Vol 1 Prologue

In an undisclosed location, the leaders of each country were seated around a circular table. One man, the leader of the United States, stood, and he had just delivered a disturbing proposal. 

“That’s impossible!”

“Are you serious?”

“There’s no way it would work!”

Fitting responses to what they just heard. The less vocal people were muttering amongst themselves, also showing signs of disapproval. 

“I will repeat what I said once more.” Despite all the apparent dissent from the people around him, the man continued confidently, “The United States will stop all military actions abroad and any involvement in wars. From here on out, when dealing with conflicts/disagreements, the matter will be solved through a match, a game. We ask that every country in the world follow suit.”

More reactions of disbelief and disapproval. It makes sense. After all, the proposal was along the lines of “let’s just all stop fighting.” An argument a kid would make to stop conflicts. It’s impossible to expect everyone to keep their promises. Not only that, the United Territories is a military superpower. For them to just say they’ll stop fighting brings a lot of suspicion.

“Now I know you all won’t just choose to believe what I say, so let me say one more thing…” His confident and jovial demeanor changed instantly to one drained of all emotion.

“This is not a proposal. This is a declaration. Any country that does not comply will face the wrath of the United States and its allies’ nuclear arsenal.” 

Let’s stop fighting, and if you don’t, we’ll just nuke you all. 

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“You are insane.” One country’s leader spoke up, “And you guys are fine with this?” Directing his disbelief to the United Territories’ allies. 

The allies looked uncomfortable but gave a solemn nod. Before this “proposal” was announced in this room, they, too, had been given this “proposal” (threat) by the United Territories and were coerced into going along with them. 

“This is Project Gametopia, a way to shift conflicts into one of non-violence. Anyone opposed to this stands against peace and is, therefore, evil. Nothing wrong with annihilating evil, right?” 

A sophistical argument beyond reason. But…

“Now, let’s take a vote, shall we?” As he said so, the countries reluctantly put their hands up one by one until all the hands in the room were raised. 

…An effective one, it seems.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Stamford University, United States. 

It is the most prestigious and selective university in the country. Science, math, engineering, business, law, medicine, arts, sports; the university leads the nation in all these fields. More than hard work is needed to enter the university. One must be talented as well. 

Inside one of its many large assemblies, an event was being held. A large crowd surrounded a singular green ovalish table in the room. Two people were seated on either end, and in front of them were two cards respectively and a stack of chips. Yes, this was a poker tournament. The institution has even spread its wings to encompass gambling talents.

“All right folks, it’s heads up,” an announcer relayed the match. “Our defending champion is low on chips. Will our newcomer seize the initiative and end it here? Or will he play it slowly, using his chip advantage to squeeze the remaining amount?”

The five community cards have already been dealt. Up to this point, neither player has made any bets. It was the newcomer’s turn to act first. 

“Check,” he says, passing the action to the defending champion.

“Bet, 5,000.” the defending champion replies, pushing the chips forward.

A minute passes before the newcomer declares, “All in.”

The newcomer has more chips than the defending champion, meaning the latter would have to go all in as well to make this call. It is an all-or-nothing scenario, one that could end the match. 

The defending champion checks his cards, and it reveals two 5s. In addition to another 5 in the community cards, he has a three-of-a-kind. A strong hand, but the state of the board makes it very likely for the opponent to have a straight or a flush, both of which are stronger hands. There’s a lot to ponder. If he makes a brash call here and loses, he loses the entire match. 

Although the defending champion maintains a perfect poker face, showing no emotion, his heart is racing. As the three-time defending champion, he only needs one more victory to become the first undefeated champion on campus. There was more at stake here than just this victory. This was an event that would cement his legacy. He continues to ponder for three minutes when…

“Ahhh, I’ve had enough,” the newcomer suddenly blurts out. “If you’re going to take this long, I’m going to go take a nap.”

He stands up, walks over to the crowd, and sits.

“You won’t win against me, so hurry up and end it.”

“W-what a turn of events! The newcomer has left the table and confidently declared that the opponent will lose!”

Here comes information… the defending champion thought. The key to reading an opponent’s mind is thinking about how they benefit from their actions. By leaving the table and acting uninterested in the result… he’s confident in his hand? Or perhaps he’s running a huge bluff, and his flight or fight response is causing him to move.

Hm… the latter is unlikely considering his character, so perhaps I should just fold for now. My chip stack would be significantly reduced, but I’ll still have enough for a comeback.

The defending champion looks up at the newcomer and sees him sneering.

But still, the nerve of him to stage a farce like this. How typical for rookies to focus on how flashy their win is rather than the match. How dare he pull a stunt like this against ME, the three-time reigning champion of this university.

Suddenly, he comes to a realization.

That’s right… he must be planning on making me fold and show the audience that he was bluffing the whole time. That’s his goal, to humiliate me. 

He takes one more look at the newcomer, his anger reaching its limits.

I have a good hand, a strong hand, a superior hand! I’ll call and punish this fool. 

“I CALL!!” he announced, slamming his chips on the table. He turns over his cards, confidently displaying his hand.

“How’s that?! I bet you didn’t expect me to call! You underestimated the strength of my hand! This is your loss!”

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The newcomer, who by now was lying down, got up from his seat and stared coldly at him. “…What on Earth have you been blabbering about?” He then approached the table and turned over his cards. The defending champion’s face went pale with shock.

 “A-a flush! The defending champion made a brave call with his three-of-a-kind, but the newcomer had a flush!” The announcer reports to the crowd.

“Let me guess… at first, you were going to fold, but then you saw my sneer and became insulted by my actions. Your pride contorted you into thinking that my goal was to have a flashy win. Thus, you decided to call to prevent my plans.”

W-what a monster. He read my actions, thoughts… everything he did it perfectly! 

“Despite being a pro, you threw logic aside and let your emotions take over. You stupid idiot.”

“That settles it folks! Your new poker champion isssssss MICHAEL SPIELER!!!!!” 

Michael Spieler, an 18-year-old college freshman, just beat the three-time reigning champion. The crowd erupts in applause at the unprecedented event. 

Meanwhile, standing at the back of the crowd, a girl wearing a suit and shades could be seen smiling.

— New chapter is coming soon —
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