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The Gambler by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, Fiction, Classics

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The Gambler is the tale of a man named Alexei with a passion for -- no, an addiction to -- roulette. In Dostoevsky's own words, ". . . all his vital sap, all his energies, his impetuosity and boldness will be absorbed by roulette. He is a gambler, but not just an ordinary gambler . . . My hero is, in his way, a poet, but he feels ashamed. . .and he feels its ugliness [the The Gambler is the tale of a man named Alexei with a passion for -- no, an addiction to -- roulette. In Dostoevsky's own words, ". . . all his vital sap, all his energies, his impetuosity and boldness will be absorbed by roulette. He is a gambler, but not just an ordinary gambler . . . My hero is, in his way, a poet, but he feels ashamed. . .and he feels its ugliness [the ugliness of his addiction] deeply."


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The Gambler is the tale of a man named Alexei with a passion for -- no, an addiction to -- roulette. In Dostoevsky's own words, ". . . all his vital sap, all his energies, his impetuosity and boldness will be absorbed by roulette. He is a gambler, but not just an ordinary gambler . . . My hero is, in his way, a poet, but he feels ashamed. . .and he feels its ugliness [the The Gambler is the tale of a man named Alexei with a passion for -- no, an addiction to -- roulette. In Dostoevsky's own words, ". . . all his vital sap, all his energies, his impetuosity and boldness will be absorbed by roulette. He is a gambler, but not just an ordinary gambler . . . My hero is, in his way, a poet, but he feels ashamed. . .and he feels its ugliness [the ugliness of his addiction] deeply."

