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Book shows allure of Lady Luck

16 July 2000

BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI – July 16, 2000 – As reported by the Sun Herald: "Spanish artist Bartholome Murillo's 17th-century painting 'Small Beggars Playing Game of Dice' portrays ragamuffins playing hazard, a dice game introduced to Europe by Saracen invaders following the Crusades.

"This black-figure amphora was done by 5th-century painter and potter Exekias. The authors of 'The Art of Gambling' say the dice shown in 'Ajax and Achilles Playing Dice' were probably made of bones; hence the phrase 'rolling the bones,' still heard today.

"…Gambling through the eyes of some of the world's great artists is the theme of a new book published by Huntington Press of Las Vegas. The company, which publishes the Las Vegas Advisor, a monthly publication dedicated to casino news, as well as gambling how-to books, recently entered the art world with the publication of `The Art of Gambling Through the Ages.'

"The 231-page coffee table book features works ranging from a 5th-century B.C. black-figure amphora (two-handled tall jar) from Greece depicting dice players to Suz Brna's 1999 painting `Pay Day,' which features a casino dealer just off work having a drink at a video poker bar alongside other players.

"…Also, gambling expert and writer Anthony Curtis, known to some from his appearances on television shows about gambling, contributes to the text with information on the type of gambling depicted in the works of art - whether an ancient Arabic version of craps or a wild ride on the stock market.

"…While every conceivable form of gambling has been captured by artists through the centuries - from traditional casino games like blackjack and poker to sports betting to carnival games - representations of card games have been a favorite subject.

"[Gambling artist LeRoy] Neiman wrote the book's foreword, in which he attempts to explain the artist's attraction to the subject of gambling: `The artist has never overlooked the vast world of gambling, because the artist, too, is a gambler. The artist and the gambler both know the odds. For the payoff, both must go for the pot. You can't hit the big jackpot without a big bet. Where there's a risk factor, there is opportunity, and they usually occur together. You may retard pursuit in view of likely failure, but neither risks nor opportunities present themselves when there is no commitment of chance-taking. It's all summed up in an old gamblers' expression: 'If you don't have action, nothing can happen.''

"Huntington Press is seeking sponsors for a traveling exhibit of some of the artwork in the book, with plans to tour casinos across the country. A schedule has not been set."

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