Chance and Luck: A Discussion on the Laws of Luck, Coincidences, Wagers, Lotteries etc

Jul 29, 2012 by

Alllllrighty now…we have a winner here called CHANCE AND LUCK: A DISCUSSION ON THE LAWS OF LUCK, COINCIDENCES, WAGERS, LOTTERIES etc. originally published in 1887.  Richard A. Proctor takes chance, luck, gambling, coincidences, wagers and lotteries very seriously.  If you can deal with that unique sort of pompous but not really writing style of the late 1800’s you will find some fascinating information in this book.  Would you like to know how to push the odds in your favor when gambling? how to win in Las Vegas?  how to increase your odds in the lottery? How to win at blackjack? How to win playing poker or dice?  Richard Proctor’s Chance and Luck has some very interesting pointers for you that you may not find anywhere else.  Here’s a bit of his wisdom to give you an idea of what this book is like: “It is probable that most of my readers can recall some circumstance in their lives, some surprising coincidence, which has caused a similar impression, and which they have found it almost impossible to regard as strictly fortuitous. In chance games especially, curious coincidences of the sort occur, and lead to the superstitious notion that they are not mere coincidences, but in some definite way associated with the fate or fortune of the player, or else with some event which has previously taken place — a change of seats, a new deal, or the like. There is scarcely a gambler who is not prepared to assert his faith in certain observances whereby, as he believes, a change of luck may be brought about. In an old work on card-games the player is gravely advised, if the luck has been against him, to turn three times round with GAMBLERS’ FALLACIES. 69 his chair,  for then the luck will infallibly change in your favour. Equally superstitious is the notion that anger brings bad luck, or, as M. Houdin’s authority puts it, that ‘ the demon of bad luck invariably pursues a passionate player. At a game of pure chance good temper makes the player careless under ill-fortune, but it cannot secure him against it. In like manner, passion may excite the attention of others to the player’s losses, and in any case causes himself to suffer more keenly under them, but it is only in this sense that passion is unlucky for him. He is as likely to make a lucky hit when in a rage as in the calmest mood. It is easy to see how superstitions such as these take their origin. We can understand that since one who has been very unlucky in games of pure chance, is not antecedently likely to continue equally unlucky, a superstitious observance is not unlikely to be followed by a seeming change of luck. When this happens the coincidence is noted and remembered ; but failures are readily forgotten. Again, if the fortunes of a passionate player be recorded by dispassionate bystanders, he will not appear to be pursued by worse luck than his neigh- bours ; but he will be disposed to regard himself as the victim of unusual ill-fortune. He may perhaps register a vow to keep his temper in future ; and then his luck may seem to him to improve, even though a careful record of his gains and losses would show no change whatever in his fortunes.

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