*** (3 stars out of 5)
Suppose Guinan was a jerk. That's all the story I have for you today. Good-night everybody!
Martus Mazur, refugee from the El-Aurian system, is using his 'Listener' ability to con people out of their life savings. Really, though, what can you expect from the rancid Prince Humperdink?
Over-or-at-least-approaching-the-Hill O'Brien develops a fervent racquetball rivalry with Bashir. The lithe, lunatic doctor's beaten everyone in the sector including a Vulcan. Now he beats Miles. A lot. His pants off, in fact. It's Magic Mike, only less chiseled.
Speaking of bums, Martus' indigent, reeking cellmate is Aughra from The Dark Crystal, except male and less appealing physically. He's lost his fortune to a portable plinko machine. Finally, he loses his very life, which he counts as a win. Mostly because he doesn't have to be in the rest of the episode.
Martus plays with the dead guy's Pokeball. Although Pikachu fails to appear, the criminal charges vanish, some wealthy widows happen by, and soon Quark has a rival in 'Club Martus'. Worryingly, it looks like Mazur bought the spot leased to the temple. (The monks must be working as his fry cooks. Like I said, jerk.)
The infirmary fills up with minor bad-luck accidents. Miles somehow steps on the racquetball in mid-flight. Quark runs the betting on The Doctor Vs. The Mechanic and tries to slip Bashir a mickey. Even though he's clever enough to scan before drinking, Julian loses anyway against all odds.
The El-Aurian's fortunes also suddenly reverse when he's caught with his head in a showgirl's bosom, and his wealthy widow walks out. Then Wealthy Widow Mark II absconds with his cash: she was scamming the scammer all along. (Mommy needs a new pair of self-igniting stars!)
Dax discovers that the laws of probability have gone Screwy McGooey, and yes, that is more scientific than the on-screen explanation. Dax and Sisko set the world to rights by phasering Martus' giant replicated gambling machines. Quark bails Martus out of the pokey in exchange for he am-scray and never darkens our towels again, see?
"Rivals" is dumb fun and that's all I can recommend about it. That's fine by me. You may have noticed the occasional element of juvenile humor in my own paltry work. Pbbthpht (inserting underarm fart noises).