The Child Who Taught Me About Gambling

It’s late in the evening and Ted Forrest has just landed in Vegas; his first instinct tells him to go to the casino and, being a poker player, he follows it.

His steps make way towards the cashier’s cage, when he notices something unexpected; a heads up poker game is raging on, with blinds 20/40.000$. This means that every single hand will swing at least 60.000$.

Ted has about 500.000$ in his account; he withdraws everything and sits down, even though he will be short stacked for a game of this size. His two opponents are, Chau Giang, professional poker player, and Andy Beal, self-made Texan billionaire.

It’s 2006 and over the next two years Andy Beal will frequently go back to Vegas, breathing life into the biggest cash games ever played, culminating in a heads-up challenge between him and “The Corporation”, a collective of the best poker players in the world, with blinds at 100/200.000$. Andy Beal will hold himself against the best in the world, until ultimately losing 16 million dollars.

What pushes a man smart enough to make billions from scratch, to gamble millions against the odds? The answer is wired into our brains.

What draws us to gambling, researches show, has nothing to do with the money itself; as a matter of fact, our brains achieve the maximum amount of satisfaction when we almost win and then lose.