30 review for The Gambler by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, Fiction, Classics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Igrok (Игрок) = The Gambler = Le Joueur, Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general. The novella reflects Dostoyevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoyevsky completed the novella under a strict deadline to pay off gambling debts. The first-person narrative is told from the point of view of Alexei Ivanovich, a tutor working for a Russ Igrok (Игрок) = The Gambler = Le Joueur, Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general. The novella reflects Dostoyevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoyevsky completed the novella under a strict deadline to pay off gambling debts. The first-person narrative is told from the point of view of Alexei Ivanovich, a tutor working for a Russian family living in a suite at a German hotel. The patriarch of the family, The General, is indebted to the Frenchman de Criet and has mortgaged his property in Russia to pay only a small amount of his debt. Upon learning of the illness of his wealthy aunt, "Grandmother", he sends streams of telegrams to Moscow and awaits the news of her demise. His expected inheritance will pay his debts and gain Mademoiselle Blanche de Cominges's hand in marriage. Alexei is hopelessly in love with Polina, the General's stepdaughter. She asks him to go to the town's casino and place a bet for her. After hesitations, he succumbs and ends up winning at the roulette table. He returns to her the winnings but she will not tell him the reason she needs money. She only laughs in his face (as she does when he professes his love) and treats him with cold indifference, if not downright malice. He only learns the details of the General's and Polina's financial state later in the story through his long-time acquaintance, Mr. Astley. Astley is a shy Englishman who seems to share Alexei's fondness of Polina. He comes from English nobility and has a good deal of money. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال هزار و نهصد وهفتاد و پنج میلادی عنوان: قمارباز؛ نویسنده: فئودور میخائیلویچ داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: جلال آل آحمد؛ تهران، کانون معرفت؛ 1327؛ در 167ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، فردوسی، 1363، در 242ص؛ چاپ پنجم 1375؛ و بارها در انتشاراتیهای دیگر چاپ شده است؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه - سده 19 م داستان‌های داستایوسکی، همچون شخصیت خود ایشان، سرگذشت مردمانی عصیانزده، بیمار، و روانپریش است. ویژگی منحصر به فرد، در آثار ایشان روانکاوی و بررسی زوایا، و گوشه و کنار روان شخصیتهای داستان است.«سوررئالیستها»، مانیفست خود را براساس نوشته‌ های «داستایوسکی»، ارائه کردند؛ «قمارباز»، اثر «فیودور داستایوسکی» را، نخستین بار، در سال 1327میلادی، زنده یاد «جلال آل احمد»، از ترجمه ی فرانسوی کتاب، به فارسی برگرداندند.برگردان دیگری نیز، از همین اثر، در همان سالها، از جناب آقای «مهرداد مهرین» وجود دارد، که انتشارات اسکندری آنرا منتشر کرده است.نیز جناب آقای «صالح حسینی»، و سرکار خانم «فهمیه حصارکی»، از نسخه ی ترجمه ی انگلیسی، کتاب را به فارسی برگردانده اند، و جناب آقای «سروش حبیبی» نیز، آنرا، از نسخه ی روسی، با واژه های پارسایی آراسته اند.این داستان روایت اعتیاد نویسنده، به بازی رولت است، نویسنده کتاب را، در بیست و شش روز، نوشته است، و گویا برای بازپرداخت بدهی قمار خویش نیز، در فشار بوده است.؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    Can I possibly not understand myself that I’m a lost man? But—why can’t I resurrect? (141) It is not just the extraordinary psychological depth of the characters nor the engaging story that masterfully manages the element of surprise. This novella had a great impact on me for the simple reason that whenever I read certain passages, I saw him. His obsessions, his fears, his passion for a distant woman, his despair. Dostoyevsky was there, trying to survive. Alexei Ivanovich is a 25 year-old tutor th Can I possibly not understand myself that I’m a lost man? But—why can’t I resurrect? (141) It is not just the extraordinary psychological depth of the characters nor the engaging story that masterfully manages the element of surprise. This novella had a great impact on me for the simple reason that whenever I read certain passages, I saw him. His obsessions, his fears, his passion for a distant woman, his despair. Dostoyevsky was there, trying to survive. Alexei Ivanovich is a 25 year-old tutor that works for a Russian family. The General's family that includes Polina, the woman Alexei loves. They are all living in a suite at some German hotel. Besides them, there is a bunch of other manipulative, self-destructing, unstable characters. Flawed yet colorful, at times. As with life. People that were the inspiration for Dostoyevsky's most amusing remarks, filled with fine irony and a tinge of sarcasm. Just a tad... Alexei is a complete character; lovable, obnoxious. Everything but indifference. Pride (that vanishes when facing his obsession), overly analytical thinking, madness, cynicism, wit, honesty, frankness. It’s really nice when people don’t stand on ceremony, but act in an open and unbuttoned way with each other. And why should one deceive oneself? It’s the most futile and ill-calculated occupation! (17) A frankness that gave me hope. He is not the timid character that keeps everything inside. I mean, I am in love with those characters since they are a mirror to me and let me focus on the many things I need to change. But it is nice to see an energetic, outspoken character developing the quality that one longs for. ...when I talk with you, I want to say everything, everything, everything. I lose all form... Since I have no hope and am a zero in your eyes, I say outright: I see only you everywhere, and the rest makes no difference to me. (34) A frankness that combined with the particular situation of being madly in love with a woman, inspires one of the most unsettling passages of the novella. One that brought to mind all the disgusting justifications that one encounters in life. This book screams reality. The description of the casino, the kinds of gamblers, the desire to win, the abstraction from the world, the eyes fixed on a number, an excuse for every act, the brief sense of reason after a lost bet and the subsequent hunch that the next one will be the one that saves the day. I was as if in a fever and pushed this whole pile of money onto red—and suddenly came to my senses! And for the only time that whole evening, in all that playing, fear sent a chill over me and came back as a trembling in my hands and legs. With terror I sensed and instantly realized what it meant for me now to lose! My whole life was at stake! (111) No, a day is not saved only by the profits so easily made. It is the impulse, the craving for risks. Despair that drives. Chance that sings. The feeling that one is in control of the roulette, of the next move; the elusive luck. Praises for the fearless gambler. However, I don’t remember what I thought about on the way; there were no thoughts. My only sensation was of some terrible pleasure—luck, victory, power—I don’t know how to express it. (114) Every chapter, every paragraph, everything is written with such detail. Vivid descriptions about the parallel universe that inevitably brings disgrace to its inhabitants. Citizens that worship daring ventures. They can deny it. They can lie to themselves as they embrace victory, but deep down they are aware of their deteriorating state. Nothing could be more absurd than moral lessons at such a moment! Oh, self-satisfied people: with what proud self-satisfaction such babblers are ready to utter their pronouncements! If they only knew to what degree I myself understand all the loathsomeness of my present condition, they wouldn’t have the heart to teach me. Well, what, what new thing can they say to me that I don’t know myself? And is that the point? ... What am I now? Zéro. What may I be tomorrow? Tomorrow I may rise from the dead and begin to live anew! I may find the man in me before he’s lost! (133) An ill-fated relationship. Our doomed Russian friend. By trying to defeat destiny through gambling, he ensured his servitude. A slave of everything he loved too much. Of everything he hated but still needed. The roulette. The urge. The impulse. A woman. A brief existence perpetually waiting for fate to change. Waiting for another tomorrow. Dec 13, 15 * Also on my blog.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Not one of his greater works, but one that reveals his adept ability at multi-layered characterization. The story behind the story is almost as interesting - he had to write this on a tight schedule because of his own gambling debts. Always an introspective narrator, with subtle empathy for an imperfect hero (Raskolnikov) Dostoyevsky here was able to describe the feelings, anxiety, and drives of a gambling addict. Not one of his greater works, but one that reveals his adept ability at multi-layered characterization. The story behind the story is almost as interesting - he had to write this on a tight schedule because of his own gambling debts. Always an introspective narrator, with subtle empathy for an imperfect hero (Raskolnikov) Dostoyevsky here was able to describe the feelings, anxiety, and drives of a gambling addict.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    4.0 stars. Fyodor Dostoevsky is a phenomenal writer and an icon of Russian literature. In this story, he has once again written a novel comprised of superb prose, unique characters and some very insightful comments about the human condition. For that, this novel deserves nothing less than 4 stars. HOWEVER, as a native of Las Vegas who has just recently been given the opportunity to read this book after the lifting of the 100 year ban imposed by the State of Nevada on public dissemination of 4.0 stars. Fyodor Dostoevsky is a phenomenal writer and an icon of Russian literature. In this story, he has once again written a novel comprised of superb prose, unique characters and some very insightful comments about the human condition. For that, this novel deserves nothing less than 4 stars. HOWEVER, as a native of Las Vegas who has just recently been given the opportunity to read this book after the lifting of the 100 year ban imposed by the State of Nevada on public dissemination of this book, I must say that I agree with the Nevada founding fathers that some of the conclusions that Dostoevsky draws about the “sin” of gambling ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG. Hopefully, this review will present a more unbiased opinion of the “alternative” investment vehicle and time honored source of happiness and pleasure that is the sport of gambling. The book starts off great. Dostoevsky introduces us to the main character of his short novel, Alexei Ivanovich, and describes him as an intelligent tutor who is working for a Russian family whose patriarch is known as The General. Through his attraction to Polina, a member of The General’s family, Alexei finds himself introduced to the game of roulette when he is asked by Polina to place a wager for her at the local casino. While placing the wager for Polina, Alexei discovers the “narcotic bliss” that comes with engaging in the sport of gambling. So far…so good. Alexei becomes involved in an extremely unhealthy relationship with Polina in which she is constantly berating him and compelling to take inappropriate actions. For example, she entices him to get into a verbal altercation with a Baron and Baroness which ends up having long ranging consequences for many of the characters in the story. In order to deal with the many struggles that Alexei finds himself going through, he eventually finds solace in the joys of wagering at the roulette wheel. Again, so far, so good. Gambling can be a great escape from life’s little troubles. However, this is where Dostoevsky, in my opinion and the opinion of casino executives around the world, really departs from reality. He portrays Alexei’s gambling as being a negative influence on the rest of his life. Alexei stops reading and keeping track of current events and becomes single-minded in his pursuit of winning at the roulette table. In other professional sports, this would be called COMMITMENT, but Dostoevsky implies that Alexei is obsessed. Now, it IS true that Alexei’s gambling eventually leads to his loss of all his money and social standing in the community and this turn of events is highlighted by Mr. Dostoevsky as proof of the wrongness of gambling. What the author fails to focus on is that Alexei is clear that he never felt as alive in his life as when he was at the roulette wheel and had an ABSOLUTE BLAST until his money ran out. I would say as a form of entertainment, Alexei got plenty of bang for his many bucks. Still, all Dostoevsky wanted to focus on was the pain that followed Alexei loss of money and his inability to find an alternative means of making a living. Now, to each their own. However, from where I am standing gambling has been very good to the city of Las Vegas and I don’t like seeing its reputation dragged through the mud based on spurious information. Therefore, I would like to finish this review by providing you with the following and ask only that you consider it with an open mind. TOP TEN MYTHS ABOUT GAMBLING*** ***As compiled by the Las Vegas Casino Executive Bonus and Stock Option Institute 1. Gambling destroys families. Truth: Gambling can bring a family together like nothing else. 2. Gambling can be an unhealthy and dangerous addiction. Truth: As the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce has made clear, only when someone LOSES at gambling, is it considered a problem. 3. Gambling can lead to drug addiction. Truth: Shooting smack, snorting cocaine and smoking crack and/or meth are illegal in OVER 80% of Las Vegas casinos (unless you are a CELEBRITY or a REALLY HIGH ROLLER from overseas); thus you are actually prevented from taking drugs while engaged in gambling. 4. Gambling can cost you friends and lead to loneliness. Truth: PLEASE…do these people look lonely? 5. Gambling costs you money. Truth: Gambling has made many people, LOTS and LOTS of money. 6. Gambling can make you very unhappy and lead to depression. Truth: REEEAALLLLYYYYYY!! 7. Gambling can make you forget who you are a become a different person. Truth: Is that such a bad thing is some cases? 8. Gambling is for losers. Truth: Gambling is for PLAYAS. 9. Gambling can take over your life. Truth: As this visual evidence clearly demonstrates, this woman is going to stop gambling for more than an hour to attend her own wedding...from where I am sitting, it doesn’t look like she is letting gambling stop her from living her life. 10. Gambling is done in an unhealthy environment. Truth: Casinos take their patrons’ health and safety VERY seriously. *******REWARD CLUB BONUS******* In our effort to continue to give you value for your $$, here is a bonus 11th Myth because Vegas is famous for handing out free stuff... 11. You can't make a career out of being a Gambler. Truth: Oodles of gold records, a chain of chicken restaurants and a pack of TV movies (despite no acting ability) begs to differ with you.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Gambling addiction, the great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky knew too well about this affliction, he had to write this short novel very quickly, in order to pay for the debts acquired as a result... Our story begins in 1866, with passionate Alexei Ivanovich (The Gambler) , an unhappy tutor to retired Russian General Sagorjanski's two young children, the formerly rich soldier squandered it all, to much high living and reckless spending, no matter how wealthy a person is, when the money flows out faste Gambling addiction, the great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky knew too well about this affliction, he had to write this short novel very quickly, in order to pay for the debts acquired as a result... Our story begins in 1866, with passionate Alexei Ivanovich (The Gambler) , an unhappy tutor to retired Russian General Sagorjanski's two young children, the formerly rich soldier squandered it all, to much high living and reckless spending, no matter how wealthy a person is, when the money flows out faster than it comes in, the inevitable consequences occur, bankruptcy (as Benjamin Franklin said it long ago , " A Fool and his money are soon parted"). The General receives loans from the mysterious Frenchman, the Marquis des Grieux, a sophisticated nobleman but has quite a sinister reputation, no amount of beautiful manners can hide, besides everyone in Roulettenburg, ( Baden-Baden) Germany, a spa and gambling resort town , dominated by the casino, and the Roulette table dominates that, and the desperate visitors inside seem to be all royal...The poor Russian teacher Alexei, is smitten by the General's stepdaughter the beauty Polina Alexandra Praskouja, in her early twenties, like himself, she is rumored to be involved with the prosperous Marquis des Grieux though , and likes to tease and play games for her own outrageous amusement, the tutor being the target. The love obsessed man even insults a German baron, at her request. Another player is the Englishman, quiet Mr. Astley, the fabulously wealthy businessman, with of course noble blood, much richer than the Frenchman, but the shyest man around, who befriends Alexei, he naturally needs to meet and be introduced to Polina. Yet another important character is the General's Aunt Antonida, "Granny", seventy-five, said to be in poor health in Moscow, she is very affluent and will leave her fortune to her closest relative, the hopeful nephew the General , who constantly sends telegrams to get the latest news... You can imagine the consternation that follows, when this supposedly dying lady shows up at the resort hotel and surprises everyone there, they are speechless, Mlle Blanche the gold digging woman and considerably younger fiancee of the retired military officer walks out, not unexpectedly ... The invalid old woman likes to intimidate the people in her presence, they do as they are told, after all she has lots of money, but this is a gambling town and the fever can be caught by anyone... Too bad this novella wasn't longer , the characters are not well developed and the plot flies by too fast , but I am a big fan of this talented author and have only read his lengthy novels before, any book by Dostoyevsky, is well worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    B0nnie

