Winners & Losers ================
Winner & Losers
The Black Jack
American Statistical
Returned Casino
jam-packed gambles
Blackjack Heaven
Spooking & blackjack

  Oh Not The Ritz
================
One Dark Night
Aspinall played
traced back
India

Poker Backgammon1984 Aspinal
Gamester Extraordinary

View From The Downside
================
Gordon Moody
Side-Effect
Powerful Stuff
Mentioneing
Royal Commission

 Gamblers Hospital
================
Gamblers Hospital
Individual Therapy
American

    In The Casino
================
Take Risks
So Why Gamble
The Reason
Gambling Event

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Percentages and Chances
================
Percentages and Chances

      Action Man
================
Action Man
Las Vegas
Bucking The Odds
Kusyszyn concludes

 Mauvaise Epoque
=============

Achievement
Dynamic Management
Blanc Dies
The S.B.M
Eudaemons to Draw

Nevada & New Jersey
================
Mafia boss
Connection & Crime
Investigations
Jersey Casino
Technical Issues

   CONCLUSTION
================
The Game of Life
Real Until


IN THE CASINO

Lesson 3

The reason why society disapproves of gambling guide is that the very process of taking risks, ‘bucking the odds’, goes against the socially accepted norm of realistic and attainable goals achieved through conformity and hard work – ‘a spouse, a home in the suburbs and 2.2 children’.  People who do not fit into this  pattern tend to be seen as either not trying hard enough or misfits, maladjusted; those who find the adjustment too difficult to make are given pills to speed them up or slow them down, so as to match the pace required for ‘success’.  It is as if the human being was being re-designed to fit the model of a citizen , without knowing what makes up a fully-functioning individual.

            The gambling impulse, Campbell affirms, is part of what has been called ‘the adventurer within us’ – that part of human nature which desires change, the unknown chance, danger, all that is new.  It is the impulse which draws; people to the gaming tables – and also up to be largely beneficial to the gambler … Gambling stimulates, offers hope, and allows decision-making.  In many cases it provides the gamblers with a “peak experience”, that godlike feeling  that occurs when all of one’s physical and emotional sense are “go”.’

            Campbell managed to achieve this state of heightened consciousness for herself recently, not at the tables in Las Vegas, but in the Himalayas. She had won a long-running lawsuit against the University over equal pay for women and decided to blow the money on a climbing expedition.  She did not take a medical before the trip in case the doctor told her at the age of 50 not to go.  She flew to Islamabad and took a bush plane out to the wilds of northern Pakistan.

  Her idea was that if she got too tired making the ascent of some glacial peak, she could simply call a halt, because she was the one paying the porters; she had not foreseen there would be no place flat enough to pitch a tent and that you have to go on or give up.  ‘My Madam can do it,’ her porters told her each time they came to the next unclimbable obstacle, and then, beaming.  ‘My Madam is strong .’ She was struck down by illness at one stage and had to camp on her own for several days while the others went higher.  But that too turned into a peak experience of inner reflection.

            The most intense moment of the trip came crossing a very cold, very swift, waist-deep river.  ‘I’ve always been afraid of water.  Yet it was the most exhilarating thing I have ever done.  The swiftness of the water, and the realization we could really die, seemed to contribute to it.  I was doing it and laughing at the same time.’  Another kind of peak came when she realized, at the end, that she was no longer lagging behind; she could make the pace.  As a result of the expedition, Campbell felt she could take on any challenge, including starting writing about poker gambling again.  She is not proposing that people’s problems can be solved by turning the world into a giant casino; simply that it is wrong to suppress an aspect of human nature which may be a key to more creative living, or at least release from daily tension.

            Another academic who believes that we have come a long way since Bergler’s original interpretation of gambling as ‘adult play’.  For the vast majority of people who gamble it is, without doubt, psychic pleasure.  In addition to teaching psychology at York University, Toronto, Dr Kusyszn has the distinction of having written a technical manual on how to beat blackjack, under the name of ‘Lance Humble’, humbly titled The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book.  (He has also written on how to beat the horses, unfortunately getting busted in the process for illegal bookmaking.)

            Kusyszyn observes that for every pathological gambler there are at least 100 social gamblers.  ‘These non pathological gamblers have been taken for granted by both the media and social scientists, and little attention has been paid to them.  Yet, if we include lottery, bingo, and numbers players, the nonpathological gamblers are seen to comprise approximately 60 per cent of the adult North American population.’

            When it came to research on real-life gambling behavior, Kusyszyn complains, he could find very little material.  One such study showed that housewives who were habitual players in the poker clubs of Gardena, near Los Angeles, were significantly better adjusted, on the average, than female adults of the general population, so far as emotional, home and social life were concerned.  He tends to believe from his own research that gamblers have healthier personalities than non-gamblers: for instance, in a questionnaire comparing risk-taking and other characteristics between race-track gamblers and psychology graduate students, the former group was found to be lower on hostility, familial discord, anxiety and the internalizing of emotion.  In Kusyszyn’s view, gamblers confirm their existence and affirm their worth through their play (The Psychology of Gambling , 1984).

In defining gambling in terms of its physical surroundings as well as the state of mind of its participants, he has some good points to make.  Thus he notes that gambling is self-contained: there is almost always a special place for it, with physical boundaries, such as a racetrack, casino, card room or bingo hall.  It is completely apart from the routine activities of everyday life.  In addition, gambling occurs during leisure time.  People do it of their own volition.  ‘Gambling is complex and cyclical.  It is composed to continuous chains of events that include decision making, wagering, an outcome, emotional reaction to the outcome, further decision-making, further wagering, and so on.  Each chain is unique; although succeeding chains are almost always variations of previous chains, no chain is identical to any other.  The novelty of each chain and the gambler’s freedom to participate in it as a creative agent allow gambling to be an absorbing activity.’

            The hardest thing for non-gamblers to understand, it seems to me, is that money loses its economic value in gambling, a process powerfully reinforced by the use of plastic chips instead of bank-notes.  In the casinos, the transformation of money into coloured counter’s playthings, into a part of the game itself, serves to weaken the players’ natural instinct, installed in us all every day of our lives since we first had pocket money, to hold on to our cash.  The only time you notice money, as world poker champion Doyle Brunson has said, is when you put your hand in your pocket and find it empty.  That is when the chips do take on a terrible significance by their absence.  Imaginary or mental bets do not work.  The gambler’s involvement in such wagers- for example players who have gone broke still hanging around the table – is token, and such carries only a vicarious emotional charge.  The real importance of money is that it is the indispensable condition for being able to continue gambling.

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