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The stereotype of the Professional Gambler is typically a slick dresser with a certain air of sophistication and a polished manner. While this is often the case, the Professional Gambler or Cardsharp, can look and act rich or poor, suave and confident, rough around the edges and uncertain, sophisticated or bawdy. However, one thing is true of them all, they are risk takers in the high stakes game of adventure and life. Daring and bold, they are people willing to risk everything, including their own lives, if the reward is great enough. For some, that reward is money or fame; for others it is to cheat death by escaping its clutches themselves or by saving the lives of others.
Although infamous for taking risks in everything, most Professional Gamblers like to play the odds—which is the safer way to go. They also like to secretly stack the odds in their favor, making their accomplishments look more impressive than they may really be. This applies to all things—including their dealings with people. Thus, Professional Gamblers often investigate and research their opponents, and get a feel for their personalities, quirks, likes and dislikes. This gives the gambler an edge, because he or she can then recognize the meanings of certain responses, emotions and the likelihood of violence, and how far he can push his luck against his opponent(s).
In many regards, the Professional Gambler is a combination con artist, trickster, and secret agent. In a Professional Gambler's arsenal one can find concealed weapons, derringers, magic, disguises, forgeries, as well as misdirection and subterfuge in the forms of friendly conversation, flattery, a cheerful disposition even when losing. Hustlers, especially those of evil or anarchist alignments, may even use a secret accomplice to help run scams or to send coded signals at the card table. The Professional Gambler also isn't above relying on the old standby: alcohol, knowing that most people, particularly men with something to prove, refuse to acknowledge that it impairs their abilities though nothing could be further from the truth (similar to the Saloon Bum). Consequently, most Professional Gamblers will nurse their drinks after the first two, or even switch to tea or apple juice while they encourage others to drink, often going as far as buying rounds for everybody.
Blane "Bullet" McCoy, a professional Cardsharp and con man, once said, "There's really not much to being a successful gambler, quick hands, nerves of steel, a little inside information, playing the odds, and knowing when to fold. Those who don't know when to fold or how to loose graciously, are destined to failure and an early grave."
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History of the Professional Gambler OCC.
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List of notable members of the Professional Gambler OCC.
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