Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Virtual Gambling

Friends and regular readers know we make it a habit to warn others of the dangers of gambling addiction.

Who said the NBA is Fixed?
It can happen to anyone, and the story has been told a thousand different ways.  It starts off with a harmless pool or dollar bet to make a boring game interesting.

In case you are a child or from another planet, let's explain: the rush, the adrenaline, the attention, and of course the cash that pours in when you win is traditionally quite pleasing and addictive.

I remember being about 23 years old, with my Dad, at Caesar's Palace.  We were playing a little Let it Ride because we heard it was a good game to play for a while with a good chance of breaking even/not lose a lot.   A decade later, I've come to understand that, hold 'em and pai gow poker are better for the break-even strategy.  Anyway, so we're playing Let it Ride, and I win a big hand and get a nice payout, including some high odds I got for some reason.  I'll never forget the dealer said to me: "That'll wind up costing you thousands of dollars down the road."  Of course, he meant that my win was so fantastic that I'd probably get hooked and play for years, eventually giving all my winnings and much more of my savings right back to casinos.  I've been lucky not to catch the gambling bug; some friends with bookies basically gamble on a different game every night.  Basketball, football, baseball, college, pro, it doesn't matter.

"So why do you post an NFL Weekly Picks post?" -- Serge

Well, Serge, that's a device I encourage for anyone who likes to gamble, but doesn't want to lose it all and effectively force his or her kids into the workforce prematurely.

Serge is always criticizing
I encourage anyone who's ever gambled more than they could reasonably afford to lose to start up a blog, or email a bunch of friends every week, with your NFL picks.  You could email all your friends your Golden Globe and Oscar picks.  Post on Facebook, or Tweet to the world, your predictions for anything you want to gamble.  Play ESPN's Streak For the Cash.  Do anything you can that is free that will still feed the monkey.  Impossible, you say?  Not if your reputation means anything.

Of course, it's not the same rush as putting five large on the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, but if you're human, you're not going to want to embarrass yourself in front of your friends over and over and over again.  Hey, everyone can't afford to go to sex therapy, like Tiger, when their lives fall apart.

As James Stockdale famously said in a 1992 U.S. VP debate, "Who am I?  Why am I here?"  Why are we here?  About an hour ago, our favorite sportswriter Joe Posnanski tweeted:
"I know this doesn't exactly correlate, but just got World Series odds. Royals 125-to-1. That seems IMPOSSIBLY low."
I agreed wholeheartedly.  The Royals would have to be better than 50,000-to-1 before I'd ever consider them to win the 2011 World Series.

Still, this seemed like a great time to feed our virtual gambling monkey by picking a few baseball future bets that we'd like to play if we were at Imperial Palace in Las Vegas.  The I.P. has the best selection of crazy team and player props, so if you can brave your way into the place, it's worth it for some sports gambling fun.

2011 World Series
Oakland may be in line for
another "5 Aces" SI cover,
and 35-to-1 ain't bad...
Phillies 3-to-1
Oakland A's 35-to-1
NY Yankees 6-to-1
Twins 18-to-1
SF Giants 12-to-1
Rockies 20-to-1
Tigers 28-to-1
White Sox 25-to-1
Reds 25-to-1
Angels 25-to-1

Okay, well that's a problem.  That's too many to bet on, at least for me.

Let's see if I can narrow it down to two or three.  Or, on second thought, let's look at a few League Championship odds that look good.

2011 American League
Nice odds if you want to bet on
Joe Girardi and Dusty Baker
meeting in the Fall Classic.
NY Yankees 5-to-2
Tigers 8-to-1
Twins 8-to-1
Angels 10-to-1
White Sox 13-to-1
Oakland A's 23-to-1

2011 National League
SF Giants 7-to-1
Reds 10-to-1
Rockies 15-to-1
Padres 50-to-1

So, what's it gonna be?  Right now, I'm imagining that my friends placed their bets and they're rushing me to bet so we can get out of there and go play some poker.  Okay, for the 2011 season, on this virtual trip to Vegas, I'm going to take the Rockies (15-to-1) to win the NL, the White Sox (13-to-1) and Oakland A's (23-to-1) to win the AL, and the Phillies (3-to-1), Yankees (6-to-1) and Tigers (28-to-1) to win the World Series.

I wasn't able to narrow it down to less than six bets.  What a sucker!  See what I meant about how this gambling stuff can get addictive?  If you have a monkey on your back, get help, post your picks in the columns below, or both.  Happy Holidays!

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