Depth of Time: Wisdom of Ages in Gambling Proverbs [Daily Dose of Truth & Strength]

June 14th, 2019
Back Depth of Time: Wisdom of Ages in Gambling Proverbs [Daily Dose of Truth & Strength]

Successful gambling is hard work, if not one of the hardest few. We have to master the games and rules, strategies and tactics, regulations and jurisdictions, bets and payrolls, table sights and sounds, casino staff and pit bosses, distracting women and attractive men, players and dealers, software licenses and iGaming sites reputations, RTPs and payouts, and the myriad of necessities coming with the territory and ultimately influencing choices we make.

And then, like all of the above is not enough, to be effective and prosperous in gambling…

We need to master ourselves.

To make money from the casino is to rule every decision rationally, to govern all aspects of our personality, to completely tame any stimulation or sensation we might sense, and to focus all we have to achieve the single goal…

To play our best possible game.

Nothing more, nothing less; it’s no secret at all.

Regardless of who we are — gambling knows no nationality, no gender, or race; we’re all same at the table, in front of the screen, facing games — our skills and chances are what set us apart from others.

Sure, payroll status can make it more bearable or susceptible, depending on the outcome, but loss hurts and win caresses us all equally.


We often don’t realize the level of hard work invested in successful gambling. (The emphasis is on successful.)

It’s in our nature to see — if not only, then surely at first — just the results and outcomes of people’s endeavors. By default, we’re much less focused on underlying principles and processes governing wins.

The Simplicity of Secrets and Truth

We love to see the great endgame and read the success stories. Then, we comment on how we could’ve done the same with those cards and dices, but we just never get them. (It’s all good. This is only natural.)

But there is something beneath every victory that puts people in the position to make it in the first place. It’s not luck; luck has nothing to do with it. Instead…

It’s the effort invested in the endeavor.

That’s what brought players to rendezvous with success: hard-core, full-bore, pedal to the metal hard work.

(On the side note: This fact is much more present in infinitely harder activities and vocations than gambling; to that extent — our idea is not to underestimate, downgrade, trivialize, or sound harsh on anything people daily undertake to earn their money and support their families.)

What makes gambling so particularly difficult is ourselves — we often forget how hard we need to work to win. When we face the odds, our hopes and expectations of positive outcomes, we simply tend to get carried away.

Intentionally or subconsciously, we hide well-known truths only to reveal them again.

This is also natural, nothing to be ashamed of or judged upon; in fact, when faced with the hope, the majority forgets lots of things.

In our perpetual pursuit of advice and help to make it through, we have impressive resources at our disposal nowadays.

Short of the internet itself, we have lessons of our elders, literature (list of mandatory books to be read about games is probably topic for another editorial itself), psychology, sociology, practically the whole legacy of humankind, up to the philosophy findings on gambling.

Yet again, when we get to the casino floor or in front of the screen, sometimes we forget.

Solution Hides in the Deep

How to avoid this? Is there a tool to gauge the extent of a responsible approach versus the risk? Who is to be our trusted advisor, the confidence sponsor?

Enter proverbs.

Good old fashion national proverbs provide for the compact wisdom of ages. Why? Because at its core they contain digested essentials of principles for truthful, successful, peaceful, balanced, and fulfilled life.

There is something about proverbs which makes them infinitely easier to remember than any lesson for meaningful life. We can find them anywhere online today; social networks are flooded, followers flock in millions.

Proverbs are always bulletproof spot-on. We may not necessarily accept the message, but we cannot denounce its legitimacy; this is their distinctive quality. While timeless secrets of truth are usually stingy — they hurt, we reject them — proverbs help us manage and absorb the essence in peace.

In addition, they offer various aspects of how different world cultures and traditions approach the same trials and challenges, even comfort and solutions. Proverbs contain encapsulated practical knowledge which survived the test of time; they enable us to see how different people face the same topic.

Proverbs on Gambling

Which, in turn, provides us with better options to apply the right solution to whatever we face including governing ourselves while gambling.

Naturally, there are gambling proverbs too. They offer different views on pastime and deliver standalone opinions in line with culture and folklore of their origin.

Speaking of which — the exact source of proverbs is notoriously difficult to establish, thus countries listed below are more of a general reference than anything else. It is not unusual to find the same saying among different nations, only underlining their universal truths.

Luck is a loser’s excuse for a winner’s position. (Traditional)

If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time. (Chinese)

No one is luckier than him who believes in his luck. (German)

Better an ounce of luck than a pound of gold. (Yiddish)

Throw a lucky man in the sea, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth. (Arabic)

There are two great pleasures in gambling: that of winning and that of losing. (French)

The best throw of the dice is to throw them away. (English)

A Smith & Wesson beats four aces. (American)

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. (Roman)

When God throws the dice are loaded. (Greek)

Every dog has his day in luck. (Japanese)

Go and wake up your luck. (Persian)

In a bet, there is a fool and a thief. (Traditional)

Gamblers do not contribute to the public welfare. (Hebrew)

I have denounced everything but wine. I have foresworn everything but gambling. (Persian)

Reform a gambler. Cure leprosy. (Chinese)

Young gamblers, old beggars. (German)

Nine gamblers could not feed a single rooster. (Yugoslavian)

One hundred alcoholics are better than one gambler. (Tunisian)

He who can persuade someone not to gamble has earned money for him. (Chinese)

Rich gamblers and old trumpeters are rare. (German)

