Player gets played
Bad-boy Romeo stakes everything on a turn of the cards.
Cocky Romeo’s going to be cut down to size. Weekdays e.tv (*194) 19:30
Spoilt rich kid Romeo (Hungani Ndlovu) seems to have the devil’s luck when it comes to keeping his hands clean and his pockets full. And on Friday 22 July, he struck it rich when his mom Grace (Bathabile Mashigo) gave him a 25% share in the luxurious Newtonian Hotel for his birthday. He could be set for life! But Romeo’s mentor and tormentor, his mom’s lover Lucas (Sello Maake Ka-Ncube), has been keeping tabs on Romeo’s appetite for gambling since Monday 11 July. So on Tuesday 3 August, when Romeo forces his way into Lucas’s “friendly” poker game with glamorous Yvonne (Kgomotso Christopher) and the mysterious Mr X (Anthony Fridjhon), someone has a card up their sleeve…
MR X IS NO EXPERT
Romeo goes into the seemingly casual game confident of a win. “When he first meets Romeo, Mr X says that he came to play poker with adults, not with little kids. To Romeo, it’s almost like Mr X is trying to reassure himself that he’s a good poker player,” reveals Hungani. “Romeo’s impression of Mr X is that he’s a wannabe tough guy.” But it slowly becomes clear that Romeo’s badly misread his suave opponent.
BET HIGH, LOSE BIG
In the final hand, a glance at the table shows that Romeo has been cleaned out while Mr X gloats over a pile of his winnings. Then, in one last turn of the cards, Romeo realises that he could win it all back – including his pride. “His ego is very, very bruised and he thinks that he could win with the hand he has. So he bets as big as he can,” says Hungani. But with his cash gone, Romeo’s got just one thing left to gamble with: his future. So that awful moment that Mr X reveals his hand on Wednesday 3 August hits Romeo “almost like being shot but not believing it just happened. Like in a movie where someone gets shot and they look at where the bullet went through to make sure that they were shot,” says Hungani.
OH NO, ROMEO!
And after shock, comes fear. “He just received this chance at a great future and now it’s gone within, like, two seconds,” exclaims Hungani. Having taken one “bullet”, Romeo has to bite another – telling his mom the truth. Romeo knows that he’s going to be on a short leash the moment he confesses. “He won’t be spoilt and get whatever he wants because after losing so much, how can his mother trust him again?” But thanks to Lucas’s manipulations, Romeo will have no choice but to own up almost immediately. “There is no way he can get out of it in such a short space of time without his mom finding out. He just tries to let her know before she hears it from someone else, which would make it worse,” says Hungani.
Romeo’s putting it all on the line.