Earlier tonight, I was scrounging around the house, turning over couch cushions and sifting through a bowl of Thai coins for the precious (and most expensive) 10-baht pieces.
Why? Well, I was ‘Baht Busto.’
I’m not sure the word ‘busto’ has become mainstream but it’s a very common term in the poker community. Basically, it means ‘going broke’ and can be used in a few situations. It can refer to the fact that you’ve been eliminated from a tournament, lost a buy-in in a cash game, or even describe one’s entire net worth.
When I arrived in Thailand a few years back, I overheard a fellow poker player mention that he was ‘baht busto’ and I was immediately intrigued by the alliterative phrase. The story was simple; it was a Friday night, he had ran out of Baht, the Thai currency, and couldn’t get more until the banks opened on Monday. I found the situation to be utterly hilarious. Here was this poker player, who despite having tens of thousands of dollars online and piles more in the bank, was reduced to relative poverty for a 72 hour period.
Today, I find myself in his shoes. I am ‘baht busto.’
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, I was supposed to be ‘baht ballin.’ Towards the end of January I met up with a friend of mine and transferred him money on Stars for an envelope full of approximately 100,000 baht. I figured that would last me until the end of my trip, but somehow I’ve managed to spend it all. Not quite sure where the money went, most likely on food I suppose.
As of yesterday, I was out of all the large notes. Didn’t worry much about it. Still had a handful of small bills. Besides, all I had to do was sell more Stars for Baht, right? Oops. Wrong. I forgot today was Sunday and the banks were closed. Ruh roh. Thankfully, I only have to wait until tomorrow and the banks should be open, assuming of course there isn’t some random Thai holiday. In the meantime, I still need to eat and a friend and fellow blogger was kind enough to pick up the tab at dinner tonight. Thanks a lot, Nathan! Plus I found enough coins to purchase a late-night coffee. Score! As both my mother and girlfriend will tell you, I’m not so great at this scrimp and save lifestyle, but perhaps this experience will help me improve.
Probably not though.