Don’t Sink Chapter 39

Chapter 39: Addicted

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The poker table had a dense green surface, designed for a maximum of six players, but currently only three were seated, accompanied by a silent dealer on the side. The table was divided like a wide river.

The lighting above was dim, creating an appropriate atmosphere. Shen Yao sat with his head lowered in the leftmost position. Yan Zhixing did not participate in the game; he sat on the sofa behind, near the door, his gaze unmoving.

It seemed as if it were just a simple game to him, where the outcome, whether win or lose, had no impact on him.

When Yan Zhixing agreed to the proposal, even Boris couldn’t help but show a brief surprise, though he quickly composed himself.

He was in a good mood, courteously raising his hand and offering the far end seat, smiling at Shen Yao, “If you feel nervous during the first round, you can have this seat.”

Indeed, it was the best position, allowing a comprehensive view of the entire situation before deciding whether to call or fold. To ensure fairness, the positions would rotate clockwise after each round.

Shen Yao walked over without hesitation, pulling out the chair and sitting down. His Adam’s apple rolled slightly, showing a hint of nervousness, yet he didn’t want it to be noticed.

He raised his face and politely thanked Boris, his tone now more natural than before, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Boris stood up and handed him a cup of tea, smiling. “It’s my honor to be at the same poker table with such a beautiful omega.”

Shen Yao held the cup with both hands, his long and thick eyelashes slightly lowered as he took slow sips of the tea. The others didn’t rush him; they all seemed patient, but in reality, they were all trying to understand Shen Yao.

Playing poker with acquaintances is a higher level of gambling. They understand each other’s playing habits and can even speculate on their thought processes. Shen Yao was a completely unfamiliar presence in this game. Before the game started, he was quietly asking Yan Zhixing about the gameplay and rules.

It was too difficult to win against Yan Zhixing, which led Boris to come up with this plan. However, Yan Zhixing’s nonchalant demeanor made it difficult for Boris to figure out whether Shen Yao genuinely didn’t know how to play or if he was trying to deceive them.

Nevertheless, this omega in front of him did appear to be putting up a strong facade, and it would likely be easier to win against him than against Yan Zhixing.

Boris shifted his gaze away from Shen Yao and exchanged glances with the other two. Eden pushed up his glasses, his smile unchanged, clearly having the same thoughts as Boris.

Zhang Chenglin, the other Chinese man at the table, frowned slightly and absentmindedly played with the chips in his hand.

The game didn’t officially start until Shen Yao put down his cup.

Shen Yao wasn’t lying; he had never played this game before. However, the rules were still simple and easy to understand.

Each player had two hole cards that only they knew, along with five community cards on the table. From these seven cards, they had to choose five to form their own hand.

Shen Yao’s way of dealing with the cards didn’t require deliberate disguise; it naturally showed his inexperience. He lowered his gaze and glanced at the cards in his hand. Just as he had warned Yan Zhixing, his luck was indeed poor.

He had already made up his mind, so he paid no attention to the others at the table. He heard the sound of a raise and the chips being thrown onto the table.

Even before the first round of community cards were revealed, Shen Yao spoke up, “Fold.”

Folding meant voluntarily giving up the chance to play in the current round, turning the game into a three-player game.

It was the correct strategy to fold if he felt that his hole cards were weak, as it would prevent him from losing too many chips.

But Shen Yao didn’t just do it once. Unless he was in the blind position or had a decent hand, he would fold before the community cards were revealed.

Even if he didn’t fold in the first round, he would fold later on, then sit back in his chair, quietly sipping his drink, as if he was detached from the game, but his gaze never left one person at the table.

Folding too often was also a mistake. It seemed like he gave up even on taking risks and bluffing, being excessively cautious.

This approach indeed minimized his losses, but in the rules of the game, the pot goes to the sole winner. It became a game with only winners.

By playing like this, he would only lose less, never win.

Shen Yao’s playing style made it even more difficult for the others present to figure out what he was thinking. As another round ended, Eden looked at him and kindly reminded, “If you keep folding, you’ll only lose.”

