X-treme gambling is not about losing a lot of money. This kind of gaming is about betting your life if you lose. In ancient Latin America spectators were assured that the players would be putting out to the maximum, as the losing team was sacrificed to the gods. This put extreme pressure on each team to win.
When the Spaniards landed in South America in 1526, they witnessed the end of the great Maya and Aztec empires. The continent was divided into 16 states that were constantly at war with each other. All of these tribes played a strange version of football. Each segment of the tribes had a similar playing field which could accommodate thousands of spectators. The rectangular remains of platforms on each side was for the game judging priest. These remains have been found in Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. This game looked like a wild version of Latin America volleyball. They played with a ball of four to five inches in diameter, and the players could touch it with some parts of their body and try to get the ball through rings mounted on a wall dividing the field in halves. If the ball went through the ring and landed in the opponents part of the field a point was scored. This was the peaceful part of the business.
Players did not break the rules as immediate execution was the fate of the rule breaker. However they played as hard as they could as the fate of the losing team was being sacrificed as a team of just some of the losing team. This was decided by the priest as this was a game where humans played as reps for gods and the losing team had to appease the losing god.
Dying on the altar from a priest's obsidian knife was considered honorable. The death promised a good after life after death. Even this was what the players believed, they still played their hearts out to avoid losing and dieing. They abused their bodies on the stone floor of the gaming ground. Each player fought hard for their life. The players on the winning team were heroes. The were treated to best food, the best clothes, favor from the chief, and of course the most beautiful girls in the tribe. This days heroes could become the next games sacrifices. The gods must be appeased at all cost with blood. This went on for hundreds of years. The oldest preserved playing field dates back over 1700 years ago.
Maybe this bloody history accounts for how wonderful these Latins play today. Their genetic memory maybe. Who knows we are all made up from our past histories.