The Thrill of Losing

In days of yore a hunter or warrior knew the risks they were taking. It was a matter of life and death. A puncture wound could easily result in an agonizing slow bedridden dive into the arms of the reaper. Whereas today, a puncture wound is easily dressed and disinfected at the local hospital; a simple procedure. This uncertainty of risk and reward, is no doubt to me, a neuroblast of positive transmitters to the ancient man’s mind.

If a time machine whisked me back to the era of American settlers and I hopped on the nearest wagon for a ride out west in hopes of striking gold, my fellow travelers would pinch their noses and give me nasty looks. I’d apologize and say, “that’s the smell of progress,” while lowering my head to stare at my feet for the the rest of the ride out west. The resulting softening of the modern human by the opulence and clownworld yoke of modernity would most assuredly be stenchworthy to these rugged people. It is shameful at best.

As a youngster I partook in thrill seeking activities such as train hopping, hitchhiking, as well as other unmentionable roguish behavior. To me, these endeavors were a surrogate of the hunter-warrior life I was lacking. The visceral need I felt for thrill encompassed much of my day to day life, much as it does now from pushing the limits of my body in the outdoors to big bet gambling. The difference from the hunter’s risk of yore to that of the modern human’s risk is, that the hunter’s risk had meaning and cultural significance beyond thrill-seeking; much of it was a necessity of tribal life. Nowadays, in my adult years I have to be clever in finding risk-reward actions that don’t pose a threat of permanent injury, a la train hopping.

I risk money and buy dreams of owning land and building a cabin — the easy way. These dreams slowly turn into ethereal puffs of smoke as I watch the score ticker for the team I bet on fall far behind the team that I did not bet on. Perhaps betting on Korean basketball isn’t my thing? I suppose my luck with Romanian basketball doesn’t translate across the orient.

My poker skill is a reflection on the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. During the day, before the moon is out I can secure bags of gold from these Texans but something happens at night. I change form and slowly give way to testosterone induced betting. Which turns 3-7 hours of painstaking deliberate accumulation of virtual poker chips into 3-7 hands of bravado betting before I’m busted. The moon is cruel. This has nothing, I repeat nothing, to do with drinking; I promise. The online bookies are kind enough to keep my debit card information and make it a painless click of the mouse to lose more money and if that doesn’t get me betting away paychecks they also offer cash advances. I have for the time being given up cards for something that is not affected by testosterone and drinking — sports betting.

My bread and butter of risk-reward is sports betting. I have been sports betting roughly a year and within this year I have learned much. Most of which, I won’t bore you, dear reader, with. Instead I shall focus on some of the challenges of a new sports better. After learning the esoteric language of the sports better (spread, European vs American odds, cover, over/under et cetera) I became overwhelmed by the sheer amount of sports betting choices. I had thought sports betting was mostly contained to the big four, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL with the occasional horse, soccer and golf bet. However, this isn’t true. One can effectively bet on nearly anything i.e., a few months back there were odds on Trump being impeached or not by January 2018. Aside from non sports bets offered there is a plethora of sports to bet on, to name a few:

Handball
Darts
Snooker
Volleyball
Motocross
Esports
Chess
Rugby

This list surely isn’t all encompassing, it is just a mere taste of what one can bet on. Take any of the major sports, such as hockey and one will find that they can bet on many different hockey leagues from around the world. For example, I have made a decent amount of money betting on Finnish and Russian hockey leagues.

The brain compensates and builds tolerance when it comes to an activity that dumps feel good neurotransmitters. The thrill of betting lessens over time and the only way to combat this is to increase your risk. Thus, wagers must get more outrageous to attain the same neuro-dump and this is where gambling becomes a real problem. I have witnessed people lose well over 50k in one day and then beg the next day for a $15.00 dollar loan. Many people that I talk with are in a constant state of feast or famine from squandering entire paychecks to running them up to several thousand dollars. In order to avoid this all to common pitfall one must adhere strictly bankroll management by implementing a unit size. One unit is 1/100 of a bankroll, thus if I had a bankroll of $1000, a single unit bet would be $10 dollars. Most bets average from 1-5 units based on confidence and research.

I have survived a year of gambling without going bust. My initial investment of $500 dollars is still going strong. I have yet to replenish my account. I aim to revisit this initial investment in the future with a $10,000 dollar bankroll and become a $100 dollar better. For now, the training wheels are still on.

Before I became a sports better I didn’t care much for sports. I still don’t care much for sports, but I have gained an appreciation for them in the process. Furthermore, I find it a lot more fun to socially signal, say when I am at a casino watching a NCAA basketball game to yell at the players on screen. It’s fun. It requires a fair amount of alcohol and the ability to snicker at oneself for being part infiltrator as a sports ‘fan’ and part only giving a damn because you bet way too much on a shitty basketball team with shitty colors from some shitty southern state that you don’t give a shit about.

So dear reader, if you find that you are lacking risk-reward I implore thee to take up the sword of the gambler and head down to the local bookie and stake a few hundred dollars on a game.

-R

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