Looking to the Past: A Brief History of Gambling

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We all know what gambling consists of, but have you ever been curious about how it got its start? Gambling has a rich, cultural history that goes back further than you think. Here is a brief history of gambling to help you understand the games and appreciate the ideas behind them.

Gambling in its Earliest Form

Gambling was developed as a form of entertainment, and is in fact one of the first types of ever created. Evidence points to gambling starting as far back as 2300 B.C. in China. It was also used as a simple way to determine who should rule certain territories, rather than fighting a nasty war. Around the year 100 A.D., King Olaf from Norway and King Olaf of Sweden gambled with dice to see who should take over the District of Hising. It was back to back rolls of sixes that landed the Swedish king his new land.

Ancient Cultures

Almost everyone from ancient Rome gambled. From nobles to peasants, the idea of chance and luck drew all citizens together for betting and games. Just like many of today’s laws, Emperor Augustus had certain rules that forbade gambling except for Saturnalia, a week-long festival celebrating the god over Saturn. If citizens were caught gambling any other time of the year, they were forced to pay a hefty fine and sometimes even their lives.

Later on, Romans were allowed to play games of chance, and it is said that Commodus used the Imperial Palace as the first casino to help pay for debts incurred during the previous and currents reigns.

Evolution of Online Gambling

Once upon a time, those who wanted to gamble would have to take a bus, train, car, or even an airplane in order to play. The Internet changed everything, allowing people to gamble online in their very own homes. Most people were skeptical of online gambling in the beginning because they weren’t sure how it worked. It started out as simple games that people could play without betting any actual currency, but soon casinos were creating their own websites allowing people to use real money as they played.

Why People Gamble

Gambling is one of the most exciting forms of entertainment in America. But why do people love it so much? The reasons vary for each person, the majority however, agree that they gamble to get rich. The idea of winning a huge jackpot is so appealing that people can’t help but play. You can’t ever win if you never try. With the right betting strategy and knowledge of rules, you can play any game and have a real shot at going home with the gold.

The history of gambling goes back almost as far as the history of humanity. From the King of Sweden to the ancient Romans, and now to present day America, it seems gambling has a bright future.

5 Tips so You Don’t go Broke Gambling

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Gambling online is fun, but you want to protect yourself from mistakes that could cost you a lot of money. There’s nothing fun about losing your mortgage payment in a poker game. Follow these five tips so you don’t go broke gambling. You get to have all of the fun without the worry.

1. Know How Much Money You Can Lose

Everyone wants to win, but not everyone can win. That’s why you should enter every game knowing how much money you can afford to lose. Perhaps you have an extra $100 that you don’t really need. If you win, you’ll be happy, but if you lose at least you won’t go broke. That’s because you thought ahead and set aside money that you could afford to lose comfortably.

2. Know How to Play the Games

Learn the game’s rules before you start playing. No two games are exactly alike. Spend some time looking at odds, winning hands, and etiquette. Once you know the game on a theoretical level, get some playing experience by making small bets. Eventually, you’ll understand the game well enough that you can make larger bets when appropriate.

3. Create a Bankroll

If you don’t want to set aside a specific amount of gambling money each month, then you can create a bankroll that you always use. When you win money, the winnings go into the bankroll. When you lose, money comes out.

Do your best to keep some money in the bankroll so you never have to access your personal funds.

4. Set a Loss Limit

This is slightly different than gambling with money you can afford to lose. When you set a loss limit, you usually base that limit on how much you have in your bankroll. For instance, you might decide that you can lose up to 50 percent of your gambling bankroll before you walk away.

Maybe you’re playing against other people who know the game better than you. Maybe you just aren’t having a lucky night. Regardless, setting a loss limit tells you when it’s time to pack up and go home (or log out of your online account).

5. Set a Win Limit

Most people think about how much money they can afford to lose. That’s a smart way to make sure you never go broke gambling. However, setting a winning limit could also help.

When players win several hands in a row, they often start to think that they are on a “hot streak” or that they have luck on their side. That’s a dangerous illusion that can tempt you to keep placing bets even after you start to lose. You can decide to set a specific monetary limit or a percentage of your bankroll. That largely depends on how much cash you have in your bankroll and what goals you have set.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you choose your win limit as long you stop while you’re ahead instead of giving other players a chance to earn their money back.

