Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gambling

Ursula Andress in the spoof James Bond adventure Casino Royale. 

"The rich save for four generations, the poor save for Saturday night."

I heard this somewhere and it stuck with me. Stu mentions the birthday paradox in his post about a math museum, which got me to thinking. Suppose you are at a gathering of people and someone offers you a bet on whether any two of the people here have the same birthday. Would you take the bet? Imagine that there are 23 people at this gathering, the odds are even, and the proposer of this bet is taking the position that no two people will have the same birthday. If we know nothing else, this makes the odds slightly in your favor. Would you take the bet? Would it matter how much the bet was? A dollar? Five? A thousand? All the money you have? You children's future? I mean the odds are in your favor.
    I wouldn't bet, or if the proposer persisted I would bet a dollar (remember Trading Places?) just to shut him up. If he insisted on more I would quickly become rude. Gambling does not interest me.
    I was talking to a friend about this subject and he mentioned an acquaintance who gambled, and this gambler said you weren't really gambling unless you were gambling with next month's rent. That would kind of focus your attention, especially if you had family-like obligations.
    Many moons ago, when I lived in Houston, we would get together on Friday nights to play a friendly game of poker and drink beer. We were playing for low stakes, quarter bets, five dollar pot maybe. I don't recall whether I won or lost, I suppose I came out about even, after all it was mostly about drinking beer. Then one night we had a new guy there. I want to say he was from Eastern Europe, but I am not sure. He had spent the winter driving an unheated produce truck in Chicago or Detroit. Sounded cold. Anyway, he played for real. Took $20 off me. That much I noticed. It hurt. I didn't play poker with him anymore.
    I don't get a big thrill from winning a bet. I won $200 in a football once and it was kind of nice windfall, but it was only $200. I was flush for a couple of weeks, but it wasn't going to change my life. 
    I suspect a big part of gambling is the facing off against a competitor, ala James Bond versus the villain at the Baccarat table. That never interested me either. It's like a game of chicken. I don't think it measures anything useful.

2 comments:

Ole Phat Stu said...

There are 2 people in our village, born of the same parents, on the same day of the same month of the same year. And yet they are not twins. Explain! :-)

Charles Pergiel said...

I knew the answer was obvious, but even after hours of mulling it over I could not figure it out. So I asked my wife. It took her all of three seconds to come up with the answer. Bah!