    You can be seized in an instant by the forces of addiction and obsession. It happened to Dostoyevsky - he became addicted to gambling after one impulsive stop at a roulette table - and it took place while he already was in the grip of an obsession. The object of his obsession: the beautiful Apollinaria Suslova, one of his students and 20 years his junior. This femme fatale appears in various forms in many of Dostoyevsky's novels. In The Gambler she is Polina Alexandrovna. He's in there too, as You can be seized in an instant by the forces of addiction and obsession. It happened to Dostoyevsky - he became addicted to gambling after one impulsive stop at a roulette table - and it took place while he already was in the grip of an obsession. The object of his obsession: the beautiful Apollinaria Suslova, one of his students and 20 years his junior. This femme fatale appears in various forms in many of Dostoyevsky's novels. In The Gambler she is Polina Alexandrovna. He's in there too, as the narrator Alexis Ivanovitch. The crazy intensity of his feelings were perhaps what enabled him to write this book in 26 days. And also the fact that if he didn't have a book ready in that time he would have lost all the rights to all of his work. He was in middle of writing Crime and Punishment too. But Apollinaria took zero interest in his writing. Maybe an occasional "Zis book steenks". The characters in The Gambler are wonderfully awful. Grandmamma is the best of the lot: Yes, it was she—rich, and imposing, and seventy-five years of age—Antonida Vassilievna Tarassevitcha, landowner and grande dame of Moscow—the "La Baboulenka" who had caused so many telegrams to be sent off and received—who had been dying, yet not dying—who had, in her own person, descended upon us even as snow might fall from the clouds! Though unable to walk, she had arrived borne aloft in an armchair (her mode of conveyance for the last five years), as brisk, aggressive, self-satisfied, bolt-upright, loudly imperious, and generally abusive as ever. Every person whom she met she scanned with an inquisitive eye, after first of all interrogating me about him or her at the top of her voice. She was stout of figure, and, though she could not leave her chair, one felt, the moment that one first looked at her, that she was also tall of stature. Her back was as straight as a board, and never did she lean back in her seat. Also, her large grey head, with its keen, rugged features, remained always erect as she glanced about her in an imperious, challenging sort of way, with looks and gestures that clearly were unstudied. Though she had reached her seventy-sixth year, her face was still fresh, and her teeth had not decayed. Lastly, she was dressed in a black silk gown and white mobcap. The old lady becomes almost instantly addicted to roulette. Hilarity ensues. The descriptions of the casino and the game are detailed and very real, and the commentaries on the various traits of nationality are, well, interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    I hope to someday tackle Dostoyevsky's doorstopper novels like Brothers Karamazov & Demons but have generally stuck to his shorter work in the past - things like Notes from Underground & White Nights. The Gambler continues this trend. The fact it's called The Gambler, and is set in a town called Roulettenberg means it doesn't take a genius to figure out the game at the centre of the novel. A game I've never played because I have zero interest in gambling or casinos. So, did this make the novel in I hope to someday tackle Dostoyevsky's doorstopper novels like Brothers Karamazov & Demons but have generally stuck to his shorter work in the past - things like Notes from Underground & White Nights. The Gambler continues this trend. The fact it's called The Gambler, and is set in a town called Roulettenberg means it doesn't take a genius to figure out the game at the centre of the novel. A game I've never played because I have zero interest in gambling or casinos. So, did this make the novel in anyway appear uninteresting to me? Simple answer: no. Because there is so much more going on on a physiological level within the characters than simply placing bets and spinning the wheel. I'd say more heads get spinned. And one thing that didn't surprise me, this being Dostoyevsky, is that the narrator was a wreck, driven by nothing but hope as he lives in a constant quiver of anxiety. For the most part the tone here is one of sordidness, which comes from the comedy of manners that Dostoevsky excels in. Humorous just as often as he is gloomy, his more primp characters in The Gambler spend an inordinate amount of time wracked by self-consciousness, in a narrative that is driven by an awareness of the distinction between vulgar gambling for money and the kind a gentleman can engage in, where the money doesn’t matter. This work is drooling with the kind of details that one assumes are somewhat autobiographical (he wrote this in a ridiculously short space of time in order to cover his many debts) and overall I found it an interesting book where the actual gambling came second to the first-rate telling of a degenerate. One thing I also noticed it that his characters are more recognisable from English or French literature than those who are profoundly Russian. In a way, it didn't feel like a Russian novel at all. Apart from some of the names of course. Who knows just how good this could have been had he made it longer and not rushed it. But as rushed novels go, it's pretty darn good.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Not one of Dostoevsky’s greatest works, The Gambler was written fast, for cash, as he had gambling debts, so he knew what he was talking about in this one! It is not the most developed of his works (and I may be somewhat influenced by the stuffy translation, and hearing it read via audiotape), but there are moments in it that are still great. My greatest attraction to it is the autobiographical aspect, that Dostoevsky was drawn to gambling, and brought to the brink of ruin again and again by it. Not one of Dostoevsky’s greatest works, The Gambler was written fast, for cash, as he had gambling debts, so he knew what he was talking about in this one! It is not the most developed of his works (and I may be somewhat influenced by the stuffy translation, and hearing it read via audiotape), but there are moments in it that are still great. My greatest attraction to it is the autobiographical aspect, that Dostoevsky was drawn to gambling, and brought to the brink of ruin again and again by it. In that sense, it is a psychological portrait of his own obsession and anxiety. “But gamblers know how a man can sit for almost twenty-four hours at cards, without looking to right, or to left.” It feels somewhat existentialist at times as illusion, shame, despair, and the specter of ruin are always here. “'You've turned to wood,' he observed, 'you've not only renounced life, your own interests and society's, your duty as a citizen and a human being, your friends, you've not only renounced any goal whatsoever apart from winning, but you've even renounced your memories. I remember you in an ardent and strong moment of your life; but I'm sure you've forgotten all your best impressions then; your dreams, your most essential desires at present don't go beyond pair and impair, rouge, noir, the twelve middle numbers, and so on, and so forth--I'm sure of it!'” Alexey Ivanovitch is a young tutor working in the household of a Russian general. He wants to move up in class, but his desperation undermines him. This is complicated by an affair he has with the General’s niece, Polina, who is also pursued by other, richer guys. I wasn’t interested at all in the romantic intrigues that took up much of the book. I fairly rushed ahead to read the gambling sequences, which are great. I have some (not much) experience in casinos, and I know a little of the heart-racing thrill of (stupid) risk-taking. I read James McManus’s study of risk-taking behavior set in Vegas, Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker. I also read Jon Krakauer’s study of risk, Into the Wild. Dostoevsky’s nineteenth century story is a kind of classic study of risk-taking addiction and of course it’s ironic, since he identifies the disorder, while still addicted. “Can I possibly not understand myself that I'm a lost man? But--why can't I resurrect? Yes! it only takes being calculating and patient at least once in your life and--that's all! It only takes being steadfast at least once, and in an hour I can change my whole destiny!” The best character in the book is Alexey’s Grandmother, who rages against gambling; that is, until she tries it herself. She (sort of) comically loses everything in the process, as if to have Dostoevsky say through her: “Dear reader, you sit smugly on your pompous throne, but just try it!” There are a few such portraits of ruin here, but hers is my favorite. “Nothing could be more absurd than moral lessons at such a moment! Oh, self-satisfied people: with what proud self-satisfaction such babblers are ready to utter their pronouncements! If they only knew to what degree I myself understand all the loathsomeness of my present condition, they wouldn't have the heart to teach me.” Dostoevsky’s greatest works are The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot, and The Gambler doesn’t approach the level of those masterpieces, the depths of ruin depicted in those books, but it is still a classic. I read this primarily because I wanted to look back at the sources for degradation and despair in Dostoevsky for twentieth century noir writers, but the three works above are better sources for those experiences than this book. But it still has some great moments!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    The small black ball rolls, rolls, makes small goat jumps before stopping in a hut. Those who are around, who follow his farandole, hold their breath and perhaps close their eyes so as not to see. All are subject to this "chance". Will they lose or to win ? To lose and win again or turn your back and go? Dostoyevsky tells one of his protagonists that it takes courage to turn his heels and run away from the table. Alexei Ivanovich, in spite of all his promises, ended up turning, like Lot's wife. The small black ball rolls, rolls, makes small goat jumps before stopping in a hut. Those who are around, who follow his farandole, hold their breath and perhaps close their eyes so as not to see. All are subject to this "chance". Will they lose or to win ? To lose and win again or turn your back and go? Dostoyevsky tells one of his protagonists that it takes courage to turn his heels and run away from the table. Alexei Ivanovich, in spite of all his promises, ended up turning, like Lot's wife. Struck immobilized, as stuck to his condition as a player he can do nothing for himself. For is not the small black marble the hand of destiny striking at random and sealing the human to its condition? Can he change it? Dostoevsky traces an implacable fatality in the soul of his characters. They are all in the bath of the game of life. They are pawns, numbers that have the illusion of having free will, a fierce will to control their existence. But this is only a sham. Dostoevsky asks in this little novel: Why all this agitation? For the absurdity of life? Full of lies, of false pretenses, of little glory? How can we bear all this, if not by making fun of it? Laughing ? Alexei Ivanovich often laughed at himself. It is full of rush with a touch of cynicism. Young man very intelligent and lucid, he gets carried away by his destiny as a straw tossed by the wind. Because he always believes to "redo", like all players. However, he has doubts about his mental health. Perhaps in fact he is not in this spa town in Germany but in an asylum for insane and he writes what he believes to live? Here is a little comical and pathetic story that has its share of cruelty and darkness. Everything goes fast, sometimes we believe in a farce: a penniless Russian general that awaits the death of the grandmother to get its hands on the inheritance. For it is a Russian general aging, love with a young half-worldly Parisian greedy. The decor is planted. The general neglects his children, makes debts; owes money to a French crook, Des Grieux, who said of noble descent. And the grandmother whom everyone had already buried, arrives. The effervescence rises a notch. Alexei Ivanovich is the preceptor of the children of the general. He is consumed with a violent passion for the daughter-in-law of the latter: Polina. His supposed rivals are Des Grieux and Mr Astley, his English friend. But the fervent Alexei is a player at heart. Player of his feelings, his desires, his life in general. With, when the opportunity presents itself, an almost frightening renunciation. Rather a desperate plume. Dostoevsky was for a long time an addict of the game. When he dictated "the Player" he was still pacing the tables of the casinos; Therefore, it is also a hollow confession. Fyodor Dostoevsky says: Alexei Ivanovich is me. It carries my madness, my bitterness, my splendor, my lucidity, my contradictions and my devouring passions. He embodies the Russian soul. Dostoevsky, even though he encompasses the "Russian spirit," is fierce with his contemporaries and with himself. The abyss ... always the abyss ... He dictated this novel very quickly, not taking the trouble to write it. I can only thank the translator for having delivered it as it is, without seeking to correct "to make beautiful literature"; It is anyway sparkling. The tongue vibrone, modern, brute, hooked to the thought of Alexei Ivanovich, the narrator; We are hanging on his lips. It's a whirlwind, a crazy roulette movement. Unfinished speeches, rehearsals, verbal ping-pong, thoughts unfolded in one spray. Like thrown on a gambling table. A narrative that ends abruptly as if everything had been wagered.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    On the second reading I'm forced to change my entire opinion on this book. This was my introduction to Dostoevsky. I didn't know at first what to expect. Unfortunately, I read that this is not one of the best works by him. All must have influenced my perspective on the book. But after falling in love with Dostoevsky, I wanted to revisit the book to see if I had done justice to it. On this revisit, I realized that I have not done enough justice to the book. It is an interesting story. It talks ab On the second reading I'm forced to change my entire opinion on this book. This was my introduction to Dostoevsky. I didn't know at first what to expect. Unfortunately, I read that this is not one of the best works by him. All must have influenced my perspective on the book. But after falling in love with Dostoevsky, I wanted to revisit the book to see if I had done justice to it. On this revisit, I realized that I have not done enough justice to the book. It is an interesting story. It talks about addiction, obsession, frustration, anger, arrogance - the human vices that threatens the sanity and peace of the human mind. The story's protagonist is Alexey Ivanovitch, a tutor by profession and a gambling addict. His addiction coupled with his obsession of Polina, (the stepdaughter of the Russian General in whose household he had employed himself as a tutor) makes him an emotional slave which slowly leads to his ruination. I enjoyed Dostoyevsky's psychological portrait of the main protagonist Alexey. His conflicting emotions, wavering between his addiction and obsession was so thoroughly and accurately described. Dostoyevsky's own gambling addiction must have helped him with such accuracy. It made the character real and the reader feels sympathy for him. Even in the other characters, Dostoyevsky does a wonderful job of bringing out their characteristics and emotions so well. Polina's enigmatic self, Blanche's shallowness, De Grier's cunning nature, the General's depression coupled with his obsessive love and even Mr. Astley's steadfastness add contrast and color to the story. The ending is vague but promising. The author raises hope of Alexey finding his former self with his new gained knowledge on Polina's feelings towards him. Overall, I enjoyed this interesting short work by Dostoevsky. Undeniably, he is one of the greatest story tellers in the literary world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Felek

