See-Dubya: You Know What I Don’t Get?
Online gambling. How has this industry lasted more than a month?
So you answer some spam or a popup ad or some such and there you are, no booze, no Paul Anka, no silicone shills, just you and your computer and you give this server based in the Netherlands Antilles your Mastercard Number and they approve it.
And then you commence a playin’. Following Wesley Snipes’ advice in Passenger 57, you bet ten dollars on black in roulette.
Whirr, clickety click, sorry, Red fifteen, you lost. Care to play again?
Sure. Ten on black. Whirr, clickety click, red fifteen, sorry, you lost. Care to play again?
Let’s try red. Whirr, clickety click. Black nine. Care to play again?
No. It’s a good thing this website says it’s certified by the Internet Gaming Board of the Netherlands Antilles; otherwise, I’d begin to suspect that table was somehow rigged. Oh well. Let’s try draw poker.
All righty. Here I am playing against some real international high rollers. We have “Slim from: California”, “Worthington from: England”, and the dealer, “Trump from: Panama”. Hmm…I’ll try to fill this outside straight and…woah! Lookie there! A king-high straight flush! I bet a hundred dollars! Slim and Worthington fold, but the dealer raises me a hundred? Ha! Sucker! I’ll raise you two hundred!
A royal flush? What are the odds? The one hand in the world that can beat my king-high straight flush, and the electronic casino’s dealer had it? Wow! Am I going to have an amazing story at work tomorrow! And I was this close to winning some big money! I’ll have to come back here tomorrow!
I just don’t get it.
A few years ago, I passed through one of those newfangled Indian casinos en route to the restaurant in back. Seeing the gamblers intently feeding in quarters and pushing the buttons on the beeping, flashing electronic gaming machines, I was struck by a thought:Eric Wilner (3936fd) — 6/12/2005 @ 6:24 am
I’ve seen this before.
When people are glued to their computers, hitting “Refresh” every few seconds, playing e*trade.
(This was at the height of the day-trading craze, when on-line stock trading for the masses was new.)
At least with e*trade, there isn’t such a suspicion that the game is rigged… but, really, a gambling addiction isn’t a rational thing. Online gaming is an opportunity for those compelled to feed in money and push the button to see if they’ve won to do so without the need to travel — and all they’re missing is the ambience (incessant loud electronic beeping, epilepsy-inducing flashing lights, and all the rest of it).
Actually, all gambling games are rigged — the rules give the house an edge every time. There is no need to “cheat” any further than that. Better the sheep happily show up for their regularly schedued fleecing than try get all of it at once.
The true sickness of a gambling addict is that he thinks he can beat the odds in the long run.Kevin Murphy (6a7945) — 6/12/2005 @ 11:10 am
People who are addicted will get their fix however they can. It used to mean a trip to Vegas or Atlantic City, or the bookie on speed dial, now it means a trip to the outskirts to the Indian casino or simply firing up the old computer and losing the family savings to a house you’ve never even seen.
You can’t believe the number of ordinary people who are perfectly content to blow their money any way that is convenient….caltechgirl (b149b6) — 6/12/2005 @ 11:31 am
You’ve got to love those industries where it’s only legal for certain races to set up shop. So now we have a situation where there’s lawsuits over “blood purity” from people fighting over the Indian Casino money.
At least in Las Vegas they have a somewhat competent Gaming Board. The California casinos have succeeded in strangling the state so there is essentially no slot machine regulation, while they advertise as being Just Like Vegas. I can just hear the dingbats in Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood emoting, “Oh, think of Dances with Wolves. Shame on us!” Casinos are retarded reparations.Ladainian (91b3b2) — 6/12/2005 @ 12:23 pm
It survives cuz both the fixed and variable costs of running it are ridiculously low. Mind you, that same cost-structure is what makes blogs possible, too….ras (f9de13) — 6/12/2005 @ 12:46 pm
Online gambling. How has this industry lasted more than a month?
It’s a mystery, all right. Especially when you consider the undeniable fact that the vast majority of people in the world are quite intelligent and well-informed.Patterico (756436) — 6/12/2005 @ 1:59 pm
As I recall from my days of reading about socio-biology, the best reward system to keep an animal doing a repetitive task is to give it a random reward. The naked primate is just doing what he is biologically programed to do.Not a Yank (13902b) — 6/12/2005 @ 5:04 pm
Such games are a pretty well designed Skinner Box, or operant conditioning chamber, which I assume is what Not a Yank is talking about.
Actually, the part where you DIDN’T win early on is surprising. If you really wanted to program a system like that to get the maximum amount of players, you’d have them win early on, then decrease the chance of winning as time goes on.blueeyes (85e0cf) — 6/12/2005 @ 6:09 pm
Blueyes– I didn’t play, I was just supposing. If I gamble it will be with friends or with some folks who have a building and faces and actual cards and a real paper certificate from an actual state licensing board that says it’s not too crooked. And I’d never bet a hundred dollars, even if I were a millionaire.
I’m sure they do let you win now and then to keep you hooked. But there’s absolutely no way to confirm the randomness of the process.
UPDATE: Now that I think about it, I would too bet a hundred dollars on a king-high straight flush.See Dubya (094dd2) — 6/12/2005 @ 7:33 pm
It is indeed surprising that online gambling draws even the suckers for customers, let alone otherwise careful consumers who simply like to gamble once in a while. Who the hell would trust the same unaccountable internet system that deluges users with spyware, spam and scams galore enough to assume that a sense of fair play or fear of reputation loss will keep a website from producing See Dubya’s mythical royal flush?mikem (fd2aad) — 6/12/2005 @ 8:04 pm
Are there any Nigerian gambling sites? Their honesty is guaranteed by the full authority of the Nigerian Oil Ministry.
The worst thing about online gambling is that the drinks are on you.Xrlq (717f9d) — 6/12/2005 @ 8:48 pm
Gambling is a stupidity tax.Leigh (6ad34a) — 6/13/2005 @ 6:22 am
See Dubya, the randomness of the process is the least of your worries. It is easy to keep a record of every hand you play on the big online poker sites and you can apply whatever statistical tests you prefer.
A more realistic fear is one day one of the sites goes under and you lose all the money you have on deposit. This has actually happened.
How about all the people who put money in offshore accounts to cheat the IRS? Or buy unregulated offshore mutual funds? In my opinion this is riskier than online poker.James B. Shearer (fc887e) — 6/13/2005 @ 1:52 pm
Ace is mostly right on Frist and the online gambling thing…
Ace has been staggering around firing off post-election recriminations against various Republicans like a drunk Welshman with a Roman Candle in his rectum. Some of them have been wild shots, but I think he’s hit pretty close with this one…….JunkYardBlog (621918) — 11/15/2006 @ 1:02 pm