Will good poker players generally receive heat if they go to the blackjack tables? I guess it all depends on how they are observed and perceived at the poker table. Am I correct in assuming a low stakes poker player would notice less attention if he went to the bj tables than a higher stakes poker player? But then what about the possibility that the poker player, who in this case, plays low limit goes to the $100 minimum blackjack tables?
In my book BLACKJACK ESSAYS I wrote years ago that when playing blackjack never to tell the pit that you are a poker player. This is because poker is the one game where the players are suppose to be skillful. Thus you now become a candidate to for the pit to watch closely.
I know from talking to blackjack floor people that they perceive strong poker players as likely to be card counters. I once posted Ian Andersen with this question (reknowned as the expert on cover in the blackjack world for all your poker freaks). He said that he lays off all poker in casinos in which he plays serious blackjack.
Understandable, in Ian's case. The type of persona he tries to to cultivate just wouldn't be a strong poker player.
On the other hand, I know a lot of poker players who play blackjack, and only one or two even know basic strategy. If the pit thinks that poker players are good blackjack players, they're probably mistaken.
When I play BJ in VEgas I often told the dealers that I am a poker player and later I often received some unwanted attention - however if you are not a counter who cares ? If you are, Masons' statement is true I know it from my own experience they will watch you closer.
Options Pricing Since Kim Lee brought up the Black-Scholes model for pricing options I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on options pricing and opportunities that may exist to exploit ineffecient pricing. My understanding is that the Black-Scholes model has been replaced by more sophisticated models. From what I see in options trading, there is a great opportunity to make markets in options. Just curious as to what others may think about this.
Since Kim Lee brought up the Black-Scholes model for pricing options I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on options pricing and opportunities that may exist to exploit ineffecient pricing. My understanding is that the Black-Scholes model has been replaced by more sophisticated models. From what I see in options trading, there is a great opportunity to make markets in options. Just curious as to what others may think about this.
If you are thinking of taking advantage of options as a zero risk vennue - where you are a zero delta position, that may be possible only seldom and in certain markets. Most of these pricing glitches are taken adventage already. As for accurate pricing one thing as part of the option cost formula is current volatility and that HAS to be guessed. Historic volatility is available as factor but the current volatility is never KNOWN ! Black sholes is only a formula and if one factor is missing as it always is what good is that ???
Andras is right about Volatility having to be guessed at. A lot of times the floor traders will agree to a Vol just so their sheets come out the same. The other thing to consider is the Spread. If the market is thin or if no one wants to make a market in a particular month and/or strike, you will give up ANY edge you might think you have trying to get the order off. Unless you are a longer term trader (like several weeks or more) trying to day-trade in options - especially illiquid issues, futures, distant moths or way out of the money strikes, is NOT the game to play off the floor. I could go on and on here, but this is a game where the risks and returns are very difficult to calculate, and constantly change. How do I know? I was a floor trader for a number of years.
Dave and Andras,
>> I could go on and on here, but this is a game where the risks and returns are very difficult to calculate, and constantly change<<
I agree with what you write and this is the most perplexing thing to me.
There was an article in Barrons recently written by Michael Santoli called the Stiking Price that discussed movements in options. The aticle appeared in the April 19th issue and was titled, When "Normal" Isn't. It discussed what Santoli described as "the systematic lowballing of potential volatility." The article describes a study that was done on options pricing models. Santoli wrote in part:
"Larry McMillan of McMillan Analysis offers a primer on this phenonenon with an important bit of recent research. The crux of the issue is that just about all probability estimates that go into option screening and pricing models rely on a "normal" distribution of a stock's historical price volatility. The standard bell curve is one sort of representation of normal distribution, which would suggest that a particularly large price move (in statistical terms not necessary to explain here, three standard deviations) should occur no more than 1/10th of 1% of the time. A massive move of close to three times that magnitude should be nearly impossible - the probability number has 15 zeros after the decimal.
Yet by picking a trading day at random, McMillan showed that such moves happen with regularity, belying their statistical remoteness. On April 5, he found four stocks made moves of eight or more standard deviations, including major names like Ameritrade, Sabre Group, and Checkpoint. To ensure that this wasn't the fluke results of an overly volatile market, he wnet back and found that on the least-voltatile day of the 1990s - July 25, 1993 - 12 stocks had moves that the normal distribution of price changes would suggest were blue-moon events. The included such substantial stocks as U.S. Steel and Novell."
