Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Arrest of Chinese Artist Angers U.S. Blackjack Players
By EDWARD WONG
Published: April 13, 2011
New York Times

China’s detention of Ai Weiwei, the prominent artist and pro-democracy activist, has angered blackjack players in the United States, according to an article published Tuesday on blackjackchamp.com, a Web site that reports on the casino industry.

Mr. Ai was well known among blackjack players in the United States when he lived in New York from 1981 to 1993, making frequent trips to Atlantic City. Playing blackjack was his main source of income for many years. According to blackjackchamp.com, Mr. Ai was a rated blackjack player, and so casinos gave him free suites, limos and dinners.

A veteran blackjack player named Vinnie told the Web site about his first meeting with Mr. Ai in Atlantic City: “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.” The Web site reported that some “casino insiders” were thinking of holding a series of fund-raising blackjack and poker tournaments to lobby the United States government to impose trade restrictions on China unless Mr. Ai is released.

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