It was 1997. I had just moved from Ohio, where 98% of my opponents were white, to Northern California, where 80% of my opponents were Asian. Right away I made buddies with a few Chinese guys, let’s call them Moe, Joe, and Larry.
One night all four of us are playing in the same 9-handed limit hold’em game. We’re all sitting at the same end of the table. I get in a headsup pot against a Chinese guy from the other end of the table who I’d never seen before. I make my hand on the river and I bet it. He calls my bet and I turn my hand over and he sees it and he shakes his head a little and he says, “Mucka hi.”
A few minutes later, the same thing happens against the same guy. We get in a pot, I suckout, he looks a little disgruntled, but calm, and he says, “Mucka hi.”
I turn to my buddy Moe sitting next to me and I quietly ask, “What’s that mean?” Moe whispers his reply in my ear, “It means ‘nice hand.’”
And I’m thinking, cool! I just learned my first Chinese! Mucka hi. Nice hand. Mucka hi. Nice hand. I have to remember that. Mucka hi. Okay, I got it.
An hour later, I played a pot against a Chinese man who had just recently joined the game. On the river, he bet, and I folded. I could hardly contain myself, I was so excited to say my first Chinese.
“Mucka hi,” I said. I tapped the table slightly and politely, and I said it again. “Mucka hi.” With his face pointed down, my opponent’s eyes slowly came up to level with mine. The reply I expected was “thank you.” But that’s not at all what his laser beam angry eyes were saying to me.
Meanwhile, Moe, Joe, and Larry were giggling away and having a grand old time.
Care to guess what “mucka hi” really means? I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with “other trucker.”