The Silent Players: Pets in Poker and Other Unusual Gambling Stories
Gambling is a popular and exciting activity that attracts millions of people around the world. But did you know some gamblers like bringing their pets along for the ride? Whether it’s for luck, companionship, or distraction, pets have been involved in some of the most unusual and fascinating gambling stories ever told. In this article, we will explore some of these stories and see how pets have influenced the world of gambling in different ways.
One of the most famous examples of pets in poker is the story of Sailor Roberts, a legendary poker player who won the World Series of Poker in 1975. Roberts had a pet ocelot, Cheetah, who often accompanied him to the poker table. Cheetah was a fierce and loyal friend who would growl and hiss at anyone who tried to cheat or annoy Roberts. Cheetah also helped Roberts win some pots by intimidating his opponents with his wild appearance and behavior. For example, in one game, Cheetah jumped on the table and knocked over a stack of chips, causing a commotion that distracted the other players and allowed Roberts to bluff his way to victory. In another game, Cheetah bit the hand of a player about to raise against Roberts, making him fold instead. In another game, Cheetah snatched a card from the dealer’s hand and ran away, forcing the dealer to reshuffle the deck. Roberts was not the only poker player with a pet ocelot; another famous gambler, Doyle Brunson, also owned Spot. Brunson claimed that Spot was smarter than Cheetah and could even play poker. He said that Spot would sit on his lap, watch the cards, and scratch him if he made a bad move. He also said that Spot would sometimes steal chips from other players and hide them under his fur. He even said that Spot won a tournament alone when Brunson left him alone at the table for a few minutes.
Another remarkable story of pets in gambling is the tale of Oscar, a cat who lived in a nursing home in Rhode Island. Oscar had a mysterious ability to predict when a patient was about to die and would curl up next to them in their final hours. Oscar’s accuracy was so impressive that the staff would call the relatives of the patients whenever they saw him enter a room. Some staff and visitors also used Oscar’s predictions to place bets on who would die next, creating a macabre but lucrative gambling pool. Oscar became so famous that he was featured in several media outlets, including The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and CNN. He even inspired Dr. David Dosa’s book, Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat. In the book, Dosa describes how Oscar changed his views on death and dying and how he helped comfort the families of the dying patients. He also shares some anecdotes about Oscar’s behavior, such as how he would avoid certain rooms where he sensed death was not imminent or how he would sometimes snuggle with other cats or dogs in the nursing home.
Pets are not only involved in gambling as spectators or predictors but sometimes as participants as well. One of the most bizarre examples of this is the phenomenon of hamster racing, which originated in England in the 1990s. Hamster racing is exactly what it sounds like a sport where hamsters run on miniature tracks while people bet on the outcome. Hamster racing became so popular that it even spawned a national championship, where the best hamsters from different regions competed for glory and prizes. Hamster racing was not the only animal racing sport that emerged in England; there were also races involving ferrets, guinea pigs, snails, and worms. Some of these races were held in pubs or clubs, where people could enjoy a drink while watching the furry or slimy competitors. Some of these races were also televised or streamed online, attracting viewers from all over the world. Some of these races even had sponsors and commentators, making them look like professional sports events. Some of these races also had rules and regulations, such as how to train and feed the animals, measure their speed and distance, and prevent cheating or doping.
These are just some of the many stories that show how pets have played a role in gambling throughout history. Pets can be more than just cute and cuddly companions; they can also be sources of luck, inspiration, or entertainment for gamblers. Whether you are a poker, slots, roulette, or hamster racing fan, consider bringing your pet along the next time you visit a casino. You never know what might happen!