Editor's Challenge: Win Big In Vegas

Posted by , 03 November 2010

Let the games begin

Let the games begin


PAUL: The last time I was in Las Vegas, I won $20,000 in a poker tournament. Awesome? No: devastating, because the tournament, laid on as promotional event for the release of The Hangover, was for charity. I had a comedy stack of chips that weren’t even mine to spunk. It was for do-goodery, not tequila and strippers. I left the room, bought straight into another game with $500 of my own money and got handed my arse within the hour. So this free cash is my chance – a wildcard opportunity – to go a full twelve rounds with Sin City. You might even call it revenge.

ROB: Unlike Paul, I’m not a gambler. When people say, “It’s a mug’s game” and “The house always wins”, I believe them. If there’s one thing my old man taught me – aside from how to parallel park and tie a tie – it’s that gambling’s for idiots. It was probably no coincidence that, aged 18, a friend of his offered me a part-time job in the local William Hill. If there’s anything that’ll put you off betting, it’s spending your Saturdays in a dank bookies inhaling the second-hand smoke of a pantheon of losers gambling away their bastard child’s maintenance on lame greyhounds.

Two of my housemates paid their way through Uni and numerous ski seasons ‘bonus bagging’ on online blackjack, but I stuck to my guns and never got involved. A feeling I was missing out always lingered. Maybe, as they’d repeatedly assert, I was the mug for passing up free money.

Which is probably why I was so easily lured in just under a year ago, when the IT bloke at work shared a roulette ‘system’ that had netted him £3k and counting. “It’s simple, bet on black (or red) and, if you lose, double your bet the next time. When your colour comes in, the amount you win will cover the losing bets preceding it.” It sounded too good to be true. It was. After a promising opening which saw me £180 to the good, I was quickly £500 down and loading more money onto my online account. The saddest part? It was Christmas Eve. As children across the land were praying Santa would be kind, I was feverishly clicking ‘rebet’ and chasing losses I could ill afford.

After a horrible run, I found myself betting £200 on a single spin. It was only then that I googled my mate’s system. A wealth of info on the ‘Martingale’ system appeared, including a line that will remain with me for some time to come: “Statistically worse than just placing random bets.” I’d let greed turn me into one of the naïve idiots I used to pity in the bookies. I vowed never to be ensnared again.

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