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  • #919
    NWRA
    Member
    • Total Posts 259

    I’ve seen plenty of historical paintings where gamblers are depicted as heroic figures, combining the virtues of courage, dignity, gallantry and integrity in a taut, muscular package. When not shaking a dice or spinning the roulette wheel, the gambler is throwing a spear at an invading army or beheading a sea serpent.

    And we know that painters themselves have enjoyed gambling. It was money won from the lottery which allowed Claude Monet to quit his job and concentrate on his art – his impressionist paintings are famous for depicting the World at daylight through the blurred vision of a punter who spends most of his nights in the gaudy twilight of the casino.

    Some of the greatest novelists and poets of all time have liked to gamble, usually through an opium or booze-induced haze: Lord Byron, Ernest Hemingway and Fyodor Dostoevsky… The latter two spent their lives battling depression and it was only their love of punting which dispersed the black clouds of despair.

    However, at some point, the image of the gambler has been destroyed. Now, when a gambler is depicted, he will be someone like Jack Duckworth, a thicko who looks like he’s halfway through the process of morphing into a toad.

    So my aim is to compile a list of famous high-minded gamblers throughout time (artists, novelists, conquerors) to revise this image.

    If you can suggest anymore, please do; my knowledge of history is shít.

    #41293
    Maxilon 5Maxilon 5
    Member
    • Total Posts 2432

    Let me go home and look this up. It’s a fascinating subject, (though sporadic window cleaner and full time bookie dweller Jack Duckworth is a hero of mine).

    Off the top of my head.

    From the acting profession, you have Wilfred Hyde White and Robert Morley who were fearless gamblers.

    In the US, you have Walter Matthau, Telly Savalas and of course, top Christmas-crooner Bing Crosby, owner of Meadow Court and a hundred lesser animals. I believe he also had something to do with the funding of the Santa Anita Handicap and the building of the course itself. Horse obsessed.

    From literature, you have the drunken poet and hero of Germany, Charles Bukowski who fancied himself a professional punter and is thought to have had major talent for Hollywood Park. Lermontov, a much more readable version of Dosteovesky, is also worth researching from the same nihilistic Russian era.

    Graham Greene liked a dabble in the casino, as, of course, did Ian Fleming.  

    Perhaps the finest writer this country has ever produced, Martin Amis, is a keen poker player and has been known to play a regular Lucky 15.  

    Some Greek philosophers liked a punt – but I always get them mixed up and there are a couple who were positively anti. I’ll check it out.  

    Nice topic – anyroad, back to Wolver.  I wonder whether Britney look-alike Benny from Crossroads has made the short journey down the M6 from Kings Heath.

    #41296
    SwallowCottage
    Member
    • Total Posts 1008

    One of the first famous gamblers in the world was John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich who was addicted to gambling. He once sat for over 24 hours at a gaming table refusing to attend meals. A servant offered the Earl a piece of beef as food and the Earl suggested that the beef be placed between two slices of bread so that he could eat it in his hand at the table. This is where the sandwich got its name.

    This website gives a list of famous gamblers if it’s any help – http://www.famousgamblers.com/

    The list includes the name of Casanova but I thought that he was famous for something else which I’ve had a lot less luck at:(  Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ 

    (Edited by SwallowCottage at 2:36 pm on Feb. 26, 2007)

    #41297
    Artemis
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1736

    This forum and thousands of others are here because of the computer – which was ‘invented’ by Charles Babbage in the 19th century as………. guess what?  

    A calculating machine to try and beat the bookies. I don’t know if he was a gambler himself or if he was spurred on by friends who liked a wager. I’m sure others would have developed computers in time, but his machine is recognised as the beginning of the data processing revolution.

    #41298
    betlargebetlarge
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2663

    The list includes the name of Casanova but I thought that he was famous for something else which I’ve had a lot less luck at

    <br>…and that’s from a somebody who combines swallow and cottage as their moniker.

    Mike

    #41299
    DannyDanny
    Member
    • Total Posts 790

    The Queen surely she has a odd flutter on her horses and George W likes to gamble with peoples lives

    #41302
    Zorro
    Member
    • Total Posts 472

    Maxilon, I’m amazed you buy Martin Amis’s image of himself. He’s not fit to lick his father’s boots as a writer, and there are plenty better than Kingsley.<br> Anyway…Charles James Fox – and Lord George Bentinck who could have been Prime Minister but turned it down because he was worried it might interfere with his racing.

    #41304
    Mr Frisk
    Participant
    • Total Posts 163

    Churchill perhaps – Winston, that is, not Owen.

    #41307
    Maxilon 5Maxilon 5
    Member
    • Total Posts 2432

    As anyone who notices my increasingly surreal horse race selections would suspect, Zorro, I follow nothing except my own instincts.

    I am also extremely likely to ignore hype and bluster even when hype and bluster lead to obvious profit.

    Thus, on my bookshelves, I have almost every syllable written by Son and none written by Father. :cool:

    But we digress…<br>

    #41309
    Malc Smith
    Member
    • Total Posts 61

    I believe that Pascal, the famous French mathematician, who came up with Pascal’s Triangle was a keen roulette player and that this discovery was part of his research into the game.

    Sadly, Lord Sandwich didn’t invent the sandwich at all.  Though the tale evokes a wonderful image there’s evidence to suggest otherwise.

    One of the reasons for gambling to have a bad name?  The religious vocal moral minority.

    #41312
    SwallowCottage
    Member
    • Total Posts 1008

    Malc is probably right that Lord Sandwich did not invent the sandwich but it depends on which history book a person reads.

    I still haven’t worked out what Betlarge is on about but the reason that gambling has a bad name is probably for the same reasons that soccer supporters and drinking have a bad name – it’s the minority that cause problems and create bad headlines.

    #41314
    Nor1
    Member
    • Total Posts 384

    A gambler I know had his house repossessed recently.<br>His wife and children were unaware and given two hours to pack up and go before the locks were changed.<br>He has spent a considerable amount of money (not all his own) over many years.<br>Still arrogant and walking with a swagger he lives out of a suitcase.<br>An unaffordable gambling addiction is not glamorous, nor sophisticated, nor brave: just sick and sad.

    #41318
    Nor1
    Member
    • Total Posts 384

    But he was a "swashbuckling, fearless type" who had built up and sold his business for a mint.<br>Addicted gamblers are not all  "degenerate", nor are they "wasters" unless you mean the money they lose.<br>

    #41319
    DroneDrone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5109

    I’d recommend watching ‘The Cincinnati Kid’ and then deciding which character you warm to: Steve McQueen’s or Edward G’s. A fair barometer of whether one is a gambler or a waster.

    #41321
    NWRA
    Member
    • Total Posts 259

    … some truly great replies on here, thanks to all contributors.

    (don’t stop if you think of anymore!)<br> <br>

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