Vinnie, who prefers to be called ‘Snake Eyes’ is a troglodyte faced mountain of muscles hardened by years of prison gyms and frequent street brawls. Despite being in his late 40s, the New York City native can probably rip apart men half his age, yet today ‘Snake Eyes’ is concerned for his friend.
“I came here to Atlantic City now to unwind a bit at the blackjack table. It was here I met him some 25 years ago. I was playing and losing bad, and then this Asian guy with a beard right out of the Kung Fu movies, playing next to me, starts telling me when to hit, split or stay. I don’t listen to nobody but every time I don’t listen to him, I lose the hand. So I start listening. I was up a few grand that night. I always listened when he explained smart strategies. He is the best, ” Vinnie recalls.
It is hard to believe but that friend is the world renowned Chinese activist and artist, Mr. Ai WeiWei, who was arrested on April 3 by the Chinese police and is currently missing. From 1981 till 1993, Mr. Ai WeiWei lived mostly in New York, close to the ‘Little Italy’ section of Manhattan which was where ‘Snake Eyes’ spent much of his time. Both men were hardcore blackjack players, taking the 80 mile drive to Atlantic City casinos multiple times each week for many years.
Throughout the 1980’s Ai WeiWei lived in an unfurnished apartment at the Lower East Side of Manhattan, yet every few days a full stretch limo picked him up for the drive to the casino. Since he was a rated blackjack card games player, he had full ‘comps’ at practically every casino in Atlantic City: with free suites, limos, dinners and every other perk at his disposal. Due to his open personality and great skills he got to know many blackjack players from across the United States
Since his disappearance the news has spread among the international blackjack community, who know WeiWei betters as a top notch blackjack player rather than a world renowned artist or a human rights activist. There are currently talks between multiple casino insiders to hold a series of fund raising blackjack and poker tournaments to lobby the US government to impose trade restrictions against China unless Mr. Ai WeiWei is released.
Hikaru is now in Haze Middle School and joins the Go club. Akira Toya is now in Kaio. He pays a visit to Haze and challenges Hikaru to a match. Will Hikaru accept to play him?
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