The conclusion that I drew from these articles is that price volatility does not have a normal distribution. If the pricing models on options volatility are based on normal distributions of price volatility, they are inaccurate thus creating a market inefficiency that can be exploited. I am sure I am not the first person who has thought along these lines. One thing that occurs to me is that when you see a move of over 8 standard deviations you should go the other way automatically. I know this was born out by Checkpoint since I follow it. The over 8 standard deviation move was a panic crash (Y2K scare) that caused the stock to drop from the upper 30's to 23. Now the stock is sitting in the 40's somewhere. I guess options market makers must hedge themselves for these "impossible" price movements as well. I've observed many Internet stocks that have had "parabolic" movements to the upside that came back to earth real hard. I assume that these moves were indeed greater than 3 standard deviations. I suppose you would have to be careful as a move might actually be related to a takeover so you would have to be careful on an upside move.
Tom, You are right in noting that several authors point out the failings of the Normal Distribution assumption in pricing models. Lognormal models have been used that seem to be a better, though not perfect, approximation. Mandlebrot suggested using Paretian distributions having unstable variance back in 1964, and the Cauchy distribution has also been used, but this suffers from having an unstable mean. Again, I could go on and on, and new models are being tested. I've been away from the floor now for awhile, but 2 excellent references are Option Market Making by Allen Julian Baird (ISBN 0-471-57832-0), and Option Volatility and Pricing by Sheldon Natenberg (ISBN 1-55738-486-X). Both of these, especially the Baird text talk at length about pricing models. In the real world, often Heuristic sort of "seat of the pants" setting of volatility works almost as well, especially when hedging with the underlying.
Thank you sir.
Hello out there, I have a problem that I have not been able to resolve, even though I've bought several books and wracked my brain trying to adjust probability formulas to fit it. I'm sure the seasoned gambling theorists among you could help me. It seems I've developed a formula for picking the Pro's against the spread that has about a 55% success rate over the last 8 years. That probably would not be phenomenal except for the fact that I bet every single game. 251 a year! The first three weeks and the playoffs I can only use a modified version of the formula since I lack statistical data. However, my best season was 57.25% , and my worst was 53.8%. I'm pretty sure I can rule out luck, but I'm smart enough to know that I can't go all in on the basis of a 55% win rate. One nagging problem I have is that my small, 1 unit bets seem to have the same overall success as my 50+ unit bets. That should't be! Anyway, my question is: What is the probability of picking 55% out of about 2000 games? I assume it would be the same as flipping heads 1100 out of 2000 coin tosses. Do I have a moral certainty of having the best of it? your help is most appreciated. Thanks! Danno
If you've picked winners at the rate of 55% for the last eight years, I agree with Chris: "It's almost certain that you're getting the best of it."
However, if you're spreading from 1 to 50 units betting football, you've got a money management problem. Flat betting is the only thing that works in this field.
Let me direct you to this site and see if you don't learn from JR's work. BTW, I'd like to get a look at that formula. (G)
"However, if you're spreading from 1 to 50 units betting football, you've got a money management problem. Flat betting is the only thing that works in this field."
If you find a very "good" line, you should ofcourse bet more than you usually do. Indentify the bet that gives the best of it, and then make the most of it. Always flat betting is silly. It is called a self weighting strategy.
Read Mason Malmuth's Gambling Theory And Other Topics.
I regret my previous post. Flat betting in sports betting is not a self weighting strategy. However it is absolutely nothin wrong with a spread betting. I do think it is a good idea to make a bigger bet when you know that your edge is big.
Maybe somebody with a greater knowledge of sports betting than I have can say something about this?
I'm not an expert on sports betting. But I am friends with some of the most successful people in that area. They don't tell me muchof what they do, but I do know that they pass on most games, bets (relatively) small on most of the bets they make, and make some very large bets.
The large bets are usually a function of two things. First is how good a bet they feel it is. The more they like the bet, the more they will bet. Second, is how much can they bet. All casinos have limits on what they will take, and these limits vary from sport to sport and particular games inside the sport. For instance, you can bet more on the Super Bowl than you can on a regular season NFL game. And you can bet more on a college football game than you can on a college basketball game, especially if it is an obscure team.
