Betting safe

I don’t believe in betting... with my money, that is! Still, gambling (tombola, cards, golf, horse racing and casino) and I have been getting along fine for 69 years!

In tombola, I used to be a ‘caller’. However, when not calling and a friend bought ticket (s) for me, I would win invariably. It happens even today. As a commanding officer, I laid down only one convention in bridge: ‘CO doesn’t lose’; no Goren, no Culbertson! Do I need to say more? Now friends ‘cover’ for me and we always win; so minimal stakes from me are suggested. I try but invariably lose when my money is at stake.

In golf, my buddies knew I wouldn’t play for stakes. After a while, they nudged me for low stakes but I invariably lost. Without stakes, I used to win; so, they argued that with stakes, I could have made money. Just like bridge, when a partner ‘covered’ for me, we won.

In 1976, in Pune, when a couple insisted on taking me to the races, I refused politely, knowing they had pawned/sold their jewels, also recalling my dad’s words: “Don’t ever tie your money on a horse’s tail; it is sure ruin you.” (Later I understood, why: my grandfather had lost all his monies in cards and horse-racing). The couple wouldn’t budge and suggested they would fund me. Wow, I won a Trifecta by predicting the first three finishers in a single race. I got Rs 250 against Rs 50. They kept losing; still gave me another Rs 100 to bet for picking three horses as winners in 3 different races. My guess was correct and I got Rs 750. Not only they were losing, but were also giving me money to play. So, begging excuse, I handed over the winnings; but they wouldn’t touch it. I forced it, but they thrust Rs 500 back in my hand for my effort, as if I had run the race!
Similar thing happened in Dec 2008 at a casino, in Melbourne. A platinum club member there and a dollar-millionaire-friend insisted I play roulette. My rule was the same, not my money! So, he kept withdrawing from the ATM in the next room to invest but kept losing.

He taught me the nuances of the game and gave me 50 dollars; I won 450 dollars. Another 50 and I got 500 dollars. We continued from afternoon till late night. I gave him the winnings; he wouldn’t take it saying, I had ‘used my brains’; so it was mine! I pretended I needed a break and could return. The expert in him said, when luck is favouring, don’t leave. But I insisted. Once we returned, luck deserted me, as I invested what was now my money!

Recently, at the end of a dance show, the compere asked us to look for a tiny red ribbon on a seat, which would fetch a gift to the finder. Guess who got it? Yours truly! Do you know who bought the ticket for the above dance show? My daughter; so, it wasn’t my money!

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