New Word: Gambling

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New Word #129

I can’t help making a lottery post when the mega million jackpot approached a historical high number yesterday. I used to buy one or two lottery tickets once a week when I was young, naive, and dreamy of impossible things. Fortunately time and experiences, though not bringing enough wisdom to deal with life’s problems, have since cured me of this weakness.

There’s a prevailing understanding at least in the Asian community here that gambling is a thing to do during the holiday season, which arguably starts from the Thanksgiving day at the end of November, through Christmas and New Year’s Day, until the Lunar New Year around late January or early February. Gambling is considered something of a good luck sign. People are supposed to do it for prosperity, luck, and happiness. And this is why people travel to Atlantic City, or the two casinos in Connecticut, or Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania to sit at poker or black jack tables. Or when there’s a discount package on airline ticket with hotel stay thrown in, people would go to Las Vegas. Ironically, most people lose in the holiday gambling binge, which brings prosperity, luck and happiness to gambling establishments rather than anybody else. Everybody knows that, but knowing it never stops anybody from jumping into this lousy deal.

There’s also a saying that if one loses in casinos, one will gain in love. This is totally untrue, but it is equally prevalent for some strange reasons. It must have been invented by casinos which try to make people feel good while losing, or created by sad losers who yearn for love and affection from their family members. Well, I guess his family members will not be too happy with him, but … Let me think… After he gambles the family fund away, his wife is so afraid of him being depressed that she showers him with love and affection, in the hope of reviving his spirit so that he can continue to work hard for the family. I guess this is probably one of the few circumstances when the proverb can work.

Knowing that the house always wins and we will always lose, I am still fascinated with gambling. Not the real gambling, but the playing of gambling apps. I even read books about gamblers and gambling strategies. I don’t understand why I do it though… Often you don’t understand what your own mind is thinking.

Here are some gambling terms I’ve encountered:

Responsible Gambling: only gambling with money that you can afford to lose.

Random Number Generator: All online games and all machines in casinos have random number generators. It is said that these generators are not strictly random and certain numbers could be favored.

Sports Lottery: any lottery in which the winners are determined based on the outcome of any professional or collegiate sporting event. Online sports betting had been illegal in New York, but it became legal in 2022. I’ve never played sports lottery, but according to my friends who know something about it, it’s usually the spread that people are betting on, not the win-or-lose, unless it is a close match.

Sweepstake: Sweepstakes are common here as promotions for products. For example, if you drink a can of Coca Cola or buy a product, you have the chance to win a price.

Raffle: A raffle is a gambling competition in which people obtain numbered tickets, each of which has the chance of winning a prize. Raffles happen a lot in a party or an event or a store. I think a raffle and a sweepstake are the same thing, but it is said that sweepstake is not considered gambling while a raffle is. I don’t understand why?

Group Play: A group of lottery players who combine their funds, share the cost of purchasing tickets, and share the winnings. It’s also called office pool when several colleagues pool their money together to buy lotteray tickets.

Hot Number: Hot numbers are the most frequently drawn numbers in the last 100 games. Cold numbers are the least frequently drawn numbers in the last 100 games.

Kiosk: a small open-fronted hut or cubicle from which newspapers, refreshments, lottery tickets, etc., are sold. This word is very often used here. For example, you can open a kiosk in a shopping mall; you can do a kiosk display in a trade show. It seems that any kind of independent standing structure for display purposes can be called a kiosk.

Odds: The ratio between the chances of a prize being won and not being won. The odds are fixed as the chances of winning a specific prize remain the same for every drawing.

Rollover: The continued accumulation of a jackpot when drawn numbers are not matched by any ticket sold.

Gambling Strategies

  • double down: strengthen one’s commitment to a particular strategy or course of action, typically one that is potentially risky.
  • The Martingale Strategy: The Martingale strategy involves doubling up on losing bets and reducing winning bets by half.
  • bluff: a bluff is a bet or raise made with a hand which is not thought to be the best hand. The purpose of a bluff is to frighten one’s opponent into abandoning the game.
  • gambler’s fallacy: If a particular event occurs more frequently than normal during the past, it is less likely to happen in the future (or vice versa).
  • The House Edge: It is the odds advantage in the house’s favor, represents the average gross profit that the casino can reliably expect to make from each game. It is said Blackjack and Video Poker have the smallest house edge.
  • Leave: Leaving immediately after winning is considered to be the best gambling strategy, because if you don’t leave, you are surely going to lose all your winning and all the money you brought with you.

