Customs and Values
Shouts and rounds
The fear of inferiority
Odd facts of Australia
Important social rules
A time to be sombre and to not
Siding with the loser
Mogrels, wogs, andlarrikins
Dealing with extremists
A system to beat the bookies
Ugg and more
Landscape and Identity
Creativity in the kitchen
The art of science
Once were popular
Pushing the boundaries
Gambling in Australia
A system to beat the bookies
Australians have developed a secret system to beat the Casino and the bookies at the racetrack. The system is very simple and will be revealed somewhere in this article. Of course, ‘Australians have developed a system that will be revealed in this article’ and ‘the author of this article is a compulsive liar’ may be interchangeable. Perhaps it will take a gamble to find out which line is true and which is false.
Gambling, which is basically weighing up options and risking resources in the hope of a payback, is part of everyday life in every culture around the world. Generally people gamble when the odds are in their favour. For example, it is worth risking a few minutes of your time to discover the secret gambling system that will be revealed in this article. Once you learn the secret (and as long as you get in early and read before everyone else), you will never have to work again. If the author is lying, there will no great loss. Because the odds are in your favour, you would be crazy to stop reading now.
While most people only gamble when the odds have been in their favour (as you are now), Australia’s development has been drastically shaped by people taking the gamble when the odds have been massively skewed against them.
The Convicts were the first gamblers and they paid heavily for their loss. They bet their lives that they could take off with something like a loaf of bread without getting caught. The stakes were high, which perhaps indicated the desperate nature of the situation. Unfortunately, many lost and they paid the price by losing their right to live in Britain.
Despite the harsh price that the Convicts paid for their gamble, it seemed that nothing could dissuade them from a punt and in Australia they developed a gambling game known as Two-up. This involved a designated 'Spinner' throwing two or three coins into the air. Players then gambled on whether the coins would fall with both heads up, both tails up, or with one coin a head, and one a tail.
Two-up was quickly banned by the authorities, but still it continued. Perhaps this was because when they are few legitimate means to improve one’s station in life the game of chance provides a sense of hope. Even if probability stipulates most will lose in the long-run, the little wins provide a temporary respite from the reality of life.
In the above cartoon, Two-up is positioned as a national pastime that crosses the generations.
The discovery of gold in the 1850s brought a different breed of gambler to Australia. Miners flocked to the goldfields in the hope that they would strike it rich. Most struck mud and rock.
Of course, not all of the migrants lost out of the gold rush. Some were later employed by mining companies and lived out a good life in Australia. Others played played the odds so that instead of looking for gold, they lowered their sights and gambled on selling things to miners looking for gold. The payoffs were lower, but less chance was involved.
Other enterprising migrants realised that if the miners loved a gamble when the odds were stacked against them, the clever thing to do would be to develop ways to take the bet. On the goldfields, Two up had become very popular, but for those who wanted to improve their odds, it was a problematic game because the odds were even on each gamble. Horse-racing, on the other hand, provided an opportunity to turn the odds in one’s favour. Not only could the performances of horses be manipulated, but they could also be somewhat disguised further using a handicapping system. This involved saddling horses with varying degrees of weight with the aim of ensuring each would be running roughly equal near the finish line. (That was the public justification anyway.) These variables often made picking a winner a case of pinning the tail of the donkey. Paradoxically, the many variables also made gamblers believe that they could improve their odds by ‘studying the form’ or ‘getting an inside tip.’ Bookers then set the odds in a way that ensured probability was on their side.
While many punters lost a great deal of money at the track, some positive consequences came out of it, particularly in regards to community development. As a result, in 1866, the Victorian Government proclaimed the Melbourne Cup (the richest race meet in Victoria) a public holiday. The Melbourne Cup subsequently grew into arguably Australia's most widely celebrated tradition. Today, many bosses stop work and use the day as a team-building exercise. There is usually a sweep, a prize for the best hat and a drink or two or many.
Around Australia, small towns likewise used race meetings as an excuse to draw a dispersed population together at least once a year. In many respects, the race meetings served the role of a festival seen in other country villages around the world. Racing was an excuse to get together, wear nice clothes, have a drink and have some fun. Even though most punters lost, the event was worthwhile in itself.
World War 1 and 2 also proved themselves to be closely associated with gambling and community development. Although Two-up had been banned, the authorities turned a blind eye to the soldiers gambling in their free time. This was understandable considering that war itself was a gamble, and the willingness to take risks seemed to be a big part of the Diggers’ identity. As told by Chester Wilmot in his book Tobruk 1942:
'Berlin Radio made a fatal mistake in trying to jibe and scare the Australian soldier into surrender. The longer the odds Lord Haw Haw offered against the Diggers chance of getting out, the more heavily the digger backed himself. He and his father before him had gambled on the outcome of a draught or a strike. They had defied bullying of man and nature and had gambled with their livelihood. It seemed a small step from this to gamble now with their lives. The odds were long; the fight would be hard, but they knew what was at stake.'
A cartoon likens the nurse's gamble of saying yes to the gamble of a marriage proposal from a soldier to the gamble of two-up.
