I Bet You Didn’t Know…

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

John Montague was a British politician, who served as Secretary of State and First Lord of the Admiralty, but he is probably best known for having “invented” the sandwich – and it happed while he was playing poker!

Montague, a hardened gambler, didn’t like to leave the gaming table. So when he, and some of his opponents, became hungry after a particularly lengthy game, he told his servants: “Bring me a slice of meat between two slices of bread.”

Thus the sandwich was born…

Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky was a heavy gambler and wrote his most famous work, ‘The Gambler’, in 1866 in a desperate attempt to rescue his flagging finances. The story provides a vivid description of his life as a gambler.

In a six-month period, Archie Karas turned a borrowed stake of $10,000 into $17 million. The legendary Karas wears two demure gold-and-diamond rings and loves to be referred to as the undisputed champion of gambling. “I’ve gambled more money than anyone in the history of the planet,” he claims in his usual understated way.

The Queen of Spades is an opera by Piotr Tchaikovsky with a gambling theme. Based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin, the opera was most recently performed at the Vienna State Opera House in June this year. Given a modern makeover, the final, tragic scene is set in a casino complete with gaming tables and one-armed bandits.

Gambling has a long, long history. Implements associated with gambling have been found in ancient Chinese sites dating back to 2300 BC. A pair of ivory dice, made sometime before 1500 BC, were discovered in Egypt. Infact, writings mentuoning gambling have been found at the pyramids in Giza.
In the early part of the 20th Century, Riley Grannan was famous throughout the United States for the size of his bets and his nerve. In the winter of 1908 he went broke in San Francisco. Friends bankrolled him and he went to Goldfield and Rawhide, where he made eniugh money from his gambling exploits to buy a saloon and gambling house. But his luck didn’t last long. By the spring of 1908 he had died of pneumonia.

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