The New Habit of Spending Money Illegally

AUC students meet up late at night and have poker nights where they spend a lot of money, and also use drugs and alcohol.

Recently, it has become noticeable, that a significant number of students began a new trend. They meet up on weekends, after going out to clubs of cafes and have poker nights. Not only do they have these poker nights on weekends. But during the week, these poker nights are the outing.  Poker playing is fast becoming a popular pass-time for students at the American University in Cairo, who find the risk of losing money as exhilarating as the alcohol and drugs they consume. For some, it’s a time-consumer game.

People gathered around a table at a house and playing poker

“If I have a midterm the next day, I try not to play poker,” said Hisham Ahmed*, an accounting junior at the American University of Cairo (AUC). “One poker night can last up to nine hours. As my parents do not live with me here, I don’t really have a problem in getting home so late- or more like so early in the morning.”

Poker players on campus point to AUC junior, Kamal Mohamed* as  their “master” in poker.

“Kamal* taught me and all the other guys how to play and he only wins,” said Ahmed Shawky*, an AUC undeclared junior.

“I have been playing for five years now,” said Mohamed*. “My parents have no idea whatsoever, and luckily I almost only win.”

It also involved alcohol and drugs

Salah Sakr* an undeclared junior at AUC, on the other hand almost always loses.

“The majority of all poker nights take place at his house, because he lives in an apartment alone,” said Ahmed*. “So we know that no one will come while we are playing, getting drunk and high. But Salah* is the one who loses the most money of all of us. I used to lose a lot, but know I have started to win also.”

“A small game lasts about five hours,” said Shawky*. “I win a lot thank God, but I also lose sometimes. We play on average twice a week, but if we don’t have exams, it could go up to almost daily.”

People playing poker while drinking

Bassem Issa* an Architecture junior at AUC, spends almost all of his money on poker.

“I play until I reach to the point, where I play from the money I’m supposed to pay my monthly apartment rent with, as I live with a friend here in Cairo,” he said. “It has become really addictive, and I don’t care that I spend all my money. I mean we have fun, drink and get high at the same time; it only needs a couple of girls and it would be the best nights ever.”

Another undeclared junior at AUC, Ragab Amr* faces a similar problem.

“I lose almost all my money and owe a lot of my friends so much money,” he said. “It once happened to me that I didn’t have enough money to pay the bus ride ticket to AUC and had to call Kamal. He came and lent me some money.”

*the names have been changed, because all students want their identities to remain anonymous.

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