The house always wins. In a less common example, Dr. House always wins through his cunning wit and unparalleled skills of deduction. But let’s focus on the far more common use of this phrase and how it’s virtually impossible to consistently and predictably derive any sort of monetary net positive from institutions of gambling. Round and round, the roulette wheel spins. Where the ball lands? No one knows. Where could it land? I’m so glad you asked. There are equally low odds that the ball lands in any one slot, but at least you can count up the slots and learn the odds are one to 38. Again, awful odds, but you can pretty easily figure out your standing.
The University’s housing lottery has no such wheel. Not even a spinning cage of fun balls like at bingo halls. You’re provided a time where you can select your housing, but that’s it. You don’t automatically know if it’s a good time or a bad one. You can compare to your peers, but that’s a stupidly small experimental population.
The funny part about gambling is there’s always ways to break the system and walk away with dubious yet plentiful winnings. Poker has card counting. Dice can be weighted in the game of craps. But what about the housing lottery? One fortunate enough to get a perfect time slot could potentially auction that off to a top bidder, but that’s just up to luck.
Upperclassmen get increasingly better time slots, so what if I somehow convince admissions I’m a ninth year senior? Would I get a time before selection even opens? What if I were to pay off admissions to rig it for me? Or act as a middle man between Reslife and students? But students don’t have the money for that. A DDOS attack on the server and hold the entire system hostage for a ransom? That may work. Or better yet, just release fake statistics regarding the nature of the lottery. Claim that some freshmen have a shot at Brooks. Rioting would ensue.
A little birdie has informed none other than myself about a very interesting little scam. Since individuals can switch out of housing groups after selecting a location, some seniors will volunteer to temporarily be part of a group of sophomores or juniors, giving the group an artificially rich time. After a premature selection, they will then switch out to their group of other seniors, who also had great times (’cause seniors). Now, I’m not saying seniors should extort younger students and profit a few hundred dollars. I’m only saying that mere generosity could be killing potential monetary benefits.
Remember how much you’re paying the school. Embrace gamblers’ fallacy and do not quit scheming until you come out on top. 99.8% of gamblers quit just before hitting it big. So go out there and hit it big, champ. You’ve got this.