Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Is Why I Don't Gamble

When the result of the first Cincinnati-St. Louis game was announced, an ardent admirer of the Browns stuck a $1,000 roll in his pocket, hopped on the first train, and struck the City of Pork the next morning. The object of his visit was to invest that $1,000 on the Browns. It was so invested; and the St. Louisan confidently told his friends that so soft a bet was equivalent to finding just that amount of money. Base ball is known to be uncertain; and by many it was considered a hazardous transaction. At the close of the ninth inning, on Thursday, a sad-eyed man started on a pedestrian excursion from Cincinnati to St. Louis. He was last heard from at Lawrenceburg, Ind. The walking was good and the ties had been counted. In response to an inquiring hail from friends on a passing train, the pedestrian signaled that he was all right, and that, on arriving home, explanations would be in order as to how that 5-2 score was brought about. His depleted wallet, which had been flattened out as though stamped on by an elephant, was to be used as a sail in case of emergency.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 29, 1876

Seriously. This is why I don't gamble. Regardless of whether the story is true or not (and it does sound a bit like a tall tale), this is a perfect example of how people who bet on games think. The Brown Stockings lose their opener to the Reds, a terrible team, and there is no way that can happen again so bet the Brown Stockings in the second game. Then it happens again. Of course, if you had bet a thousand dollars against the Reds every game of the 1876 season, you would have ended up a rich man.

Euclidean logic does not apply to sports gambling. Let me repeat this: Euclidean logic does not apply to sports gambling. Sports is governed by chaos and unpredictability. There is no evidence that the second law of thermodynamics applies to the sporting universe.

There are times, quick delusional moments, when I think that I could make a living betting on baseball. Move to Las Vegas, spend my days in sports books, crunch the numbers and bet baseball all day, everyday. Then I come to my senses and realize that if I did that I'd quickly end up destitute and homeless.

Gambling is bad, m'kay.

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