Tuesday, February 22, 2011


In a rather strange story about how Asian tourists are keeping Vegas afloat by playing baccarat, it seems Reuters  reporter Timothy Pratt came across a face familiar to street art and comics fans: David Choe!
 To Pratt, Choe was obviously just another Asian face in the crowd and the reporter was seemingly surprised that the artist is actually American. He also didn't realize Choe was a famous artist, nor did Choe identify himself as such. But based on the age (34) and the fact that Choe has even filmed his excursions to Vegas for Vice...this is almost certainly David "Slow Jams" Choe. here's the link but I excerpted the pertinent part featuring DC.


Afterward, one of the baccarat players, David Choe, sat slurping noodles in a Chinese restaurant no more than 20 steps away. Choe said he had heard from his casino host that the Russian had lost $1 million the night before.
Choe, 34, has been gambling since he was a teenager, starting, he said, with fake ID.
Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt with the words "New York," he is the rare U.S. native at the baccarat tables, though of Korean background. He comes from Los Angeles several times a month to play. This time, he was up around $100,000.
"I haven't counted it yet," he said.
Choe said he has seen some unusual sights at the baccarat table, including an "ossified drunk" betting $40,000 a hand.
Although he called the game "the easiest thing in the world," he allowed that many players have superstitions, ranging from not allowing anyone to touch you while playing to following the highest bettor's chips to putting money down on any streak that appears to emerge.
What is the attraction of baccarat?
"You have your own room, your own world. You can eat there, you can bet or not, you can curse if you lose, or tear up the cards. You can do whatever you want."


Timothy said...

Hey pyrrhic victories --
Timothy Pratt here; I found your post trying to see where the story had landed. First, glad you're reading. Second, you never say what you find "rather strange" about the story - but you do make a claim I find strange. Choe was not "obviously another Asian face in the crowd" -- he was a player who I was able to catch up with outside the baccarat room and who was willing to speak with me. And when a reporter interviews someone, he generally asks where the person is from and so on; the fact that it's worth noting Choe is from the US should be clear from one of the underlying themes of the story -- baccarat is mostly played by foreigners, mostly Asians! As for Choe being an artist, yes I was aware of the fact, but didn't think it was germane to the story, which again, is about this game that is keeping Las Vegas afloat, has increased incredibly in popularity in recent years, and is mostly played by Asian tourists. Got it? Thanks again for reading!

Chad Parenteau said...

Damn, Robert! Nice find.

robert why said...

Hi Timothy,

I apologize for my assumptions. I understand that the phrase "another Asian face in the crowd" sounds provocative and it really wasn't intended that way. I was not in any way suggesting that there was any hint of racism in your article, simply that while Choe is hugely famous to some segment of the fringe art world, that in the case of most mainstream media he likely appeared as one of the many Asian players at the baccarat table.

And what I found "strange" was only that people played baccarat and that for some reason Asian men were keeping Vegas casinos afloat with James Bond's seemingly archaic game of choice.

I agree that mentioning that Choe was an artist was not germane to your story, but it probably would have made for an interesting mention (after all who knew graffiti artists tossed around that kind of dosh?)

Thanks for the clarification.

twatjuice3000 said...

Hi timothy. You sound like an ant picking his way around beetle turds.