The Gods Play Dice With Gambling Mortals


Gambling is a very old pastime. It has most likely to have been around even when humans were nothing more than animal skin-wearing nomads roaming the savannahs of Africa. Ancient legends are rife with gambling and gambling references. In Greek mythology, for example, it has been presented in a variety of myths, in a wide range of ways; such as with the wager between Aphrodite, Pallas Athena, and Hera that spurred the turn of events that ultimately precipitated the Trojan War that Homer recounts in The Iliad.

There are very many different ways to gamble. Regardless of what form it may take, the main idea behind gambling is that something of value is wagered on a prediction of the outcome of an event or activity. The presumption is that the results of this event or activity cannot be accurately foreseen, such that the person placing the bet runs the very real risk of losing what they had wagered. Nowadays, in casinos, bingo halls, race tracks, and other places, there are a variety of ways for a person to gamble. A gambling game can be as complex and filled with rules and details as Texas Hold’em, or as simple as merely naming the team or the participant that will win in sports betting. In between are a variety of gambling games to choose from and enjoy; roulette, craps, the lottery, slot machines, and some would even count insurance as a form of gambling. Regardless of what form gambling takes though; luck, chance, fate, probability, the will of the universe, or whatever else it may be called, ultimately decides who the victims and who the victors are.

Today, mathematicians, physicists, and other individuals in similar fields may be able to make more accurate estimates of what the probabilities are in a game of roulette, for example. In fact, it may even be possible that all of the randomness in the possibilities and results of a particular wager can be boiled down to something as straightforward as a single equation. If a comprehensive theory on the nature of space and time can be condensed into something as elegant and simple as E=mC2 -Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity- then it’s possible that all of the seemingly arbitrary doings of chance in a gambling game can be quantified and accurately predicted as well. Perhaps it has already been formulated. During ancient times though, the complexities of theoretical physics and mathematics were not available to most people, and the results of a gambling game were often attributed to the fickle fancies of Fortuna, goddess of luck and fate, and a gambler’s capricious mistress.