VICE: Andrew W.K. on Gambling

Andrew W.K. on Gambling | VICE

In the early 2000s, I found myself on a US tour with my band and a bus driver who loved casinos. He’d stop every time he saw one. It was easy to see why. They specifically cater to people on the road: truck and bus drivers and anyone on long hauls or road trips. They offer exceptionally nice bathrooms, better-than-average restaurants of either quality or value, and a stimulating change of atmosphere from the long stretches of highway. You can hang out there, reset, catch a buzz. Maybe win a little.

Since we were stopping at casinos so frequently, my guitar player and I decided we should make the most of it and get into gambling. We started with roulette. Soon, we’d developed what we thought was our own special betting system. I later discovered it was just a variation of the old and relativity disproven Martingale System, which teaches you to make the same small bet each time you win, but to double your bet each time you lose. It’s not a great or foolproof system, and as we realized soon enough, you could very quickly find yourself deep in a betting hole after losing and doubling your bet just a few times in a row.

We first tested the system during long drives on the bus by recreating the roulette wheel with a pack of playing cards, which we figured was a pretty good simulation of the odds. We kept a notebook with our total of imaginary wins and losses, and would play before every concert as practice for the time we’d actually find ourselves in a real casino, playing for real money. After everything was tallied up after a month and a half, we figured we had accumulated almost $50 million. We were ready.

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