Satire: Let’s Go All-In

Writer’s Note: This is a satire piece originally written for English 519 Humor during the Winter Term. I do not endorse gambling of any kind.

Gambling. Let’s be honest, whether you’re a student or teacher, everyone on this damn campus gambles, or at least has gambled at some point. Most commonly, probably through playing poker — the gentleman’s game. Or maybe you like to spice up other aspects of campus life: betting on JV sports teams, over/under five people who actually did the 30-page history reading, the number of phones that’ll get confiscated at All-School Meeting, the list goes on…

The truth is, gambling really isn’t that bad. However, Andover makes it out to be comparable to the doings of Al Capone and his mob. According to the Blue Book, gambling is a Level 2 offense. Other offenses deemed Level 2 include: threats, sexual misconduct, drugs, and academic dishonesty. Apparently, me swindling my [expletive] friends out of some chump change is on par with sending an email to the entire school saying “8 P.M.. MORSE BASEMENT. SELLING ANSWERS TO CHEMISTRY TESTS (ALL LEVELS)” or running an underground Walter White-type drug operation. 

It’s time to cut all this madness. Permit gambling on campus, and everyone’s happy. 

Many people view gambling as some sort of taboo, almost as if you were to gamble, then you’d suddenly be led down a path of trouble and misery. I vehemently disagree. This mainstream perspective comes from the naive and short-sighted mind. Those who view gambling as an inevitable loss just haven’t gambled enough to reap its incredible benefits. Logically, you can only lose 100 percent of your money, but you can gain over 1,000,000 percent. You do the math, and tell me which is better. Further, using this idea of gambling being an “inevitable loss,” I then struggle to see how gambling is any different from just spending money. In fact, with this logic, gambling actually seems to be better than just spending money. In both cases, I am willingly sacrificing some money — only in gambling, I have the chance to win more back.

I also find it incredibly ironic how this school hosts a CASINO NIGHT, yet condemns all of the behaviors so widely prevalent in a casino environment. No real gambling, no drinking, no fun (only if you get caught, I guess). It’s almost as if Andover is tempting us to gamble, letting us get a sniff of the exhilaration and suspense of seeing if you’ll land the full house on the river when you’re all in, only to punish us when we actually play for real. That makes a lot of sense! I’d like to know how the trustees would feel if I dangled my big bucks to fund a new athletics complex in front of them (earned from gambling, by the way) only to spit in their faces and donate to Phillips Exeter Academy.

I’d further argue that Andover’s culture breeds gamblers. In classes, we’re taught to take risks — to explore our literary craft in English, experiment with different mediums in art, and take classes in subjects we never have before. We as students are constantly weighing risks in our daily lives and asking ourselves questions like: Will I need to memorize this formula for a test? Do I really need to read this book? What are the odds I get caught using ChatGPT? Perhaps we can reframe gambling in a more positive light and think of it closer to “active risk taking” rather than some degenerate sickness.

Realistically though, I can’t complain too much about the current state of gambling on campus. While gambling is technically a disciplinary-worthy offense, it’s nearly impossible to get caught in the act unless you’re just stupid. Either way, I’d still like it to officially be allowed and written in the Blue Book. 

Ultimately, unless someone sees the money being transferred in real life (bless up Venmo), or one of my low-skill victims gets salty enough to snitch, gambling is here to stay. In the meantime, I’ll keep milking money out of my friends in the safety of my dorm room one game at a time. Catch me if you can.