What strategies do you use to manage your gambling money? Have you ever lost more than you should?

5 Reasons It’s Better to Gamble Online

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The next time you think about going to a casino, consider these five reasons that gambling online is better. You might find yourself turning on your computer instead of hopping in your car.

Online Gambling Costs Less Than Going to a Casino

When you gamble online, you don’t have to pay for things like travel, hotel rooms, and drinks. Even if you live in a popular gambling town, you still save money by playing at home. When you venture out to the casino, you will have to pay for gas and parking.

At home, you just use the computer you already own. Well, you have to pay for the electricity you use, but that’s always cheaper than going to the casino.

Online Casinos Give You More Options

Brick-and-mortar casinos only have so much room on the game floor. They do a good job filling those spaces with poker tables, slots, and roulette wheels, but they cannot possibly offer the diversity that online casinos give you.

When you play online, you get to enjoy any game you like. You also have a nearly unlimited number of tables to choose from. Poker tables can fill up at the casino. When that happens, you have to wait for someone to get up before you can sit down to play. Online, you just choose another table. There’s always a seat open somewhere.

No Second-hand Smoke

Casinos don’t want players leaving the tables for anything. If someone gets up, there’s a chance that he might not sit back down. That’s one reason that so many casinos lobby against smoking bans. If you go to Las Vegas, expect second-hand smoke exposure. Given that so many places have already banned indoor smoking, those conditions can bother smokers as much as non-smokers.

By playing at home, you get to do what you prefer. If you like to smoke while playing, then you can do so. If you don’t like smoke, you don’t have to tolerate it.

Fewer Distractions

Even if you have a kid yelling in the other room, a dog barking at the backdoor, and a neighbor cutting his lawn, you still have fewer distractions at home than in a casino.

The flashing lights and beeping noises in a casino make it very hard to concentrate. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid these distractions unless you spend a lot of money playing in a private poker game in an isolated room.

The last thing you need when trying to decide whether you should bet, is more distraction. At home, at least you can retreat to a quiet room.

Bonuses!

Many online casinos give you sign-up bonuses. That means you have extra money from the moment you open your account. Casinos will also give you bonuses, but only if you spend a lot of money. They don’t hand out honeymoon suites to people playing the nickel slots.

However, when you go online, there’s a good chance that you will get a bonus before you even play your first hand.

What are some of your favorite things about gambling online? Do you find that it’s similar to playing in a casino, or are the experiences too different to even compare?

5 of the Weirdest Casinos in the World

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A whopping thirty-eight percent of Americans have been to Las Vegas. And sure, it’s the Mecca for gambling-lovers. But seriously, tourists need to widen their sights. Casinos are about more than winning money–it’s about the experience. If you’re lamenting lost dough, then the experience wasn’t crazy enough. Not insane enough. Not outside this world. Walking into the weirdest casino in the world–now that’s a whole new thrill that beats gaining a few hundred at the slot machine.

Desert Cave Hotel in South Australia

Ever think you’d be able to gamble underground? The Desert Cave Hotel is in the thick of opal mining territory in South Australia. Original settlers lived underground to stay cool, and this hotel is no different. It boasts high ceilings, spacious cool rooms, underground shops, café, bar, and of course, a casino.

Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota

Who would have though that a little Casino would make big news? But they did, and here’s why: in 2012, Black Bear broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest bacon-cheeseburger. It weighed 2,014 pounds and was ten feet wide. They even used a crane to flip it. Any resort willing to put that much work into one burger ought to have an epic casino—if you want small-town weird, it’s at Black Bear.

Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek, CO

And then there’s weird as in paranormal. Cripple Creek, Colorado is infamous for its other-worldly sightings. The whole town has an old-flavor feel, and the Imperial Hotel shows it best. Built in 1896, the hotel is old-fashioned and stately, but hides secrets. Its original owner, George Long, had a daughter who was mentally disabled and still roams the halls. George himself comes down and plays the slot machines after closing the gaming room at night.

