Richard Roeper Blog

Bet the House

Yesterday was Day One of the 30-day gambling experiment known as “Bet the House.” I’m going to save most of the material for the book itself, but suffice to say that on the very first day, I was up and then I was down, and then I was even, and then I was up a little. I won two games by the absolute slimmest of margins. And when you’re taking Binghamton plus the 25 and they lose by 24, it just proves the whole gambling thing is very silly and arbitrary. That’s part of what makes it so addictive.

To answer a few of your questions about the book:

*Yes, “Bet the House” is an obvious title for a book about gambling, but surprisingly enough, a search on reveals that there’s never been a gambling book with that title. I had a similar experience with my first book on urban legends, published in the 1990s. There were dozens and dozens of books out there about folklore, urban myths, tall tales, whatever—-most notably the works of Jan Harold Brunvand. But Prof. Brunvand always titled his books after a specific legend, e.g., “The Vanishing Hitchhiker.” No one had ever called a book on urban legends “Urban Legends.” So I went with that title. Helps a lot when people are doing searches.

*Some have questioned how I can do a minimum of two hours of gambling per day if I’m betting on sports. After all, it takes only a minute or two to place the bet. Yes, but it takes hours to watch the games and then make additional bets, halftime wagers, parlays, etc.

Same thing with the lottery. I could purchase $1,000 worth of lottery tickets at one stop, but my plan is to drive through Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, buying tickets in batches of 30 or 40, picking up stories along the way.

*Yes, I will participate in some forms of gambling more than once. I’ll bet on sports at least five-six times, and I’ll play poker in three or four different tournaments. On some days, I’ll do more than one type of gambling. For example, today I’m going to continue to be on the NCAA tournament, but I’m also going to play a casino game such as Pai Gow Poker or Blackjack for an hour or two.



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