    Oh Russian literature, how I love thee!

  12. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    The William Tell Overture: An Alphabetical Anecdote. a) I used to live in student accommodation in the city of Edinburgh, sometimes dubbed “city of literature,” despite more people buying DVDs than books per annum. b) I spent my days in a box room writing mediocre essays about Austen and Dickens. c) In my spare time, I wrote appalling 900-page tracts about sexual frustration. I used self-deprecating humour to make life seem less terrible. d) This technique doesn’t have the same efficacy in my mi The William Tell Overture: An Alphabetical Anecdote. a) I used to live in student accommodation in the city of Edinburgh, sometimes dubbed “city of literature,” despite more people buying DVDs than books per annum. b) I spent my days in a box room writing mediocre essays about Austen and Dickens. c) In my spare time, I wrote appalling 900-page tracts about sexual frustration. I used self-deprecating humour to make life seem less terrible. d) This technique doesn’t have the same efficacy in my mid-twenties. e) But. f) During the second term a new student moved in. This student loved classical music, usually the happy bombast of Beethoven’s Ninth and similar. He would play his music at ludicrous volumes, shocked some bepimpled Scot might scorn the beauty of Beety. g) I scorned. h) Later, when our acquaintanceship was reaching its peak of begrudging tolerance, he got a girlfriend. i) At night, horrors emerged from his room. j) When sleeping with his girlfriend, he would sing embarrassing sexual songs to the William Tell Overture. Among the most horrible, sung by them both in their giggling lunacy, was: Put it in, put it in, put it in, put it in in in, put it in, put it in, put it in in in, put it in, put it in, put it in in in, put it iiiiiiiiiiiinnnnn . . . put it in in in! k) And so on. l) This really happened. m) This setup became so dire, I would find replacement accommodation for the next term. n) And seek counselling. o) I can no longer enjoy the William Tell Overture. p) I read this book when all this was happening.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elham

    I’ve never been an addict to anything – at least anything harmful. But I might have been one if I were in the right place to be an addict of something. I might have been an addict of drugs; as I know myself I have never felt that I should care so much to be healthy - especially when I was younger. I’ve never been a drug addict simply because I never had drugs around myself. My surroundings, my circles of social friends were always drug-free. I have also never been a gambler and at this time – be I’ve never been an addict to anything – at least anything harmful. But I might have been one if I were in the right place to be an addict of something. I might have been an addict of drugs; as I know myself I have never felt that I should care so much to be healthy - especially when I was younger. I’ve never been a drug addict simply because I never had drugs around myself. My surroundings, my circles of social friends were always drug-free. I have also never been a gambler and at this time – before reading The Gambler- I didn’t know how it felt to be a gambler, how it felt to gain lots of money – to be so sO SO rich in just one night or in contrast to lose whole your wealth, the whole money you have already achieved in all your life. How does it really feel? Do people lose their minds? Are they nuts? At those moments what is their purposes? Whenever they gain lots of money, why the hell they come back to gamble again? Whenever they’re losing their money, step by step, more and more, why do they continue? Why do they make risks? What the fuck. When I was around fifteen, I loved chocolate very much. I eat it each day, I eat it so much. I think I was chocking myself by chocolate. But one day I felt I didn’t like it anymore. I hated it. I felt nausea even when I saw it at the stores. My question is, whenever people are addicting something is there a point for them which they hate that especial thing? A point where they feel they are saturated and they hate themselves and want to quit. Is there a point for a gambler to feel like that? After reading The Gambler, I think not. The Gambler isn’t only about addiction, maybe even Dostoyevsky didn’t intend to imply that. It’s full of foolishness, desires, passions and Chance. In fact I think the gambler is addicted to chance, is in love with chance and wants to die for chance. It’s for chance which he/she can do nonstop a play which has no reasonable basis but chance, disturbed probabilities and unabated greed. All the addicts are losers, but there’s a difference between a gambler and any other addicts: he/she can always have the chance to be a winner.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melania 🍒

    3,5/5 A good book, for sure, but too short, I believe. This is my second Dostoyevsky read and certainly not the last. I feel that my relation with Russian literature is going to be long and fruitful .