Resort World in Genting, Malaysia

Old-fashioned doesn’t fly here. This casino is accessible by skyway, and guests regular roll over the mountains from Kuala Lumpur in a skyway car. The tropical views are breathtaking, both from the skyway and from the casino itself. Perched on a mountain-top, rumor has it that guests who lost too much at the casino would throw themselves off of the mountain’s cliffs. That kind of desperation might be legendary, but this casino’s existence is not.

Prairie Knights Casino and Resort in the Middle of Nowhere

If you thought a skyway was remote, check out Prairie Knights. Located in Fort Yates, North Dakota, this giant, brightly-lit, spacious casino appears to have been dropped by aliens in the middle of a deserted, barren pasture. If you fly in the nearest airport, you’ll drive for about two hours at 75 mph before you get to the resort. The view from the car window will be spectacular, if a little desolate. And the people are friendly. But the night life? Don’t count on it, unless you like hobnobbing with cows.

From city to desert to haunted houses to tropical forests to the land down under, there are hundreds of havens for your weary weekend. So next time you check flights to Vegas, consider some new and unusual locations.

4 of the Best Casino Resorts in Europe

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Nothing combines glamour and culture quite like the casinos of Europe, some of the most popular gambling centers in the world. Whether evoking Old World charm, offering the sense of exclusivity and mystique, or simply creating a paradise where indulgence reigns, these player destinations attract heavy-wallet enthusiasts to gamble on foreign grounds. Take a chance on these four best of the best European casino resorts.

1. The Casino de Monte-Carlo (Monte-Carlo, Monaco)

Possibly the most iconic casino in Europe, the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco, established in 1863, is a hot-spot not only for casino lovers, but for celebrities, royals, car aficionados, and anyone trying the James Bond lifestyle (the casino hosted two Bond films). The 1,000 plus slot machines and international gaming offerings mark the Monte-Carlo as holder of the largest collection in Europe, and with views of the Mediterranean Sea and architecture befitting the interior sculptures, frescoes, and marble and gold speak to the grandeur and prestige of the long-standing casino. Deemed a family friendly resort, you can work your arm on the slots while younger visitors lounge on the beach.

2. Casino Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden, Germany)

The Casino Baden-Baden dates back further than the Monte-Carlo, having opened in 1809 to the German public, and through various Parisian palatal inspired renovations, earned praise as “the most beautiful casino in the world.” The 32,289 square foot property keeps fortune at fate’s fingertips with 113 slots and more than 20 table games. Beyond the flashing lights of Las Vegas or the easy access of a computer’s glow, Casino Baden-Baden emits elegance and vivacity in this sleepy summer town amid relaxation and antiquity (see: mineral baths, castles, Rebland wine region).

3. Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort and Casino (Gran Canaria, Spain)

On the other side of European luxury, the Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort, Spa, and Casino sits on the sea front in the south of Gran Canaria, the largest of the Canary Islands of Spain. The Casino has earned the World Travel Awards “Europe’s Leading Casino Resort” in 2012 and 2013, and received nomination for the “World’s Leading Casino Resort” in past years for its aura of romance, recreation, and richness. Balance your health at the Spa Corallium Costa Meloneras or while playing the many sports offered on the island with a mental resurgence of a nap by the pool. But don’t forget your green blood–hit the many slots and tables of the adjoining casino for the destination’s true shining gem.

4. The Clermont Club (London, UK)

If exclusivity and mystery drive your gambling hand, the Clermont Club in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square feeds off the busy London vibe, but discreetly behind the very private walls of the club. There are only six tables, very professionally manned, and in order to visit the institution requires a 24 hour advanced membership application. Once inside, the interior boasts spiral staircases and Baroque touches that exude the history of aristocracy and elegant opulence. It’s a travel site chart-topper among the world’s most glamorous vacation casinos.

These resort casinos offer different experiences, playing to wealthy audiences, champion players, and even thriftier enthusiasts. Follow Lady Luck’s call to one of these premiere European gaming locations.

The 3 Casino Games With the Best Odds

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Whether you go to the casino for fun or to make some serious dough, you’ll want to consider playing the games that offer you the best chance at winning. Most people know slot machines offer the worst odds, but here are the three games with the best odds.

