Casino Gambling and The Tao

It may seem strange to equate casino gambling with Taoist philosophy, but it may be because gambling is so much a part of and widely accepted in Chinese culture.

The very first recorded history of playing cards date back to 9th century China which makes sense being that they were the inventors of writing paper. The first book written with reference to playing cards dates to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) called Yezi Gexi. By the 11th century playing cards could be found throughout Asia featuring many of the 108 heroes of Lan Shun found in the Chinese classic the “Water Margin.”

In the 16th century playing cards had made their way to France and it is there that they began using the suits of picture cards that we are familiar with today based on figures of French nobility.

Taoist philosophy is said to be nearly 6,000 years old and came to prominence with the teachings of The Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, the first emperor of China. With many of their scientific discoveries such as mathematics and astronomy, there was also a deep connection to astrology, symbology (a science of symbols and their effects), numerology and many forms of mysticism.

In the 7th Pillar of Taoism, “The Tao of Mastery,” The symbol for water is K’AN and states, “to be successful and fortunate, risk must be taken.” Luck to the ancient Taoists was a form of control and timing.

Clearly in all gambling, timing is an important factor. Regardless of the type of gambling, all of it’s forms tend to run in cycles, both winning and losing ones. It is the skill which one navigates through these cycles that the player conveys their level of control over the outcome.

The first serious studies of gambling in the 20th century were done by economists who expressed their confusion that gambling is a losing proposition and in effect, irrational behavior. In 1945 William Vickery, a noted economist, concluded that gambling should be measured not in expected gains but by the money a gambler doesn’t have that appears to be more valuable to them than what he does have.

The typical view is that gambling is self-destructive, undermines the work ethic and removes money that could be put to better uses in the economy. The notion that most people tend to gamble beyond their means remains unproven and was disputed in research conducted in 1966 in the “Economics of Gambling” published in London, England. In this study it was found to be an affective outlet for frustration, a relief from loneliness and a leveler of inequality among the economic classes.

Many psychologists view gambling as a normal form of recreation and destructive only to the addicted. They stated that the solution lies in treating the gambler, not in the condemnation of gambling as a whole.

The casino patron is courted with opulent surroundings, swimming pools, shops, shows, night life and “comped” amenities. The attraction is undeniable as an escape from tedious and purposeless occupations. Being confronted with the myth of success, when faced with insurmountable economic and social obstacles, makes the whole casino experience much easier to understand.

My own opinion is that people who gamble solely for the thrills and excitement, with no care of the economic results, would do better to find a more fulfilling and less expensive hobby. Gambling is an isolated activity. It will not take the place of a meaningful relationship nor will it counteract feelings of alienation or loneliness. These are not reasons to gamble.

Using any type of gambling to fill a void in ones personal life, something which it cannot do, is the type of gambling that can lead to devastating consequences.

If you’ve ever been in a casino, there is one thing you’ve probably noticed more than anything else… that one thing is seeing people lose money. This happens because the amateur gambler enters into this competition without a basic knowledge of the odds of the games, a playing strategy or even a thought to proper money management. It’s a careless way to handle ones money and does little to change the inevitable outcome.

Casinos love this type of gambler and spend a fortune attracting their business. With the odds squarely in their favor, the casino operators know that even though there are highly effective methods of playing that can shift those odds to the player, very few of them will invest the time or effort to use them.

Common sense tells us that if everyone that gambles in casinos lost, they would cease to exist. In order to attract losers you must have winners and it is just as easy to win at many casino games as it is to lose.

I do not write for the weekend gamblers who are looking desperately to have a good time at any cost. Winning is not even in their vocabulary. They consider the possibility of winning to be remote as if being left completely to chance.

It is the individual who is determined to win at any cost that I feel are most like myself. It is to these individuals that I offer the following. There does exist many ways to achieve your goal. Resolve that you will learn everything you have to in order to win consistently when risking your hard earned money gambling in casinos. To me, nothing else makes sense.

In the words of the ancient Taoist, Lao Tse

“Fortune favors the prepared.”

Las Vegas Interesting Facts

Many have had their days of glory in the state of Nevada. But these three step out of the crowd, as they gave the name of the game.

Frank Rosenthal

He is the best sports handicapper in the history of Las Vegas. He used to be called “Las Vegas King”, “Guru”, or something that he surely is: a genius. He inaugurated the first sports and race book, at Stardust Hotel & Casino. Every casino in Las Vegas copied his invention afterwards. He used to run four casinos at the same time, during the 1970’s and early 1980’s: Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda, and Marina.

Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal inspired one of the leading characters in the “Casino” book and movie (performed by Robert de Niro), though the story doesn’t speak the entire truth, he says. You can find Frank at his own web page

Steve Wynn

Partially, he has made his apprenticeship with Frank Rosenthal. Finally, he “dethroned” him. He is now chairman of Mirage Resorts, that includes the largest hotel in the world, MGM Grand. Some of his success is linked to the name of E. Parry Thomas, known as the only banker in town, at that time, who would loan money to build a casino. Rosenthal himself describes him as a “a very skilled mind”.

George Wingfield

The two “kings” were preceded by George Wingfield, a major figure in the history of Nevada, since 1912. He used to be characterised as “the owner and operator of Nevada”. Two businesses got him the glory: mining and gambling. He moved to Nevada at the beginning of the 20th century. As an active politician he struggled to get gambling and divorce legalised. Gambling was re-legalised in the state of Nevada in 1931. The same year, the famous six-weeks divorce law was approved. Ironically, nowadays, 230 marriage licenses are issued every day in Las Vegas.

The gold mine of America

After South Africa, the state of Nevada is the largest gold producer in the world. Golden Nugget Hotel displays the world’s biggest gold nugget ever found, that weights 61 pounds.

The most famous mine owner in the history of Nevada was George Wingfield. He also owned every bank in the state. Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company, that he ran together with senator (at that time) George S. Nixon, made them both multi-millionaires.

The other “gold mine” of the state of Nevada is gambling, since gaming activities were legalised in 1931. In 2003, the gross gaming revenue in Las Vegas was $7,673,489,000.

This “gold mine” closed its doors only one time in history: on November 25th 1963, for the national mourning of the assassinated president George Kennedy. History didn’t repeat itself in the first days after September 11. In fact, Americans asked in surveys on this subject saw Las Vegas as a place to escape the tension.