A late night conversation over a glass of something with a wisp of Scottish smoke and a peaty punch (a 10-year-old Laphroig single malt) prompted the following question: ‘do gentlemen gamble?’ On the face of it, it was, as the saying goes, a no brainer. Of course they do! But it raised a secondary question, the aftertaste to the conversation if you will. That question is what it is that distinguishes a gentlemanly form of gambling. There are countless ways to gamble. We have devoted plenty of attention to some of them on these very pages. But like everything else in life, there are very different ways of doing so. Being a gentleman is as much about how one does something as it is what one does. The more intriguing question we are led to is not ‘do gentlemen gamble?’ but ‘how does one gamble in a gentlemanly manner’? In many respects, these represent two sides to the gambling equation. One relates to its emotional effects while the other is a matter of pristine intellect alone. It is in bringing these two together that gambling stirs the blood.
An insistence on eloquence
Once the intellectual aspect of gambling is recognized, matters of judgement and calculation become germane. Whereas gambling blind is a fool’s game, a gentleman will inform himself of the best available options at every turn. Whether that is a matter of analysis by GamblingAfrica.com on the most efficacious places to play online, or of studying the intricacies of the form, it all improves betting judgement. Thus, the gentlemanly way to gamble is to do so in a way that reflects on a level of insight and intelligence.
Any individual can pick a horse at random or decide to go all-in on the spur of the moment. But the secret to deriving maximum pleasure and optimum recognition from gambling is to be able to account for your actions. This requires a performative eloquence. That is the means to account for and explain at every turn the reasoning and the strategic rationale behind each move. The bet itself is not the be all and end all. It is always couched in a social setting. And it is against that social backdrop that a gentleman’s credentials will be measured.
A lasting satisfaction
Good judgement is not always necessary to bring about a win at the track or on the tables. But whilst we would not want to deny anyone their successes, a win that derives from the application of intelligence and insight offers a lasting satisfaction. Enjoying the warming recognition of a win based on your own hard-earned skill is the reward of gambling like a gentleman. Like a good Scotch, it is one of those things best enjoyed slowly, calmly and in appreciative company.