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Best of Mark Pilarski
Dice and the devil20 December 2004
You might find this a bit weird, but my brother is obsessed with the number six and its religious implications. He never plays the six in roulette, the lottery, six or 66 in keno, nor will he play place the six in craps (as you often recommend) because of its association with the devil. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Daniel S.
It's tough, Daniel, switching hats from a math guy to an amateur psychologist, and while I have never known anyone with just the obsession you describe, it is not uncommon for someone to ascribe magical properties to something numerical. Your question does remind me of a pit boss I once knew who when deciding on how the shift was going to go for the casino that night, would roll three die; if they came up all sixes, and the date was also odd, bad spirits surrounded the pit, and all hell would break loose that evening.
While numerology has different meanings to different people and situations, it is my impression that people tend to find magical properties and wisdom in things they really don't understand very well; like numbers: no 13th floors in casino hotels; don't light three cigarettes on a single match; the 666/Satan foolishness; numerology; astrology; it's a long list.
As for 666/Satan numerology, the number 666 is a sign in the Christian Bible's Book of Revelations that supposedly says that the Beast or Satan is named, can be identified with, or is connected to it. Yet, as Isaac Asimov pointed out with charming clarity, in ancient Hebrew the same symbols were used both for letters and for numbers, so that a given series of symbols could be read as a word or as a number. It so happened that the three-consonant (vowels were not written) word standing for the devil could also be read as the number 666, which is still promoted among the credulous as the number of Satan or of the Beast. People, still, and quite sincerely, find ways of deriving the number 666 from the name or other features of a person or thing, thus proving its association with Satan.
The assigning of values to the letters of person's name and totting them up to discover some significant fact will always be popular with people who probably dropped out of eighth grade math and have never been concerned with logic. I say, Daniel, keep placing the six in craps, unless of course at your next Tarot card reading before a casino visit the 15th card in the deck appears. It is the Devil card, which can stand for a warning against the destructive consequences of your actions when motivated by greed.
Baccarat and mini-baccarat are very similar with but a few exceptions. On a
mini-baccarat table, a dealer deals all the hands and the players are not allowed
to handle the cards. The other difference is that the betting minimums are always
lower on mini-baccarat table. Other than that, the rules are virtually the same.
Gambling quote of the week: "His luck was so bad that when he caught
the ace of spades it had the funeral parlor logo on it." Tex Sheahan,
Tales out of Tulsa (1984)
Best of Mark Pilarski