The Man Who Got No Whammies (2015)

CrocodileStreet | 83 points

Discussed at the time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10216338

A related thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9570713

Links to the 2003 documentary mentioned in past threads are now dead, but it is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o75teVHwkT8

dang | 2 months ago

It's funny how a picture of him has the caption "Michael Larson was never interested in following the rules" when, actually, he was the only one who bothered to figure out the rules.

golemotron | 2 months ago

The article keeps making it sound like he met his comeuppance, even as they finally reveal that he ran off with $3M and died of natural causes before he was caught. They never seem to substantiate the pervasive tragic tone. The whole whole thing reminds me of the existentialist treatment of the "Touch of Death" in Men Who Stare at Goats... His schemes were often successful, but ultimately meaningless because death comes for us all?

firethief | 2 months ago

This is such a fun story. It’s how I commonly introduce common folk to the importance of true random numbers in cryptography. Glad to see it come up here again.

ipython | 2 months ago

>"He didn’t understand the value of good, hard, honest work," his older brother, James, later bemoaned. "He thought those people were fools."

I wouldn't call people like that fools, and pretty certainly the world would fall to pieces without them. That said, I don't think I can really blame anyone too much for not valuing good, hard, honest work in this world where many people are simply born rich and many others become rich by gaming the system and/or screwing people over.

axguscbklp | 2 months ago

A documentary on this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o75teVHwkT8

loganfrederick | 2 months ago

The attention it brought to the game show may have been worth more than CBS paid out. They quickly changed the game mechanics so it couldn't be so easily exploited a second time which made it a one time cost. Wonder if there was a ratings boost after the episode, even if short lived.

Mountain_Skies | 2 months ago

The Man Who Got No Whammies*

Technically he did get one Whammy.

Hamuko | 2 months ago

If you watch the actual show, he did, in fact, get a warranty on the first spin. Didn't affect him though, as he didn't lose any money to it.

gbronner | 2 months ago