I Bought the Whole Lottery to Buy More Chocolate Balls Pt. 1


It was back in the not-so-glamorous '80s.

1982 to be more exact.

Great Britain had sent its fleet across the Atlantic Ocean to take back a very small Island that the fascist regime of Argentina invaded because it belonged to them a long time ago.

I followed the news, excited that something was happening, but not really concerned because it had nothing to do with me.

I had real concerns -- like hustling dough so I could buy more candy.

A Natural with Percentages

I was about to turn 11 and got my second real lesson in gambling.

The first was back in 1976 - half-a-lifetime ago back then - when I lost my weekly allowance in a game of (not-so-innocent) poker to my dad.

A lesson I will always remember by the imprinted tears on my cheeks.

By the age of 10 I was a lot smarter. Even though I liked to gamble, I liked winning even more and I was always looking for a way to improve the odds.

This is handball.

Of course I didn't now what odds were back then but I was a natural with the percentages.

I played football, basketball, ice hockey and handball.

I always loved team sports where my fighting spirit and competitive edge was more appreciated by my peers than in other areas of life.

The sports gymnasium was usually full on Sundays where Sleipner IF had eight home games in a row with all their youth teams.

I always liked handball the best -- probably because I could use my willpower in a more stalwart way. I wish it could be the same with Blackjack because then Vegas would be a really fun place.

I Always Opened the Third

Back then we only played 2 halves of 10 minutes each. We were kids and could have played all afternoon, but I guess it had something to do with the parents' hangovers.

Can't not see the third card, right?

Swedes have been heavy drinkers since the day they discovered how to make booze out of potatoes.

Good thing that the club had a small concession stand where the parents were selling lemonades and coffee for other parched parents.

I was more interested in the candy and the homemade "chokladbollar."

Most of all I was interested in the gambling products offered at the stand. There were two kinds.

One was a lika a scratch card but instead of scratching you opened three flaps with printed playing cards under. The game was 21 and worked like Blackjack but without the blackjack bonus.

You could have 17 or 18 and a winner in your hand after two flaps opened. Then it was gambling time for real.

I always opened the third, of course.

Then Came the Double-or-Nothing Flap

I loved that game. We kids got a bunch of tickets to take home and sell to relatives, friends and other unsuspecting targets.

The urge to play myself instead of selling the scratch cards was ever present. But even though it was great fun I could soon see that it was a very bad proposition.

The spectacular sum of 100 Swedish Kronor as it looked in 1982.

A scratch card was 1 krona, roughly 10 cents, and they came in bunches of five which made it an easy sell for a fiver.

The first prize was the spectacular sum of 100 kronor. I heard that someone had won it but I never saw it myself. The dream kept on alluring me.

Then a new version came out with an extra flap with a double-or-nothing option. Needless to say it made the game even more fun. And the odds grew worse.

Sundays were pretty good back then. I hung out with my friends, gambled, drank lemonade and ate chocolate balls.

Come to think of it, it was my very much like my days in Vegas 30 years later -- except for the chocolate balls.

I don't eat them anymore.

Do not miss the next blog where the story continues.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger, Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via PokerListings.com. Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not inherently represent the views of PokerListings.com.

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