Gambling is often seen as a vice, a risky and addictive behavior that can ruin lives and cause harm. But gambling can also be a source of inspiration, passion, and positive impact. Throughout history, many artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and philanthropists have been influenced by gambling in some way. Let’s explore some of the amazing works of art and social projects that gambling has made possible.
Gambling and Art
Gambling can stimulate the imagination and unleash the creative potential of the mind. Many famous paintings, books, songs, and films have been inspired by games.
- The Cardsharpsby Caravaggio. This is one of the most famous paintings of the Italian Baroque master. It is depicting a scene of two young men playing cards, while a third one cheats by hiding a card behind his back. The painting captures the drama and tension of the game, as well as the moral ambiguity of the characters.
- The Gamblerby Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is a novel based on the author’s own experience. The protagonist, Alexei, is a tutor who falls in love with a young woman, Polina, who is in debt to a wealthy gambler. Alexei tries to win money for her by playing roulette, but ends up losing everything. The novel explores the psychological and emotional aspects, as well as the social and economic consequences.
- The Gamblerby Kenny Rogers. This is a classic country song that tells the story of a conversation between a young man and an old gambler on a train. The gambler gives the young man some advice on how to play poker and how to live life. The chorus goes: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
- Casino Royaleby Ian Fleming. This is the first novel featuring the iconic spy, James Bond. The plot revolves around a high-stakes baccarat game between Bond and Le Chiffre, a banker who works for a terrorist organization. The game is a matter of life and death, as Bond has to prevent Le Chiffre from winning and using the money to fund his evil plans.
- Roundersby John Dahl. This is a film that follows the exploits of Mike, a law student who is also a talented poker player. Mike quits gambling after losing his savings to a Russian mobster, but returns to the game when his friend, Worm, gets out of prison and needs his help to pay off his debts. The film showcases the skills and strategies of poker, as well as the thrill and danger of the underground gambling scene.
Gambling and Charity
Gambling can also be a way of giving back to the society and supporting various causes. Many players and gambling companies have donated money to raise funds for charity and social projects.
- The Giving Pledge. This is a campaign initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the richest people in the world, who are also known for their philanthropy. The campaign encourages billionaires to pledge to give away at least half of their wealth to charity. Among the signatories of the pledge are several gambling tycoons, such as Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn, and Ted Turner.
- The One Drop Foundation.This is a non-profit organization founded by Guy Laliberté, the creator of Cirque du Soleil and a passionate poker player. The foundation aims to provide access to safe water and sanitation to people in need around the world. One of the main sources of funding for the foundation is the Big One for One Drop, a poker tournament that has a $1 million buy-in and donates a portion of the prize pool to the cause.
- The Robin Hood Foundation.This is a charity that fights poverty and inequality in New York City. The foundation is supported by many celebrities and influential figures, including several gamblers and poker players. One of the most notable events of the foundation is the annual Monte Carlo Night, a gala that features casino games, live entertainment, and auctions.
- The Tiger Woods Foundation.This is a foundation established by the legendary golfer, Tiger Woods, who is also an avid gambler. The foundation focuses on education and youth development, providing scholarships, mentoring, and career opportunities to underprivileged students. The foundation also hosts the Tiger Jam, a charity event that features a golf tournament, a poker tournament, and a concert.
Gambling and Passion
Gambling can be more than just a hobby or a habit. It can be a passion, a way of life, a source of joy and fulfillment. Games can teach us valuable lessons, such as how to take risks, how to deal with uncertainty, how to cope with failure, and how to celebrate success. It can also connect us with other people, who share our interests, our emotions, and our dreams. So, you can play, feel alive, and change the world.