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quotations about gambling

Gambling quote

When a gambler picks up a pack of cards or a pair of dice, he feels as though he has reduced an unmanageable world to a finite, visible and comprehensive size.

ANNABEL DAVIS-GOFF, The Literary Companion to Gambling

Even as I approach the gambling hall, as soon as I hear, two rooms away, the jingle of money poured out on the table, I almost go into convulsions.


The action is everything, more consuming than sex, more immediate than politics; more important always than the acquisition of money, which is never, for the gambler, the true point of the exercise.

JOAN DIDION, The White Album

Gambling is not a vice, it is an expression of our humanness. We gamble. Some do it at the gaming table, some do not. You play, you win, you play, you lose. You play.


Avoid gaming. This is a vice which is productive of every possible evil; equally injurious to the morals and health of its votaries. It is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and father of mischief. It has been the ruin of many worthy families, the loss of many a man's honor, and the cause of Suicide. To all those who enter the lists, it is equally fascinating. The successful gamester pushes his good fortune, till it is overtaken by a reverse. The losing gamester, in hopes of retrieving past misfortunes, goes on from bad to worse, till grown desperate he pushes at everything and loses his all. In a word, few gain by this abominable practice, (the profit if any being diffused) while thousands are injured.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Bushrod Washington, Jan. 15, 1783

A number of moralists condemn lotteries and refuse to see anything noble in the passion of the ordinary gambler. They judge gambling as some atheists judge religion, by its excesses.

CHARLES LAMB, Essays of Elia

I have a notion that gamblers are as happy as most people, being always excited; women, wine, fame, the table, even ambition, sate now & then, but every turn of the card & cast of the dice keeps the gambler alive.

LORD BYRON, Letters and Journals

Between the daylight gambler and the player at night there is the same difference that lies between a careless husband and the lover swooning under his lady’s window.

HONORE DE BALZAC, Romans et contes philosophiques

Casinos ... know that chips are a wonderful, pretty tool, and possess none of the stigma of dollars. Dollars translate too easily into hours or houses or cars or sex or food or everything, and so losing a dollar is a much more tangible experience than parting with a chip, an object that looks more like a midway consolation token than a medium of exchange.

JOHN O'BRIEN, Leaving Las Vegas

Many a man who goes to Las Vegas to get away from it all soon finds that Las Vegas gets it all away from him.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Show me a gambler and I’ll show you a loser.


Any business whose prosperity depends upon damage to any other business is a menace to the general welfare. That is why gambling, direct or indirect, is criminal, why lotteries are prohibited by law, and why even gambling slot-machine devices are not tolerated in civilized countries.

FRANK CRANE, Four Minute Essays

There is no such thing as "social gambling." Either you are there to cut the other bloke's heart out and eat it -- or you're a sucker.

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, Time Enough For Love

A gambler plays even when the odds are immutable and against him.

LOU KRIEGER, More Hold'em Excellence

At the gambling table, there are no fathers and sons.


All gambling is the telling of a fortune, but of a monstrously depleted fortune, empty of everything save one numerical circumstance, shorn of all such richness as a voyage across the water, a fair man that loves you, a dark woman that means you harm.

REBECCA WEST, The Thinking Reed

In his gambling, he had one besetting weakness -- faith in a system; and this made his damnation certain.

JACK LONDON, The Call of the Wild

The world is the house of the strong. I shall not know until the end what I have lost or won in this place, in this vast gambling den where I have spent more than sixty years, dicebox in hand, shaking the dice.

DENIS DIDEROT, Elements of Physiology

Some guys play golf. Some drive race cars or fly jets. Some guys drink booze or chase women. Some guys go to church. Others drink booze, chase women, and go to church all at the same time! My outlet was gambling. It was my hobby and my passion. When I gambled, I always looked for an edge ... a jockey who knew how to hug the rail ... a trainer who had a great work ethic ... a horse that could break fast and finish strong ... a receiver who could cut across the middle without hearing footsteps ... a boxer who could take a punch. Every bet I ever made, regardless of the sport, I made with the intention of winning the event, not the money. In fact, if I found out that a jockey was betting on himself to win, I'd bet that jockey every goddamn time. So, the idea of betting to "lose" is about as foreign to me as living on Mars. As out of control as I got with my gambling, I never bet against my own team--ever.

PETE ROSE, My Prison Without Bars

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Unfortunately, gambling and winning don't often go hand-in-hand.

PETE ROSE, My Prison Without Bars

This was my first lesson about gambling: if you see somebody winning all the time, he isn't gambling, he's cheating.

MALCOLM X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The only gambling tip which amounts to anything is to keep out of the game.

EDGAR WATSON HOWE, Country Town Sayings

There is a secret that the casinos possess, a secret they hold and guard and prize, the holiest of their mysteries. For most people do not gamble to win money, after all, although that is what is advertised, sold, claimed, and dreamed. But that is merely the easy lie that gets them through the enormous, ever-open, welcoming doors. The secret is this: people gamble to LOSE money. They come to the casinos for the moment in which they feel alive, to ride the spinning wheel and turn with the cards and lose themselves, with the coins, in the slots. They may brag about the nights they won, the money they took from the casino, but they treasure, secretly treasure, the times they lost. It's a sacrifice, of sorts.

NEIL GAIMAN, American Gods

I am not surprised that there are gambling houses, like so many snares laid for human avarice; like abysses where many a man's money is engulfed and swallowed up without any hope of return; like frightful rocks against which the gamblers are thrown and perish.

JEAN DE LA BRUYÈRE, "Of the Gifts of Fortune", Les Caractères

Never gamble with a man who knows both sides of the cards.

KEN ALSTAD, Savvy Sayin's

Read T. Augustus Forbes Leith's short essay: On the Vice of Gambling


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