M*A*S*H episode
“The Merchant of Korea”
MASH episode 6x15 - Poker Game
Potter, Hawkeye, BJ, Charles, Margaret, Klinger and Radar engage in a poker game in "The Merchant of Korea".
Season 6, Episode # 15
Number (#137) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Johnny Haymer
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Y-118
Writer(s) Ken Levine & David Isaacs
Director William Jergensen
Original airdate December 20, 1977
IMDb logo IMDB The Merchant of Korea
Episode chronology
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"Comrades in Arms, Part 2" (Y‑117) "The Smell of Music" (Y‑115)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Comrades in Arms, Part 2" (Y‑117) "What's Up, Doc?" (Y‑119)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 6 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

The Merchant of Korea was the 137th episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H. The episode, which was the 14th episode of Season 6, was written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs, and directed by William Jurgensen. It originally aired on December 20, 1977.

Plot synopsisEdit

B.J. borrows $200 from Charles so he can send Peg Hunnicutt a down-payment for some property in Mill Valley, and soon finds himself having to return SEVERAL favors to Charles.

Full episode summaryEdit

B.J. gets a telegram from his wife Peg telling him they have a chance to buy a piece of property they've had their eye on for a long time - if he can come up with the $200 down payment in the next 24 hours. B.J. asks around, but both Hawkeye and Radar are pretty much broke. In desperation, he turns to the richest guy he knows - his fellow Swamp Rat Winchester.

Winchester gives him the money, but soon after he starts to treat B.J. like a "$200 houseboy", asking him for small favor after small favor. Things get worse when payday, which was scheduled the next day, is delayed when the 4077th's money is accidentally sent to Guam.

This keeps B.J. indebted to Winchester, and leaves everyone in the camp broke...except for Winchester, of course. And when he pays Hawkeye's bar tab in the Officers Club, he starts treating Hawkeye in the same "do me a small favor" manner. This drives them both to distraction, and they come up with the idea to have a poker game and invite Winchester, who knows nothing of the game, to play, intending to rob him blind.

News of the game spreads, and with the idea of Winchester sitting in, everyone joins in. At first, Winchester acts uncertain and hesitant, which causes everyone else to bet heavily. But the joke's on them when Winchester wins the first hand, drawing a straight out of a four-card draw! This continues all night, with Winchester winning hand after hand ("First the war, now this", Hawkeye offers), leaving everyone else off more broke than they were before.

In the middle of the night, Winchester asks for a break, and takes a walk outside. Back inside the O Club, everyone marvels at how Winchester is winning so much. They then notice that Winchester has a tell...he whistles, loudly, when he's bluffing.

With this piece of information, they commence playing, and when Winchester starts whistling loudly again, everyone antes up confidently.

Morning arrives, and Winchester is cleaned out. He's fronted money for the last hand by Hawkeye and B.J., after they both paid off the money they owe him over the course of the night. He loses that hand, too, officially ending the marathon session.

As everyone clears out, Hawkeye and B.J. goof on Winchester for losing so much, but he takes it all in stride, boasting he's spent more money than this on a "late-night snack at home." Since he now owes them money, they guilt Winchester into sticking around and cleaning up the O Club, which he does, whistling opera the whole time.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

External linksEdit