The Ballad of a Small Player Summary & Study Guide

Lawrence Osborne
This Study Guide consists of approximately 46 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Ballad of a Small Player.
This section contains 441 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Ballad of a Small Player Summary & Study Guide Description

The Ballad of a Small Player Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Ballad of a Small Player by Lawrence Osborne.

In this suspenseful, somewhat dreamy novel by Lawrence Osborne, our protagonist, named only Lord Doyle, is living the runaway life of a baccarat gambler in Macau. A former English lawyer who left the country to escape arrest for laundering money from an elderly client, he has his highs and lows like any other gambler, but cannot seem to quit while he is ahead. After being saved one too many times, he finally learns what really matters to him in life.

Lord Doyle is not really a lord, however all of the gambling establishments assume he is because what else would an Englishman be doing gambling in the East. Often he is greeted with complimentary champagne or a female escort. One night he takes home an escort he feels a connection with, however he keeps imagining her connecting with other gentlemen as well so he never calls her. Her name is Dao-Ming, although he is doubtful even that is truthful.

His gambling remains hit and go until he has one very unlucky encounter with another English native, nicknamed Grandma. She rarely ever loses and even her own husband warns Doyle not to play her later in the novel. During their games, he notices Dao-Ming on the arm of another well-to-do gentleman. Although Lord Doyle wins a hand or two against Grandma, she cleans him out when he does not walk away from the tables while he is ahead. He leaves ultimately distraught, but maintains his calm, gentlemanly facade.

After attempting to collect on a number of bets, he is charging breakfast to a tab at an expensive hotel when he realizes he literally does not have the money to pay the establishment and can either run out scared or try to fake it and charge it to a room. Just as he reaches his lowest and will possibly be dishwashing or deported soon, he is rescued by Dao-Ming. She pays his bill and takes him home with her. They spend a couple days and nights together. She leaves him alone in her house one day, and he takes all of her money and leaves to gamble again. He begins to idolize her, but never calls her with the number she left him. This time, however, he cannot lose at baccarat. He wins and wins and wins. He wins so much the management of his hotel forbids him from betting there because they are afraid of the ghost one of their executives saw over his shoulder in surveillance footage. However, when he finally seeks out Dao-Ming, whose money he has been winning with, he finds out some life-changing news.

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This section contains 441 words
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