Hoyle's Games, Improved And Enlarged - online book

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rules. In fact, the major part seek for their ad­vantage where it is not to be found, or neglect it altogether.
This observation will perhaps apply to the con­duct of man in every action of his life in which chance has any share. He is governed by similar prejudices and errors, founded upon the erroneous, though almost universal belief, that the distribution of good and evil, and in general of all the events of this world, are due to a fatal power which acts with­out order or rule; and thus he imagines it wiser to abandon himself to this blind divinity, whom he calls Fortune, rather than to force her to be­come favourable to him by following those rules of prudence which appear to him imaginary.
It is. therefore, not only of importance to game­sters, but to men in general, to know that chance has rules which may be discovered, and that by neglecting to make themselves masters of those rules, they are every hour committing faults, the disastrous consequences of which may with more justice be imputed to themselves than to the ca­prices of that destiny whom unjustly they accuse.
Impressed with this conviction, I am confident that a short analysis of the doctrine of chances will prove interesting even to those wTho have the least taste for abstract study. We all naturally like to see clearly into what we are about, inde-pendent of every interested motive ; and a man will certainly play with more pleasure when at every variation of his game he can calculate the chances for and against him ; for this knowledge will not only render him more tranquil as to the result, but will also teach him how ridiculous are the complaints in which gamesters indulge on the most trivial occasions.
If the exact knowledge of the chances of play
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