Why I choose to gamble

Published 11:59 pm Friday, May 29, 2009

Most college-age students look forward to their 21st birthday because they know it will be the chance they get to enjoy that first legal drink of alcohol. Although I certainly looked forward to that particular aspect of becoming a full adult, there was another perk that I was especially excited about, once I reached that magic age of 21 — gambling.

Now, I realize this is a controversial topic, especially in this county with the question of legalizing electronic bingo looming on the horizon. However, I would just like a chance to explain why I choose to pursue this hobby — and yes, that is what I would call my love of gambling, a hobby.

First and foremost, I won’t play just any game that’s out there. While it is true that all gambling games are tilted in favor of the house, there are certain games that give the player a better-than-normal chance to win. One of them is blackjack, and I’ve just never really gotten into that game. Another one is craps (as long as you only make certain bets), but I’ve always been intimidated by that one, as well.

My game of choice is video poker. The math is hard to explain, but basically if you play a certain kind of video poker and always make the correct move, then over the long run you will get back 99.6 percent of what you wager. (So, for every $100 you wager, you are only expected to lose $0.40, theoretically).

It is that “making the correct move” that is the hook that got me interested in the game. I love puzzles, and I look at a video poker hand as almost a type of puzzle. There is only one correct hold for any given hand, even though there may be multiple possibilities. Trying to decipher that correct hold is a mental exercise that I enjoy tremendously — and to make money while doing it is just a bonus.

I look at it this way; if I lose the money that I wagered, then that’s the price I pay for having a night of fun. To me, it is no different from the person who spends thousands of dollars on a fishing boat. I would never spend that much money on a boat, because I don’t really like fishing — but I can understand why someone would want to spend money on a thing they enjoy. And one of the things that I enjoy is gambling.

Now, I’m sure that you are all curious to whether I would support electronic bingo in Covington County? My answer is, simply, yes. However, I would only support it as long as there were strict regulations in place.

As for the next question, would I play electronic bingo? My answer to that question would be no.

The odds aren’t in my favor.