Well, this topic is really highly sensitive. As soon as a player talks about his bankruptcy, every honourable citizen is guaranteed to bring out the admonishing finger that he has kept in his pocket for a while out of respect and point it at me. “You see, I always knew. Gambling brings ruin. I always said it, but you wouldn’t listen.”
Well, I’ll just have to live with that for now. But it seems to me, as in all other areas of life, that it is better to deal with it offensively than to pretend… In principle, the problem of “more appearance than reality”. My money is gone, that’s the way it is. There would be no point in doing otherwise. But in the search for explanations, you can use a little creativity, perhaps explain the circumstances in more detail first, so that the story becomes clearer to you and possibly at the same time to the reader.
Basically, in all businesses there are people who can no longer hold their own, who go bankrupt. That should always be kept in mind. And not all of these people have done everything wrong. There are situations where fate simply plays a trick on you. And in the end, who wants to put that in perspective with people who are suddenly torn from their lives by a tragic accident or an insidious illness? There are also other strokes of fate that far surpass the loss of money in importance, and even with those one can ask oneself why it has affected this or that person and not oneself. If there is not by chance someone here who has also been affected?
As far as one takes playful luck as a parameter at all, one should therefore always take into account that if everything is all right so far in terms of health, preferably also with one’s own offspring, gratitude is appropriate. For there, too, random variables, perhaps even much more likely than a ridiculous bankruptcy, can occur that completely change one’s life, if not end it. That would be such a lasting impact, after which perhaps even a rich person would wish not to have all that wealth but just to have his wife or child back, if not, lying on his deathbed, perhaps wishing only for the health that his bankrupt ex-competitor has in abundance.
So the only thing that could shake me would be the possibly wrong assessments of fellow human beings related to this bankruptcy. If someone opened a restaurant and after a year realised that the income could not cover the increased current expenses due to the interest repayment to the bank and thus decided to close it down again, but then was left with a mountain of debt, perhaps even for life, then people would perhaps regret it, perhaps express sympathy, perhaps make a few speculations that it was just in the corner and such an establishment … etc. but one would still classify it a little bit as bad luck or fate. “It just happens.”
If it happens to a player, then things just look different. The business is not a bit different from very many others, but it is not recognised here, let alone acknowledged. It is attributed to the so often quoted common “gambling addiction”, which always has the same consequences. There is no need to discuss this further.
I have been dealing with such questions all my life. With philosophy, with fate, with probabilities. As soon as you accept that even the smallest probability can not only occur at some point, but will occur – as long as you try often enough – you come to believe that everything is possible. As long as you are willing to take into account completely external considerations, nothing will seem strange to you. Why shouldn’t…? The ways of the Lord are mysterious – or something like that. So if I do it just for me – I’ll write down here and now everything I can think of on the subject. Ruthlessly honest, but also with all kinds of limitations and alternative explanations that you might not have thought of yet.
1) Not all bankruptcies are the same
First of all, we should distinguish – and I do this for myself as well – whether a person is in the black or in the black over the course of his or her life. People who, for example, bring in money from a normal job and gradually lose it, have to earn more and more and lose it again until they are over-indebted and can’t get back on their feet may exist, but they are not comparable to me.
In my lifetime, I have won about 1.5 million euros by gambling, taking everything into account. I won’t be able to lose this sum again. To do that, I would have to win the lottery, for example, take the entire winnings for gambling and then lose it! So, in terms of my life, I will probably always be a winner in gambling. That is reassuring.
My database for football and the bets recorded in it over a period of 18 years shows me a profit of 3.1%. That is a very decent figure and has yet to be surpassed by anyone. So if there is any doubt about the advantage, then I would have to be a gigantic lucky man who, on an estimated number of bets on over 50,000 football matches, manages to overcome the disadvantage with luck. The verdict must be, as much as I know and have stated above, that it would also be possible to be so lucky: The win is deserved. The margin of error of this statement is in the range of an estimated 1/10^(-10), i.e. about 1/ 10 billion. Well, anything can happen…
In addition, I have proven my abilities in other disciplines where, similar to football betting (also in tennis, ice hockey, basketball, which I have done to some extent), it is also about probability considerations. Blackjack and backgammon come first. In my life I have also made a profit there – even if not enough to feed myself – even if I have not recorded it in databases.
