Category: Gambling

Gambling on the Future

The state where I live, California, needs money to pay for massive infrastructure improvements, a sprawling penal system whose budget is larger than most sovereign nations’, and the salaries and pensions of a bloated bureaucracy. Our movie star governor, Arnold Schwarzennegger, has a plan. Rather than issue more municipal bonds, the interest on which must...

The Vegas Shell Game

Work commitments take me to Las Vegas frequently, where, like millions of other visitors, the excess of it all, the unashamed pursuit of pleasure disconnected from meaning or what passes for reality in more responsible precincts awes me. Behind the seductive veil of the casino come-on, though, is an unpleasant fact I’ve written about in...

The Super Bowl Pointspread

Since the publication of my book “The Smart Money: How the World’s Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies out of Millions,” numerous reporters and radio hosts have contacted me asking for a prediction on the Super Bowl.  I can’t say what the result will be. Nobody can. I can, however, tell you which side is...

Vegas, Old and New

While the core business of Las Vegas is the same as it’s always been, i.e., separating people who aren’t very good at remedial math from their money, the style of the place has undergone a well-documented facelift. Gone are the Mob-run grind joints; scrapped are the family destination ambitions; almost forgotten are the days of...

Fear and Whining in Las Vegas

Sprinkled among the reviews for my book “The Smart Money” like so many dog droppings upon an emerald lawn, several notices emanating from Las Vegas — where much of the book’s action take place — have claimed profound disappointment with my use of nicknames for some of the characters. These dismayed critics seem to think...

Poker in Perspective

The World Series of Poker main event — the world championship — begins on July 28th. I’ll be playing in it for the fifth time, after a hiatus of several years. When I first joined the competition, in the late 90s, I think there were fewer than 300 entrants. This year the organizers are expecting...

Unlawful Internet Gaming Act

Yesterday, after nearly four hours of sanctimonious, self-congratulatory debate among our elected protectors of the national morality, the House passed the “Unlawful Internet Gaming Act” by a vote of 317-93. As with any piece of legislation that deals with personal vices, the proposed law is riddled with hypocrisy, illogic, and ulterior motives. Card Player magazine,...

The Big Gamble

My friend is a lawyer. By almost any measure he would be considered smart — and successful, and admirable, and all the other stuff responsible members of society strive to be when they’re not plotting to fire traffic-clearing incendiary missiles into clogged freeways. He likes what he does, and he’s good at it. He’s become...

Why There’s Value in the Underdog

Last night, the University of Florida won the men’s collegiate basketball championship, beating UCLA, 73-57. The Florida Gators were the favored squad, and, as usual in this type of spectacle, most of the money on the contest was bet on the favorite, the team that’s perceived as stronger than the other one. Everybody loves a winner...

What Is This Thing Called Luck?

Motivated strivers brought up on the encouraging nostrums of business seminars and personal “empowerment” training know that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. In this model, luck isn’t an unseen, fickle agent. It’s something that doesn’t exist — and if it does, it can be conquered with hard work and cleverness. People who play the...