Where one makes many bets over the course of the season, he is more likely to flat bet than someone who picks his spots more carefully. I know a good deal of pro sports bettors that just look for smaller edges and end up betting quite a few games, up to 20% of the board. I also know some who bet maybe 1 or 2 games off of a board off 50 games and they tend to spread their bets more. When you bet many games, your theoretical edges are generally smaller and often harder to figure. It would be easier for someone with only a few games to point out to himself where he probably has a 6% edge on a game versus a 3% edge. If the handicapping is good it works out either way, its just the spread bettor due to his selectivity needs to be betting more money to realize a sufficient income whereas the less selective bettor just needs to have enough volume to reach his income.
Thanks for all the helpful responses. I do appreciate the standard deviation thing. That is kind of what I've been wanting to hear.
The reason my bet spread is so high, (really something like 1-100 units), is because my formula dictates it. If my power ratings show even a fraction of a point difference from the spread I'll go a unit. I like to have a side on every game to keep my record of betting every game in the NFL alive.
I know that Mr. Sklansky says a point difference of at least 1.5 to 2 is the minimum needed to break out of the 52.38% box. But these small bets are insignificant enough that it doesn't bother me to risk them. Besides, even the small wagers have given me a return over the years. I currently would need a point spread difference of about 17 points to go 100 units. I got it once last season with Buffalo at New Orleans towards the end of the season. I think the line was weak because Buffalo was'nt expected to play hard, since the game had no bearing on their playoff implications.
Anyway, thanks to everbody who replied.
My wife is playing some casino blackjack (while I spend my days and nights in the cardroom) and needs to practice up some skills.
Whats some recommendations for a simulator or game thats realistic, has good graphics, can be set for different conditions, and has some "advisor" or counting training?
I have used "Turbo" for poker. Is there something of similar quality for blackjack?
Acespade software' Blackjack Deluxe is excellent. Check their web site: http://www.acespade-software.com
While I agree that 'sopping up the juice' is valueless, readers of this forum should know that Bob McCune's books on sports handicapping are some of the best available, and invaluable to the serious handicapper.
McCune's books are full of the same feelgood mumbo jumbo that started this thread. In total, they are nearly worthless. In fact, if opportunity costs are figured in, they are much worse than the average worthless gambling book. A John Patrick tome might waste an hour or two of your afternoon. A volume of McCune may require several hours to wade through. Hours that would be more profitably spent actually studying sports.
Bob McCune's work, like that of James Michener, should sell by the pound, not the book.
Can you be specific?
I'd like to be specific, but I've long since unloaded my collection of McCune classics.
I ought to mention that at the time I ordered Bob's blockbusters(from Bob himself, not thru GBC or the like) over the phone, I found Bob to be a very personable, decent, well-spoken guy. Of course, I'd still rather have my original purchase price(s) back.
I must say that I did indeed garner one meaningful tidbit from Bob's oeuvre about wagering upon the "sweet science": follow the money. Yes, that might seem trite to you, but I was once a babe in the woods. Of course, since I had never actually bet on boxing(or plan to), it didn't help much.
This depends on what you're looking for. If you want some kind of 'how to' for handicapping, then the McCune books won't help you. Then again, I don't know of a single book that does this, so it unfair to indict McCune without casting similar accusations on virtually every sports handicapping book ever written.
What Bob's books do, IMO--
1) Point out that beating sports is almost impossible, unless you've got a genuine knack for it and are prepared to handicap full time.
2) Occasionally offer some interesting tidbits on the science of handicapping. His procedure for handicapping the NBA is, I think, fairly level, as are his passages on handicapping MLB.
To group McCune with a notorious con artist like John Patrick is, I think, wildly inaccurate. His books are great for anyone looking to get into the sports betting racket, even if they don't 'tell' you how to handicap. John Patrick, by contrast, is a total idiot, and anyone who reads his books are assured of losing every dime they put into the ring. While Bob's books may not offer a lot to the accomplished handicapper, you probably don't need to read anything if you're already hitting 55%. If you're not, Bob can probably help show you where you're going wrong.
