The Look, the Voice, the Truth

When I mention to people that I am a writer and I often write about gambling and casinos, I will get “the look” from some of them. “The look” incorporates a scrunched up forehead, a slight involuntary sneer, a tilt of the head often followed by the words, “Oh, you’re a gambler?” The tone of the question is in keeping with the scrunched forehead, the sneer and the tilted head – not pleasant at all.

What have I done wrong? Have I murdered someone? Stolen food from a baby? Looted Little Lulu’s college fund?

Being a gambler is not perceived as a good thing as gamblers are often lumped in with problem or addictive gamblers. Certainly, the 54 million people who go to casinos every year are not addicted to gambling nor are those people who play a football lottery daily slaves to Lady Luck’s charms. If you like a glass or two of wine with your dinner are you a raging alcoholic? I think not.

The fact that we all gamble all the time is often lost on most people. That loving couple you see strolling hand-in-hand along the beach (regardless of their age) took a gamble on each other. Would a relationship work out? They had to gamble and see.

The person waiting for the bus or in the terminal boarding his flight or heading up the planks boarding a cruise ship or selecting tonight’s dinner items, or walking across the street or going into a pool or ocean; all these people are taking a gamble. Gambling is a part of everyday life. In fact, it is most of everyday life.

We tend to dismiss the above gambles because we make most of them all the time. You could be walking down the street and a rock falls on your head and injures you – the act of such walking down the street was a gamble.

The biggest gamble people probably take is having children. That is genetic roulette of the first order as you have no idea which genes will be coming out in your kid(s). Will it be the brilliant but overly neurotic Aunt Emma from the 17th century? Will it be from Karl, the great athlete? Will it be someone with a pleasant disposition? Or will it be the raging serial killer from the 1500s?

Parents have sometimes heard their kid say, “I didn’t ask to be born!” Many parents would love to shoot back, “I didn’t ask for you to be born either. I wanted someone else.” Children? A lifetime gamble that’s for sure.

For most people most of their children turn out to be okay to brilliant – that’s the continuum.

For casino gamblers the continuum would be from those who use it as their major pastime to those who go on occasion. Yes, in life there are outliers; people who gamble until they harm themselves and others, and people who never gamble on casino games. The latter dominates the outlier group.

Most people are rarely in the outlier groups; that’s why such groups are outliers, they constitute the extreme ends.

So the next time someone gives you “the look,” ignore them. They know not what they do or have done every day of their life.

[Read Frank Scoblete’s books I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All available from Amazon.com, on Kindle and electronic media, at Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]

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