3. Baccarat

This little-known game offers excellent odds to players. The reason this card game has remained somewhat obscure is that historically, casinos only offered access to baccarat to the highest rollers. However, smaller versions of the game have migrated beyond the roped-off areas of casinos, allowing players to place a bet as low as $5 or $10 to play.

Baccarat is essentially a guessing game of who will win. In this game, winning means having a two or three-card hand that gets closest to nine, based on card values within the game. The dealer or house wins slightly more than half the time, making the odds as low as 1.17 percent.

2. Craps

The idea behind this game is simple, just bet on the outcome of a roll or multiple rolls of a pair of dice. However, the execution of this game is complex, which is one reason it attracts a lot of fans. Normal bets have odds ranging from 1.4 to 16.7 percent. To increase your odds of winning at this game, make an odds bet after the roller has established a point by throwing dice that add up to 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. By placing a bet on single, double, or ten times the odds of the point coming up again before there’s a seven, you reduce the advantage of the house almost to zero.

1. Blackjack

Blackjack is a game where players aim for 21 points. It’s a wildly popular table game that’s even been featured in major motion pictures. Strategists try to use various techniques to improve their odds. Even without counting, this game ranks high among games with the best odds.

Players who use no strategy and merely aim to get as close as possible to 21 can expect the house to win about 10 to 20 percent of the time. Those who recognize that beating the dealer (as opposed to just trying for 21 without going over) is the object of the game, and use strategies to do so, can improve their odds of winning. There are also various approaches to counting cards that enhance your chances of walking away with winnings. Depending how adept you become at card counting, you can expect odds of zero to two percent.

Regardless of which game you choose, be sure you have a strong grasp of the basic rules. All three of these games have the potential to help you make bank, but it’s not as easy as opening up your wallet and putting money on the table. If you read up on these games before visiting a casino, odds are you’ll fair better than those who haven’t done their homework.

4 of the Biggest Casinos in the World

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While Americans are often quick to consider Las Vegas and Atlantic City the gambling centers of the world, casinos have a long worldwide history, and famously large resorts dot every continent vying for tourists to visit. As such, many countries battle for the largest resort-style casinos to host gaming enthusiasts daily. If you long for adventure, chance, and spontaneity, consider hitting one of these four jet-setter’s playing paradises, among the largest in the world.

1. The Venetian Macao (Macau, China)

A far stretch from American’s gambling grounds, the lavish 546,000 square feet Venetian Macao, among many of the Macao Cotai Strip’s casinos controlled by Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands (LVS), boasts 3,000 hotel rooms and guest capacity to match the more than 3,000 gaming machines and 2,000 slot machines. Along with its three large shopping centers, health and wellness centers for the fitness minded, 24 restaurants and bars, four pools, entertainment like Cirque du Soleil’s Zaia show, and of course, gondola rides, and this resort puts anyone in a winning mood. It’s the largest casino in China’s extremely profitable casino sector.

2. Foxwoods Resort Casino (Ledyard, Connecticut)

Centered in Ledyard, Connecticut, it’s perhaps the last locale one might expect casinos to flourish. The Ivy Leagues seem more like a state signature, however, the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation owns the 340,000 square feet signature blue-and-white Foxwoods Resort Casino. Foxwoods provides visitors more than 6,300 slot machines to play, with a total of over 7,000 gaming machines to try their luck. Including the Foxwoods MGM Grand casino, the property hosts six casinos, totaling to 4,700,000 square feet of gaming and entertainment. The Foxwoods Resort hosts 29 restaurants and bars, including the famous Hard Rock Cafe franchise, and a two-story kid’s arcade to keep players of all ages occupied, entertained, and begging to come back.

3. Tusk Rio Casino Resort (Klerksdorp, South Africa)

At 266,360 square feet, the Tusk Rio Casino Resort may not measure up to the larger casinos of Macao and Las Vegas, but it’s still the largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere. The Tusk Rio brings the spirit, color, and vivacity of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro Carnival to South Africa in a first-class resort, located just a few hours from Johannesburg. Tusk Rio provides 257 gaming machines, on both smoking and non-smoking floors, 70 plush hotel rooms, and two restaurants promising exotic and indulgent cuisine adventures. Nothing encompasses the casino spirit quite like the samba spirit of Rio’s Carnival, but set in South Africa, the lifestyle beats with a stronger heart.