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I am not a gambler, so why am I reading a book about people obsessed with gambling? To understand those people, how they think, to see if I can understand their obsession, at least to feel this obsession. Furthermore I was interested in this book because it is partially autobiographical. Dostoyevsky was obsessed by gambling and he too was obsessed by a woman - Apollinaria Suslova. The book is based on his own addiction to gambling while he was in love with Apollinaria Suslova. The central theme I am not a gambler, so why am I reading a book about people obsessed with gambling? To understand those people, how they think, to see if I can understand their obsession, at least to feel this obsession. Furthermore I was interested in this book because it is partially autobiographical. Dostoyevsky was obsessed by gambling and he too was obsessed by a woman - Apollinaria Suslova. The book is based on his own addiction to gambling while he was in love with Apollinaria Suslova. The central theme of the book is namely obsession! The characters names are changed. Do I now better understand the world of gambling? Yes, it is a whole other world of rules and regulations. A whole other way of being. While I can understand why you might try over and over again to recapture your losses, I could not understand the urge to win more and more and more. Horrified, I backed away and just wanted the winners to be satisfied. But they wouldn't, or they couldn't. They had to have more and more and more, until their luck had turned and it was all gone. Here it is roulette that is played. Is it a failure of the book that I couldn't understand that need for more? Is there humor? There certainly is! When you start the book you are simply thrown in; you don't know who is who. Figuring this out is in fact fun. You soon understand how these people are connected, and then you meet "The Grandmother". She is a fabulous character. Wait till you see what happens to her?! Dostoyevsky throws about characters of many different nationalities. This is amusing too. The gambling occurs predominantly in Germany, in a fictitious town. The narration by Simon Prebble was good too. There is quite a bit of untranslated French, and it is read quickly, so it helps if you can cope with this. I got satisfaction from understanding the rapid ejaculations in French. Prebble's voice for the Grandmother, is extremely base, but some older women can sound this way. I did like the book, but I am not a gambler, and the topic is restricted to gambling and to obsession. Very glad I read it. Why? For its humor and for feeling the frenzy and craziness that captures a gambler. Do I have to give it four stars to push you to read it?!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    Just after I read this book, I watched the movie Alex and Emma, in which Luke Wilson writes a book that plagiarizes this story. It made me very uncomfortable. As far as I know (and I watched pretty carefully) the movie did not cite Dostoyevsky at any point. It also made me feel weird about myself that I am a person who would read a novella by Dostoyevsky (because I just can't get enough) and then go watch a pretty lame romantic comedy with Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson because it sounded like a go Just after I read this book, I watched the movie Alex and Emma, in which Luke Wilson writes a book that plagiarizes this story. It made me very uncomfortable. As far as I know (and I watched pretty carefully) the movie did not cite Dostoyevsky at any point. It also made me feel weird about myself that I am a person who would read a novella by Dostoyevsky (because I just can't get enough) and then go watch a pretty lame romantic comedy with Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson because it sounded like a good idea. I couldn't confess to the Dostoyevsky crowd that I watched the Kate Hudson movie, and I couldn't confess to the romantic comedy crowd the outrage I felt over obvious plagiarism. I'm glad I could finally get this off my chest. *sharp intake of breath* I just imdb'd the author of the screenplay for Alex and Emma, Jeremy Leven (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0505230/), and he also wrote the screenplay for my second most hated movie, The Notebook. I hope we can all agree to boycott his future movies out of respect for the sanctity of author ownership.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This was a fun, short novel. Dostoevsky drops the reader into the middle of the story with no introduction to the characters; names are used and you have to figure out who the characters are and how they're related to each other as you read. For this reason it took me a few pages to "get into" the story because I was terribly confused about what was happening. However, once I had a handle on the characters and setting, it quickly became a humorous and enjoyable read. In fact, I enjoyed it so muc This was a fun, short novel. Dostoevsky drops the reader into the middle of the story with no introduction to the characters; names are used and you have to figure out who the characters are and how they're related to each other as you read. For this reason it took me a few pages to "get into" the story because I was terribly confused about what was happening. However, once I had a handle on the characters and setting, it quickly became a humorous and enjoyable read. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that when I finished the book I returned to the very beginning and re-read the first chapter or two (which made more sense the second time, now that I knew the characters and setting). The book takes the form of a journal written by the main character, Alexei Ivanovitch, who is a tutor to the children of a man only referred to as the General. Alexei is passionately in love with the General's stepdaughter, Polina (it is a fatuous love, obsessive yet shallow), who is constantly switching between hating him and enjoying his company. The General hopes that his mother (known simply as "the Grandmother") will die and leave him a vast fortune so he can marry an attractive French woman who wants the money. The focus of the story is on gambling: It first focuses on the Grandmother's exploits and then turns to the main character, Alexei. Reading this book was like being on emotional rollercoaster. I loved Dostoevsky's description of the events and the people at the roulette table. I could never tell whether the character was going to come into money or lose it all, and I got caught up in their emotional seesawing. (The characters were quite dramatic and somewhat bipolar. I would hate to know people like them.) This is ultimately a story about people who constantly fluctuate from high-highs and low-lows as they make bad decisions... In that sense, it reminds me of some of George Orwell's novels (e.g., Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Down and Out in Paris and London) where the characters make bad decisions, but then come into some luck, and then lose everything again as they make an even worse decision. (This is obviously apparent in gambling, but in The Gambler this describes not only the characters' experiences while gambling, but also their more meaningful life decisions.) In short, this was a humorous and engaging novel. It was also very short and quick to read. The first few chapters are difficult to follow because the reader is essentially dropped into the middle of a story with no background information, but once that information is acquired it's a great read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susana

    (review in English below) Que desilusão!... Depois de ter sido arrebatada por Crime e Castigo, esta leitura foi um autêntico balde de água fria. Logo no início, senti-me atirada para o meio duma situação que não compreendia, com personagens cujas relações entre si me pareciam estranhas. Depois, quando as coisas começaram a encaixar, percebi que eram todos doidos, ou pelo menos bipolares. A história não me despertava qualquer interesse e só animou um pouco com a chegada da avó, com a sua própria dos (review in English below) Que desilusão!... Depois de ter sido arrebatada por Crime e Castigo, esta leitura foi um autêntico balde de água fria. Logo no início, senti-me atirada para o meio duma situação que não compreendia, com personagens cujas relações entre si me pareciam estranhas. Depois, quando as coisas começaram a encaixar, percebi que eram todos doidos, ou pelo menos bipolares. A história não me despertava qualquer interesse e só animou um pouco com a chegada da avó, com a sua própria dose de loucura, embora com a desculpa da idade. As cenas no casino aborreceram-me, já não podia ver "fredericos", "táleres", "florins", "luíses"... Tenciono ler outras obras de Dostoievski, mas esta não recomendo... Such a disappointment!... After being swept away by Crime and Punishment, this reading was like a cold bucket of water. In the beginning, I felt I'd been thrown into the middle of a situation I didn't understand, with characters whose relations seemed odd to me. Then, when things started falling into place, I realized they were all crazy, or at least bipolar. The story didn't interest me and it only lifted a little bit when granny arrived, with her own amount of madness, though she had her age as an excuse. The scenes at the casino were boring, I couldn't stand any more references to the different kinds of currency... I intend to read other works by Dostoievski, but I couldn't recommend this one...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    A short but compelling classic, The Gambler is well-written, insightful and incredibly interesting as a story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    The Gambler is populated by a cast a very colorful characters. There is the narrator Alexei, who is tutor to the children of a Russian General who is traveling Western Europe, the General, who is massively in debt to a Frenchman and hopelessly smitten with a French woman, Polina, the General's step-daughter and whom Alexei has an unhealthy attraction to, the Frenchman de Griers whom the General is massively in debt to, and many others. In a way this cast reminded me of Seinfeld. None of the peopl The Gambler is populated by a cast a very colorful characters. There is the narrator Alexei, who is tutor to the children of a Russian General who is traveling Western Europe, the General, who is massively in debt to a Frenchman and hopelessly smitten with a French woman, Polina, the General's step-daughter and whom Alexei has an unhealthy attraction to, the Frenchman de Griers whom the General is massively in debt to, and many others. In a way this cast reminded me of Seinfeld. None of the people are particularly good people. They are all petty, shortsighted, and woefully unsympathetic in their own ways. Alexei is obsessed with Polina to a very unhealthy degree. She is disdainful towards him and is instead beholden in some way to the Frenchman who himself is pompous and condescending towards the Russians. The General is a total wimp and hoping his Aunt dies soon so he can inherit her fortune, pay off his debts, and marry a much younger french woman. In short they aren't the sort of people you would want to rub elbows with yet would watch from a distance like a train wreck. That being said, why would you want to read a book about them? Well, just as all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way, all these terrible people fail miserably in their own way. Dostoyevsty's prose and story keeps the reader invested in what next disaster would befall them and what sort of crazy twists of circumstances will throw them for a loop. Plus we get to see them each punished in their own particular way (except Mr. Astley, he is a cool dude and far above the petty fray these characters find themselves in. But then again, when you are as English and rich as Mr. Astley you can afford to be). All in all this classic nicely highlights the consequences of relying on unlikely results to fix all of your problems, be that at the gambling houses or in real life. By the end most of the characters are miserable in their own way and they need not look and farther than the mirror to properly asign the blame.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

    3.5 stars. Well, it's much better than Crime & Punishment, that's for sure. I'm still not blown away by Dostoyevsky's writing style, but the first impression is definitely improved. I'll probably read more of his works in the future, like The Idiot which is on my TBR list. Good thing is I don't dislike his books like I used to. Alexei Ivanovich is an intelligent tutor who is working for a Russian family whose patriarch is known as The General. Through his attraction to Polina, a stepdaughter of T 3.5 stars. Well, it's much better than Crime & Punishment, that's for sure. I'm still not blown away by Dostoyevsky's writing style, but the first impression is definitely improved. I'll probably read more of his works in the future, like The Idiot which is on my TBR list. Good thing is I don't dislike his books like I used to. Alexei Ivanovich is an intelligent tutor who is working for a Russian family whose patriarch is known as The General. Through his attraction to Polina, a stepdaughter of The General, he's introduced to the game of roulette. While making stakes for Polina, Alexei discovers the addictive bliss of gambling. Along the way you meet "The Grandmother" and she's a fabulous character. Characters are unique and Dostoyevsky makes some insightful comments on addiction. He was able to faithfully describe the feelings and anxiety of a gambling addict. Large amounts of humor are also present. The book takes the form of a journal written by Alexei and this is ultimately a story about people who constantly fluctuate from highs and lows as they make bad choices. The premise is excellent, but the writing wasn't engaging. By the end of the novella, Alexei stops keeping track of current events and becomes single-minded in his pursuit of winning at the roulette table. He never felt as alive in his life as when he was gambling until his money ran out and he felt all downsides of his doings. He was very good narrator, though often two-dimensional, which kind of is part of Dostoyevsky's charm I suppose. I also liked the tension between the Gambler and Polina, their bond was exceptional and unhealthy. Polina constantly bullied him and compelled him to take inappropriate and even dangerous actions, while constantly switching between hating him and enjoying his company. Their relationship was the best part of the book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Junta