The impression he gave was that he wasn’t lying, that he genuinely didn’t know how to play. However, no one dared to trust him so easily. Boris turned his head to look at Yan Zhixing, and his internal suspicions began to loosen. He even started to doubt whether Yan Zhixing had truly fallen in love with this omega, playing with power for the sake of a beautiful person.

The slightly dim light illuminated Shen Yao, making him look harmless and innocent, truly resembling a beautiful vase who knew nothing.

Shen Yao pursed his lips and even opened his palm to show the others, somewhat embarrassedly saying, “I’m so nervous that my hands are sweating.”

Even in this state, no one would take him lightly.

When it was time to rotate positions again, he sat in the small blind position. The small blind required a forced bet, so Shen Yao covered his cards and hadn’t even confirmed his hole cards.

In this round, Eden folded before the flop, and quickly another round came, with Shen Yao having to decide whether to raise or fold.

He lowered his gaze to his cards—”Pocket Kings,” a very strong hand with a high winning probability. Shen Yao chose to raise this time.

Shen Yao’s action surprised many people; his expression had already undergone a slight change. It was the same face, but his eyebrows and eyes appeared slightly sharper.

When their eyes met again, it felt like an illusion.

Boris’s expression remained unchanged as he pushed half of his chips directly to the table. If the remaining players wanted to continue calling, they had to put out an equal or greater number of chips.

Shen Yao, however, did not have enough chips to match the bet. His eyelashes concealed his pensive gaze. He glanced at the significantly diminished stack of chips and calculated in his mind.

According to their game rules, the number of chips held at the end would determine the outcome.

As he contemplated whether or not to gamble, Boris bet half of his chips. There was a possibility that he was bluffing, but it was also possible that he held a massive stack of chips, luring others to take the bait.

When Boris pushed the chips forward earlier, he didn’t initially look at the reactions of the players next to him. It was only later that he raised his head, calmly surveying the remaining players at the table.

These subtle instinctive reactions were captured by Shen Yao. How strong were the cards in Boris’s hand for him to be so confident, completely disregarding others’ reactions?

Shen Yao fiddled with the chips in his hand and said indifferently, “Fold.”

He believed that Boris had pocket Aces, which would explain his audacity. And when the final cards were revealed, the result confirmed his speculation.

Boris also saw the cards in Shen Yao’s hand. Hardly anyone would fold pocket Kings, which itself was a tremendous temptation. Boris’s eyes deepened, “Did you figure out my hole cards?”

“No,” Shen Yao smiled faintly, “Just luck.”

Boris responded meaningfully, “Well, you’re lucky then.”

There’s no way someone who stayed by Yan Zhixing’s side would be a naive little bunny. After hiding for so long, he finally started to show his claws.

In the next round of dealing, Shen Yao moved from the small blind to the big blind position. After the forced bet, he lowered his head to confirm his hole cards.

“9” and “J”.

Not particularly great, but not too bad either.

As the round progressed, it came back to him. Under the gaze of everyone, Shen Yao’s expression remained unchanged. This time, he chose not to fold and continued to raise the bet.

His raise made the remaining three players hesitate.

From the beginning, Shen Yao had been folding constantly, every time until the showdown. The final results showed that while he did miss some opportunities, most of his choices were correct.

He seemed to dislike gambling. Only when he had a strong hand would Shen Yao choose to raise.

For example, in the previous hand, he had pocket Kings, but even with such a good hand, he folded. After much contemplation, Eden folded his cards, leaving only two players remaining at the table.

In the silence, the dealer began dealing the community cards, almost like a robot.

One card was revealed: “K,” followed by a “7,” and then a “10.”

If the next card happened to be an “8,” Shen Yao would have a chance to form a straight. However, if not, his hand would be reduced to the weakest high card.

No one’s face showed any other expressions. Once again, it was Shen Yao’s turn to bet. He raised his hand and pushed all his chips into the pot, decisively declaring, “All in.”

