I never understood the notion that games are not to be taken seriously. “It’s only a game” always sounded in my mind as a contradiction, a misunderstanding. Every game is serious business. Play is one the most important activities a human being can perform. Betting on roulette, as I see it, is one of the highest forms of playing. It combines the ecstasy of winning with the grief of losing, the freedom of decision with the inescapable rules of the game. It encourages learning, thinking, making decisions, competing, having fun and finally taking responsibility. Paying your dues. It is a sacred act. Every play. No, I’m not crazy and it’s not my idea. The body knows better, the body never lies. If you were aware of the surge of hormones and chemical reactions that happen to your brain and body when you play roulette you may respect more the “game”.

So it is only natural for a serious roulette player to approach the game and gambling with great intellectual respect and even form a “philosophy” around it. This approach to roulette interests me greatly and I have categorized my writings about it in two sections: the psychological aspect and the personal experience and advice.

The areas of “philosophy of roulette” or even roulette enlightenment if you want include:

  • Understand the nature of randomness (it is chaotic, not “even”)
  • The concept of equilibrium and ergodicity* (what goes up must go down)
  • Taking responsibility of your decisions and actions (paying the price)
  • Know yourself (what and why makes you, your mind and body tick)
  • Fight/control yourself and your demons (self discipline and gambling addiction)
  • Face an extreme intellectual challenge (think mathematically and creatively in order to solve the roulette problem with the correct strategy)
  • Explore the nature of gambling and play (an extremely common human activity that has been dismissed as a stupid addiction and not researched enough)
  • Learn the history of roulette and of the greatest gamblers (see how others have approached the same issues and learn from the past)
  • Win money (this only a practical part of the game)
  • Better understand and enrich your life by consciously playing roulette

Some bits of wisdom I have collected over the years:

  • ‘Gambling is buying hope on credit.’
  • ‘Happiness is a risk. If you’re not a little scared, then you’re not doing it right.’
  • ‘Gambling is an act of faith.’
  • ‘Luck always seems to be against the man who depends on it.’
  • ‘A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.’
  • ‘The biggest risk is not taking any risk.’
  • ‘The less you bet, the more you lose when you win.’

Why play?

We feed on emotion.
In gambling, hidden manifestations of our nature rise to the surface and get life by feeding off the alteration of emotions. Every emotion created by the games of chance, wants to overwhelm you. We all want to just have feelings of joy and victory, but perhaps deep inside, what we seek is to discover and feel all the sides of our selves. So, perhaps we lose intentionally. Maybe this is the price to pay, when you try to get to know yourself.

Unpredictability: Roulette vs Life

It seems strange, but Roulette, with all its deviations, all its unpredictability, and the house advantage, overall is much more fair, stable and predictable than any other endeavor in life. Much more predictable than life itself.

The wheel as battlefield.

In roulette none can guarantee winning. And none can guarantee losing.
Roulette is an open battlefield. Your opponent’s army has just 2,7% more men than yours. This is nothing. In a real battle such a low numerical advantage does not make any difference. Ask Leonidas of Sparta.

The sadness of losing.

Continuing the “gambler as entrepreneur” analogy, Kavouras was saying:
“Every method fails sometimes. But if you know what you are doing you should not feel sad when you lose. Like a shopkeeper doesn’t feel bad when he pays his suppliers to buy new merchandise.”

The long run.

“The “long run” is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.”
John Maynard Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923)

System evaluation

A system that won is not necessarily a “winning system”.
And a system that lost is not necessarily a “losing system”.

Roulette preconceptions

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
Leo Tolstoy, 1897

Roulette “winning method”

Me: If it is possible to create a winning method, how come we haven’t found it yet?
Kavouras: It’s because the “math guys” are mostly arrogant and the “gamblers” are mostly lazy and venal. But above all, it’s because none understands the meaning of “winning method”. To them “winning system” mean sure profits. Profits without risk. This is silly – there’s no such thing. Not in roulette, nor anywhere else. Start looking for profits by knowingly taking risks.

*ergodicity: In mathematics, the term ergodic is used to describe a dynamical system which, broadly speaking, has the same behavior averaged over time as averaged over the space of all the system’s states (phase space). In physics the term is used to imply that a system satisfies the ergodic hypothesis of thermodynamics.