My thoughts indeed. I can't believe someone would put down Bob's books considering what is out there. Bob makes no guarantees other than if you work hard and research, you will give yourself a chance to win. Some of his insights are very useful to someone who doesn't think winning 55% is going to make you a winner. I do agree his almost obsession with other sports services is wasteful, the fact is that no other book will give you a more practical look at betting sports to win.
I'll take one more stab at this:
"I can't believe someone would put down Bob's books considering what is out there."
Bull. Recent tomes by guys like Jack Moore and Trace Fields are a helluva lot better than anything Bob McCune has written. There's good stuff out there if you know how to look. And just because a book doesn't cover gambling specifically doesn't mean it doesn't have value to those looking for a way to win money. Virtually the entire series of books from the people at STATS qualify in this respect.
"Bob makes no guarantees other than if you work hard and research, you will give yourself a chance to win."
True. Problem is, that's the gist of every book he's written. Over and over and over and over.........ad NAUSEAM. Reading his books looking for virtually anything else simply wastes time. LOTS of it. Life is too short.
how do you know which basic strategy chart to follow when there are variations within the same charts for the same game? ie...Atlantic City multiple deck, and Las Vegas multiple deck-double after splitting option-no surrender.
some charts say NEVER split 44, some say spl. 44 against dealer 5&6.
some say spl. 22 & 33 against dealer 2-7, others say stand against dealer 2&3, spl. against 4-7,
some say stand with 99 against dealer 7, others say spl. 99 against dealer 7.
remember, these are just several examples of variations from different books for identical games. Some are more aggressive (which I prefer), and some are not. I want to know why there are differences, assuming all the "experts" are using the same mathematical informations when making their charts?
Acespade Software's Blackjack software can show you the accurate table. Their advise is split 99 when dealer is 2-6, 8, 9; split 44 when dealer is 5, 6; split 33 and 22 when dealer is 2-7. You can see this in their websit: http://acespade-software.com
Splitting 4's against a 5 or 6 is only correct in multiple deck play when the house allows doubling after splits. 22, 33, and 66 should also only be split against a 2 or 3 when DAS is allowed.
The reason there are different charts (besides the author getting it wrong) is that every set of rules available will dictate different strategy decisions. Some charts are a compromise, seeking the middle ground. Others are drawn for a very specific set of rules. The number of decks also changes the proper strategy.
you can play flop with the loser stting out a hand. this keeps things fast with not much waiting.
another way is to have one person play the other two. first one of them then the other. the one sitting out has an interest in the person playing and can watch. each person gets a turn at it.
any good gin players out there that can shed some better light here?
I've played as Ray suggests, with 3 players acting as individuals, with 2 playing, one sitting,
Start the game by drawing cards, the low deals to high, while the middle sits.
Score as you normally would. Winner stays. If the hand ends in a draw, redeal with the same 2 players. Winner collects from both losers.
Without being a gin expert, this puts a premium on knocking ASAP to try to stay on the table...
Has anyone ever won anything from any gambling sites? Can you really win a lot of money. I am curious about this site that I am sending. Do you know anything about it?
I was reading Professional Video Poker by Stanford Wong recently and a couple of the machines he refers to have the following payouts:
Final Hand: Machine A/B/C
pay per coin------------------------|
Royal Flush: 1000/ 3200/ 800
Strt Flush: 50/ 50/ 50
4 of kind: 25/ 25/ 25
Full House: 9/ 8/ 9
Flush: 6/ 5/ 6
Straight: 4/ 4/ 4
3 of kind: 3/ 3/ 3
2 pair: 2/ 2/ 2
pair(jacks/better: 1/ 1/ 1
Payback: 100.7%/ 104.60%/ 99.54%
I have never seen machines like these, do they still exist?, if so, where are they? and what is the best stratedgy? Is video poker still a profitable gamble under the right conditions? Are Stanford Wongs strategies still correct or is there a better source?
I am in Vegas as I am writing this, so your help and opinions are greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance
Wong's book may be out dated since the video poker scene changes fast. The best thing to read are the reports by Bob Dancer.
where would I find the reports by Bob Dancer?
On the web ConJelCo may have them. Also Gambler's Book Club and Gambler's General Store both in Las Vegas have them.
