Have you ever wondered how economics really work?
|There was once a committed gambler. Something between an addict and someone who just had nothing better to do but always had a sense of urgency, that if he missed an opportunity, it would be his greatest regret, that it would stop him from accomplishing what he needed to do in life. Unfortunately, he also had horrible luck. Or so it seemed. Was it luck, was it skill, was it his naivety, or a mix of the 3? Who can say.
One day this gambler was suffering with a crushing loss when a friend told him about a casino he had never tried before.
"This one's different. Didn't you know, the ones you've gone to, they stay in business by not paying off what they should, every dollar you bet gets back 99 or 98 cents. At best. But not this one. In this one, the odds are in *your* favor, not the house's."
"Then how do they stay in business?" asked the gambler.
"I really don't know how it works. I don't know if anyone does. But they just do. Here's their address."
And so the gambler was given an address by his friend. He went there the next day.
It looked much like the casinos he was used to. There were tables with card games, and there was a big roulette wheel. As he looked around, he saw many excited people who seemed to be winning big.
"Maybe this place really is different," said the gambler to himself.
He sat down at a blackjack table and bet 25 dollars. He was dealt two blank cards and the dealer gave himself the same.
He looked at them in disbelief. "Are they face down?" he asked the blackjack dealer, who looked confused at the question. "No, that can't be right, you would still have one up-card yourself." The gambler reached for the cards. The dealer didn't seem to object to this. He turned them over, and they were blank on that side too.
The dealer then announced he had blackjack and swept away the 25 dollar chip.
"Wait a minute! What's going on! That wasn't blackjack! Those were blank cards!"
"Let me explain to you how this place works, since you're new here," said the dealer. "This casino is a little different from what you're used to. We don't really like leaving things to chance. So here, we just use blank cards, and WE decide what they are arbitrarily. You win if we decide you win. You lose if we decide you lose."
The dealer reached into the gambler's pocket, to his completely astonished shock, and took out 25 dollars in cash, and deposited another 25 dollar chip on the betting space.
"You can't do that!" the gambler said, stunned at what just happened.
"I just did. Oh, look at that, dealer has blackjack again, you lose again, better luck next time."
Once again, the dealer had dealt himself and the gambler 4 blank cards. Nothing on either side.
"What the fuck is going on here! Give me back my money!"
When the blackjack dealer tried to pick the gambler's pocket again, he jumped back and said "oh no, you're not stealing any more money from me! I'm going to see the manager about this!"
"Up to you what you do next," said the blackjack dealer. "But there's an 8 dollar commission for leaving the table."
"What?" said the gambler. He was at the point where nothing would surprise him now.
"Sir, I'm afraid we're going to have to make sure you return to your seat," two brawny guys in dark suits and dark sunglasses said on either side of him. They each set a massive hand on the gambler's shoulder, and led him back to the "blackjack" table.
"You can't do this!" the gambler said.
The dealer once again reached into his pocket and pulled out a hundred this time. "Reality seems to be disagreeing with what you say we can and cannot do." He got out 4 25-dollar chips, handed the gambler three of them and then set one down on the gambling space again. He dealt out 4 more blank cards again. "Uh oh, dealer blackjack again," he announced. "You lose. Try again, better luck next time."
As the dealer reached for one of the gambler's 3 remaining 25-dollar chips, the gambler yelled "WAIT! What's this about a commission! Tell me that first, please!"
"It costs you 8 dollars to leave the table. It's that simple, retard."
The gambler pulled out 8 dollars in ones and set them on the table "Can I go now!?"
The dealer looked them over and said "ok, have a nice day." The two thugs let go of the gambler's shoulders and let him run off. All 3 of them laughed at him as he made his escape.
The gambler looked around. All the card games were like that. They were all being played with blank cards. Unlike him though, with the results flagrantly intentionally decided against him, some of them were winning. He watched for about 30 seconds at a Pai Gow table as a big fat man just raked it in and raked it in. Unlike in his own experience with the blackjack game, the dealer asked him if he won and the fat man simply said "yeah, I won". The dealer then handed him some chips. After watching for another minute, the fat man got up and walked into a door marked "employees only". He was a shill. And not even trying to hide it.
The gambler looked around for some sort of management. But this casino seemed to operate without any sort of regulation, oversight, or management. No one was in charge of it. He stopped and looked at the roulette table. Unlike a usual roulette wheel, this one only had 30 slots. And they apparently still paid off 36 to 1. What the hell was this? Well, who's going to complain about conditions like that. He should be able to get his money back eventually like that, and a whole lot more.
So the gambler sat down and bet 5 on one of the 30 numbers. The result was a green slice, not with 0 or 00, but the letters "MC". The man spinning the roulette wheel announced that everyone had to pay up 10 times their bet size now. "What? I can lose more than my original bet?" the gambler said in astonishment.
"If I feel like it," said the man spinning the wheel."
"So if it lands on MC, I have to pay you 10 times my original bet size."
"No, maybe 5, maybe 50. It's whatever I feel like."
"What the fuck is this shit! This place doesn't make any sense! What are the odds even in this place!" the gambler cried.
"Nobody knows. Or cares. But you're not going anywhere until you pay your margin call."
The gambler paid the man the additional 50 dollars. He yelled "I'm going to get the state gaming bureau to come down on you like a ton of hammers! I'll be back and you'll wish you never heard of me! I don't know why my idiot friend recommended this place to me. At least in a regular casino, the odds may be against you, but they play fair! They don't just decide what the cards are themselves, it's up to chance! But you're just a bunch of thieves! That's all you are! There isn't even any element of chance here, you just decide you want my money and you steal it! Well I'll shut you down! I'll put you all out on the street!" he yelled back at them all as he walked out the door.
"Yeah, good luck with that," said the original blackjack dealer, as they all shared a chuckle at the figure of the gambler, as he disappeared off into the distance.
The gambler looked back over his shoulder one last time, at the sign showing the name of the casino in flashing neon letters:
"The Stock Market".