The reason he couldn’t be read was that he had a massive advantage. He wasn’t gambling for himself, so he wasn’t afraid of losing.

He simply had a strong desire to win.

This was the most critical hand of the night, and the air became as still as a needle. Yan Zhixing’s gaze also fell upon Shen Yao.

Sitting under the spotlight, Shen Yao faced the remaining top alphas without any hint of fear. He looked beautiful, like a razor-sharp knife on display. An accidental touch from his omega hands could result in a cut.

He seemed to have everything under control, always calm and composed. Shen Yao’s beautiful eyes were filled with aggression, while his slender fingers rested on the black card backs, appearing delicate and weak, lacking strength. Even his knuckles showed a tinge of red.

It created a subtle contrast.

As an observer, Yan Zhixing was the person who had the clearest view of the game. With the twists and turns of the game, the emotions of the others had fluctuated to some extent, but Shen Yao had never shown the slightest flaw from beginning to end.

This was the first time Shen Yao completely dropped his soft omega disguise in front of Yan Zhixing.

“I fold.” 

For the sake of the game’s entertainment, they had changed the rules, allowing players to choose not to reveal their cards after going all in. After a brief moment of contemplation, Zhang Chengyu calmly spoke up.

Only then did Shen Yao’s gaze shift away from him, landing lightly on Boris. His slightly narrowed eyes exerted an invisible pressure.

Boris stared intently at his cards, meeting Shen Yao’s gaze. “I call.”

Their reactions were exactly as Shen Yao had anticipated.

He knew that Boris and the others had no understanding of him, unable to predict his playing strategy. So Shen Yao’s multiple folds earlier were not just to create a false impression but also to make them cautious about his raises in the subsequent rounds.

He didn’t understand the others either, so at the same time, he observed them. Eden was a cunning fox, retreating at the faintest scent of danger, while Zhang Chengyu made decisions based on the situation.

As for Boris, he liked to be aggressive when he had good cards and bluff when his hand was weak.

Despite Shen Yao’s attempt to apply pressure on Boris by going all in, the effect was not as expected. Their gazes shifted away from each other as the dealer began flipping the cards, revealing an “A” as the first community card.

The desired “8” that Shen Yao was hoping for did not appear, and the probability of it showing up was not high. He couldn’t guess Boris’s hand this time, but Shen Yao could deduce that Boris’s hole cards were likely not very strong since he had increased his bet after the community cards were revealed.

As the dealer unveiled the final community card, Shen Yao suddenly spoke up, “Do you have a straight?”

Boris didn’t answer. Their focus remained on the last card. Finally, Shen Yao understood the thrill of poker as his heartbeat accelerated due to the secretion of adrenaline.

The outcome, whether a win or a loss, hinged on this one card.

He stared at the dealer’s hand, and the last card was slowly revealed, initially exposing a round shape.

Only at the end did its full form become visible—a “8”.

The card Shen Yao had been longing for. He leaned back slowly in his chair. At the same moment, he noticed Boris’s raised eyebrows.

Boris picked up a cigar, biting it and casually flipping over his two hole cards, finally answering the question in a relaxed tone, “Of course, I have a straight.”

Boris’s hole cards were a “6” and a “9”. It was impressive for him to make such a bold bet. Barring any surprises, he would indeed be the winner.

“Mr. Boris.”

Shen Yao genuinely laughed and flicked his hole cards onto the table before leaning back in his chair once again.

Winning the chips on the table didn’t make him excited. His heartbeat, which had just accelerated, quickly calmed down.

Shen Yao lowered his gaze and stared at the “J” card thrown on the table. The knight in the image held an axe in his left hand and a pennant in his right.

He calmly stated, “I have a slight edge.”

Losing to him seemed to be quite embarrassing. After saying their farewells with cold faces, the room emptied, and even the dealer quietly departed.

Shen Yao remained motionless in his chair. When the others left the table, he nodded lightly as a gesture of farewell.

