Thursday, October 13, 2011
A number of years back, when I was first learning the game of Hold’em, some friends and I were sitting around with nothing to do. We had finished all the beer on the premises and the only other libation was a bottle of tequila (Cuervo, I believe). Because none of us particularly cared for the beverage (myself especially), we decided to play poker, with the loser of every hand taking a shot of the noxious liquid. After about half an hour, the bottle was empty, to a room full of regret.
Now sufficiently lubricated, a couple of the guys (for this was a particularly masculine endeavor), decided that we could continue to gamble by exchanging punches to the gut, instead of shots of rotgut. The rules were simple. We dealt the cards face up to two players, a practice in poker commonly called a “coin flip.” The loser received a punch from the winner in the stomach. This game, “Body Shots,” as it might be called, was infinitely more entertaining than traditional poker and elicited riotous cheers from the onlookers. We played until the wee hours of the morning.
The utterly barbaric and juvenile game of Body Shots illustrates several unavoidable truths about the nature of gambling:
1) Gambling is intimately connected with personal risk.
2) The risk of gambling inevitably takes the form of physical pain.
3) Gambling has a curiously self-destructive element.
4) Gambling is more fun, yet vastly more self-destructive, with the addition of alcohol.