if they played in the taverns.

When you’re able to cheat some farmers out of harvest and home you should move on to the next city. Before you do this you should think about looking for the right partner to distribute the winnings in a discreet manner. It won’t be necessary to emphasize that this decision shouldn’t be made lightly. You should always expect the worst from the others, as they certainly expect the worst from you.

Last but not least we should talk about the opponents you should pay attention to while undertaking this profession. Beware of the ones who dress and act like you, they’re probably up to the same thing. Then there are the members of the so called brotherhood of honorable gamers, a society that is fanatically dedicated to the purity of gambling. You can identify them through their stern faces and through their habit of praying over their cards and dice. If you are unlucky enough to meet them, it is advisable to make a lively retreat and to rely on your already mentioned fast mount. If you want to know more about them, just pay Jonah No-Finger a visit.

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