Inherently Different


By nature I am a gambler. In fact, at one point one might say my gambling was an issue with me… not a problem, because problem denotes negative experiences. I never lost money I didn’t have. I would fluctuate from being ahead by $50k to being absolutely broke-ass. I never borrowed money, nor did I ever float a balance and accrue a vig.

In high school, I hated math. Not because I wasn’t good at it, but because it didn’t interest me. Unless of course it related odds making, I couldn’t exert the energy to give a rats ass about how two trains traveling in different directions at different speeds mattered. Now if those two trains were racing, and you could bet on it, I could figure it out in a heart beat. While some people may question my musical taste as it relates to punk rock, I seriously doubt anyone could go toe to toe with me over the course of a football season betting the line. I am able, after the first three weeks of the NFL season, to predict scores to within 3 points, over or under, of every game being played on a given Sunday. No lie.

Back in 1998, I made an extra $5k to $10k a week betting on football and an additional $10k to $20k a week betting on baseball. I was on a huge run… almost a 89% win rate and I knew the end was near. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach like a dog knows an earthquake is coming. I went to the horse track (a relatively new gambling challenge for me) and laid out 9 different bets, all long shots, each for over $5k. I lost them all. I would like to say I knew what I was doing, but the truth is I was getting out of hand. I needed to remember what it was to lose big and doing something stupid brought it all back to me. One bright morning not long after my horse racing experience, I woke up early, visited my bookie, collected what I had coming, and quit betting on sports for the most part. I never again bet on baseball and only rarely bet on football.

Notice I didn’t say I quit gambling. Hell, I gamble everyday just by swimming in the ocean. Of course, most people don’t realize how the odds are in their favor every fucking day of their lives. For instance, the odds…

of being murdered: 18,000 to 1
of being struck by lightning: 576,000 to 1
of being killed by lightning: 2,320,000 to 1
of being killed in a shark attack: 300,000,000 to 1

Now, you don’t have to understand math to know that taking chances is part of life. I realized early that every day is a gamble. You can’t possibly know the outcome, but you can be reasonably assured that whatever happens, will most likely not result in death. Even if you take extreme chances, the odds are still in your favor.

So… run with scissors… eat before swimming… have unprotected sex with Nigerian intravenous drug using hookers… don’t worry… the odds are you will live to tell me about it.

NOTE: Odds are generally stated in the form of a ratio. For example, 3 to 1 indicates the odds against a particular outcome. The first number (3) represents the chance of failure in relation to the total number of chances (4); the second number (1) represents the chance of success against that same total.

Chance is represented differently. Using the same numbers as above, the chance of something occurring would be described as 1 in 4.

2 thoughts on “money”

  1. Do you miss it? Did you get a “high” from it? What did you do to replace the time you spent gambling?

    Just curious. I’m not a smoker, but the way you quit makes me think of smokers – there are those who quit cold turkey, and those who agonize over their addiction and struggle to quit. A lot of folks struggle with gambling, yet you cold turkeyed it and don’t seem to have looked back.

  2. Well, I am really stubborn and this was just one of those things I refused to be controlled by. It wasn’t easy, especially with my bookie calling me all the time with a nice spread. Eventually though, i stopped caring and didn’t really miss it. As for what I did to replace the high I got from gambling… I had already been doing things that brought me that same adrenaline rush. I had been surfing for 16 years at that point and snowboarding for two. I began snowboarding a lot more and doing much more off the beaten path things on both boards. I went heliboarding (snowboarding glaciers reached only by helicopter) in BC a few times and started doing half-pipe aerials and surfing bigger and bigger waves (12′ plus). I also did a lot more drugs and alcohol… have to replace one vice with another I suppose.

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