I have been thinking about TomSki's report, posted on this forum (Wednesday, 17 March, 1999), about Compton and Dancer's seminar, hosted by Casino Management Association, titled "Keeping Profits with Today's Slots and Video Poker."
And I don't like it. I don't like the idea of Compton/Dancer making money teaching players how to beat the casino, and also making money teaching the casino how to beat, back off, limit, the players.
Video poker is a game of pure math -- unlike live poker, there is no room for opinion. It is not hard to find which games can be beaten, and it is not hard to find the appropriate expert stratagies. I guess I am suggesting patronizing someone other than Compton/Dancer for this information.
I agree 100% with NB. Would suggest you check out Dan Paymars material. Can get through Gambler's Book club. Would also suggest you reference text of Dancer's seminars that NB mentioned. He is heavily hyped, with no mention of casino affiliations.
Although self-serving, I suggest you pick up my VP Strategy Master by TomSki software. It will allow you to create extremely accurate strategy listings for almost any conventional VP game and any paytable in just seconds. Listings are color coded for easy use. Dancers 3 reports are $10 each and only cover 1 game each. Dancer was so impressed with VPSM, that we discussed martketing arrangements. But he wanted to name it "Bob Dancer Present TomSki's VP Strategy Master". I couldn't go for that. Then what I saw at the CMA seminar was not pretty either. You can find VPSM at Gambler's Book Shop and Huntington Press in Las Vegas or on the web at the link below. Good luck, TomSki
The most common game is the 3rd column and the payback percentage of 99.54% is accurate. The first column game can be found but the payback is only 100%. Not 100.7. The middle column probably refers to an 8-5 progressive machine with the royal flush jackpot being 3200 coins, I don't know if the payback percentage is correct, but it's rare that a progressive would get that high, And if it did it would be hard to get a seat because the Pro's and everybody else would have all the machines locked up. I think an 8-5 progressive jackpot needs to get to about 2300 coins before it has a positive expectation with perfect play. Danno
Sorry, I meant that an 8-5 progressive quarter machine needs to have a royal flush jackpot of $2300 to be positive.
Note that when the jackpot gets that high the basuc strategy changes. Normally ATs is not playable, with the high royal jackpot ATs is playable, even with a flush and straight penalty.
Please help save me some time. I am going to be in Vegas over Memorial Day and plan to play some blackjack. (It's not available in Arizona.)
What casinos, downtown and Strip, currently have the most player-friendly rules?
I don't mind a shoe game, as that allows me to get some edge counting cards without raising and lowering my bets too much (by "playing on the run" and by leaving whenever a shoe turns bad).
PS - Correspond with me if there is a good place & time to say hello.
you definitely want to go downtown to the "Las Vegas Club"
You can double-down on your first "3" cards, and you can split, and re-split pairs (including AA), also, any six cards is an "automatic win" for the player!
I will also be in Vegas over Memorial Day weekend! ...at the Bellagio poker room, or the Las Vegas Club playing blackjack.
GOOD LUCK! JKR
The LV club has 50% pen. This makes it very poor for a counter. http://www.atext.com/people/skister/conds.html has good info on game conditions.
Just a little note on the Las Vegas Club. I stayed there for the WSOP and noticed no big sign anymore showing their "Worlds Most Liberal BJ Rules". I also noticed, of all things, double deck games! I guess they finally realized they are better off offering beatable games than just having low penetration games with good rules. Also as mentioned before, until you start putting at least $100 bets, no major casino is going to back you off, especially during a major weekend. You have to prove to them you are a threat to make decent money and when its crowded they arent going to spend the time tracking every player no matter how good he might seem until he bets the type of money that can hurt them. Try a 1:8 on a Tuesday morning in December they might just cause they have nothing better to do and the days profit isnt going to be all that special. Try a 1:16 on that particular weekend and you probably will have a floorman paying no attention to you; he will be busy off trying to keep his customers happy wiht comps. He often times will ask the dealer just how much you have been betting should you ask for a comp.
The rules you find are not nearly as important as the penetration you can find. A game with 80% penetration and terrible rules is worth far more to a card counter than a game with all the good rules and 65% penetration.
What count are you using, and what kind of bet spreads did you have in mind?