There is no better gambling than not to gamble. (German)

Hoping to recoup is what ruins the gambler. (Irish)

There are two great pleasures in gambling: that of winning and that of losing. (French)

Gambling is the son of avarice and the father of despair. (French)

A spoiled son becomes a gambler, while a spoiled daughter becomes a harlot. (Indian)

A pack of cards is the devil’s prayer-book. (German)

Life is like a game in which God shuffles the cards, the devil deals them and we have to play the trumps. (Yugoslavian)

The shovel insults the poker. (Russian)

Rule: Never perform card tricks for the people you play poker with. (Traditional)

Lucky at cards, unlucky in love. (Traditional)

With someone holding nothing but trumps, it is impossible to play cards. (Traditional)

Luck never gives; it only lends. (Swedish)

When ill luck falls asleep, let none wake her. (Italian, Spanish)

Luck sometimes visits a fool, but it never sits down with him. (German)

It is better to trust in knowledge than in luck. (American)

There is no lock on the purse of a gambler. (French)

In gambling, winning money results in losing money. (Chinese)

Luck has a slender anchorage. (English)

The lottery; a tax on people who are bad at math. (American)

Behind bad luck, comes good luck. (Traditional)

Know when to hold'em, know when to fold ‘em. (American)

A little gambling is soothing and relaxing, but heavy gambling can affect your mental health. (Chinese)

Small (wagering) is bad, big is good. (Chinese)

Nobody has ever bet enough on a winning horse. (American)

Fortune is glass. Just when it gleams brighter, it shatters. (Latin)

Depth of Minutes and Hours

Now, each person can see proverb as it deems fit. There’s a unique level of predetermined personalization which makes them objectively and universally accepted by all and yet somehow subjective and individual. Perhaps history lessons carried within has something to do with this.


The easier part of proverbs is reading and talking; walking them is much harder.

To use proverbs as they’re meant to be is to master ourselves, step by step, which makes them a useful tool in gambling. To put them to practical use is a matter of discipline, training, and the best time and place to deploy them.

This is where time depth comes in the picture.

Definition-wise, according to Merriam-Webster, time depth is “a period […] during which a culture, language, or group of languages has been undergoing independent genetic development.”

Put into gambling perspective…

Depth of time is a period during which our impulsive, irresponsible, and threatening thoughts, based on information at hand, have been undergoing independent, un-checked development which creates non-governing emotions often difficult to box and results in the (serious) problem, even addiction.

We can easily redial this sensation in the example of fights with our better halves. Often they do something we just cannot hack; we either tame it on the spot, understanding the situation through communication regardless of the complexity, or we allow ourselves to be negatively unleashed for the inability to cope with any grievances, regardless of the cause. Surely, we make up later, some people even like what comes afterward, but there is a much easier way.

Proverbs are an outstanding depth of time tamer, be it minutes, hours, or even days.

That’s the time needed to make several consecutive wrong decisions that sometimes, unfortunately, can be deep as the Marianna Trench.

Psychology further elaborates these principles through either rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), created and developed by the American psychotherapist and psychologist Albert Ellis, or through existential psychotherapy created by Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, who famously wrote:

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.”

In that space is also our slavery.

If we somehow omit to deploy proverbs — or any other resource such as lessons on decision-making from a poker champion Liv Boeree at TED2018 — it might take us much more to master ourselves properly later.

Surf Ace of Surface

As said, all of this is nothing new. Maybe we forgot or omitted few of these here and there, perhaps we even dug them somewhere deep not to be found again.

We love to hide our truths at the bottom, only to rediscover them as secrets and assets to be used again.

To uninitiated, these rediscovered essences might look like originals but they’re not. Initiated ones know it all too well — it is the knowledge we lost during our evolutionary voyage.

We can only look at the whole gambling responsibility phenomenon to underline this notion.

Industry and national legislators are overblown with regulations and measures to confront gambling irresponsibility (which is a great thing, by the way). Media often scream about gambling addiction and problem gamblers so much that pastime often, yet not entirely undeserved, has a really bad name.

But the simple truth is…

Responsibility issue is present because we tend to be so irresponsible.

Every single one of us who gambled what we do not have, be it in casinos or in life, knew exactly what was going on and was fully aware we shouldn’t go there. We knew, yet we forgot. We succumbed to the depth of our gambling time. We opted to continue, knowing each roll and stroke we make toward the bottom is the one we’ll have to make back to the surface.

We ended up as surf aces of surfaces never meant to be visited. We saved nothing for the return.

Thus, when gambling legislation and regulatory bodies come in force — they are not the cause, they’re the consequence. The cause is our inability to govern ourselves.

Before our plunge happens again…

We can reach out to proverbs, the indisputable authority.

While we might confront our friends or responsible affiliates, even other players as they try to set us straight, we cannot confront proverbs — and that’s what makes them indispensable tool for any successful gambler.

Empowered by such strength, we may find out mastering ourselves to be not that hard, after all.

To play our best possible game then become joyful experience even if it’s still hard to master. Afterward, we just might fully appreciate the Roman understanding of luck as a place where preparation meets opportunity.

If by any chance we opt for any other option…

Our bellowed pirate-philosopher and the irreverent trickster Jack Sparrow will be proven right — the problem is not the gambling, the problem is our attitude about the gambling.

A prudent man who knows proverbs, resolved problems. (Botswanan)

“and to focus all we have to achieve the single goal”

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