You Can Never Have Too Much Money To Lose – Compulsive Gambling Destroyed Terry Watanabe

By Todd Russell Aug31,2023

Mea culpa: my wife and I enjoy social gambling. It’s something we do from time to time with money we can afford to lose. We don’t fall victim to the idea/belief/dream/fantasy (insert your own word) that you can beat the house, because, well, you can’t. The house will win in the end. Enter the story of disturbing gambling story of Terry Watanbe who lost over $200 million gambling. Say that again: over $200 MILLION dollars gambling. Terry, ouch.

Terry would often play multiple hands of blackjack at $50,000 per hand — and he wasn’t a good player. Yikes. Oh, and the story of how the casinos plied him with alcohol and gave him anything he wanted, well, that’s what casinos do to the “whales” — those big $$ players. Gambling is clearly not for people like Mr. Watanabe. You have to watch until the end of the video above to hear what happened to him and, spoiler, it’s not good.

Gambling is still a game, albeit one that you will lose more than you’ll win. Casinos don’t get bigger, because it’s not a profitable busiess for them. It’s nice to win, even feels good, but maintaining an understanding that statisticaljy you’ll lose, mathematically, yes, over time you’re going to lose, is the most important thing to remember about gambling in this author’s view. Perhaps right up there with: play with money you can afford to lose.

Why play at all if you will likely lose? The keyword there is “likely” and that’s what makes gambling — the chance to win, the thrill when you do win — so addictive for some, and compelling for others to play. My wife and I aren’t addicted to it, we can go months without gambling, we went almost a year once and never gambled at all. But, for the better part of the last 30 years, we’ve gambled anywhere from a little to a lot. And, yes, we’ve lost over the course of that time. There have been years we’ve won more than we’ve lost (one year in 30+ was pretty significant winnings), but overall, there’s no doubt we’ve lost. Gamblers, remember your losses in the same year do offset your same year winnings for tax purposes (keep your receipts). Some casinos will provide W-2 to help with tax prep if you use their player’s card.

Some people like to drink more than others, but that doesn’t label them drunks or barflies, necessarily. This article might come off as preachy, which is not the intention, more of a public service announcement (PSA). It’s stuff that most adults know already about gambling and casinos. It might be that Joshua from Wargames has it right, logically anyway, with this calculation on the game Tic-Tac-Toe and comparable to the “game” of gambling:

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