How do you get chance on your side?
Another example of how people fight against chance and try to get it on their side?
In 1988, I played for the super jackpot at the World Backgammon Championship in Monte Carlo. In an early round, I had to play against a rather nasty contemporary who also liked to use other means to get the odds on his side. He was rolling the dice in a funny way all the time, not quite correctly. There are rules. They say that you have to hold the dice cup shut, shake the dice up and down, cover the cup with one hand, then when you roll the dice, they have to touch at least one edge of the board. He always looked into the cup as inconspicuously as possible, then just shook it back and forth and rolled the dice out without them touching the board. Then I called a referee. The referee confirmed the incorrect execution of my opponent’s throws and then actually stayed at the board for a longer time to make sure that he was doing it right from now on. My opponent then did not try again. I won the match, later even the whole tournament, winning FF 316000 (yes, that damned vanity).
Another example? A friend of mine had to deal with the still reigning backgammon world champion Charles Henri Sabet in 1986. A match in the tournament for the world championship. The match was as good as decided. My friend was clearly on the winning track in the decisive game. But Sabet got one more chance at the end. He had to roll a 4 to win the match. Sabet (illegally) interrupted the match while he was rolling (you can only interrupt the match between two games, not during a game). He called his “lucky charm” Mario to the table. And Mario had to shake his hand under the table just before the roll, as a “lucky ritual”. Sabet rolled a 4 and won. Such a ritual would have been highly unusual if it had not served the purpose of handing over a prepared dice.
My friend said he would have known what had taken place but lacked the presence of mind to reach into the dice immediately after the roll and present them as corpus delicti to the tournament officials. For the “handshake” was guaranteed to be an exchange of dice. The exchanged dice disappeared immediately after the roll, Mario left the table, Sabet won the match. Have I served all the clichés?
I don’t want to make an anti-publicity against gambling. I just want to point out that wherever there is a lot of money involved, including gambling, there can be minor illegal or even criminal activities. But aren’t even our politicians occasionally involved in some kind of scandal, often involving embezzlement or similar racketeering?
Let me give you a very small example of how other businesses are also “helped along”, which is really commonplace:
A friend of mine has opened a small café, an ice cream parlour. Now he would like to attract a few guests, of course. So he put up a few signs here on the outskirts of Berlin on Mauerweg, with a direction arrow, a metre marker and the name of his café. I drive by there regularly, almost daily, by these signs. Now there is obviously a competitor who passes/drives by there just as regularly. And what does the rascal do? He twists the signs. They point in the wrong direction. And anyone who has gone the wrong way once will certainly not “look for” the café again. One should now be extremely cautious about making moral judgements about the offences.