As he stood up and turned his head, Shen Yao noticed Yan Zhixing looking at him.

Shen Yao knew how to smile the most beautifully. He didn’t hesitate to show off his smile, speaking with an intimate tone as if he was playfully talking to a lover, “How could I bear to let you lose money?”

Shen Yao wasn’t intoxicated by the gambling session. His gaze remained clear. Yan Zhixing unexpectedly responded to his words, his voice still cold, “You dare to gamble because you’re willing to lose.”

“What if I had lost?” Shen Yao looked down at Yan Zhixing and asked, “Would you blame me?”

“No,” Yan Zhixing replied. “It was my decision to let you go.”

If Shen Yao lost, he would bear the responsibility himself.

Only now did Shen Yao calmly ask, “What is your wager?”

Yan Zhixing succinctly replied, “A shipping route.”

The stakes involved were not insignificant. Even if Shen Yao lost, he had countless ways to retrieve it, but it would be much more troublesome.

As the elevator doors opened, Shen Yao was about to say something when he suddenly heard a faint cheer, even the glass of the private passage couldn’t block it.

Shen Yao instinctively looked outside and saw several beautiful dancers on the previously empty stage. Each of them was flawlessly beautiful, their movements alluring and seductive.

He had never performed this kind of dance himself, so he stood in place with great interest, enjoying the show. After a while, Shen Yao caught a sweet and intoxicating scent of omega pheromones in the air, slightly different from what he usually smelled.

Shen Yao had heard that certain pheromones carried an irresistible allure, easily arousing alphas.

Sure enough, many people in the audience were influenced, trying to rush onto the stage but being blocked by security guards in front of the stage.

Yan Zhixing, however, showed no reaction whatsoever. As he watched the dancers on the stage, he displayed no trace of desire, resembling an aloof gentleman, just as cold and distant as usual.

Despite his apparent indifference to such stimuli, Yan Zhixing could still respond when kissing him.

Shen Yao suddenly wanted to confirm his suspicions.

As he caught the faint scent of apricot blossoms in the air, Yan Zhixing’s heart skipped a beat, and he immediately looked at Shen Yao. He watched as Shen Yao approached him, pushing him against the glass.

“Do you want to celebrate our victory with a kiss?” Shen Yao lifted his chin, leaning closer to Yan Zhixing, converging all his sharpness. He whispered softly, “Our victory, just between the two of us.”

Back pressed against the glass behind him, his rational mind told him to push Shen Yao away. But when their lips met, he seemed to be paralyzed, unable to move his body.

Shen Yao was slightly shorter than him, so he would tiptoe when kissing, starting with feather-light touches, as if testing the waters, before gradually growing bolder.

Yan Zhixing usually felt disgusted by things others had touched, let alone kissing and entangling tongues.

However, when Shen Yao kissed him, he didn’t feel any discomfort. He felt the softness of his lips, igniting a sudden heat within him, and he even yearned for more.

Yan Zhixing suddenly reached out, grasping Shen Yao’s waist, and immersed himself in the kiss, once again closing his eyes in intoxication.

Kissing seemed to be addictive, and he hadn’t tasted this sweetness for a week. During this week, the bond between them had affected him, making him want to see Shen Yao constantly. But images of kissing Shen Yao kept surfacing in his mind.

It wasn’t normal, so Yan Zhixing restrained his instincts and rarely spent time with Shen Yao.

The bond may have dissipated, but the images remained.

Shen Yao once again caught the scent of the unstable alpha pheromones and frowned, trying to push Yan Zhixing away. He exerted some force, but his wrist was held in place, and Yan Zhixing clung to him, as if in a confined space, as if the kiss wasn’t enough.

Shen Yao used all his strength and finally ended the kiss, breathing heavily.

He no longer cared about Yan Zhixing’s reaction and spoke, “If possible, I don’t want to smell your pheromones. They always affect my emotions.”

He looked at Yan Zhixing and lied with open eyes, “You know, our compatibility is high.”

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