4. Casino Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal)

The largest casino in Europe, the 165,000 square feet Casino Lisboa sits in the center of the capital’s Park of the Nations and marks a major landmark that facilitated Parque Mayer’s rehabilitation in 2006. This casino is the sister-property to the Casino Lisboa in Macau, but offers an urban background in the decadent theatre district instead of sitting among many similar attractions in a usual tourist town. With more than 1,000 gaming machines, seven restaurants, and 1,000 hotel rooms, the resort displays a cool demeanor in a historically and culturally rich city that trumps the more traditional casinos of Monte Carlo.

Among the best spots for big-spenders with ready hands, these casinos take luxury and gaming to the extreme. You’ll feel like a celebrity at these resorts and go home feeling successful. Why not take a chance?

5 Reasons to Call a Bluff

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Playing poker to win involves careful betting strategy and knowing when to call a bluff, as well as knowing when to not. Learning how to spot a bluff from across the table will help you not only win, but advance to tougher games with higher stakes.

1. Stress Signs

Stress shows up differently for each individual, but it’s easy to spot to the observant player. Look for signs of physical stress in your opponent, like sweating, blushing, and jittery movements. Some people will bounce their leg or foot up and down as a way to release pent-up energy and anxiety. Sweat almost always comes in a stressful situation and is usually accompanied by flushed cheeks. Amateur poker players won’t be very good at controlling their outward appearance when it comes to high stakes.

2. Body Language

Body language is an expertly clever way to tell when someone is lying. All it takes is a few unconscious movements, and the bluffer’s façade will fade before your eyes. Watch for movements like a player wiping his hands on his pants; it probably means he is sweating and nervous. If another gambler covers his mouth with his hand, he is probably trying to hide a nervous tic. Refusing to make eye contact is a trick from the pros; if a player is unwilling to meet your eyes, it’s a safe bet he’s hiding something, like a weak hand.

3. Facial Expressions

Professional poker players do their best to hide their faces by wearing hats and looking down to keep others from reading their expressions. Sometimes disappointment at a weak hand is impossible to disguise and will fleet across a player’s face in the seconds before resuming a neutral composure. Look for a raise in eyebrows, a twitch in the corner of a mouth, and a hard swallow. All of these fleeting facial expressions are dead giveaways for bluffing.

4. Vocal Pitch

While someone can have an unreadable poker face, listen to their voice. Take note of their natural octave before the hand starts. If during the game you can tell that their voice has gone higher or lower, they are nervous and stressed out. Correctly noticing this sign is usually hard to learn because you have to go off memory, but once you’ve mastered it, this trick is invaluable.

5. Betting Patterns

You can tell a lot about a person by studying their betting patterns. If you notice a player folding frequently when asked to re-raise, he is a very careful better. Chances are in your favor for not calling his bluff, because he won’t risk a lot of money unless he has a strong hand. It’s just as important to recognize those who don’t bluff.

Try a few of these tricks on your friends for practice before you play with the big sharks. Remember, the more experienced poker players are very skilled in hiding their telltale signs of bluffing. If you’re looking to make some quick cash with little effort, try playing at an amateur table.

5 Ways to be a Successful Gambler

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If the Gambler is your mentor or your lifelong dream consists of mimicking the math-whiz antics of Rain Man, you might not make it that far. However, you can seriously increase your chances of winning when you play at your favorite online casino or bricks-and-mortar establishment. Gambling is a skill, and as with all skills, you can become a wizard if you practice the right techniques. Just don’t go up against Burt Reynolds or play blackjack with Dustin Hoffman and you’ll be fine.

Practice Makes Perfect

To perfect any skill, you must practice. Knitting, speaking a foreign language, competitively eating hot dogs, playing Roulette all involve practice. To practice, play your favorite game with your friends, head to your local casinos, or find a place to play online. The last option is one of the best, especially when you’re first starting out, because playing in the comfort of your home takes away some of the pressure.

