Everyone has had that moment. You’re having a great time, people are laughing at your jokes, and looking at you with respect. But then you ask the dumbest question of all time.
I distinctly remember how a room of 20 people fell completely silent one day when I asked one of those embarrassing questions. It was mortifying to say the least. But someone realized I had pulled a blank and immediately stepped in to save me.
Whether you’re at a company party or sitting in a casino next to strangers, you may suddenly feel the urge to ask a stupid question. But you don’t. You might be afraid to.
The shame of being mocked and ridiculed burns brightly in our imaginations. And I have to admit I’ve seen people become nasty to new players who ask amateur questions. It’s not fair but, sometimes, you just sit at the wrong table with the wrong people.
Here are a few questions I’ve seen people ask. Some of them were asked in a safe situation where no one made fun of them. And some of these questions came out at the wrong time.
This article is my attempt to make up for all the times I felt I should have said something but didn’t. Sometimes, you know the answer to a question but are afraid to share it. Check out seven gambling-related questions you should ask below.
1 – Is Gambling a Waste of Money?
This question has been asked a million times and in a million different ways. Sometimes, I hear people say straight out, “You shouldn’t waste your money on gambling.”
My usual reaction is feeling like I should reply with, “Excuse me, but who made you everyone’s keeper?”
Gambling is a very personal experience. When I see people running across a busy highway and a crosswalk is only 50 feet away, I don’t ask if risking your life like that is a waste of life.
Here’s an example of wasted money—taking out a seven-year loan on a brand-new SUV when you could buy a used vehicle with similar features for half the price.
We waste money all the time. Unless you’re living like Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions, you don’t intend to waste money, but you do it anyway.
Gambling is, for most of us, a form of entertainment. If you’re wasting money by gambling for fun, then you’re wasting money by buying concert tickets, taking your kids to see the Nutcracker during Christmastime, or going to the movies when you have a perfectly good television at home.
For some people, gambling is a way of life. They earn their living at the casino. If gambling pays your bills for three years in a row, is that a waste of your money?
2 – Can I Learn to Play Blackjack at Any Table?
This is a tough question to ask. Some blackjack players are very territorial. They only want to play cards. They openly resent people sitting down and asking how the game is played.
Some casinos have a card or brochure that explains how the game is played. And you can find a million tutorials online. But there’s nothing morally or ethically wrong with walking up to a game you never thought about playing and being curious about it.
If you want to learn to play blackjack and ask your fellow seatmates, you may earn a few eyerolls. But you can definitely learn the basic rules of the game at just about any table. It could also be a good idea to watch everyone else play for a while.
If you can, find an open table where the dealer is waiting for players. He or she may appreciate having something to do. But dealers cannot advise you on strategy; they can only explain the basic rules.
To avoid awkward moments, you should find out whether the casino offers a class on blackjack. I’ve seen a few classes offered at some casinos. You’ll feel more comfortable asking questions and most people will be patient with you.
3 – What’s the Difference Between Sequential and Reversible Royal?
This is a video poker question. I don’t know if the person who asked it was an experience video poker player or not.
The answer is simple enough, but let me give a little bit of background information. Sequential Royal video poker has a high payoff if you get a royal flush where the cards are dealt in sequential order.
The sequence must be, from left to right, 10, jack, queen, kng, and ace. If you’re dealt these cards in any other order, you only have a regular royal flush.
I’ll gladly take a royal flush all week long, but on a Sequential Royal machine, the payoff is quite nice when the cards are dealt in order.
A reversible royal is dealt either way. If you’re playing on a reversible machine, then the royal flush could fall in order from left to right as above or from right to left: ace, king, queen, jack, and 10.
4 – Why Is the Lottery Called “a Tax on Stupid People?”
I’m sure someone thought this was a funny joke at some point in the past. But given the low probability of winning the main prize in a lottery, the “tax on stupid people” description has become very popular.
If you can only win one prize in the lottery, and the odds are millions to one, you’re probably not the sharpest pencil in the cup if you play that game.
Every lottery game I have studied pays many different prizes. I’d rather play a state lottery than a keno game, but they all offer smaller, secondary prizes. Your chances of winning $10 on a $1 ticket are far, far better than the chances of winning a $100 million jackpot.
If you only play the lottery because you want the big jackpot, you’re being exceptionally positive in my opinion. You’re more likely to win a very small prize if you win anything at all.
But some people do think of lottery games as “self-imposed taxes.” That’s because government-run lotteries dump their share of profits into general funds or special budgets, like education.
You may be surprised to know the government usually keeps less than 20% of ticket receipts. So, playing a government lottery is a self-imposed tax. I would call that being civic-minded with one’s entertainment money, not stupid!
5 – Is It Stupid to Marry a Gambler?
The gambling industry, online and in person, throughout the world is worth billions of dollars. And I’m only talking about gambling through casino games for money.
Anyone who works the graveyard shift at a convenience store in a high-crime neighborhood is gambling with their life. Rock climbers and base jumpers gamble with their lives, too.
I personally don’t think it’s stupid to marry someone who gambles, works a graveyard shift, or jumps off buildings in a wingsuit. But you should find out before you fall in love if a new person of interest has any addictions.
About 10% of the general gaming population becomes addicted to gambling. And people develop many different kinds of addictions, not just problem gambling.
It’s okay to love someone who is addicted to something, but don’t be stuck trying to change them. If you relieve them of their responsibilities in life (taking away the consequences for their behavior), you become an enabler and you’re not helping either yourself or the person you’re with.
6 – Why Do Some People Say Investing in the Stock Market Is Gambling?
Some say that investing in stocks is gambling because you’re staking something of value (money) on an uncertain, unpredictable outcome (the proposition that you’ll make more money than you put in).
Stock market profits are like slot machine jackpots. They have to come from somewhere, and that “somewhere” is comprised of all of the other people who buy and sell the stocks that you buy and sell.
Investing in the stock market is a figure of speech. Savvy investors study corporate financial reports and looks for promising future opportunities in the stock market. A company with a solid track record of making profits and paying dividends is a better investment than putting all your money on 25 in roulette or pouring all of it into a slot.
With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down basically all sports across the globe, betting on stocks is one of the only betting options available right now.
7 – Is There Any Way at All to Beat the Casino?
Yes. It’s called cheating.
If you’re caught, you can be thrown out, arrested, or maybe even harmed if you’re playing in an unregulated casino.
If you’re hoping there’s a way to get an advantage over the casino without cheating or risking your future freedom, there are some advantage play techniques you can consider. But none of these come easy and require years of experience and a lot of skill.
By the time you hear about a loophole that can be safely and honestly exploited, the casinos will already have found a way to shut it down.
It’s always okay to ask questions. No matter how embarrassing a question may be, the answer might save you even worse embarrassment in the future.
But unless you enjoy being the center of attention, I recommend you find the right time, place, and person to ask questions. Casinos have customer service desks and they answer many different questions all day long. Online casinos have FAQ pages and customer support ready to quell your concerns.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Nurture your curiosity, but take a little time to think about where and when you should ask it ahead of time.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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