It’s a Gamble! Gambling – Great? Gruesome? Gambling – Essential, Addictive, Destructive

I’m used to thinking of gambling as horrible. Every day I hear stories of people destroying their lives, and the well-being of their families, because they can’t stop gambling. Everything goes. A woman speaks from her prison cell: she turned to robbing banks to pay for her addiction. She doesn’t excuse herself. But she couldn’t help herself. She wanted to be arrested. Despair.

I’ve been thinking about gambling differently this past while. Not “pure gambling” (lottery tickets, casinos, online gambling). But gambling as an essential feature of healthy, hopeful living that takes us beyond the routine.

My partner and I are building a business. Now, that’s a gamble – with our time, our lives. I’m also building this site – Elsa’s Creativity Emporium. Another huge gamble with time, energy, creativity. Columbus sailed for America. His gamble: that he would end up in the Far East. He didn’t get was he was aiming for – but the gamble paid off for the Europeans.

Farmers plant seeds. The gamble: that the season will be good. Designers design The gamble: that the design will find a market.

People fall in love, and decide to try to make a live with that person – one of the biggest gambles in life.

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On the other hand, many people want a predictable salary. No gambling, please. So and so much an hour. Anything else feels wrong, out of control, dangerous. How can anyone live like that, they shudder and recoil.

An observation. Many people don’t want to gamble with work time. They want steady dependable pay. At the same time, they have a hugely developed urge, even an overwhelming urge, to gamble.

In other words, quite a number of the same people who want a steady paycheck spend a huge chunk of their everyday earnings on gambling!

“It’s just for fun.” “It’s my right.” “I have every right to do what I want with my money. I earned it, after all. It’s mine.” “Everyone’s entitled to have a good time every now and then. All those hours I work. I deserve something.”

So, though many people are entirely unable to consider working “on a gamble,” (building a business, doing creative projects that may well never pay), they gamble over and over in ways that are set up to make the huge majority of people lose.

But most of the world does live “on a gamble” – or combining the gamble with as much certainty as possible. Traditional gatherer-hunting societies for instance have the relative dependability of gathering (which brings in about 90% of food) and the gamble on what is brought in through hunting (10% of the average food supply, according to my reading). Even with the gathering part, no year is like any other year. The steady dependable pay-off (salary, berries, etc.) is not the norm.

And with that, back to gambling. I’m going to call the kind of gambling I’m used to recoiling from “pure gambling” – in other words, one isn’t gambling that the weather will cooperate with one’s efforts, one isn’t trying to make a sale, one isn’t trying to build a site or a business, one isn’t courting and hoping another will respond to us. “Pure gambling” – bingo, casinos, lotteries, slot machines, computer games like minesweeper and so on. The goal is winning in a game stacked against us, and the win builds nothing except the win. No book is written, no grain is harvested, nothing is built.

In everyday gambling – which I’ll call “part-of-life gambling”, the pleasure of winning is part of so many other things. It’s part of building a life – gambling that our reaching out to someone will pay off, gambling that our design will find a market, gambling that the move to another city where there are supposed to be better jobs will lead to a better job.

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In “pure gambling,” all that other stuff has been taken out. The goal: the win. The goal: the payoff. In some forms of “pure gambling”, one does build some skills – one learns to play bingo well, to know the ins and outs of computer games. One becomes fast, the moves automatic. In other forms of pure gambling, people just, say, pull the arm of a one-armed bandit – and the craving to keep doing this that be so strong that people have resorted (or so I’ve heard) to wearing diapers so they don’t need to leave to go to the bathroom.

I’ve felt the pull of pure gambling, as well as part-of-life gambling. The time: about ten years ago. Too much stress. One day, I opened minesweeper, a computer game, and played a few games. The stress disappeared. I ended up playing minesweeper for several days, getting better and better. Wonderful and relaxing. At some point, I couldn’t get better at minesweeper. From that point on, winning or losing (most often losing), became a matter of luck. And yet I still wanted to play. Very much so.

