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The lucky one19 January 2016
Or have you been an unlucky player? Do people sympathize with you when they hear of the rotten times you’ve had in gambling? Have you at times thought of yourself as Lady Luck’s whipping boy (or girl)?
Or have you been just so-so when it came to luck? You won some, you lost some?
Here is the shocking news: There is no such thing as “luck.” It is just a term we use to describe random results as they apply to people, places and things. More importantly, it is a concept casinos use to hint that luck might be in your favor tonight, since no casino has ever highlighted players who have gotten clobbered.
In random games, it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in; what ethnic group you belong to; how much you’ve won or lost in the past or whether you floss your teeth a couple of times a day – luck is not an actual presence. It is not an entity. There is no “Dame Fortune” or “Lady Luck” or, as some ancients called luck, “nemesis,” hovering in the air to reward or punish players.
Luck is chance.
Many people in the past (and many people today) see “luck” as an actual force, perhaps a spiritual force from God or the universe; a special force that picks and chooses who will and who will not benefit. Certain talismans have been credited with bringing good luck: the rabbit’s foot (except for the rabbit), a special coin, a religious medal, an amulet, a specially blessed cloth, some herbs are just a few.
Certainly, you can easily point to some people who have beaten many of the casino’s games on a particular day or trip or even over an extended period of time. Your Aunt Loo-Loo has hammered roulette for the past two years and has been given so many free buffets that she now weighs more than North Dakota. Aunt Loo-Loo credits a “blessed bobbin” she received from her elderly mother Boo-Boo with helping her win. Is she right? Is this really so? A blessed bobbin? No, sorry, it isn’t.
I could sew thousands of Momma Boo-Boo’s blessed bobbins into the clothing of all the roulette players playing the game right now and guess what? Some players would win and some players would lose. The blessed bobbin would have nothing to do with either. (If a roulette game were being played in a nudist camp then I’d have to figure something else out.)
You don’t even need human players to see how chance dictates results, good and bad, as opposed to some powerful mystical or spiritual force. Just put 38 little cards at the wheel and give each card a name, Harry, Harriet, Henry, Herbie and the like. Each card will bet on a different number so that all 38 numbers are taken. One card will win the first spin. This card was “lucky” for that spin.
Now it gets interesting. The next spin will probably have another winner. We do another spin. Then another. And another and another and so on for several hundreds of spins. Guess what happens? There will be one or a few cards that have had better “luck” than all of the other cards. There will be one or a few who have had awful “luck.”
Now some critics would say this experiment is faulty because a card just keeps betting the same number over and over. That’s not what usually happens in a roulette game.
Okay, wise guy, just allow the cards to randomly bet on different numbers just as long as each number is covered. Or if you really want to go wild; allow cards to randomly bet on any numbers even if some numbers therefore become doubled, tripled or “whatevered” up and some numbers have no bets on them. Just like a real roulette game. (You can randomize what numbers are selected by which cards by using an RNG or the old Ping-Pong ball method often used in lotteries.)
And what will occur after hundreds or thousands of spins? Correct. Some cards will have better results than other cards; while some will have amazing results and some will have horrible results. Yes, even if you gave Momma Boo-Boo’s blessed bobbin to all of them the results would not reflect any impact of Momma Boo-Boo’s blessed bobbin because all the cards would have such a bobbin.
So why have some people done quite well at the casinos and others haven’t? Do I actually mean to say these winners and losers are winning and losing as if they are just little card board cards, as in the above roulette experiment, meaning no rhyme or reason other than blind chance? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.
The person who has won should not be viewed as someone favored by the gods. The person who has lost should not be viewed as hated by the gods. Our emotions have created a rationale that is totally wrong. Luck does not exist unless you want to merely define luck as “chance.”
So take what I have written in this column with you to the casinos. And good luck!
Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps; I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic. Available at Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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