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7 Most Brilliant Historical Figures with a Weak Spot for Taking Risks

7 Most Brilliant Historical Figures with a Weak Spot for Taking Risks

Gambling has intrigued many people worldwide and has therefore been equally popular within the business class, among celebrities and between common people. Not to mention, there is a significant number of famous historical figures who also used their intellect at gambling. Of course, it all took place way before the invention of online casinos and although they were not remembered as the most successful gamblers of their time, what they all had in common were brilliant minds with a weak spot for taking risks.

Famous Gamblers in History

After writing about the Most Famous Paintings Featuring Gambling Throughout History, we’ve decided to continue our research and, this time, focus on famous historical figures who were keen on gambling. In fact, we have come across some very interesting names of well-respected figures in politics, science, literature and art, who were involved in gambling as well. So, let’s check them out! 

1. Fyodor Dostoevsky

Ok, we’re all familiar with the fact that Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote “The Gambler” novel. But did you know that the book was based on this Russian novelist’s personal experience? Not only did he love games of chance, Dostoevsky was also a passionate player who used the psychology of his gambling addiction and risk as an inspiration for his novels. The legend has it that he wrote the last section of the novel “Crime and Punishment” faster in order to pay off his gambling debts. 

2. Claude Monet

The next historical gambler on our list is a French painter, Claude Monet. In 1851, Monet entered Le Havre secondary school of the arts, and as he was struggling with money at the time, he managed to earn some extra cash by selling his drawings to locals. After moving to Paris, and due to expensive nature of his painting hobby, Monet became interested in playing table games at the casinos. The rumour has it Monet once played at the casino and won more than $13,000, which allowed him to quit his job and focus on his painting talent.

3. Giacomo Casanova

Moving on to another extraordinary person. Giacomo Casanova was known to be an Italian adventurer and a talented writer; his name has become a synonym for womaniser, and he was also known as a gambler. As per his memoirs, Casanova was trained by professional gamblers but never wanted to become a professional of his own. Probably because he was aware of his temper, which was often described as violent. Through gambling activities, he wanted to achieve goals that is to earn money quickly.

4. Queen Marie-Antoinette

When writing about famous gamblers in history, it would be impossible not to mention Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette. She was remembered as the queen who spent heavily on fashion, luxuries and gambling, while her country was facing financial crisis and the French population was suffering. Not only was she interested in gambling, but she also had a gambling addiction. Because of her extravagant lifestyle, it became difficult to separate the queen’s public image from her actual behaviour. 

5. King Charles II

Speaking of famous gamblers in history, we can’t skip another famous name worth mentioning. Namely, games of chance also became focus for another historical figure - King Charles II. He was the king who re-established English monarchy in 1660. In fact, Charles II was known as a gambling man who even wrote a book about his gambles. Some of his stories are about the actual card games while others focus on the moves that he made to reinstate the English monarchy.

6. René Descartes

Number six on our list is an esteemed French scientist, mathematician and philosopher, René Descartes, who was also known as the “The Father of Modern Philosophy.” After attending the University of Poitiers, and spending two years in the military, Descartes had a plan to become a professional gambler. Eventually, he turned to science and philosophy, but gambling remained his hobby. What’s more, he was one of the most successful players, thanks to his intellect, mathematical skills and calcul­ati­ons.   

7. Michel de Montaigne

The last historical figure on our list was the influential philosopher of the French Renaissance – Michael de Montaigne. Being famous for writing the Essays, Montaigne was practically the father of the Modern Scepticism. However, what is not known about him is that he was a passionate gambler with a strong reputation in the French Society of the 16th century.

Your Comments Are Always Welcome

What’s your opinion? Have you come across any famous historical figures that you would like to share? If so, let us know. We’re waiting for you at our forum!

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