Winners &Losers

Winner & Losers
The Black Jack
American Statistical
Returned Casino
jam-packed gambles
Blackjack Heaven
Spooking & blackjack

Oh Not The Ritz

One Dark Night>
A spinall played
traced back< India
Poker Backgammon
1984 Aspinal
Gamester Extraordinary

View From The Downside

Gordon Moody
Powerful Stuff
Royal Commission

Gamblers Hospital

Gamblers Hospital
Individual Therapy

In The Casino

Take Risks
So Why Gamble
The Reason
Gambling Event

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Percentages and Chances

Percentages and Chances

      Action Man

Action Man
Las Vegas
Bucking The Odds
Kusyszyn concludes

 Mauvaise Epoque

Dynamic Management
Blanc Dies
The S.B.M
Eudaemons to Draw

Nevada & New Jersey

Mafia boss
Connection & Crime
Jersey Casino
Technical Issues


The Game of Life
Real Until


AS WE APPROACH the end of the twentieth century, the worldwide appeal of gambling is stronger than ever.  Every year sees new resorts opening up to allow casino gaming news , more jurisdictions setting up lotteries.  The common motive among licensing authorities is to find a new and painless way of raising  revenue.  New it may be, but painless it is not – in the sense  that gambling is bound  to alter the economic and social balance in any community. For  every plus there is a minus.  Among the gaming operators the common motive is to make a fast profit.  ‘Taws ever thus, might say.

            Most interesting, to my mind, is that gambling has retained all of its fascination, in so many different societies and cultures, around the world.  Despite all the distraction that our modern times have to offer – the plethora of entertainment available at the flick of a switch all the leisure activities which ease of travel, technological innovation and economy of production have made available – gaming has kept its hold on people.  That should not really be a cause for surprise.  As this book shows, the urge to gamble is a basic instinct of human nature.  Does human nature change from one generation to the next?
            A decade ago some 75 countries were offering gambling in one form or another.  The total has certainly risen since, and the opportunities for gambling within these countries – headed by the United States – have in many cases been expanding. I was amused to see an advertisement for the American magazine Gambling times at the front of an international gambling directory, posing the question.
            ‘How much money will you bet in your lifetime?  $ 1,000 … $ 10,000 … $ 100,000?’
            Nice question.  The answer is over $ 1,000,000!  The average couple visiting Las Vegas or Atlantic City drops about $ 300 a trip, the ad says, but, to do that, they will have bet something like $ 12,000, betting their basic bankroll, plus winnings, over and over again in successive small wagers.  If this vactioning couple makes two trips to the bright lights a year, that means $24,000 wagered: and over 40 years the total amount bet is close to the million dollar mark (and well above it if occasional visits to the racetrack and so on are included.) That, of course, is how the casinos make their profits, slicing a small edge from a limited sum over and over and over.  Note that while the couple in question may have bet nearly $ 1m, their net loss was only $ 300 x  80, or $24,000.  (A small price for a lot of entertainment, as the casinos would say.)
            I don’t see any reason why the trend to gambling should not continue in the twenty-first century.  As daily life becomes more automated, as leisure assumes a greater proportion of people’s time (at least in the more affluent countries )and as a way of relieving people’s feeling of being hemmed in – the sense that one’s individual choice is more and more constricted by routine in over-crowded societies – gambling offers a ready outlet.  One day, during the next century, life will probably be discovered on another planet, beyond our solar system.  (The chances are not too bad: it is estimated that there are about 10 billion galaxies in the universe and, may be a 100 billion planets where the kind of conditions exist that produced life on earth.) It will be interesting to see what role chance plays in that other life.

            This is not a wholly idle speculation on my part, because the operation of chance plays an integral and crucial role in our own form of life here on Earth, as both quantum physics and molecular biology have shown. In the beginning, so we are told by the cosmologists, was the big bang, and out of that almighty and still continuing explosion, our Earth was formed.  It is creation was a product of chance, one chance in unimaginably large odds matter itself, physics has revealed, is subject to the laws not of providence but of probability.  That is, the physical laws which determine the way the Earth is are not hard and fast: the discoveries of quantum mechanics demonstrated that they operate in an altogether different way, through probabilities.  As everybody knows, without quite understanding what it signifies, quanta ‘jump’, they  behave in peculiar ways which go against all the established laws of classical physics.
            Einstein could not bring himself to accept the extraordinary weirdness, as it has been described, of the behavior of atomic particles.  ‘I cannot believe that God plays dice, ’ was his celebrated dictum.  He grew up to believe, as most of us do, that the universe is governed by immutable laws, which were susceptible of mathematical explanation.  What quantum physics showed was that fundamentals atomic processes occur at random.  The ‘rules’ governing microscopic particles are statistical.  More than that, human intention influences the outcome of experiments.  So God does play dice with the universe.  Einstein, in that particular sense, was wrong, or rather, he allowed his life-long belief in the order of nature to take precedence over the evidence to the contrary of quantum physics.
            The process of chance in ordinary life is well established, for instance in the way insurance companies predict life expectancy.  The actuaries who write your policy do not know how long you will survive to enjoy it, and they don’t even think about that question: what they know is how long many thousands of people of the same age and social group will live on average.  The working probability in the behaviour of atomic particles is similar.
            There is no way of predicting exactly when a particular atom of a radioactive substance will decay: but experiments have shown that out of a large number of radioactive atoms of the same element a certain proportion will always decay in a certain time.  Every radioactive element has a half-life, during which exactly half of the atoms in a sample decay, Radium has a half-life of 1,900 years, carbon -14 a half-life of a little under 6,000 years (which makes it so useful in archaeological dating).  Without knowing what makes one atom in a vast array of atoms disintegrate while others do not, statistical poker players table enable physicists to predict the rate of decay in the same way that insurance companies predict life expectancy (as science writer John Gribbin explains in his entertaining account of quantum physics In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat 1984).

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