Friday, January 25, 2013

Fact + Bonus Fact: Gambling

Casinos have never been kind to me. I probably should thank the gambling god, (no, not Ko Chun from the 1989 Chinese action-comedy, God of Gamblers), but the actual entity in charge of bestowing fortune upon all of our risk-taking, tobacco-stained, buffet-feasting souls. I believe her name is Lady Luck. She hates me, and one day I shall thank her personally for not tempting my wickedly addictive personality. 

Every time I gamble, I lose. And I don't mean at the end of the day, or the vacation - but every single time. Recently I saddled up to the roulette wheel at the shiny new Revel hotel in everyone's favorite dilapidated seaside kingdom of broken dreams and unfulfilled promises: Atlantic City. I carefully placed ten, one-dollar chips on ten separate numbers. The wheel spun and of course the little silver ball of lies landed on none of them. I placed another ten on the same exact numbers and forcibly sipped my Moscow Mule through the skinny cocktail straw like an anxious pervert while I stared hard at the spinning wheel and attempted to project some kind of vaguely spiritual energy toward it through my eyeballs. (Something I learned from reading The Secret while in prison.)

I lost again. And again. In fact, the same set of ten numbers lost seven times in a row. Which is fascinating because with only 38 numbers, I should have won at least one time every 3.8 spins. But alas, Lady Luck has other plans for me. She doesn't want me whiling away my days with elbows propped on green felt, under mirrored ceilings, amid the maddening cacophony of electronic chiming bells. She has me down for a special assignment I think. I just can't wait to find out what it is. I do hope it involves Russians. And launch codes. Who doesn't love a launch code?

Fact: The oldest known dice with regular sides were found in northern Iraq. They're made of baked clay and date to about 3,000 B.C.

Bonus Fact: These were later found to be one of the items on George W Bush's list of possible WMD's in control of Saddam Hussein.  

Fact: The French invented the suit designations we use today. Each  indicates one of the principal divisions of medieval society: the heart, coeur, the clergy; the club, trefle, the peasants; the diamond, carreau, merchants and tradesman; and the spade, pique, the nobility. .

Bonus Fact: Frenchman Hervé Villechaize appears in only one Fantasy Island episode not wearing his tiny white suit. He used a sick day. Rourke was pissed.    

Fact:  Invented by Blaise Pascal, the Roulette wheel has been notoriously dubbed the "The Devil's Wheel", as the sum of all its numbers is 666. 

Bonus Fact:  If I ever run into the diminutive math wizard in another life, I will punch him right in his smug little French face. 

Fact: The Venetian Macao is the world’s largest casino. This gigantic structure houses 3,400 slot machines, 800 tables and 3,000 suites.

Bonus Fact: The Venetian Macao also houses the world's largest collection of wandering underage prostitutes on panda tranquilizers. 

Fact: Hawaii and Utah are the only two US states that do not offer legalized gambling of any kind. 

Bonus Fact: Coincidentally, they're also the most socially disconnected, culturally inaccessible and psychologically remote states in our union. And they both pump out some really good meth.    

Fact: The Superbowl is the most popular sports event bet in the United States.

Bonus Fact:  It's also the most most popular time to get way too drunk and urinate into the sunroof of your brother-in-law's Corvette while shouting vague suicide threats at your wife from the driveway while she cries, dials 911 and flings guacamole from the kitchen window.  

Fact: Sports betting can be traced as far back as 1,000 B.C. when the Chinese used to wager on races between different animals. 

Bonus Fact:  A new primetime reality game show, Chinese Chicken Chase hosted by Howie Mandel, has already begun pre-production as I'm typing this sentence.  

Fact: The cooks at London’s Beef Steak Club, a gentlemen's gaming club held at the Shakespeare Tavern, invented the first sandwich. John Montague was a hardened gambler and usually played for hours at a time at this restaurant, sometimes refusing to get up even for meals. One day he ordered his valet to bring him a piece of salt beef tucked between two pieces of bread. Because Montague also happened to be the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, others began to order "the same as Sandwich!" 

Bonus Fact: Odds are good that within the next ten minutes I'm going to order a foot long zawzeech hoagie with extra provolone and a slice of go f*$# yourself from Tony Baloney's across the street.  


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