How Many Ways Can You Gamble?
Think you can avoid opportunities to gamble? A double-sawbuck sez you're wrong. Tweet
Gambling is everywhere in daily life. Decline collision when you rent a car? How about some term life?
You're gambling every time you leave home. You don't have to be a high-roller. Just rolling down the drive can be a bet on your safe return.
“Luck be a lady with me / A lady never leaves her escort / It isn’t fair, it isn’t nice / A lady doesn’t wander all over the room / And blow on some other guy’s dice.”
— Frank Sinatra
“If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.” –Chinese proverb
A man can gamble on anything…
A man can gamble on anything, even a loser that somehow against all odds becomes a winner:
With the exception of Kramer from Seinfeld, perhaps, we often make heroes of our fictional gamblers from James Bond to Bret Maverick to Paul Newman in The Sting to the boys in Rounders (“Pay that man his money!”).
Even great films that aren’t about gambling have classic scenes involving it – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (“Ask us to stay, you don’t even have to mean it.”), Rain Man (“We counted cards.”), and some say that some episodes of the TV show M*A*S*H were basically scenes from one long, extended poker game:
Gambling, for better (no, not bettor) or worse, is in the male DNA. And everyone has to start somewhere. Legal wagering is available worldwide in various forms. What should you try? Here’s a sampling:
Sports book. Everyone bets on football and basketball, but you can also put money on auto racing, golf, baseball, and more. Casinos will have a dedicated sports book area where you can put down bets in person and watch about 100 TVs to see how you’re doing. But you can do all this online, too, from your basement. You’ve probably heard of places like FanDuel and DraftKings and you can use their how-to info to learn different types of betting from parlays to in-game betting before you put money down. Meanwhile, the folks at Vegas.com offer lessons on the nitty-gritty of certain wagers and payoffs (like dime-line betting in baseball).
Fast animals. Dogs and horses make for a fine foot race. These races – especially the biggies like the Kentucky Derby and Preakness – will be available at the sports book but heading out to the track and watching in person makes for a complete-package life experience. Cats are also fast and so are goldfish, but just try to get them across a finish line.
Slots and table games. You know what these look like even if you’ve never set foot in a casino. Blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, and slots all have their individual appeal and we can’t recommend in-person tuition enough. But these days, if you can play it in a casino, you can play it online, too, or even on your phone.
Games of skill. For instance, your skill at shooting pool. Or hoops. Or even dancing. (Spoiler alert: In Silver Linings Playbook as in life, you don’t always need to win the game to win the money.)
Stock market. Gambling? Or investing? Well, when you consider that day-trading and short-selling and instant transactions are actual things, and that guys like Jim Cramer use casino terms like “double down,” it’s hard to argue that Wall Street is a calm, deliberate, contemplative place for “investors.” It’s a global trillion-dollar casino – but your 401K is on the line. Be very, very careful here.