AI: Odds on Getting Rich

It's March Madness time! This means that everyone who understands college and/or basketball is talking abougt college basketball. And betting on college basketball. Hell, even I am running a charity brackets fundraiser for the Women Thinking Free that you should totally join for $10 and help support a kick ass organization and I don't understand college OR basketball.

I'm not a big gambler. I did play poker… pretty much non-stop… for a few years. But I didn't think of poker as gambling-gambling. Gambling-gambling makes me confused and nervous and even when I win, I'm not really sure what to do with that feeling.

But there's still a funness about it. I understand the rush of winning a big pot. I mean, who doesn't want to come into a bunch of practically free money? And there's the thing where you pretend you're competing with friends… and you can get all competitive over things that are totally out of all of your hands. And you bond and laugh and drink and everyone is happy. Especially the one who wins all the money, and that person buys everyone drinks.

I don't really have anything deep and thoughtful to add to this intro right now. It's mostly just a ploy to plug Vax Your Bracket, a fundraiser for the Women Thinking Free Foundation where you can win money or Hug Me swag.

So, let's just get to the question.

Do you gamble? Do you think gambling is for suckers? Is poker gambling-gambling? Did you buy in to the WTF fundraiser yet? Are the odds of losing just the price you pay for a good time? Do you do charity gambling…. like the WTF's Vax Your Bracket? Was it a good move to pick Baylor to win it all?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.

Image courtesy Women Thinking Free's Vax your Bracket March Madness charity fundraiser.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. I do not gamble, but I used to play a lot of hold 'em with my friends. I never dropped more than $20, but we had some intense tournament style games. Gambling in a casino IS for suckers, though. I mean, the odds are against you, in the long run you will lose. My dad, however, is moderately successful gambling casino games, but he generally only gambles for a half hour at a time betting the best odds (usually the pass line in craps). It's just not worth the risk in my eyes. Especially coming from NW Indiana and seeing the depressing scene that is the casinos in Gary.

  2. I don't gamble, because I don't enjoy it (both gambling and gambling-gambling), but I won't go so far as to say gambling is for suckers. At least not entirely. For example, my roommate enjoys occasional games of blackjack. She understand the statistics behind gambling in casinos, so when she gets her $20 worth of chips, she assumes she will lose it, and sees that as her admission fee to the game. Pay $20, be entertained for about an hour by playing blackjack.
    Going in as an informed player, like my roommate, makes you not a sucker. People who gamble at the casinos to win big? Yeah, suckers.

  3. I really, really dislike gambling.  It just gives me anxiety.  I'd rather blow my money on a meal or something.
    I don't think all forms of gambling are stupid, though I do think playing the slots is pretty idiotic.  Some gambling, however, takes skill.  It's just really, really not for me, though.

  4. I live in Las Vegas, so I do gamble, but I don't really think of it as gambling-gambling.  Mostly what I do is that since a lot of our movie theatres are in casinos, I go see a film and then put the rest of my $20 into a slot machine.  If I'm really lucky, I win back the cost my movie ticket.  If I'm not, I'm only out the amount I alotted to the day out.  I think of it more as using a slot machine to entertain myself for thirty minutes than anything else.  Even if I won the jackpot, on a penny machine that's about $500.  Nice, but not exactly going to make me rich.

  5. I like skill based betting (which is legal in the US) when I'm directly involved in the skill competition.
    Casino style betting and lotteries however are definitely for suckers.  Any look at the odds will tell you this.

  6. I occasionally play poker with friends but only a ten or twenty buy in and when I play golf (which is all the time) I always have something on the line but never more than five or ten dollers. I consider that entertainment money and it keeps me focused on my golf game. And I've done a NCAA bracket every year and if I remember I plan on doing one for charity this year!

  7. I like to gamble, though not frequently. I do a fantasy baseball league every year, and I occasionally play poker with my friends. 

    When I have gone to a casino, I set an amount that I assume I will be losing and plan accordingly. Obviously, the house always wins, but if I do play, I like to mitigate the time it takes me to lose my set amount by playing blackjack or craps…games of attrition really.

  8. I once blew several grand on an education.  That ended up being a pretty good bet though.
    I can finally comment now that I managed to remember to bring my password home from work.  You people can be so damn vulgar here.
    Kindest regards,

  9. Here's a haha:  We all know the odds favour the house in casino gambling, yes?  In Canada, casinos are government run….and losing money…. (at least in Ontario, run by the Ontario Lotto & Gaming commission).  So much for those who compare government to organized crime….

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