Thursday, 12 October 2017

Staying Humble

My recent Gambling With Mathematics post mentioned that the top Video Poker machines at the Mandalay Bay pay out up to 99.17%. The source of that number in the New Yorker Magazine Article was Anthony Curtis, a former professional gambler who is now the owner and publisher of Las Vegas Advisor, and the blog has now corrected that 99.17% figure up to 99.58%. 

The first published comment on that most makes for scary reading, and if Mrs Cassini ever reads it, my sports investing days are at an end. Part of the comment by a Captain Jack reads:   
There is a natural progression towards sociopathic behavior that comes from making money in a casino environment. You’re making your money by beating inefficiencies in the casino…who in turn is making their revenue from the stupidity of the gambling masses. You begin to get a sense of superiority above your fellow casino patrons. You begin to lose empathy. You employ deception to get what you want. You become immune to taking risks. You become emotionally disconnected from the world around you. All of these are personality traits of sociopathic behavior.
Crikey. That's a little depressing. Perhaps what will save us from such a fate is that our advantage is not gained in a casino environment but in private, with the losing masses nowhere to be seen. Our senses of superiority are hopefully kept in check.

Another piece of good news is that Captain Jack's numbers did not go unchallenged:
Captain Jack’s speculation that 38-76% of advantage gamblers are sociopaths (his figures, not mine). I mean..come ON!
According to my wife's copy of Martha Stout's 2005 book "The Sociopath Next Door", an odd wedding gift for her from my in-laws, it is 4% of the population who are sociopaths. 

Disturbingly high still, but fortunately I am completely normal.

If you're interested in a far more serious article about mental health, check out this extraordinary, and quite frightening, article in Vanity Fair.

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