Len Ashby has hilarious poker stories for all occasions. In the spring of 2020, we translated a series of his stories that he published on Twitter.
Len Ashby recalled how he introduced Tom Dwan to a longtime online rival, Ben Lamb boasted about his 2011, and Josh Arieh told how one basketball shot saved him from bankruptcy.
The other day, especially for PocketFives, Len recalled another story about a mysterious Chinese "high roller" who managed to ingratiate himself with the regulars and borrow a six-figure sum from them.
– In 2017, I came to Los Angeles to play cash games for the LAPC series. There I met a Chinese man who introduced himself briefly as Hu. He played with us for 17 days, during which time we practically did not leave the poker table, only occasionally having a break for a short sleep.
Commerce has always had good games, for Omaha I played there for 10 years in a row. True, after the epidemic, I haven't played. We did not know anything about this Chinese guy then – not his full name, nor where he lives, not even a telephone number. But the game was so good that we happily agreed when he asked to lend him some money. His debt kept growing, and at some point reached $160,000. My parents have worked in an office all their lives and have no idea about the world of gambling. If I told them that some unknown guy asked for such a sum and received it, they would think that I had completely lost my mind.
It all started modestly. He spoke almost no English, and when he lost another stack, he just looked at me, pointed to the chips and said “two”. This meant he needed $20k. I exchanged glances with my neighbors and handed him $20,000. Gradually, the debt increased and became collective. In a separate regulars chat, we agreed that we would play constantly while he was at the table so that the game would not fall apart. The action was around the clock, and during this time he managed to borrow money from almost all local regulars.
He played terribly, so during these 17 days I didn’t have a single day off, and I slept a total of 30 hours. A big game was played at three PLO $50/$100 tables at once, a chair was placed behind the main one especially for him. Naturally, no one left when he was in the game. I could play for days without "outside influences", but some players resorted to doping in order not to fall asleep. When he got up, the game instantly fell apart at all tables at once. We usually left around 6 am, but the first table started filling up again at 9:00 am. For a generous tip, I arranged with the manager of the poker room to call me directly to the room as soon as the first players appeared in the room. I came to the table, played a couple of hands, left the stack, and then ran to take a shower and have breakfast. I only had 45 minutes for this. He returned to the table and played until the morning. Madness.
One day Hu borrowed another $20k, got up from the table and walked with our money to the baccarat room. The whole table looked at each other, and I said: “Perhaps we will be lucky and he will spin. It will be a real gift." And so it happened, soon he returned and threw $120,000 on the table.
Of the total debt of $160,000, about a third was mine. After his successful baccarat session, I expected him to return at least a fraction. But I was too naïve, apparently, the fact that I had not slept for more than 20 hours had an effect. Hu didn't give me a cent. He constantly repeated that money was not a problem for him, but because of the terrible work of banks, there were some difficulties with the transfer. I think on Sunday, in his broken English, he said, “US banks don't work well. Your money is Tuesday."
Two days later I received a message from my friend JC Tran, who said that Hu showed up at the casino, and did so with some flare. “He just parked his brand new Bentley here,” wrote JC. I replied "F**k you". We rushed to the parking lot to make sure he didn't rent a car. We made sure that he really just bought it. They considered it a good sign. I was even glad that he showed up at the casino at all.
He casually took his ninth box and looked at me: "Two." I was taken aback: “Come on, you already owe us a lot of money, return at least some of it.” He smiled, "OK, three o'clock."
Despite his strange behavior, I was sure that he was telling the truth. Still, for two decades I have been earning money by reading rivals. He continued to assure us that these sums were insignificant for him, but that we would have to wait a little longer. Some players have already begun to doubt that he will return anything. But I kept believing it was still real. One of his leather jackets cost $15,000, we Googled the brand.
Five hours passed, and he actually returned with a huge bag on his shoulder. He went into the room where we were playing, pointed to me and a couple of other people from whom I borrowed, and said: "Let's go." Then he put the bag on the table and opened it, it was filled to the brim with $50 bills. I think it was at least $300,000. He started laying out packs of $10,000 and counting: “One, two…” He counted out $160,000, after which he thanked us for a long time and shook hands with us. "Let's go play," I told him. The game continued until the end of the week, after which Hu disappeared, and we never saw him again.