Know When to Fold ‘Em

Sucker bets are for suckers. You can’t go chasing the big win just because you’re sure it’s waiting up ahead. If you want to become a successful gambler, you have to know when to stop. Never bet more money than you feel comfortable losing, never bet any of your savings, and never chase a sucker bet with good money. If you’re not having any luck, walk away from the table and stop feeding quarters into the slots.

Never Play When You’re Emotional

Emotional players are losers. That’s not a character assessment, but more a statement of fact. People who play when they’re very angry or very excited make mistakes, and those mistakes cost money. You might think that you play better when you’re fueled by rage, greed, or euphoria, but you’re just being foolhardy.

You need to look for the “zone.” You’ll recognize it when you feel calm, cool, and almost blasé about the game. You know you can afford to lose if that happens and you know you have a winning cap, a moment to walk away and bask in your triumphs. That’s the only time you should play seriously.

Don’t Become a Jack-of-all-Trades

The urge to play every kind of game is understandable, and it’s actually a good idea. However, you want to experiment, not spread yourself too thin. Visit an online casino or a local hotspot and play different games. Discover what brings you the biggest thrill and, most importantly, where your skills lie. If you lose at craps ten times in a row, that’s not your game.

Improve Your Bluff

No matter what game you play, with the possible exception of the slots, bluffing is a gift. It’s a skill you should perfect, which again takes practice. Keeping your emotions cool and your reactions neutral will keep the other players and even the dealers guessing, and that will always work in your favor. And yes, you can even bluff your way through an online game.

Above all, make sure you know how to act graceful and gracious when you lose. Emotions have their place in gambling, but not when you’re sitting at the table.

 

4 of the Craziest Casino Bets Ever Made

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These days, you can bet on anything you can think of, as long as it has a measurable outcome. Just find a bookie, set your terms, get the odds and you’re good to go. People have come up with some pretty crazy bets over the years, let’s check out some of the most interesting ones ever documented.

1. The Million Dollar Social Security Check

In 1995 a man in Las Vegas was down on his luck. His wife had just kicked him out of the house. On his way to the social security office to cash his $400 check he did what any other person down on their luck would do, he decided to go try his luck at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas.

He smelled so awful that no one would sit next to him, but fortunately the cards can’t smell a thing. Using a completely unconventional style playing blackjack he managed to surprise everyone and turn that $400 check into a cool $1 million.

But remember, he was down on his luck. Instead of leaving a man with a second chance he continued to play. He left Treasure Island with $400 less than he had when he entered the casino. I guess you’re not completely done playing until you’re out of money!

2. Oh Crap!

Benny Binion, the owner of the Horseshoe Casino popularized big-ticket betting in Vegas. In order to attract big money players who were after serious action, allowed some outrageously large gambling opportunities. He knew it would result in increased profit margins for his casino – except when they resulted in huge losses.

In 1980 William Bergstrom decided to try Benny’s big-ticket betting when he opened a suitcase with $777,000 in it and placed it all on the Don’t Pass line on the craps table. The thrower sevened out and Benny’s great strategy fell flat on its face as Bergstrom left with 2 suitcases full of money.

3. Six Weeks in Des Moines

Not all the wagers in Vegas take place on the casino floors. People will bet on anything for incredibly high amounts of money. For example, renowned high-roller John Hennigan’s buddies bet him $100,000 he couldn’t last six weeks in Des Moines, Iowa. Hennigan loved the nightlife in Vegas, but left for Iowa determined to easily win $100,000. Two days later he returned to Vegas, gladly paying his friends off.

4. The Ultimate Booby Prize

This is another wager that took place away from a gaming table, but it’s a beauty! Brian Zembic and a close friend got to arguing about breast implants, and of course that led to a wager. His friend bet him $100,000 he wouldn’t get 38Cs implanted into his chest for a complete year. Needing to cover previous gambling losses, Zembic went under the knife and made it a year with his fake boobs. But the best part is he kept them in after the year was up. He found they made for a great conversation piece – but frankly, he probably kept them because of the increased confidence they gave him.

Oh, there’s more crazy bets out there. People are funny when it comes to their money and what they think the outcomes will be. Bet it all and let it ride, that’s what I say.