“The dark side……….” Manila, March 6th, 2012


The following text might not be suitable to everyone due to socially questionable, partly sexual as well as gambling content. Having said that it probably becomes the most red article of my world trip…………….smile.

After Cambodia and Singapore for some reason I did not feel that going straight to Vietnam is what I wanted. It took a few days but then without any hesitation I booked a 4 day detour via Manila. A combination of reasons led to that. I start to be a little tired of backpacking and my time in nice infrastructure (AC, Starbucks, wifi) to charge my batteries gets longer and longer. Second I heard rather negative reviews on Vietnam and shorting the time there seemed reasonable. Third, I really like Manila and I love playing poker. It was the absolute right decision, I did not regret, I had a great time, I learned so much about myself and got into a whole different world, one of so many existing parallel to ours at any given time.

Poker by most people is considered gambling just like black jack or roulette. I do not agree. I believe the skill luck ratio is anywhere around 80 to 20. In pure luck there wouldn’t be repeating world champions and players staying in the top ten for 20 years. I am only saying that because those divided views on the game lead to the diversity of players. You get the addictive gamblers believing in luck or bad luck, you get the holiday “lets have fun” guys, there are the sun glasses wearing professional living or trying to live of the game and you get the doctors, the lawyers, the CEO’s who believe they are smarter than the rest or they are simply interested in becoming better, understanding the whole mathematics behind the game. A night at a poker table, no matter if you are winning or not always is interesting and fun. I met and talked to some great people, some crazy people and to fun people too. You get to understand who are the “regulars”, who are the “fish” (term used for bad players who’s money you get easily), who are the ones to watch out for and who are the once to talk about their origin, their live in the Philippines and so on. On my world trip I learn about myself, I learn about other societies and the live of others. Staying up all night I only did for partying on a Friday and or Saturday. Here I got to understand and feel the live of shift workers all over the world, for example my sister being a nurse. Going to bed at 8am, having a complete unnatural rhythm, its possible, but it gets to you. Man, my desk job, despite not a 9 to 5 one, was great.

I enjoyed myself and on the last day things went so well moneywise that I decided to let the plane fly without me and to stay longer. I booked a hotel online at a convenient location but as cheap as possible creating a whole new and fun experience. The taxi driver smiled when I said “Sogo hotel please.” The receptionist was completely confused when I showed my online booking. I got worried when she asked me “how many hours would you like to stay?” The crowds in the lobby where strange for the early time of morning and the manager said the following after 20 minutes: “Sorry Sir but this was the first time ever, anyone booked our hotel online.” I ended up in a hourly hotel where men go with their girlfriends to have sex because they still live with the parents. Its where men go with their girlfriends because the wife shall not find out. Its where girls go with men because they pay for it. However, it should also be a place where poker players go. It turned out to be perfect. Little windowless boxes (perfect for going to bed at 8am), fully air coned with great wifi, cable TV and living up to the claim and promise of Sogo hotel: “So clean …. So good!” Now I really arrived on the dark side of life. Playing poker, staying at an hour hotel.


The above text may be a perfect example of excuses for excessive gambling of an addict and can be used in therapeutic physiological lessons of prevention. Stay tuned to find out if the author ever made it to Vietnam ………….

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  • Hey Frank, Its Eddie. I played poker with you at Resorts World Manila. I also had coffee with you at Starbucks. Anyways, I just finished your blog on Manila. I am glad you enjoyed your stay in Manila. Your world tour seems to be an exciting tour. I am currently in Washington D.C. Let me know when you are coming to D.C. area. Take care.

    Eddie D. Atienza

    • frank4444 says:

      how great to hear from you. Thanks for checking my website. Well, no idea when I be in the USA next but if so, it might rather be Vegas, smile. Same to you, if you come around northern Germany, let me know and we connect. I will be back in good old Germany next Saturday.

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