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What's Luck Got to Do with It? by Joseph Mazur

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Betting with Trillions

The 2008 World Economic Calamity

Only when the tide goes out do you discoverwho’s been swimming naked.—Warren Buffett

It was October 2008. The world economy was beginning its tailspin when I interviewed George (“Jerzy”) Sulimirski, a champion backgammon player on the world circuit, in his London home. He had just confessed to me that he once lost a game to a notorious cheater.

“Where there’s money there’s cheating,” he said in a mellifluous trace of Polish accent. “Kind of giving providence a helping hand. If a ...

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