    The (Online Sports) Gambler Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results. January 22, 2016 Alexei Chabonovich joined the popular betting site, sportsbets.com.au/. The Australian Open for tennis was being held, and he decided to try his luck at betting on sports, something he had taken an interest in recently after hearing some friends' stories about their betting successes and anecdotes. In registration, he referred a friend who was already a site membe The (Online Sports) Gambler Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results. January 22, 2016 Alexei Chabonovich joined the popular betting site, sportsbets.com.au/. The Australian Open for tennis was being held, and he decided to try his luck at betting on sports, something he had taken an interest in recently after hearing some friends' stories about their betting successes and anecdotes. In registration, he referred a friend who was already a site member, which gave the friend an extra $100 as a 'Bonus Bet' (free betting money, though with smaller returns than usual). Chabonovich deposited $100 into his account - as a young man who valued rationality and analytical thinking, and moreover one who was a competitive chess player, he was quietly confident that he had a talent for gambling; at the start, to learn the tricks of the trade, he may incur some losses (well, only small amounts) but soon, he would be seeing profits and it would be a good way to make money on the side, while having some fun and feeling the excitement of risk-taking. He decided to record all his bets in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet so he could find trends, and of course keep a tab on the profits/losses. Bet 1 - Gavrilova to beat Mladenovic - $20.00: Success. +$17.20 Wonderful - how easy making money was! Chabonovich had had a feeling that Gavrilova, recently migrated to Australia, would do well in front of the home crowd. Bet 2 - Kyrgios to beat Berdych - $20.00: Failure. -$20.00 Chabonovich thought there were decent chances for Kyrgios to upset the veteran (the odds were quite appealing), but he was completely outplayed. Oh well - you win some and lose some. Chabonovich was surprised to see that even chess was featured on the website, and he decided to place some bets on the annual Tata Steel tournament held in the Netherlands, where many of the world's top players competed. Bet 3 - Karjakin to beat Eljanov - $10.00: Failure. -$10.00 Bet 4 - Ding to beat Navara - $10.00: Failure. -$10.00 Ah, that was stupid! With the top grandmasters, a draw is the most likely result in a game - betting on draws in all the games, even with the low odds, would probably result in profit. January 23 Bet 5 - the 1st set between Osaka and Azarenka to be over 9.5 games - $17.20: Failure. -$17.20 Oh, you didn't have to bet on who will win the match - there were dozens of other markets for every match! Azarenka was too strong and dominated Osaka in this game, but it was certainly worth trying another type of bet. Bet 6 - Isner to beat Lopez - $20.00: Success. +$9.00 "Well, that was easy - betting on the favourite I suppose will usually work." Bet 7 - Kuznetsov to beat Sela - $19.00: Success. +$8.00 Yes, betting on Kyrgios earlier was rash - favourites are favourites for a reason, after all. Bet 8 - Lepchenko to beat Shuai - $12.00: Failure. -$12.00 "An upset - hmm, I guess upsets are more likely in the WTA than the ATP, especially if the favourite is not a regular Grand Slam contender." Chabonovich was excited to explore the markets for soccer matches from the leagues around the world - he had played soccer for ten years, enjoyed playing futsal these last few years, and often watched highlights videos on YouTube. Bet 9 - Liverpool to beat Norwich - $10.00: Success. +$9.80 "Ah, soccer seems like a good sport to bet on alongside tennis - I'm glad I joined, this is good fun!" Bet 10 - Tomashevsky to draw with Adams - $10.00: Success. +$4.00 Sure, the odds were low, but with two of the lower ranked players in the field, the result was quite likely. Bet 11 - Eljanov to draw with Carlsen - $10.00: Failure. -$10.00 Ah, draws are likely in all the games, but I should have had more faith in the World Champion to win, even with Black. After two days, Chabonovich had lost $31.50 - "This was expected - I can't win from the very start. I've learnt with each bet, and I'll be back with my original $100 in no time." January 24 Chabonovich was right - he made five bets across soccer and tennis, succeeded in four of them (thanks to Barcelona, Nishikori and Suarez-Navarro), and had bounced back from an account balance of $68.50 to $112.40. "Already making profits, on the third day! Why didn't I take up betting earlier?" January 25 Spurred on by his success, Chabonovich made eight bets across chess, soccer and tennis - although he won four and lost four, he made $37 profit (the largest so far) from an upset win by Shuai over Keys to bring his balance to $139.20 at the end of the day. In fact, he was watching this tennis match on TV, and although Keys was clearly the better player, she was hampered by an unfortunate injury and went on to lose, becoming devastated and in tears towards the end. Chabonovich felt sorry for her, but his happiness at the profit was much larger than his sympathy. January 26-January 31 Continuing to bet on the three sports, Chabonovich's biggest discovery was multibets - he could bet on multiple results in one bet, where the respective odds would be multiplied - more risk, but more return! E.g. Bet 48 - AS Roma, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal to win - $50.00: Success. +$53.65 The respective odds were quite low (around 1.2~1.3) since these teams were clear favourites in their league matches, but combined, they made the odds more than 2! Yes, multibets would result in big profits if done right... At the close of January and his first ten days as a bettor, Chabonovich had made a profit of $149.21, and was full of confidence. He had bet up to $75 in a single bet, and although he had lost as many bets as he won, several wins on bets with large odds had increased his profit. "Ten days, and around +$150 - that only comes to $15 a day, but this as a complete beginner! I'm going to earn a lot more in February for sure." February 1 Bet 50 - Deportivo La Coruna to beat Rayo Vallecano - $49.21: Failure. -$49.21 A 2-2 draw: the bet on the favourite had backfired. Oh well, back down to $200 after 50 bets isn't too bad. February 2 Bet 51 - Tottenham to beat Norwich and West Ham to beat Aston Villa - $50.00: Success. +$121.90 Boom! A multibet success, and Chabonovich was at his highest balance: $321.90. He had more than tripled his $100 - imagine if he had been betting triple the amounts, say with an initial balance of $300 - he would have almost made $700 and been sitting on $1000! February 3 Chabonovich made nine multibets in soccer, and extraordinarily, had lost eight of them - a couple of the heavy favourites (Arsenal and Celtic), whom he had featured in the majority of the bets, hadn't managed to win. His profit was back down to $41.31. "Damn, favourites do get upset sometimes...I was probably too confident after the successful multi yesterday. Well, I'm still +$40...let's be a bit more careful now, I wouldn't want to go back into the red." February 4 Chabonovich made another four multibets on soccer totalling $141.31. Because he lived in Australia, and the matches were in Europe, they were usually played between the times of midnight and 7am AEST, so upon waking up each morning, his new routine was to check the match results on his mobile - there was a nervous knot in his stomach each time the page loaded. February 5 Chabonovich woke up, and Googled 'PSV' on his phone, as he had featured the top Dutch club in all four bets. "I wonder how many goals they won by last night?" PSV had lost - unbelievable! They had won the last five matches...how was it possible? In just three days, Chabonovich had gone from a balance of $321.90 to $0.00 - to lose even the first $100 in one night! He hadn't even gone under a balance of $100 since January 25, and because of one soccer match he had lost it all overnight! He felt a dull throbbing in his head - he must be one of the most unlucky bettors in the world right now. Maybe betting wasn't so easy, after all. Chabonovich took a break from betting, which had been taking more and more time of his days and nights, for a couple of weeks. February 17 "Relax...I even tripled my balance at one point. Maybe I was lucky not to lose my first $100 in January - to see it in another way, I played with $100 for two weeks, and learnt from 67 bets, 67 things about betting on chess, soccer and tennis - that's a good investment. One fails many times on the way to success, and I'm still a beginner after all." Chabonovich deposited another $100 into his account - this time, he would cut down the multis to two or three results, rather than four - all that was required for a multi to fail was one leg reaching an unexpected result, so he shouldn't be too greedy. Bet 67 - Barcelona and Real Madrid to win - $25: Success. +$26.24 Yes, it must be the smartest method to bet on the very top teams, whose chance at being upset would be low. Chabonovich was on his way to recovery. Four weeks into betting, Chabonovich would not only look at the odds and team statistics on the Sportsbet website, but go and check through the much more thorough stats available on betexplorer.com/soccer for soccer matches, and tennisexplorer.com/ for tennis matches. The world of odds, trends and betting based on past (perfect) information fascinated him. Just as he would type 'g' into the URL bar in Chrome to reach Goodreads, these three starting with 'b', 's' and 't' also joined the elite group of frequently used websites. February 18 Chabonovich made five multibets on soccer across matches from the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and