It’s one thing to ascribe great gambling wins to incredible streaks of luck, but I find stories that attribute gambling success to divine intervention particularly intriguing. If gambling is a sin, would God reward a person who commits this sin? The next Monte Carlo story is one that I’ve encountered in multiple sources even thought it’s the hardest one to believe.
A noble lord was having a bad week at the tables and took a break from the casino. He stopped in the church but stayed only through the last verse of the hymn preceding the sermon.
He slipped out and took a stroll toward the casino, the music and words of the tune still in his head. Simply wanting to watch the action, he had no intention of gambling once he entered the game rooms.
From the table to his left, he heard the croupier call out, “Thirty-two!” He suddenly remembered that thirty-two was the number of the last hymn he’d heard in church. From the table to his right, the croupier announced “thirty-two” as the winner. He knew he had something here so he approached the table ahead of him and put all the money he had on him on thirty-two. Of course, he won. He moved from table to table playing the same number until he’d won £500.
He told friends of his story and the story quickly spread around Monte Carlo. The next Sunday the church was packed. The offertory was as large as the church had ever seen as the parishioners contributed a little extra for good luck. Just before the last hymn was announced, there was a hush in the church as everyone bristled with excitement. As soon as the hymn number was announced, there was a mass exodus to the door. Everyone hurried to the casino.
The non-gambling members of the congregation were shocked by this behavior. The church quickly made it a rule that no hymns under 37 would ever be sung again.
What I love most about the story is its inclusion in a short book of gambling systems published in 1902.
“The moral of this, when you have discovered a really good system, keep it to yourself.”