I did what was easiest for me to do: I asked my partner to take the game off my computer (at the time I didn’t have the skill to know how to delete it myself). I don’t think, though, that I could have used the computer and not played. The pull felt irresistible. I felt deprived when the game was gone. I wanted it back. I didn’t ask for it back, though. I was able to have that much power over the pull of the game.

I did, for a number of years, turn to solitaire – not on the computer. Too dangerous. The old-fashioned way, with cards. If I played more than I thought was okay, I would put the cards in a place where it was inconvenient for me to get them – in a corner of the basement, for instance. Sometimes I would go and get them. More often I wouldn’t.

The last several years have been so busy that there hasn’t been time to reach for the cards. And I’ve noticed that the urge is gone. I want, if I have a few minutes, to take a walk, to make supper, to do nothing. I like life better that way.

I’ve been gambling enormously, these past few years, but the healthy way – doing things, hoping and planning that the projects will make it in the world.

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I’m back to gambling: the good, the bad, the ugly.

The good. This is when we take gambles in life, gambles that come from as much knowledge and experience as possible. Even then, it’s important that we check out the risks as well as possible – because in everyday life just as in a casino, one can gamble away one’s savings, one’s home, and so on. I took a gamble fifteen years ago: I had work (flight attendant) that was dependable but didn’t satisfy me. I was finishing my Ph.D. when the airline hit hard times and offered a golden handshake to people willing to leave. I didn’t have full-time college or university teaching lined up. Worse, there was hardly any teaching of any kind available where I lived. Still, I took a gamble. After all, I had an almost completed Ph.D. in hand, and had been doing university teaching part-time for years.

It wasn’t an instant win. But I finally got college teaching, and eventually even steady college teaching. And that again isn’t an instant fix, like a casino win. It means having to work at making the teaching successful, learning how to make the more difficult classes work (when one can), etc. There are ongoing challenges.

I think of Crick and Watson, who worked on figuring out the structure of DNA – and only after 10 years came to the realization (through a dream) that there was a double helix. They gambled with 10 years of their life.

I think of Banting, who figured out how diabetes can be controlled through insulin. So much time and effort, done despite the lack of success of others.

The dangerous good. I am thinking of people my parents knew. Not gamblers of any sort. They had built a financially successful life through steady paid-by-the-hour work. Then their 20-year-old son saw a “golden business opportunity”. A local successful business was for sale. The parents mortgaged their house to the max to buy it. In a year, the successful business was destroyed through a serious of stupid choices made by their inexperienced son who had all kinds of ideas for “improving” it. The parents lost everything.

The bad. Pure gambling, when it’s more than an occasional pleasure. My mother would buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket at a time when gambling was illegal in Canada. She got a thrill out of doing something illegal. Also the ticket was a kind of miracle hope for an instant fix to all the everyday financial struggles. But it was a small cost.

For all too many people, the cost is high – financially, and in time and focus. Apparently over 15% of Canadian teenagers have at least a moderate addiction to what I call bad gambling.

Of course it can also give some kind of gratification to people leading small boring lives. Bingo halls enthrall thousands of people week after week.

The gruesome. This is when the pure gambling urge takes over someone’s life, and often destroys everything else in that life. Couple life, parenting, other interests.

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What to do? One, recognize the intense power of the “gambling pay-off pull.” There it is, the jackpot – like a carrot to a donkey. Not easy to resist.

Societies and countries which outlaw gambling – like both Canada and the States used to – recognize the destructive power of “the pay-off pull” central to pure gambling.

Personally, I find it insane to take away the laws that prohibit gambling without at least, at the same time, mandating huge public education – from earliest childhood on – on the destructive power of “the gambling pay-off pull.”

It’s like no longer ensuring that water is drinkable, but not doing anything so that people each take care of their own water supply. Can you imagine a huge campaign against providing drinkable water on the basis that this tampers with individual liberty? that each person has the right to drink the water of one’s choice?