A-League, betting on some favourites, for a total stake of $101.24. "At least half of them should succeed, when I won't have lost anything, and if all five succeed (which doesn't seem implausible), then I'll have regained the original $100 and more." February 19 Another rude shock awaited him in the morning: Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur had failed to win, so all his multis had gone down the drain. Just like with the first $100, teams he had bet on had been upset after strong winning streaks - the betting gods were really against him. Without much thought, he bet his remaining $25 on Melbourne Victory, the favourites, to beat Adelaide United in the domestic A-League match, but he failed yet again, and now he had lost the second $100 as well, for a total loss of $200. Chabonovich, confused, took another few days off betting. February 23-26 Chabonovich deposited $100 into his account for the third time (as his credit card was stored on the account, all that was required was to enter the desired amount, CVC2 code, and his account password). He stopped relying on multibets, and made eight bets across three days: although two of them succeeded, favourites had let him down yet again, and his total loss was up to $300 in no time. Something had to change. Chabonovich knew he had the ability to bet successfully, but perhaps he had been rushing into too many bets, and gone about things the wrong way? He spent some free time on the 26th on the Excel spreadsheet, analysing the 81 bets he had made since the start, and looked for trends and patterns in what kinds of bets tended to succeed or fail. His main findings were the following: Chess - 2/8 bets successful, net change -$49.84, summary: drawbets are recommended. Soccer - 14/45 bets successful, net change -$336.24, summary: the success rate of multibets was too low, so he should bet more on single matches, where his success rate had been close to 50%. Tennis - 11/27 bets successful, net change +$86.08, summary: winbets did well in tennis, as the top players were upset less often by lesser opponents compared to in soccer. February 27-March 3 Depositing yet another $100, Chabonovich made 20 bets on soccer matches, doing quite well on winbets. After two multibets across two legs had succeeded on the 29th, he had bounced back from -$300 to -$175, and he went back to making some multibets across three or four legs again. Unfortunately, the overwhelming favourites Arsenal and Bayern Munich were upset on the 3rd, and he had lost his fourth $100. He wasn't very surprised any more - his disappointment was far outweighed by his belief that he was improving as a bettor, and a breakthrough was coming soon. Besides, losing a few hundred dollars wasn't so significant, anyway - it was like spending money on a new hobby, in a way. March 4-April 7 Chabonovich's intuition was proved right - this time, it took him five weeks to lose the deposited $100, when it had only taken several days on the previous occasions! He had even gone up from -$400 to -$59 at one point, doing well on soccer winbets - using the aforementioned betting statistic sites, he had come to know the patterns and forms of the national leagues and top teams a lot better, and he was winning more bets than he was losing. Each morning, he would check how his bets had gone, and look at what sorts of bets were available for the day - and late at night, before going to bed, he would make the bets after researching the stats. A few times, when he made big bets, he experienced shallow sleep and woke up to follow the updates on some matches at 3am, even 4:45am, and go back to sleep for a short time again in the morning. When a bet had succeeded, he would watch the highlights video on YouTube, while he only did this for some of the bets which he had lost. His mind was filled with the thought of betting, quite often. April 8-12 Chabonovich deposited $100 into his account for the sixth time - he had two-and-a-half months of betting experience now, and the trend was up. The trend continued: seven out of his eight bets succeeded, and his net change transformed from a blue -$500 to a shining +$288.90! The biggest win was the following: Bet 185 - Wins for the Bryan brothers, St. Etienne, Manchester City and Leicester - $100.00: Success. +$328.22. Finally, things were going the way they should be - life was good, he had made a profit of $800 in five days! April 13 Bet 191 - Wins for Thiem, Nadal, Berdych and Monfils - $388.90: Failure. -$388.90 Berdych was upset by a lower ranked player, and in the space of a few hours Chabonovich had gone from profit to -$100 again. How rash and stupid he was to bet such a large amount for a four-leg multi! However, if only Berdych hadn't failed, he would have made another $500... Bet 192 - Wins for Wawrinka and Raonic - $150.00: Success. +$152.09 A more level-headed bet on the same night regained the losses and more - yes, in any situation he must strive for equanimity, to not be emotionally affected by previous profits and losses. April 15 Chabonovich lost all seven of the following bets, and he had lost $100 for the sixth time. Agony! If he hadn't included Berdych in that earlier multi, he would probably have won over $1000 by now...Instead, in the space of nine bets, he had lost $900 to reach a new low of -$600. April 16-May 5 Having experienced triumph (reaching profit), Chabonovich didn't hesitate in depositing $100 for the seventh time. Bet 200 - Wins for Bayern Munich, PSG and Manchester United - $100: Success. +$107.40 A good start! Bet 201 - Wins for Azarenka, Nadal, Juventus and Dzumhur - $157.40: Success. +$32.10 Chabonovich had started using the 'Cash Out' feature, which allowed him to opt out of the bet and take the tentative amount the bet stood at, before all legs of a multi were completed. For this one, he had won the first three bets but suddenly became unsure of Dzumhur winning, thus losing the sizable bet, so he cashed out for a small plus before that match. He spent more and more time on the website as he would often follow soccer and tennis matches live, and cash out if he felt it would be the option most profitable, or which cuts down on the losses. Over the next few weeks, mostly relying on multibets and the other form of multibets such as doubles and triples (e.g. betting on four results, he would take winnings from each single result/combination of two results/combination of three results which succeeded, etc.), Chabonovich climbed back up from a balance of -$600 to +$679.53 - a turnover of nearly $1300 through a little over 30 bets. The largest profit he had made from a single bet was $408 (a $150 multi on wins for Juventus, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid), and although he was still losing half the bets (some of which were insurance), his profits from the successful ones were larger. Finally, he was on the road to success - he had won nearly $700, and with the way he was going, it would soon be $1000, $2000, $3000, no doubt followed by exponential increases, since the returns would be larger as he earned and bet larger amounts. May 6-13 The next week brought Chabonovich back to earth, as he lost all of his profit, and even the other $700, his own money. With success he had become a little reckless, extending his multibets to over four legs sometimes, and betting between $100-$300 with each bet. He didn't realise that the way he bet after depositing some money, and the way he bet after reaching profit, seemed similar but were actually quite different. From +$679.53, he was back down to -$700. When he still had over $500 profit, he had tried to withdraw his $700 so he would just be playing with surplus money, but the withdrawal had bounced back - it was only after he was back in the red that he realised, in his haste, he had entered his account number for the BSB number, and vice versa, in the process. How could he lose $1400 in a week? It didn't make sense...he would have to win it back again. This time, he would make sure of withdrawing his money when he had reached profit. For the first time, Chabonovich deposited $300 instead of $100 - he had experienced success so many times now, he thought this was simply accelerating his road back to profit. He immediately bet $200 on a single multibet: Bet 246 - Wins for Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG - $200: Success. +$144.33 No, he wasn't wrong. May 15 Two multibets of $300 and $144.33 later, which both failed because of one leg, Chabonovich had now lost $1000 through betting. He wondered if he should quit for a while. May 16 Chabonovich spent a few hours on the Sportsbet website, but without betting. He made bets in his head, and checked the results later - most of them had succeeded. Thus, the decision was made to continue. He deposited another $100, planning to win his losses back slowly. May 17-21 His losses reached $1100. Chabonovich deposited another $100, and immediately lost it with his first bet, one he thought was certain to succeed (Juventus lost their first game in months). May 22 Chabonovich deposited $150, and bet the amount on a 8-leg multibet on an early round in the French Open. Kyrgios, Nishikori, Raonic, Zverev, Simon, Thiem and Wawrinka all won, but the only bet on the WTA, a win for Pliskova, didn't happen, and he was down to -$1350. May 23-27 He lost most of the next $150 deposit in six bets - he had won with the first two multibets, gaining $300, but failed in the next four. Balance: -$1483. May 29 Chabonovich deposited $500 onto the remaining $17 he had. Bet 266 - Wins for Murray, Raonic and Hingis/Mirza - $517.00: Failure. -$517.00 Murray and the women's doubles pair won, but Raonic, the overwhelming favourite, lost in three sets. Chabonovich held his head in his hands. He vowed never to make any bets again. Well, not until he was rich and had some money to spare... June 14, 2016

