Posted by: penpatience | September 1, 2018





WRITERS WORDS: “I want people to understand gambling is not a bad thing if you do it within the framework of what it’s meant to be, fun and entertaining.” –Michael Jordan





One day this past August after spending some time in Saratoga, New York, I thought about how Saratoga County comes alive every year during the summer months. Its track season at the Saratoga Race Track, coupled with patrons enjoying the popular Saratoga Casino and Saratoga Lake with neighboring townships happily accepting the influx of equine fans and wealthy and not so wealthy gamblers from across the state and country. A lot of gambling going on….

I mused about Kenny Rogers and his famous song, “The Gambler.” Hum along with me with some song words that are—oh so true!

“If you’re going to play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right. You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run… never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”

Sage advice in that song and many times not heeded. However, I believe, taking chances is ingrained in our American culture. Who doesn’t like to take a chance now and again? Why not take a chance on the horse with the huge haunches, pretty white marking on his forehead, funky but meaningful (to you) name that you  believe will go the distance?  Haven’t we all received multiple invites from Publisher’s Clearing House to fill out forms that will allow us to win $1,000 every week for life? And who hasn’t experienced the Casinos with the frenzied atmosphere of noisy slot machines, the slap of cards on Blackjack Tables, the whirling sounds of balls spinning in Roulette Wheels amid the clink of drink glasses and lost dollars?

I recall an occasion not too long ago when I visited a Casino with a friend. While my friend went off to a Blackjack table I decided to find and play a slot machine. A twenty dollar bill in my hand, (I am not a high roller) I sat next to a young woman, noticed she had a credit card inserted in the machine (Was she crazy?) We chatted a bit and she advised me she came to the Casino because she was a little “short” on the rent money this month (and I’m thinking, my God, she’s betting with a credit card.) I’m of the belief that computers and electronics have removed some of the fun of playing slots. Many of you might remember how years ago in Las Vegas actual coins fell from the machines in an avalanche of quarters when you won. What an “upper” to gather coins in your hands sometimes picking up spillage from the floor!

I often muse life is one big gamble. Every day we venture out hoping the day’s happenings are what we’ve predicted and try not to be disappointed when they don’t materialize. So hum along with me—one last time with Kenny Rogers:

“Every gamble knows

That the secret to survivin’

Is knowin’ what to throw away

And knowin’ what to keep

‘cause every hand’s a winner

And every hand’s a loser

And the best that you can hope for is to die

In your sleep.”

My Dad used to say, “if your ship is to come in, you must put your oar in the water.” He  was lucky enough to die in his sleep.

And remember, just as alcoholism/drugs and smoking, gambling can easily become an addiction. If you think you need assistance in controlling your gambling, here’s a site that may be of assistance:


Dear Reads & Writers: Don’t gamble on your health and safety!  Be safe and well.










  1. I remember casinos before credit cards became the way to pay. It was fun to take your plastic cup filled with nickels and dimes and sit, play the slot machines. You played until your cup was empty and that was that. Even my mother-in -law could sit for hours and enjoy herself, knowing she’d never lose more than the $15-20 she had in coins. And she struck it big a few times! Four aces magically appeared across the window and she walked away with about $800. Yes, discipline is key. Moderation. Good article.


  2. Yes, it was a fun time. Your comment brought back a memory of a time when my “cup runneth over.” Thanks for sharing!


  3. Great post, as usual, Frances! Sage advice, too! Pat


    • thanks Pat. Glad you liked it


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