So if I’m broke, it’s only because over a longer period of time – comparable to another entrepreneur – I wasn’t able to earn the running costs. As soon as this starts, this shortfall, there is always the question of how one would have to behave. Because the gambling capital is of course the basis, the only way to make a profit. If this basis has to be nibbled away by the cost of living, then it gradually goes down the drain. If a prolonged lean period is then added to this just at that stage, then there is no stopping it. The gambling capital and thus the livelihood is gone at some point. But this is no different from other businesses. As soon as one becomes insolvent, the company collapses, even if it is still making “profits” or has the potential to do so. If, for example, one can no longer procure materials for urgently needed production and orders already received, the order is lost at some point and with it the profitability of the company finally vanishes.
2) Possible explanations for the ultimate bankruptcy
a. How much can one spend?
In times when you are doing well, you don’t think so much about current expenditure. You treat yourself to something, you have always had a certain wish, you afford a service or a new car, a larger flat or you treat your wife to a few new purchases. The explanation and justification for this is always that, apart from having money, one has no social recognition whatsoever, plus a strenuous job with unusual working hours and little holiday. On the other hand, one takes out a few life insurance policies and imagines that one has done enough for the future (and for the offspring that will soon appear in my life). There’s nothing to be said against that in principle. Apart from the fact that I am far from complaining anyway. It’s more a matter of understanding, or what I call “working through”. In any case, one adjusts one’s expenses, one’s lifestyle, to one’s income.
How far one may go in doing so remains an unanswered question. Theoretically, of course, you can continue to invest the capital you have earned in the company, just as large entrepreneurs do. The profitability is proven, now you increase the capital stock, you invest further, be it in employees, research, new machines, equipment, computers, whatever, in order to increase competitiveness. To a certain extent, this is not the case with me. You know that you can delegate some activities, but you have to make the main decisions yourself – and you want to. It would only be a question of possibly playing higher. More on this below under the point “Dealing with the past”.
If one now makes a calculation in retrospect, based on expenses of an estimated 10,000 DM per month, or 5,000 euros per month, then one very easily finds that one could live almost as feudally with perhaps 4,000, but calculated over 18 years 18(years)12(months)1,000(euros) one would “save up” an extra 216,000 euros. Well, with their help I would be far from. being broke.
b. Recklessness, stupidity, throwing money around. List of stupidities
There has always been a basic approach to life that I have followed. Let’s say this is based on two considerations. First, I paid close attention in school, and in religious education, and I appropriated Jesus’ quotes, the one so catchy, immediately convincing me: “It is more likely for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” Earthly wealth has not really been a desirable goal for me ever since Making a living, gladly. To live carefree: Sounds good to me. But earning money as a means to an end? The only content: to accumulate? No, that wasn’t mine. In gambler’s language there was an equivalent for that. It was: “I don’t want to be the richest man in the graveyard.” That’s one way of putting it…
The second thought is this: I have always been convinced that money comes willingly when it is willingly given. It does contain a part of esoteric views, but there is also a rational argument in favour of it, especially in the case of a gambler: if you are worried all the time about the amount of a bet, of a stake, if you don’t think of the bet as part of the game but rather of the equivalent value, then you might tense up, no longer dare to play, think: “For God’s sake, that’s a lot of money.” and then you can’t earn anything at all. You have to make a certain amount of money to be able to live from playing. Fearfulness is not a good advisor. Certainly, there is also the part of thinking that goes: “Today I am happy to help this person. Who knows, maybe I will be in a similar situation one day when I need help. And maybe then everyone won’t run away but will remember.”
Nevertheless, it is possible to overdo it everywhere. That is why I am including a list of the biggest stupidities here:
i. My cars
- the Renault Espace
So one earns quite good money. It seems quite reliable. You’ve had a few years of experience with it, you already feel like an “old hand”. Then you start looking for a few luxuries. Justification: “I do an exhausting job. No one really understands it. I am good at my job. There is no recognition for it except money. Even the parents are and remain sceptical. Can’t you make it visibly visible to everyone that you are doing well, that you are good?”
One day, the time had come: the 1994 World Cup had gone really well. There was a lot of money coming in. My daughter Chiara had been born shortly before, on 27 May. Annette, Chiara’s mother already had two children, whom I helped adopt. World Cup over, but still summer. One wife, three children. “We’re going on holiday.” But with what? A Golf won’t do, no. Off to the Renault dealer. I had already been on the lookout for one, long before that. A real family car, a large saloon. In to the dealer, “that one”, “yes?”, “how much is it?” “50,000 DM”, “well, here’s 50,000. Please wrap it up right away, I’ll take it with me.”
