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I Went To Play Deliberately
(with apologies to Thoreau)


I went to Vegas because I wished to play craps deliberately, to execute only the essential wagers of the game, and see if I could not learn what the table had to teach, and not, when it came time to leave, discover that I had played without discipline.

I did not wish to play what was not prudent, as craps is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, reaching my loss limit, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to play hard and suck out all the marrow of life of the casino, to wager so sturdily and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not sensible, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to pile my winnings in the rack, and reduce the house edge to its lowest amount, and, if the tables proved to be mean, why then to understand the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my trip report.

For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about gambling, whether it is of the devil or of God, as many have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man, I see it as my lifeblood, to enjoy forever.

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