Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gambling With Computers, a Religious Thing


Are you a person who likes to take a chance now and then? Or maybe you are one who likes to take a chance more often, maybe you are a high roller, maybe you live your life in the fast lane, so to speak.

Not me! I remember playing marbles “for keeps” one time in grammar school and losing the prettiest marble I ever owned. It taught me a value lesson about gambling: Cheat.

Seriously, it taught me taught me not to gamble unless I was ready to accept losing. I didn’t gamble again until I was in high school and our lunch every day was 25¢. Sometimes we would match our quarters… sometimes I would lose and sometimes I would win… either way, it didn’t matter, I skipped lunches most days anyway – it was mostly a social thing.

Several years ago Anna and I went to Cherokee, North Carolina, to see the “Unto These Hills” play about the plight of the Native American Indians. While in town we went into the reservation’s casino. We decided we would gamble on blackjack. We decided $10 would be our limit.

I doubt if I fitted the James Bond image in Casino Royale. With my frantic look I probably more like a desperado. I think I bought chips – I don’t think I used real money – there is probably something of a trick to your mind – it you are not playing with real money, and playing with colored chips – well, it is something like playing with Playdoh Money – it is not as hard mentally to lose. I played blackjack with a computer. I think it was 50¢ a game – or a 50¢ token. I think I played good. It took that machine two whole hours to take my ten dollars.

To give you an idea of my desperately holding onto the $10 worth of chips think of a wet rat holding for his life onto a piece of wood in a flood.

To make it complete, all was needed was a female dancehall robot laugh in my face and walk off to find another sucker and two bigger robot thugs grab me by both arms and throw me out with the music of a player piano playing in the background…. But I was hurt enough - $10 is $10 (which reminds me of a joke I will not tell now).

And I haven’t gambled since.

But I do play the Georgia Lottery.

I play the Mega Millions and the Fantasy Five weekly.

Wait! Let me explain.

I forgot which James Michener book I read this in but it was one of his massive infinite-detailed books a farmer threw a certain amount of what he harvested back to the soil.

And I read a similar thing in another Michener book that an Indian did the same with game he had killed.

It was a religious thing – to pay back a portion of what was given you.

The Georgia Lottery funds the Hope Scholarship in Georgia. The Hope Scholarship is for students that keep a certain high academic average. Thousands of Georgia resident students with good grades earned their education with the Hope Scholarship, my two sons included.

So, each week I play the Georgia Lottery with the help of a software program try to pick the winners – I try to win, just in case I overpaid and the system and it wants to give a certain portion back.

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