No negotiation, not a word, at least 3,000 would have been possible. But little Pauli with the big mouth doesn’t need it! 50.000? Once he shook his sleeve, there they were!
But that was not enough of the boundless stupidity in this case. It was the time when more and more cars were being stolen “to order” from certain neighbouring countries to the east. That’s why my insurance had included a clause that read: “An immobiliser is compulsory.” I enquired. Retrofitting an immobiliser would have cost 650 DM. Oh well, I don’t need it. I believe in the good in people. To the insurance broker: “Please find an insurance company where immobiliser is not compulsory.” He did as instructed. Change of insurance.
We went to Denmark, Römö, a wonderful holiday, we also went back, sure. We also drove around in the car for a few weeks, everything was great. Only on an early Sunday October morning, when I just wanted to walk to the bakery with the kids, there was no Espace left in the place where it had been parked the day before. A brief shock, a little more shock:” Yes, of course, it was right here,” then the sad certainty: the car was gone. Even sadder certainty: apart from the fact that you don’t need an immobiliser after all, you don’t need to take the vehicle registration from the glove compartment in the first two or three months. What’s the point of that?
Well, the insurance company, true to its name, told me straight away what this security measure would have been necessary for: without the letter, there would be no reimbursement. Theft is insured, sure. But without a letter? No, we really can’t do anything about that.
All the people I then approached about the effectiveness of a possible lawsuit against the insurance company more or less flipped me the bird. “You don’t stand a chance.” I read everything you could read about it, settlement processes, people who were busted with tall tales and so on. It was exciting. And in a way effective: after all, I knew how it had happened and what the truth was. I hadn’t “moved” the car myself in the hope of collecting double. It had been stolen out from under me. Shouldn’t someone just want to follow this story? The letter was a mistake, a faux pas. But I could have lost it on the street before. Besides, wouldn’t it be naïve to claim to have left the letter in the car and even admit that, but in reality to have given it to a new buyer, be it abroad? Or what is the insurance company’s accusation? Your basis for argumentation?
Well, thank you, Ms Gisela Schönrock, for representing us. We always stuck to the truth and got 2/3 right in the settlement.
Since I had waived the 3,000 DM new price and cash discount in advance, the lawyer’s fees totalled 6,000 DM, of which I had to pay 2,000, and 1/3 of 50,000 is also 16,666 DM, I ended up with a ridiculous total loss of 21,666 DM. And for that so much driving pleasure? Almost three months? Well, that was a great deal, wasn’t it?
- my BMW 7 series
Now I was carless and “relieved” of DM 21,666. But I was far from being broke. Parallel to the ongoing process, I looked around for a new car. I already had my sights set on one. For Mr. Neureich, a BMW 7 series, dark green metallic, with cream-coloured leather interior and on-board computer would be just right? The new price for this car was supposed to be 96,000 DM. Since I personally had no creditworthiness, I had to pay cash. Here, too, my negotiating skills failed completely. I accepted the price. The car was really in top condition and when I asked, “Can’t anything be done about the price?” I got the downright answer, “No.” Well then? Do I have to pay that much?
What I hadn’t taken into account at all this time was that there was a model change at BMW in October 94. That would have been the decisive argument for claiming a discount – and also fully justified. Because as you realised after a few weeks on the road with the great vehicle, you gradually begin to feel ashamed, at least to ask: “Why don’t I have one of those?” The depreciation is huge. Well, if you just want to drive the car, it’s okay. You paid something for it, even if it was too much. But at least you’re driving it. It’s only when you sell it on that it becomes noticeable. In my case, it came after a year.
Business went back to “normal”. The hoped-for boom, the continuation of a World Cup, failed to materialise. Business as usual, so to speak. A quantum leap did not occur. A 7-series devours about 3,000 DM per month, including depreciation. That’s quite respectable. Since I also found out that although one drives around very exclusively, one tends to be eyed with some scepticism and I prefer to lean my elbows on the window sill.
ii. Renting a house
iii. Borrowed money 1
iv. Borrowed money 2
v. Stolen 1
vi. Been stolen 2
c. Dealing with the past
d. The trade of life
e. The changes in the betting market
g. “Football remains football”
h. Bad luck
j. People who are willing to tilt the odds in their favour. What is one’s attitude to this?
k. The master of numbers. The master of fate?
l. The whole truth