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And yet to go back to good gambling. I will now call it “integrated gambling” – gambling as part of other activities. The same intense pay-off pull may help us through tough times. We practice and practice a difficult guitar piece – we know there will be a pay-off and the high of getting there (at least for a moment, before we move on to the next challenge). We put in long hours working with a child with learning difficulties – and we exult when learning happens. Pay-off.

Good gambling. I’d say that’s a core part of human development. It keeps us going – we’re not only doing whatever it is (trying to keep the corps alive in a hard season), but longing for the pay-off. And when it does happen, euphoria, a natural high. Yeah!!!

Good gambling combines with creativity. It helps us move out of ruts, into the unknown. Something in us knows this is a good direction. There is a pull from deep inside ourselves.

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As with so much about us, it’s easy to mess things up.

Gambling – well. Gambling combined with a project, a goal, an end that does not have to do with gambling, a goal in itself that usually leads to further development.

Gambling – bad. Gambling for the lure of the win, the pay-off – usually unrelated to the efforts we put in. (There was nothing my mother did, that would make her more likely to win the Irish Sweepstakes than what anyone else did – it was just luck. And she never won.)

Gambling – gruesome – when “pure gambling” has taken over someone’s life.

All it takes is a tiny change inside ourselves to go from the good to the bad to the gruesome – a disconnection of the pay-off pull from something constructive.

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I started with words from a song I wrote years ago, on a gamble Western society gives huge value to: love. Young people are expected to find a partner to live with, taking a huge gamble with their lives. I would call it a central healthy gamble. And again here, it’s been found that, time after time, learning is important. People who have been around healthy love relationships are way more likely to have the love gamble pay off.

I think we need to learn to gamble well – to do the right kind, and do it well.

I’ll end with lines from that song – when can be about the best of a good gamble:

Love is my kind of tangle

Love is my kind of gamble

I’ve got all that I can handle

Love

More of Love Gamble, Love Tangle

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Where to send you from here? You can click here for Creativity Pure and Applied. Creativity – another side of ourselves that can be pure (creativity for the sake of creativity) and applied (creativity in the service of something else). The dynamics are decidedly different than with gambling!

My writing, by the way, is a gamble. I’m gambling that it’s worth it – to me and to you.

Comments welcome.

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For more good thinking and stimulating ideas, click and find ELSA’S IDEA EMPORIUM. Thought-provoking arguments plus stupid opinions exposed. And FREE UPDATES. Click here:

http://www.elsas-word-story-image-idea-music-emporium.com/the-idea-emporium-all.html

Click and find:
How To Think – Helpful Tip Number One – Ask Yourself This One Question.
Whose Dog Is It Anyway? On Pets, Ownership, Slavery – Human Rights, Animal Rights, Who’s Right?
Elsa, age 7, Takes on God – Elsa Knows God is Wrong (the one she read about, anyway).
The Rottweiler Pope, the Danish Cartoon, and Muslim Moderates.
Stupid Opinion Number One – The Opinion That We Are Where We Are Meant To Be.
Stupid Opinion Number Two – The Opinion That All Opinions Are Equal.
Don’t Keep it Simple, Stupid – We’re Not All Mental Vegetables.
The Rage of the “Righteous”.

Click. THE IDEA EMPORIUM. Think. Click!

The 10 Commandments of Casino Gambling

My name is Ray W. and I have spent the past 40 years studying and playing every form of gambling/betting systems in existence. From the time I walked into my first pool hall at the age of 16 I’ve been fascinated with every aspect of it. I guess that makes me somewhat of an expert, if there really is such a thing. It’s not just me that’s fascinated though.

According to government statistics, 86% of Americans have reported gambling on something in the past 12 months. Approximately only 1/3 of the population consists of non-bettors. They state that 46% of adults gamble in casinos and seven out of ten frequent non-casino gambling. The primary source of which is horse racing, sports betting, state lotteries and online or private card games.

