Top 10 Gambling Quotes

We’ve already established that evidence of gambling goes back to the dawn of mankind’s time on the planet. From the remnants of carved knucklebones to cave paintings to stories from religious tomes and myths and legends from history, gambling is a pastime that has entranced and excited us for millennia.

In all that time, it’s no surprise that there have been some very interesting, very apt, and sometimes quite amusing sayings and quotes about gambling – and about life as it pertains to gambling.

It’s part of the human condition, that hope that something better is just around the corner. But it may take a bit of a risk to see if it pans out. Whether it’s choosing to bet on a horse race or poker hand, deciding to quit your job and look for something better, taking a chance on showing your love and getting married without knowing what the future may hold for your relationship, to just opting to stay in bed on a cold winter’s day, every choice we make – whether we have an educated basis for making it or whether we are just throwing caution to the wind and taking a chance – has an element of risk.

It’s why gambling is so hard-wired into our DNA, into our lives, and this has ensured that gambling related quotes can be applied equally to betting as to how we make our life choices.

The CasinoPlay crew, lovers of all things gambling, has compiled a list of our 10 top gambling quotes. Some are very much at home around a poker table, others are definitely life advice from some major minds. But all show us just how much gambling has influenced our world. We hope you find them as interesting – and possibly educational – as we do. As South African gamblers, online casino fans or land-based casino players, we all need to see what advice we can glean in order to make our gambling a truly rewarding experience – and our lives.

“Athletics is athletics. When you do sport, you are gambling. You run, you win, you lose. It doesn’t matter if you are competing or you are not competing.”

Caster Semenya

We begin with a legend of the South African sports scene, an athlete that no sports betting pro would have bet against at the height of her fame, two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time World Champion middle-distance runner Caster Semenya.

As an analogy that reflects life, it really doesn’t get any simpler than this – and not only for professional athletes competing at the highest level. We can all identify with the sentiment that life is a race, not to win, but to finish. Just as every athlete gambles with victory every time they take the field or track or court, so do us ordinary folk gamble every day that what we are doing will lead to success or failure.

“Gambling is not a vice; it is an expression of our humanness. We gamble. Some do it at the gaming table, some do not. You play, you win, you play, you lose. You play.”

– Jeanette Winterson

Closely related to the ‘athletics – and life is a gamble quote by Caster above is this beautifully put one by English author (and CBE recipient) Jeanette Winterson. Worldwide there are tons of laws and regulations put in place by governments and authority figures (religious, political, and secular) about the moral danger of gambling. Yes, the financial implications can be dire. Yes, it must be done responsibly. And absolutely yes, it can lead to addictive and destructive behaviour if not done responsibly.

BUT, as we said in our opening, gambling is life and life is gambling. Not like the “to ride is life” sort of life but the intrinsic, nuts and bolts, down and dirty life. It is our humanness. It is why we invent and create and innovate and discover and explore and risk what we know to maybe discover something better for ourselves and all those around us.

“I’m not a big gambler anymore. I like to do it. I enjoy it instead of trying to make money off of it, because I realized you can’t make money gambling.”

– John Daly

John Daly is a pro golfer who is as colourful and famous for his skills on the course as his antics off it. A maverick in the world of golf, he is well-known for four things: the distance he hits his drives, his attire (for golf and country clubs anyway), his alcohol and smoking habits, and his love of gambling.

He claims to have lost up to $60 million over 15 years with his most famous gambling downfall being a $1.5 million loss in October 2005 (while playing a $5,000 slot machine at Wynn Casino Las Vegas – just for context and our South African gamblers, that’s a slot machine with an approximate R75,000 limit PER SPIN!).

While he has stated that he has toned down the gambling, his quote does and should ring true for any gambler: gambling is a way of having gun and enjoying yourself, NOT a way to make money.

