Nikola Tesla - A Gambler


At a certain age I had a mania for gambling which greatly worried my parents. The card game was for me the greatest pleasure. My father led an exemplary life and could not excuse the senseless waste of time and money in which I indulged. I always had a strong will but my philosophy was bad. I kept telling him: "I can stop whenever I want but is it worth giving up what I want to replace all the joys of paradise?" On frequent occasions he gave vent to his anger and contempt but my mother was different. She understood the character of man and knew that his salvation could only be through his own efforts. One afternoon, I remember, when I had lost all my money and was craving for a game, she came to me with a roll of bills and said, "Go and enjoy yourself. The sooner you lose all we possess the better it will be. I know that you will get over it." She was right. I conquered my passion then and only regretted that I had not been a hundred times stronger than my passion. I not only vanquished but tore it from my heart not to leave even a trace of desire. Since that time I have been indifferent to any form of gambling.


Tesla and his double soul


- We are entering the cinema on Broadway, said one of the many American journalists who were strongly interested in the great scientist, even the actors were intrigued by mysterious Tesla. He was recognized and watched very carefully. He is a frequent spectator of good movies. “I willingly go to the cinema. I am looking at the pictures, I am resting, and I can even think.”

In the darkness of the cinema hall I am looking at this elegant profile illuminated by the reflection of the screen. The eyes are directed towards the screen and the feelings follow it, but the brain works continuously. The thought does not stop, never rests. At one o'clock after midnight, greeting him for the first time I say, "I have kept you for six hours, haven’t I bothered?" "Ah, but what bother? I have two souls: one that talks, the other that seeks to solve the problem that I gave it. I look through conversation like through glass. While tonight we talked about everything, I solved, among other things, a rather thorny question about a problem that I have right now.


Tesla takes the newspaper and goes to his hotel to spend another hour or two to read. I remain a long time motionless, oblivious to the sound of the horn, looking at him with such strangeness, and an indescribable feeling.


The strong character of Tesla


Tesla’s lunch with the Yugoslavian consul in New York, Milos Tosic, testifies to his exceptional character:

One day he called me and asked if I could have lunch with him. I agreed. Exactly at 1 I arrived at his apartment on the 34th floor of the hotel "New Yorker." The waiter brought a bowl full of ice with a bottle of wine and then brought other dishes. We had lunch and talked a long time. After the meal, I thought that the bottle of wine was opened. But the waiter came and took it.

After some time Tesla again invited me to lunch. Again a bowl with a bottle of wine was there. I thought, if the host forgot once again, I would remember to give me wine. We had lunch, and no one opened the bottle. I asked Tesla:


- Sorry for my curiosity: what is there in that bottle?

- Wine, good Hungarian wine, "Tokaj". My Hungarian friend brought it to me.

- Is it the same bottle that was last time.

- Yes.

- Too bad, because the waiter had forgotten to open it.

- It is not so, without my permission he could not do. As a young man I was always determined, and when I decided to do something, I did it. Once I liked this wine and drank a lot. Now, being older, I want to do an experiment on myself to see if I am still able to resist even in old age. I have found out that I am, and I do not think I will open this bottle. If you want to drink, we can order another bottle.



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