Poker Feng Shui
2006 Randy Saylor  

It may sound like an old wives tale, pseudo-science, or even New Age horseflop, but Feng Shui (pronounced “fang shway”) is a real art to some, especially in Eastern cultures. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment. A little practical application of Feng Shui in your home poker room might bring some positive card energy your way (or at least put a few dollars in your local economy in the form of Crate and Barrel purchases).


The literal translation of Feng Shui is "wind and water". (There is some anecdotal evidence that certain dialects translate it colloquially as “horse flop.”) It is often mistakenly referred to as a design style. Rather, it is a discipline with guidelines that can be incorporated into many design styles. It is best described as a mix of geographical, religious, philosophical, mathematical, aesthetic, and astrological ideas. To believers, its use will harness the positive energies that exist in a space.


Feng Shui guidelines have been adopted in the architecture and layout of many casinos around the world. Australia's $1.6 billion Crown Casino consulted three Feng Shui experts when designing the hotel tower and the casino. The north side of the complex has huge windows and doors to access an adjacent river. Water signifies wealth and is one of the five elements that form the basis of Feng Shui. Five marble columns were placed in the main entrance to represent each of the elements.


Doing your gaming on a computer is a good source of positive qi (the life force that powers nature in the central beliefs of Feng Shui practitioners). This stems from the belief that computers move great deals of energy. Unfortunately, all of your opponents are online poker players too, so your computer advantage is negated. There are, however, steps that the Feng Shui disciple can take beyond simple PC gaming:


- Use a screensaver. This keeps the energy within from flowing freely until you release it. Don’t let the screensaver stay on too long, lest the pent-up energy blow you across the room upon its release.
- Position the computer properly. PCs should be placed in the “money point,” which is away from window in the left-hand corner of a room. We assume Macs would get the same treatment.
- Your workspace should not be in direct line with a door. This is apparently because having neighbors view you playing poker half-clothed is a source of negative qi.
- You should have a view of as much of the room as possible.
- Place a mirror outside a bathroom to reflect energy and keep it from going down the drain. Whether ancient Chinese mystics had indoor plumbing to test this theory is a matter of speculation.


Good luck charms can enhance your results. Goldfish are considered positively, well, golden when it comes to keeping the qi flowing. Keeping a predator fish in the same tank defeats the positives gained, so save the piranha and barracudas for the bathroom fish tank.


A jar filled with money is considered a positive token as well. The theory is that money attracts money. Having a large balance in your Neteller account is not considered to be the same thing, so cash out part of your roll, turn it into rolls of pennies, and fill that jar.


Card Selection


The letter “A” is remarkably similar to the ancient Chinese pictograph meaning “tremendous good fortune,” so play any hand containing an ace aggressively, especially if its counterpart is an offsuit six or seven.

This interesting phenomenon is remarkably cancelled out by the fact that the letters “AA” next to each other is similar to an ancient Chinese pictograph meaning, “beat by runner-runner flush.”

Scrolls unearthed near Shanghai suggest that historical philosopher Confucius suggested that any ace-containing hand is enough to call to showdown with, giving rise to the phrase “$#*& river!”

Any two cards with the same symbol on them are considered to be especially powerful. This is due to the synergistic strength when two spades, hearts, et cetera work together to channel qi through cyberspace right into your mouse. Back to the ancient pictographs, “J 2 “ very loosely translates as “but it was soooooted.” Look it up.

All of these principles may sound downright bizarre, but the downright bizarre luck of some players we’ve all seen in tournaments has to be explained somehow! Clearly they have their bagua aligned properly. If you don’t, see your chiropractor.




Parts of the Western world (especially the parts that don’t do lots of drugs) have been quick to dismiss Feng Shui as superstition. Author Ernest Eitel, in Feng Shui (published Hong Kong, 1873), calls it "a conglomeration of rough guesses at nature, sublimated by fanciful play with puerile diagrams." We might call it that, too, if we knew what the heck it meant.


Comedians Penn and Teller, as part of a Showtime Television comedy show called “Horse Flop!” (not the exact name of the show, but this is a family website), brought in several high-priced Feng Shui consultants to arrange a room. No two performed the job alike. You be the judge.


Whether the rituals of ancient Chinese can be channeled to modern-day online poker players in Toledo and Peoria remains to be seen, but consider this: where have your old ways gotten you? Busted out on the bubble, that’s where. Maybe changing your natural vibration frequencies will change your luck. Head down to the Barnes and Noble for Feng Shui for Dummies. Just don’t step in the horse flop.

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