48 states have some form of legalized gambling with only Utah and Hawaii being the only two that do not. There are currently 13 states that have legalized commercial state sponsored casinos with a total of 443 of these establishments. The combined gross revenue for these 443 casinos was $30.74 billion annually.
The numbers are truly staggering.

Although I, like so many others, derive a great deal of enjoyment from it, any type of gambling that risks a person losing enough money to affect their standard of living (or that of their family) is self-destructive and should be avoided at all costs. I have personally watched a man lose his entire aluminum siding business overnight during a ridiculously extended session of heads-up gin rummy. Hard to believe, I know.

My attraction to gambling and casino table games in particular, is rooted in a deep desire to win every time I play. There is nothing compulsive about my approach to casino gambling. In fact, I do everything I can to take as much of the gamble out of it as possible.

The winning approach consists of only playing games that have no more than a 2% house advantage (Craps .60%, Baccarat 1.25%, Roulette 2.6% on even-money wagers and Blackjack, even money depending on the use of expert “Basic Strategy”) and rigorous adherence to an iron-clad set of precepts which are the “golden rules” or The 10 Commandments as I like to call them.

1. Never gamble when tired or depressed.

2. Never gamble with more than you can comfortably afford to lose.

3. Do Not drink alcohol before or during gambling sessions. It is the chloroform the casinos provide to separate the player from their money.

4. Keep playing sessions short.

5. Always preset a definite bankroll for gambling and Do Not exceed that amount.

6. If you are feeling “negative” about your surroundings (the table, dealers, other players or if in a losing cycle) stop betting and leave the table. The tables will still be there when your mood changes.

7. Avoid playing without a clear plan of action (betting strategy, min./max. wagers).

8. Do Not increase the size of your bets when losing. Increase wagers only when winning. This will limit losses and let winnings run up.

9. Know that the battle is not between you and the casino… it is between you and you alone. Always maintain your self-discipline.

10. Always quit when winning.

Winning consistently at these four casino table games is not that difficult. I do it all the time. There are playing and betting strategies that I believe shifts the advantage from the “house” to the player in any given short session of play.

The above 10 rules of gambling have been handed down to me by the most astute professional gamblers I have known over the years. They are essential to intelligent and consistent winning. Anyone who is not able to follow these rules has no business in a casino gambling with real money.

Life, like gambling, is a constant battle with the unknown. If you knew what the outcome would be in advance it would take all the fun out of it.

“The serious gambler is a man who is at war with chance. In the casino there is, whether he wins or loses, certainty… he consults the table, which speaks to him through the dice, as the Greeks consulted the oracles, and the oracle rewards him by telling him now, not next week or next year, whether the choices he makes are right or wrong.”

- William Pearson
“The Muses of Ruin”

Best of luck,
Ray W.

At Players’ Casino Club you can learn winning playing/betting strategies and historical background focusing on the four best casino table games of Craps, Blackjack, Roulette & Baccarat.

Winning at casino gambling is not difficult if you know how. It is a skill that can be learned.

Multi-deck “Basic Strategy” for winning Blackjack and card counting techniques are fully explained.

Internet Gambling Laws – US, UK and the World

Legal minds turned to Internet gambling laws as a specialty when the industry went beyond growth and exploded into the public mind. “The law surrounding Internet gambling in the United States has been murky, to say the least,” according to Lawrence G. Walters, one of the attorneys working with gameattorneys.com.

In contrast, Internet gambling laws in the U.K. have made the lives of providers and players a bit easier. The passage of the Gambling Act of 2005 has basically legalized and regulated online play in the U.K.

With the objectives of keeping gambling from promoting “crime or disorder” the U.K. act attempts to keep gambling fair, in addition to protecting younger citizens and others who may be victimized by gambling operation. Unlike the United States, which still clings to the 1961 Wire Wager Act, the U.K. significantly relaxed regulations that are decades old. A gambling commission was established to enforce the code and license operators.

