Second City Vegas gave me $25 to gamble.
They give the cash as a farewell gift whenever someone leaves the cast and insist that the actor use it only for gambling. My last show with them was at the end of 2001 after almost a year of nightly performances. That $25 would be the first money I’d spend gambling since I’d gotten there, and if I’m honest, I wasn’t looking forward to wasting that much beer money.
But my friends insisted.
There really weren’t enough chips to play blackjack or craps, so I went with the old Vegas standard, the slot machine. Lights flashed, bells dinged, gamblers screamed – sights and sounds I had done my best to avoid all year since they give me a headache and bring me zero pleasure. With the cast and crew fanned out behind me, I started feeding this greedy machine a dollar chip at a time. As I’d expected, no triple-sevens lined up for me, they never do, and by my twenty-fourth unsuccessful chip, all hope was lost.
And then I won.
It was only about $48, but it sounded huge when that many chips came gushing out all at once into the metal pan below. The lights flashed, the bells rang, and my friends became screaming and celebrating gamblers. What to do with the winnings?
“Let it ride,” they told me.
Which is what a mysterious gambler did for almost the entire 2017 MLB World Series. According to RJ Bell, who is an odds provider for the Associated Press, a big-time bettor in Vegas bet on the winning team in each of the first six games of the World Series. He bet (reinvested) his winnings on the next game each time, which has netted him a cool $14 million. (Link to Article)
And his name?
Nobody knows – so instead he’s called Sir Let It Ride. So far, we know this about the guy: he’s younger than 30, he’s Eastern European, and he spreads his bets across town. He bet $500,000 on the first game and has been winning ever since. The big question: how do you pick six for six World Series wins in a row? Syndicate backing? Mathematical formulas? Pure luck? As far as I’m concerned, the answer is much simpler than that.
If Sir Let It Ride has access to a time machine, his success is understandable. That’s how Stephen King’s 11/23/63 protagonist Jake Epping did it. (Spoiler Alert) He wrote down some big winners, went back in time, and cleaned up. Only he found out how suspicious bookies tend to get when someone keeps beating the odds, and he pays the price with a near fatal beating.
Maybe that’s why Sir Let It Ride remains anonymous.
Of course if there is no time machine, that means this guy has done the near impossible. And the big question yesterday was: will he do it again? Will he let it all ride on game seven? Will this man bet his $14 million winnings on a single baseball game, or will he take his money and go home?
What would you do?
For gamblers, there is only one answer – you ride the lucky train and take it all the way to the station. When the gambling gods are on your side six times in a row, you go for seven or it’s a slap in their face. It’s money you wouldn’t have had anyway, so gamblers know there’s only one thing to do in a situation like this.
Let it ride.
For everyone else, like me, there is no choice to be made – you take the money and go home. Clock out, you’ve won $14 million, there’s nothing left to prove. But this philosophy is exactly why I never win big. It’s why I never would have bet the initial $500,000 in the first place.
It could be my genes.
Ashok Panagariya, a Jaipur-based neurologist, says medical scientists have recently isolated the D-2 receptor, commonly known as the ‘gambling gene’, which for some people increases the level of pleasure endorphins released from gambling. (Link to Article)
My D-2 must be weak.
Because when I won that $48 in 2001, I ignored the advice of my friends and immediately collected my winnings, which I put on a bar tab for us to enjoy. Turns out yesterday Sir Let It Ride did about the same. No bets on game seven, no TV interviews, no explanations. The guy just took his $14 million and went home. What a mystery.
What a ride.
- Mike Lukas
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