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Roulette

Luck has the last word
It is amazingly similar to how people live their lives and make decisions in face of uncertainty



Majid Borumand
February 22, 2007
iranian.com

Playing roulette is pretty much like life itself. If you stand by a roulette table for a while you realize this. You will see people of all denominations.

Superstitious ones: There was this woman who kept playing same number (11) again and again and kept losing! I asked her, what is it with number 11? She enthusiastically replied, "Oh it's number of my son's jersey"!

Spiritual ones: A couple showed up at the table. Man exchanged the cash for chips and wondered where to play. He asked his wife. She said let me see. "Oh.. I am feeling it. 23. Right ..it's 23. I feel it. Next number was 17.

Rich guys: These are the folks that come to table with lots of money and usually not much brains and just spread their money all over the table. They have no idea what they are doing. Usually they win few rounds before they vanish.

Engineers: These are the folks who look at the rolling wheel and try to calculate the speed and momentum etc. and get a handle of the game. They are gone before long!

Mind over matter folks: They are people who scream a number while wheel is turning. You usually can hear them from a distance. They all call a number or a color. "Thirtyyyyy fouuuuuuurrrr" come on! They will be quiet after a while.

Sophisticated folks: These are guys who have a complicated approach to game. They have a formula. Like increase your bet twice every time you lose. They lose everything they have in a flash.

Followers: Some folks have no idea what to do. They are humble. they just follow others, usually someone that seems to be doing well. Sometimes they ask the dealer what number comes next and often dealer would predict the next number with confidence! Not a good way to go either.

Perplexed: These are the hopeless folks that bet on opposite outcomes! Like odd and even or black and red at same time! They can never win and lose if one of the two zeros turns up!

Spectators: These are the folks who never play. They just watch others play. They never experience the glory and agony of wining or losing!

Stunningly, we have same kind of characters when it comes to leading life. The followers, the sophisticated, the spiritual and superstitious! In the long run though, everyone is a loser! C'est La vie (Such is life)! It is amazingly similar to how people live their lives and make decisions in face of uncertainty. Life is a gamble. After all, you are the lucky sperm who won the lottery!

In roulette you can calculate the odds of something happening. In life you cannot even calculate the odds! If you disagree ask people who bought CISCO stock on Jan of 2001. When you board an airplane do you know the odds of surviving? When you buy a house do you know the odds that market would go up or down. What is the odds of your spouse being diagnosed with a terminal illness?

Another striking similarity is the fact that the winners in life are not necessarily any smarter or more educated than losers. As much as having a Ph.D in mathematics is not any help in roulette. If you argue otherwise, show me a mathematician who got rich by playing roulette. As a matter of fact all mathematicians had to be millionaires by now! There is no such thing as smart play when it comes to game of roulette or life. They are just lucky plays.

No one is immune from curse of randomness be it life or roulette. Luck has the last word! Of course people tend to brag about how skillful they are. But we know they have been just lucky at least up to that point! Comment

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