Along with horse racing and Two-up, poker machines also played a role in community development. After being introduced to Australia from America in 1956, they helped make members-owned clubs commercially viable relative to private hotels. Loose change from a drink or a meal could be put in the machines in the hope that something better would come it. This gave rise to an odd situation of Australia having less than 1% of the world’s population, but 20% of its poker machines. It also allowed Australian cities to have clubs where the middle-class could get together for an affordable feed and drink in a social environment.
Casinos have been absent from Australia for the majority of its history. (Perhaps this was because turf clubs wanted to reduce competition in the gambling market.) The first Casino came in Tasmania in 1973 and for a while, the island state seemed intent on making itself the Australian equivalent of Nevada (the state that Las Vegas is located in.) Tasmania’s monopoly was broken after the Australian Capital Territory gained self-government in 1988, which forced Canberra residents to take responsibility for maintaining the city. Building a Casino in the hope of relieving businessmen around Australia of their earnings seemed like a great way to do it. Perhaps worried of Canberra sucking in even more of their cash, state governments around Australia soon became active supporters of casinos and built bigger and better casinos of their own.
By the new millennium, it was common for the international media to use gambling to define Australian culture. For example, Nick Bryant of the BBC reported that over 80% of Australian adults engage in gambling of some kind. According to Bryant, not only was this the highest rate in the world, it also constituted a "world record that Australia was least proud". In truth, it is impossible to accurately ascertain which countries gamble the most because figures are skewed by how gambling is defined and regulated. To be more precise, in countries like China, gambling is illegal, but Chinese simply gamble in plain view on the street with cards. Gambling is also illegal in Japan, but pachinko parlours allow credits won to be exchanged for prizes, which are then sold to the store next to the pachinko parlours. In another example, the stock market is a form of gambling that is defined as “investing” to give it some kind of credibility which arguably it should not have. Finally, internet gambling has proliferated around the world, with sites like PokerGames.com providing punters the opportunity to bet in ways that governments find difficult to monitor. In short, gambling is everywhere.
So was there a secret system revealed in this article? It you didn’t see it, it might be best to read the article a second time to find it. (As a secret, it was well hidden.) If you still have not found it after a second or third reading, perhaps you can just rationalise that even if you didn’t get the specific payoff you were hoping for, there were other unintended rewards that came from just taking a chance. At the very least, you learnt not to trust people on the internet who were considerate enough to warn you that they might be lying.
Activity 1 – Take the gamble
Activity purpose – Defining what is gambling, what is a con, and what is making a decision?
The author of this article has a secret system to ensure you can make a lot of money (potentially millions). It comes with a 100% guarantee of success. For $100, the secret will be sold. (The author will also accept evidence of a small donation to the RSPCA.)
- Will you make contact to buy the secret?
- If you make contact, will you be gambling?
- What is the probability that, after paying the money, you will get the secret to make a lot of money?
- Is it a gamble not to take the gamble when the potential rewards are so high?
Activity 2 - The Melbourne Cup in Australia
Activity purpose – Consider a gambling event as part of the national identity
Read the editorial below:
- The editorial sells the virtues of handicapping. What is the virtue and do you think that is why handicapping originally developed?
- What social groups in Australian society are positioned as the enemies of the fun and colourful event?
- How does the editorial position the Melbourne Cup positioned in Australian society?
country stops for a day at the races
- The Australian November 2 2004
days on the nation's collective kitchen calendar, Anzac Day and Cup Day, bring
us together like no others. And although one begins with darkness and grievous
loss, while the other is all colour and fun, both capture elements of the larrikinism
and egalitarian impulse that are embedded deep within this nation's unique spirit.
As a handicap, the Cup is the most egalitarian race the world takes notice of,
and we are the only country that celebrates such a race as our featured event:
it takes a super horse to win, but every nag starts with a show. Adding to this
element are the many paths that can bring a horse to the starting gate at Flemington
at 3.10pm on the first Tuesday in November. Alongside high-profile favourites
such as Makybe Diva - bidding to become the first mare to win the Cup twice -
are dark horses such as On a Jeune. But what stories they have to tell! On a Jeune
emerged from the South Australian bush circuit only in May, and scored an upset
victory in the Cranbourne Cup last month. Her trainer, Peter Montgomerie, will
set foot on Flemington racecourse for the first time in his life today. Or what
about Kiwi entrant Catchmeifyoucan? Completely unheard of a fortnight ago, this
mudlark carrying only 49kg is suddenly in with a show.
This extraordinary annual event will once again be celebrated at special lunches
and in office sweeps around the country. And yes, for around three minutes and
20 seconds, the race will stop the nation. All of which raises again the perennial
question: why is Cup Day, one of our quintessential annual rituals, not a national
public holiday? Wowsers hate the idea, and so do cultural cringers who say we
should not announce to the world how deeply we feel about a horse race. Monarchists
always suspect a plot in the suggestion that Cup Day could replace the Queen's
Birthday holiday, but what about replacing Labour Day? It celebrates a class distinction
long since dead in Australia while Cup Day celebrates something brimming with
Complaints about cultural comparisons
Emotion & innovation
Group vs individual
Tradition & change
Cults of multiculturalism
Warden & Convicts
Thinkers and Drinkers
Immigration and emmigration
Samurai & Convicts
Convicts vs Do gooders
Papua New Guinea
Chiefs and Elites
Kaffirs and Convicts