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21 April, 2016

Often, I see people fervently saying no you should not gamble. Like never, ever. Do not even buy a lottery ticket, that's a tax on stupidity.  When you look at the the statistics and the math, you will see that they are on their side - it is indeed likely people will not win and instead will just lose some money. However, they are wrong to say  that you should never try.

Trying something that has a higher percent of failure is something people do all the time. The world is full of risks. In the last 10 years we have seen a rising age of start-ups, where a lot of risks are involved. And actually, it does not matter if it is a business willing to innovate and do new things or if we are talking about a traditional business plan (like to open a coffee shop)  - on average you would have most of these new business fail. Certainly a lot more than the ones succeeding. The same logic used earlier on why we should not gamble, if used here, would mean that nobody should start their own business.
Life is full of risks and each choice we make carries risk, even if we do not realize it at the time. Staying at a safe job for 30 years without improving yourself to become a versatile and desirable employee is risky. That is why you hear today of people who have worked for years at one company and cannot move on to another job after being fired. The safe choice we make in our daily lives has its risk also in other words. 
Despite the naysayers, humans have shown when looking back at history, that we are ready to take risks. Ready to find a new route for richness across the sea. Ready to travel to a far away land, ready to move to the city from your home village and start new.  Ready to gamble on flight, space exploration and many other things.
Here comes the main point of this article. Why do people gamble after all if they know the risks? Arthur C. Clarke explains it in a more eloquent way than I could here:
"Humanity had always been fascinated by the mystery of the falling dice, the turn of a card, the spin of the pointer...
...the purely intellectual fascination of chance remained to seduce the most sophisticated minds. Machines that behaved in a purely random way - events whose outcome could never be predicted, no matter how much information one had - from these philosopher and gambler could derive equal enjoyment."
The quote above is from his book the City and the Stars about an Utopian city where humanity has everything it needs to survive but is confined to the limits of that city. No more spoilers for now, ready the book if you want I think it's a great one.

Moving on to a conclusion - people do not play casino because they want that 200 USD they took to the casino with them safe in a bank deposit. Casino is played firstly and foremost to experience chance in a way that matters for you. You cannot have fun playing roulette without money, I am sure  you will get bored right away. Compare such an experience with one where you are placing some of your money - for sure you will be entertained far more than you could ever be. It the same for me when it comes to playing poker. I would not play the game if it did not involve money and made me care about the unknown outcomes of the games I play.

Note: still, please never forget to not get carried away. Playing casino games should always be for entertainment, do not think of this as your way to make money in order to finally quit your 9 to 5 day job. With that in mind - roll the dice!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with the Arthur Clarke we always got attracted towards the mystery of the way gambling works whether it is dice or card. And it is also true that at some point every decision or step we take in life has some risk. But at the end playing casino games is just for fun so that you stress gets opt out.


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