45 thoughts on “New Word: Gambling

  1. Thanks for sharing that side of your culture. I do have a moral issue with gambling. It’s rooted in how there’s an entire industry of it exploiting poor people. As long as that isn’t the case, why not have a little fun? I do understand doing it as a social activity as long as it’s not feeding into an exploitative industry. Seriously, any time I meet someone who plays the lottery, I feel sick for them

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  2. As a half-Chinese, I’ve always grown up with all forms of gambling, from Chinese New Year card games to the everyday mahjong sessions. Thankfully, I don’t find any appeal in gambling, so that’s one less vice for me to collect. Heaven knows I have enough already 😛

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    1. Me too. I am half Mongolian half Chinese. Haha, that’s great that you don’t feel the thrill of it. That is a blessing indeed and I hope you will be this way forever. I on the other hand am interested in it, but since I always lose, I dare not do it for real.

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  3. I have never heard the term Martingale Strategy but I came up with the idea of doubling up on losing bets when I was in Junior High and my parents had to get my maternal grandfather who was a gambler to explain that a string of small successes will inevitably end in ruin with one big losing streak, especially with Table Limits.

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    1. Me neither. I’ve never heard of it. However google insists that’s the strategy’s name and it makes people lose big chunk of money. So not hearing of it is a good thing for you and me. Your grandfather is right. Often it is people who win small amount will lose big in casinos.

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  4. Great post. I have been gambling for a really long time but only with friends and family and never for large amounts of money. Just very small insignificant amounts. It’s fun but also a dangerous thing because it draws you in and you can get addicted.

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        1. If we were I think things would improve but at least the general trend is greater awareness of mental issues. Certainly in the U.K. services need to catch up with demand, as not enough exist and those that do are under high pressure to take people …

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        2. So true. Mental health issues are getting bigger and bigger, but not enough resources can be allocated to deal with it. I think many immigrant families need mental health consultations since the tensions are huge and solutions are few…

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        3. I really think many homeless here are having mental issues and they really need mental care. Unfortunately they have nowhere to go and have to live on the street. Wish something will be done about it…

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  5. “Responsible Gambling: only gambling with money that you can afford to lose.” Now this is something I scratch my head over. If you can afford to lose it, then put it to better use. Great and detailed sharing, Haoyan. 🙂

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    1. So true. I mean if you are really being responsible, you should not gamble at all. Haha, and one funny thing is that you can see responsible gambling being printed on billboards and in newspapers when you go to Atlantic City.

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  6. Most “vices” seem to be linked to obvious human appetites (eg sex or eating or drinking or oral satisfaction) but gambling isn’t – which makes it the most difficult for me to understand. But I guess if it has pleasant associations due to long exposure and familiarity it gives similar satisfaction to those other things.

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    1. Yes, it is quite mystifying. It is said most lottery tickets are bought by the poorest of the society. Even middle class people don’t buy it. Also I have witnessed that it is always the case that the most stressed out people in the community would drive to casinos to throw away their spare time. They are supposed to take a rest from their stressful job like working in a restaurant or other small business. No, they won’t. They’d rather go to casinos to become more stressful than they are at their jobs.

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    1. Same as what I think. What would I do with the money if I win? I would have to give the money away to friends and relatives. I mean otherwise I will lose my friends and relatives…

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  7. Thanks for such an interesting post on ways to gamble and strategy. I totally agree with your sentiment about lottery tickets. The odds are just too low really, hope you’re having a good weekend 🙂

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    1. A great weekend to you too!!! I am a little mystified people (me too) would jump into a thing with such a low success rate. It is really worse than a rat race. It is like a zero chance race.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is millions to one. Generally people wouldn’t do anything comparable I.e. waiting on their doorstep expecting to be picked up by a business magnate, or watching for a blimp to cruise over their house.

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