  23. 5 out of 5

    Girish

    The Gambler is a brilliant compulsive book much like the content. And it's exploration into the psychology of a gambler and that of men in love is brilliant (to some extent women too - though it remains inexplicable)! Alexei Ivanovich is a tutor to a Russian General's family and hopelessly in love with Polina Aleksandrovna, the niece. The hopelessness stems from the seemingly cruel Polina, her indecisiveness and attention showered on her by the benevolent Frenchman (not to mention an honourable The Gambler is a brilliant compulsive book much like the content. And it's exploration into the psychology of a gambler and that of men in love is brilliant (to some extent women too - though it remains inexplicable)! Alexei Ivanovich is a tutor to a Russian General's family and hopelessly in love with Polina Aleksandrovna, the niece. The hopelessness stems from the seemingly cruel Polina, her indecisiveness and attention showered on her by the benevolent Frenchman (not to mention an honourable Englishman). The story is set in Roulletenberg in Germany where characters from different countries come together in often dramatic exchanges. The cocky young man, Alexei, slowly succours into the downward spiral of Gambling. Dostoyevsky, himself a Gambler, explains in detail what goes on in the mind of a Gambler and the addiction to eternal hope that leads them to misery. Not just Alexei, many characters, including the General and his mother (Grandmama) are shown to lose their senses at the Roulette table. "Can I possibly not understand myself that I'm a lost man? But--why can't I resurrect? Yes! it only takes being calculating and patient at least once in your life and--that's all! It only takes being steadfast at least once, and in an hour I can change my whole destiny!” The man in love, Alexei, is also a gambler who is willing to stake his life for a woman who may or may not love him back. Polina continuously taunts him and tests his commitment to her till he becomes embittered. The exasperation of the lover is shown brilliant. The General who is willing to stoop to depths (as to hope to profiteer from his mother's death) in the love of a Mademoiselle Blance is an example of the nature of all consuming love portrayed in the book. "I was like one demented: all I wanted was to be near her, in the halo of her glory, in her radiance, always, for ever, all my life. I knew nothing more!" I read somewhere that this book was written by Dostoyevsky to pay towards his gambling debts and Polina was based on his real life love. If so, to make words work magic like this is mind blowing! Loved it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    This is a crushing novel. It is one of those classic stories where the narrator is crushed by the weight of his desire, by the gravity of odds, and by the frailty of human hope. Within Dostoevsky's short novel there exists an almost existential subtext, an underlying risk of ruin; where the longer you live, the greater your chance of losing everything. Dostoevsky leaves the reader with small wins, decent runs, and hopeful conceits that tempt the reader to believe that one might walk away from li This is a crushing novel. It is one of those classic stories where the narrator is crushed by the weight of his desire, by the gravity of odds, and by the frailty of human hope. Within Dostoevsky's short novel there exists an almost existential subtext, an underlying risk of ruin; where the longer you live, the greater your chance of losing everything. Dostoevsky leaves the reader with small wins, decent runs, and hopeful conceits that tempt the reader to believe that one might walk away from life with love, fulfillment, and yes plenty of lucre ... but alas time, the vig, and death (that croupier bitch) all wheedle your last gulden and mortgage your soul's last breath.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shahzad Suleman

    Dostoyevsky- compulsive gambler himself -wrote this novel with real authority. Set in the appropriately named Roulettenburg, a German spa with a casino and an international clientele. Concerns the gambling episodes, tangled love affairs, and complicated lives of Alexey Ivanovitch, a young gambler; Polina Alexandrovna, the woman he loves; a pair of French adventurers, and other characters. Offers a psychologically probing picture of the fatal attractions of gambling. Its strengths are its well-dra Dostoyevsky- compulsive gambler himself -wrote this novel with real authority. Set in the appropriately named Roulettenburg, a German spa with a casino and an international clientele. Concerns the gambling episodes, tangled love affairs, and complicated lives of Alexey Ivanovitch, a young gambler; Polina Alexandrovna, the woman he loves; a pair of French adventurers, and other characters. Offers a psychologically probing picture of the fatal attractions of gambling. Its strengths are its well-drawn characters.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix2

    The Gambler is my favourite Dostoyevsky so far. It has a solid story that leads to the outmost disaster of its main character. All in all, the book is a vivid representation of the fall of the character, of the gambling addiction and the society of the time. As it's quite small, it's easy to read, lighter than other Dostoyevshy books for sure and nicely written. So, I highly reccomend this one to anyone who wants to read Dostoyevsky but finds it hard to do so.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Will

    I've always had a complete aversion to gambling, mainly because the insecurity of random chance has never appealed to me. Maybe I've never been desperate enough to risk it all because I've never been debilitated by anxiety. Before reading The Gambler, I had a difficult time understanding the anxiety that many of my peers and friends suffer, but this work helped me comprehend how overpowering anxiety can be when seeking wealth, social status, love, or acceptance. Alexei Ivanovich is a tutor in the I've always had a complete aversion to gambling, mainly because the insecurity of random chance has never appealed to me. Maybe I've never been desperate enough to risk it all because I've never been debilitated by anxiety. Before reading The Gambler, I had a difficult time understanding the anxiety that many of my peers and friends suffer, but this work helped me comprehend how overpowering anxiety can be when seeking wealth, social status, love, or acceptance. Alexei Ivanovich is a tutor in the service of a paranoid ex-general, who wants nothing more than the hand of a pretentious, suspicious young French woman. His aunt needs to die as soon as possible so that he can shore up his less-than-ideal financial situation. The General is overwhelmingly consumed by his desire to be loved and respected, and he stays in the aptly named Roulettenberg well above his means. He must pay back Des Grieux, a French "nobleman" who has lent the General loads of money. The only viable "solution" is to win large amounts at the gambling hall, the last chance to save face. Alexei is anxious that his love, Polina, the General's stepdaughter, will leave him for a dapper and rich Englishman. He must prove himself, so in his warped imagination, gambling away her money and his in piques of determined rage seems like the only solution. Feeling completely inadequate, Alexei anxiously searches for the easiest way to win her back. Blanche de Cominges, the young Frenchwoman that the General loves, is anxious that the General's aunt will never die. Des Grieux is anxious that the General will never pay him back... But then WHAM. The General's illustrious aunt, Antonida Vasilevna Tarasevitcheva, crashes onto the scene, upending all of the collected anxiety and dashing everyone's plans. Grandmother is the most ridiculous and inspired character in the book, slapping some sense into the pipe dreams of the General's entourage. She decries the stupidity of gambling with her characteristic sharpness... until she tries it herself. She gets hooked and loses it all in a frenzy, screaming and raving. Grandmother breaks the anxiety, but in the hole that she leaves after she herself is broken, the anxiety comes roaring back, enveloping the General's entourage. They are all broken, lost through gambling. For Dostoevsky, gambling represents anxiety. The title of his work could have easily been "Anxious Man." His characters are so overcome that they can't function, can only leave the most complicated decisions in their lives up to chance, even if they refuse to recognize that the odds are stacked against them. When they watch the roulette ball spinning round and round, watching it transfixed and hearing it click, they're mesmerized. In one spin, their lives could change forever, their anxiety devastated, their happiness redoubled. But it's doomed to fail. The house, or anxiety for Dostoevsky, always wins. Recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marina (Sonnenbarke)

    I'm not sure I really understood this book, but I found the characters to be great (especially the Grandmother!) and the insight in their psychology and their way of thinking/acting absolutely wonderful - as is always the case with Dostoyevsky. However, I think this is the "weakest" book by him I've read so far, although as a matter of fact it's hard to say a novel by Dostoyevsky can actually be weak. I read this book in English because I found a free translation on Project Gutenberg. It's true t I'm not sure I really understood this book, but I found the characters to be great (especially the Grandmother!) and the insight in their psychology and their way of thinking/acting absolutely wonderful - as is always the case with Dostoyevsky. However, I think this is the "weakest" book by him I've read so far, although as a matter of fact it's hard to say a novel by Dostoyevsky can actually be weak. I read this book in English because I found a free translation on Project Gutenberg. It's true that I'm used to read Russian literature in Italian, but I found this translation (by Hogarth) to be pretty good and easy to understand.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nawal

    What an artist and what a psychologist! Dostoyevsky's Fiction reveals the truth that reality obscures to say the least about the master.

  30. 4 out of 5

    André

    I remember watching the movie "The Great Beauty" by Paolo Sorrentino and hearing Jep Gambardella mentioning "The Gambler" to an eastern European woman. Well, that's when I decided to read this short story, from Gambardella, an unusual made-up character from an Italian movie. Dostoyevsky himself was a Gambler, just like the fictional character from this story, Alexei Ivanovich. Ivanovich, the Protagonist and fellow narrator, lives his life on the edge. He's a dedicated Casino player who gambles fo I remember watching the movie "The Great Beauty" by Paolo Sorrentino and hearing Jep Gambardella mentioning "The Gambler" to an eastern European woman. Well, that's when I decided to read this short story, from Gambardella, an unusual made-up character from an Italian movie. Dostoyevsky himself was a Gambler, just like the fictional character from this story, Alexei Ivanovich. Ivanovich, the Protagonist and fellow narrator, lives his life on the edge. He's a dedicated Casino player who gambles for living. Ivanovich lives in a German city, in a German Hotel, with a penniless General who expects the fortune of his aunt. The Protagonist, in order to survive, lectures the children of this Russian General. Madly in love with Polina, the General's niece, the Protagonist perceives himself as not only a casino gambler but, also as "Player" who sets his own odds towards the love of his life. It's trough a "royalty" ambient, gambling, Love Triangles, declining families that this story reaches an Ironic outcome. Rating: 4/5 stars

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