A Whole Other Country

According to Walters and many other observers of the Internet gambling laws scene, the United States Department of Justice continues to view all gambling on the Internet as illegal under the Wire Act. But there are details in the federal law that defy attempts to throw a blanket over all online gambling.

The Wire Wager Act forms the basis for federal action on Internet gambling laws in the United States. The law was meant to complement and support laws in the various states, focusing primarily on “being engaged in the business of betting or wagering” using wire communication to place bets or wagers on sporting events or similar contests. The law also comments on receiving money or credit that results from such a wager. The keys are “business,” “money or credit” and “wire communication facility.”

But as many attorneys and proponents of fair Internet gambling laws emphasize, the federal law does not specifically address other forms of gambling. This has left the law open to interpretation when it comes to online casinos specifically and using the World Wide Web to play online games.

October 13, 2006 is a crucial date in the controversy surrounding the legalization of gambling. For anyone wishing to understand Internet gambling laws, the federal law passed on that day is essential knowledge. President George W. Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which is intended to limit some “financial transactions” used for online gambling.

But even if current federal gambling laws can clearly define something as simple as a legal gambling age, the newer UIGEA has not settled all the dust raised around the issue of online gambling. Attorneys such as Walters (and many others) have pointed out that the UIGEA seems to refer only to financial transactions and wagers that are illegal where the wager or transaction is made. Some wagers may be legal while others may not be legal. It’s as simple as that.

The UIGEA had some effect on Internet gambling, in that many successful companies got out of the business, at least in the United States. In fact, with the passage of the law in 2006, most U.S. online players found they could not play at an online casino or poker room, for a short time. Many of the gambling providers found ways to establish offices and servers outside of the U.S. so that could invite United States players back in.

Break Time

It’s now time to stop, take a deep breath and turn to Internet gambling laws in the various states. Some have passed their own rules and regulations (before and after UIGEA). In a few states, companies cannot operate an online gambling business. In other states it is illegal for an individual to place a bet using the Web. Some legal experts argue that these individual-state rules are unconstitutional since commerce across state lines should only be regulated by federal law, not state law. Commercial online gambling businesses don’t operate in the United States, however. If you want to visit their “home offices” you may have to travel to Malta, Gibraltar or Curacoa.

The 2005 U.K. law generally allows remote sites such as these. The rules are not so relaxed in the U.S. However, a recent appellate court ruling in the U.S. states that, in at least one case, an Web-based gambling site did not violate states laws. Most legal minds urge gamblers and others interested in the issue to stay tuned.

Some have given their attention to finding benefits of legalized gambling, noting that this huge industry might be a key to economic recovery in the United States. At the heart of their argument are examples such as established lotteries run by various states, in addition to the government revenues that flow in to state coffers from riverboats and land-based casinos.

Part of this effort rests on the shoulders of more than 100 legal representatives working for common sense in Internet gambling laws. This hoard of attorneys has the task of trying to keep the World Wide Web/Internet free from government intervention.

Bob Ciaffone is considered one of the experts on the subject of gambling and poker in general, and on the transition to online gambling. He suggests that any regulation of Web-based gambling should reduce competition from outside the U.S., so that the citizens of the U.S. would benefit in legal gambling states. His detailed plan would parallel the U.K. situation since that country passed its 2005 rules. Ciaffone also strongly urges U.S. lawmakers to keep Internet gambling laws separate from the 40-year-old Wire Act, which was passed to control illegal gambling over the telephone.

In essence, Ciaffone writes that the UIGEA attempted to do the right thing, but does it in all the wrong ways. The restrictions have severely handicapped what could be a great revenue source with proper regulation, according to Ciaffone.

Consider a statement on the UIGEA from the most-recognizable poker player in the world, Doyle Brunson. Though is comments apply to his favorite game of poker, they can easily relate to all Internet gambling laws. He said, in essence, that his company received good legal advice that indicates Internet poker is not “expressly” illegal. He encourages U.S. players to learn the laws of their own state.