Gamblers Anonymous, Part One

Bloggified by Jake on Monday, February 27, 2006

I've given Jimmy Olsen kind of a bad rap lately. Sure, blasting a tree with a powerful laser pistol may not seem like the best way to win friends and influence people to you or me, but that's because we have Jimmy's experience to show us that path leads only to sadness and viking-themed hysteria.

Who did Jimmy have to teach him that lesson? Not a loving father... because seriously who could love--no, I'm doing it again! I've come today not to bury Jimmy Olsen but to explain him... maybe...

Maybe it's not Jimmy's fault. Afterall, he's been nominated for Pulitzers both for his photography and reporting. Likewise, we know Lois Lane is one of the top journalists working anywhere in the world. It's just that somehow they come across as lobotomized cocker spaniels whenever Superman comes around.

My theory is Superman's Kryptonian pheromones somehow disrupt the synapses in the brain, dulling their responses much like alcohol. To test this, we'd have to find the smartest person in the DC Universe and see what effects a short conversation with Superman will yield.

As we all know, Batman was the person who first mentioned quantum gravity to Stephen Hawking and derived a limit to the radiation emitted when black holes collide. If you give Batman enough time to strategize, he can beat God at Connect Four. Hence, who better to test our experiment upon than the Dark Knight?

"The Super-Gamble with Doom" begins with Bruce Wayne listening to a stupid friend relate how he'd inheritted $100,000 and planned to give it to charity, but instead lost it all gambling on Gambler's Isle. Considering this comic was published in 1965, that's roughly the equivalent of seventeenity-trajillion dollars in 2006 money. Now the guy's conscience is bothering him. Too bad it wasn't making any noise when he was trying to decide whether doubling down on eighteen was the best strategy for buying the orphans twice as much oatmeal.

Bruce tells his friend not to worry because the charity may get it's money anyway. He plans to visit the casino as Batman and win the money back, but first consults with Superman, kicking off our experiment.Apparently, Superman thinks Las Vegas built itself into a multi-billion dollar vacation mecca by giving away free money. After three minutes in the presence of Superman's ripe Kryptonian muskiness, Batman shares Supes's misunderstanding of something as simple as a house advantage, believing a casino that wins more often than it loses must be cheating. He then advocates cheating the casino out of the $100,000, justifying it because it's for charity.

As soon as the Batwing lands on Gambler's Isle, Batman spots a man muttering to himself and decides to follow him. You know, since he wasn't busy doing anything else. What's next? Someone else jingles keys and Batman gravitates toward them chuckling, "Shiny..."? I'm not a doctor, so I'm not sure what kinds of actions justify putting kids on Ritilin, but I'm pretty sure "getting distracted by strage muttering men and forgetting they're pulling off a $100,000 casino heist" would qualify.Holy shit! I put a thousand dollars on twelve three different times and it didn't come up any of them! What are the chances of that?

If anyone's wondering, it's about 92%. The only worse investment would have been if he'd sent that $3000 to that Nigerian prince who emailed him about the $5.5 million he needs to transfer into his bank account.

Fortunately, Batman's so certain of his plan to win $100,000, he goes and sets the goal at $103,000. Just another drop in the bucket, right, Bruce?

Despite his belief all the games are rigged, Batman is welcomed by the casino owners, who are happy to have him inspect all the games to assure their customers everything is on the up and up. Still high on Kryptonian sweat particles, Batman comes up with the stupidest goddamned way anyone could ever test the fairness of a roulette wheel.From the pit boss's reply, I have to suspect Superman's pheromones are lingering on Batman's cape. I half-expect Batman to test the fairness of the Pai Gow table by eating the deck of cards.

Of course, I'm not sure what response I expected from the pit boss. I mean, Batman can break any bone in your body in such a way as to prevent it from ever completely healing. I suppose I just wanted more surprise at the suggestion instead of acting like pinhead superheroes come in and ride the games all the time. "Sure," you expect him to shrug, "Green Arrow was just sledding down the fire escape stairs on a giant novelty baccarat chip."

Forget the fact a human body is unevenly balanced and would throw off the ball's even spin. Forget that a hallow plastic sphere probably weighs less than 30 pounds and would be severely affected by the octupling of it's weight. Forget that being inside a roulette ball as it spun around the wheel and finally came to a stop would rival a space shuttle launch, every roller coaster ever made, and Dale Earnhardt's Daytona crash all in about seven seconds.

I don't have any kind of logical explanation or anything. I'm just telling you to forget it.The mathematical law of averages, Batman, states that there is a 1-in-38 chance any given number will come up at any given time. The previous half hour of spins has no bearing on the next spin.

Sadly, Batman has a system. You know what casinos say about guys who have systems?

"Welcome to our casino! May we get you a drink?"

Batman gives $3000 to the muttering, suicidal loser outside, then goes back inside and has continued sucess at blackjack. He also determines the slot machines are fair, but not vulnerable enough to his "knowledge of the laws of chance" to warrant playing them.

Finally, Batman finds just such a game in the form of craps... played with dice the size of Volkswagen Beetles fired out of a cannon.When there's finally an intervention held to confront Bruce Wayne about his gambling addiction, the "betting the right to kidnap you against a million dollars" incident will be prominently featured.

Before Batman can lay his freedom on the line for charity, Superman shows up, back from tossing a supermagnetic meteor into the depths of space while accompanied by a caption box that warns the reader to remember this scene. It might have been more subtle to rubber stamp "FORESHADOWING" in bright red letters across the frame. Superman warns Batman that the gamblers he's playing against are actually aliens who once bet each other as to whether they could convince Superman to murder someone in cold blood.

Having learned he is up against a race of supergamblers... in their own casino... playing with their equipment... in a game that--like every other casino game--gives an advantage to the house (51/49 in the case of craps)... Batman makes the only possible logical decision.I suppose 49% could be considered a "good chance to win" in some circumstances. If I fell out of an airplane with no parachute and was assured I had a 49% chance of hitting the ground and walking away unharmed, I'd be thrilled. However, if I were safe in my seat and received the same odds, I wouldn't be jumping.

Being a man of his word, Batman agrees to go back to the aliens' homeworld with them. They reveal, though, that their atmosphere is lethal to humans within a matter of days, and offer to gamble with Superman for Batman's freedom. He agrees and they take off for the alien planet, ending Act One.

In the intermission, we get an ad for the AMT Munster Koach model which is notable for three reasons:
A) The horrible perspective of this frame. Is Fred Gwynne several feet in front of Johnny or are they side-by-side and his head is the same size as Johnny's torso?
B) The Frankenstein's monster is the second creepiest looking character featured.
C) A seven-year-old boy complimenting Herman Munster on his crank.

Part Two

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