Seriously though, read up about John Daly. If you ever thought that golf was a staid and possibly boring sport, this wild man will change your outlook. His story of meeting a group of South African fans in a casino and being challenged by the Bok fans to an impromptu rugby tackling session in the corridor is a thing of beauty.

“I used to be a heavy gambler. But now I just make mental bets. That’s how I lost my mind.”

– Steve Allen

Radio personality, comedian, musician, actor, and writer Steve Allen takes the ”just have fun when gambling” sentiment to the next level with his witty observation on the often-unlucky outcomes of gambling. His fun dig at how often he loses at the tables shows a wry humour that most of us gamblers can relate to.

“Gambling has brought our family together. We had to move to a smaller house.”

 – Tommy Cooper

Another funny quote about the losing side of gambling, but one that should also serve as a warning: gamble responsibly! Tommy Cooper was a British comedian and magician who was as famous for his comedy as he was for his increasingly bad health and alcoholism during the latter stages of his life. His act was built around being a bumbling and accident-prone man who was earnestly putting on a real show. Each accident and fall was designed to elicit laughs. Unfortunately, this proved amazingly sad as he died of a heart attack in front of a live audience while filming a show – an audience who laughed as they thought it was all part of the act.

Talk about fate and chance paving the way.

“Poker is a lot like sex, everyone thinks they are the best, but most don’t have a clue what they are doing.”

– Dutch Boyd

A great insight from the mouth of a great professional poker player. Dutch Boyd has put his finger on a truth that everyone here at CasinoPlay takes to heart: don’t think you’re good just because you’ve been lucky, make sure you’re good by researching, analysing, learning, and practicing.

“If there weren’t luck involved, I would win every time.”

– Phil Ivey

And on the subject of luck and skill: a wise observation by one of the greatest living poker players, Phil Helmuth, the so-called. It just goes to show that even being acknowledged as one of the greatest players to ever sit at a poker table, even with years of experience and untold numbers of hours practicing (and who knows how many strategies developed), at the end of the day Lady Luck holds all the cards.

“Remember this, folks – I am a Hillbilly, and I don’t always bet the same way I talk. Good advice is one thing, but smart gambling is quite another.”

 – Hunter S. Thompson

The author of drug fuelled Las Vega waking dream of a novel and movie Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas should know a thing or two about underestimating your opponent. In games like poker, it is of paramount importance that you know the rules – and that you know your opponents.

Never take anything at a casino, online casino or brick-and-mortar casino, at face value. Be smart. Investigate. Study. Learn the ins and outs of the games and the casino rules (especially wagering requirements). Observe players you are up against. The quietest and least experienced could be playing you for a fool.

“If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.”

– Mike McDermott (Rounders)

This quote may be from a character (Mike McDermott played by Matt Damon) in a movie, but it still rings true, especially if taken together with the previous quote from Hunter S. Thompson. While the film Rounders is definitely a much-watch for fans of underground poker games, it is this line that really stood out for us. If you can’t see who is being played, then it’s most likely you. A great insight to poker and to dealing with those who seek to pull the wool over our eyes in real life.

“In most betting shops you will see three windows marked “Bet Here”, but only one window with the legend “Pay Out”.”

–  Jeffrey Bernard

A British journalist more well known for his chaotic life and alcoholism than for his gambling antics, Jeffrey Bernard still raises a fine point about gambling. Casinos aren’t built by giving away money. “The house always wins”. No matter what your game or what your skill level, always remember that gambling is a risk and that the chances of losing are always greater than the chances of winning. Having odds in your favour is not a guarantee of a win. Having and RTP of 98% doesn’t mean you will win 98% of the time – it means the casino will always make at least 2% of all the money being put in the slot.

And I quote…

This has been quite a tumultuous and fascinating dive into how gambling quotes can reflect our everyday lives and how those who are in the gambling world actually view their hobby. As always, we urge you to take your gambling experience for what it is: a means to have fun. Enjoy yourself. Keep it affordable. Keep it manageable. And play responsibly.

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