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Alexei Ivanovich is tutor to a Russian family in a German spa town. They are bankrupt and eagerly awaiting the death of their wealthy matriarch, 'Grandmother'. Alexei falls in love twice: first, with the beautiful but impossible Polina, who goads him into placing bets for her at the local casino; and second, with the game of roulette itself. His addiction turns out to be shared by Grandmother who suddenly appears, very much alive, and willing to gamble down to her last banknote.Under pressure from his publisher, Dostoyevsky - a gambling addict himself - wrote The Gambler (1867) in less than one month.