Dan - I just use a very simple hi-lo count in which the ace is -1. I don't vary my bets by more than a 2:1 ratio, as I have heard that the heat is really severe now in LV on possible counters. I use the count for strategy adjustment and to decide when to get in and out of a shoe.
Hi-lo is a fine count for shoe games, but you're probably no playing a winning game with only a 2:1 spread, unless you are playing only positive counts. Again, look for good penetration - 75% is the minimum you want to look for.
If you're going to play in a six decker, I 'think' you need at least an 8:1 betting spread to beat the game (assuming, as Dan says, that you're going to wade through the negative counts).
Unless you are playing black chips, I really wouldn't worry about heat too much on 6-deck games, especially at most places on the strip. I strongly encourage you to increase your spread to about 1-8 at least (plus backcounting). Assume that the worst happens and you get backed off somewhere. Big deal! It's not the end of the world, especially since your main game is poker. If you get backed off at one place, they're not going to bother telling anyone else unless your playing big money or they think you're part of a team. Unless you announce "I am a card counter" I really don't think you'll have any problems at any of the nicer Strip properties over the course of one weekend.
Good Luck, YJ
I've been challanged to start playing gin with a poker buddy of mine (he's trying to recoup some of his poker losses to me). He has been playing gin for years and is quite good. I know the rules but have never really played the game. Are there any books out there on par with the 2+2 Poker Books for Gin?
Try "How to Win at Gin Rummy" by Pramod Shankar ISBN 0-8184-0586-4. Gin is a memorization game, with little psychology. My take on it is that if you could remember all the cards that you and your opponent pick-up and discard you would be well on your way to playing the game perfectly.
There is more to it than that. Don't play someone who is good at gin for money, there edge will be significant.
O.K. So, please explain.
Obviously, watching the cards is crucial, but there are other elements of skill. Mathematics, (I would guess Bayes theorem would be useful) and psychology, i.e. throwing the queen of clubs when you would love the queen of diamonds. Also when to knock and playing to the score in games like Hollywood would be particularly important. Mind you, I am no Gin expert, but don't sell the game short, there is far more to it than merely memorizing the cards that have gone by.
Yes, there is more to the game than card memorization, but I believe it is the skill that makes all the other plays possible. If you knew exactly which cards your opponent tossed and picked up (from the discard pile)you would be able to easily put him on a hand and play your cards accordingly.
I suspect that the late Stu Ungar had a Photographic memory.
Anyway, I basicly agree with you view of Gin, I just think that Memory counts for 85% of the game. You may have a lower number.
IMHO, there is a lot of short term luck in Gin - almost certainly more than NL poker, probably less than in limit poker. Memorization of discards is important, but hand analysis and psychology are very important, too. It is a complex game, especially as played between 2 players who are mostly accomplished at the memorization part. Much like poker and BJ, at the low levels, a good knowledge of odds and the cards can win, but at advanced levels, psychology and deception are important. My apologies for the run-on sentence. I agree with the book reccomendation above.
BTW, knowing your opponent at gin is very valuable. This is true especially early in the hand, and where a player good at the psychology will kill a "by the book" player or a "super - reader" type. In gin, the "super - reader" is often the "super - defender", and I have fallen into that trap more than once. Late in the hand, it is often easier to analyze the situation, but at that time it can be too late. This should sound familiar to HE and stud players.
On the streetcorners in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta. These are the places I know of, but there are tons more I am sure. In Washington Square Park in the village in manhattan, I played some chess for $5-10/blitz game, but the real money was on Backgammon b/c the worse you beat someone, the more you get.
Has anyone ever noticed that they seem to always get the worst of any game altering breaks that may happen in the course of a game? I have.
Whenever there is a lopsided turnover ratio, Or missed field-goal, (from inside the 45), or even controversial officiating,or inexplicable descision making, I lose.
After thinking a while about it, I'm comforted by this theory:
If you are the recipient of many more unfortunate point-spread busting "flukes" than you are the beneficiary of, it's good. You are on the right side most of the time. Here is the reasoning:
Football is such a volatile game that most favorites only cover maybe 75% of the time. Since the point-spread is usually a more precise measure of teams relative strengths, the spread is busted more frequently. From the sportsbooks perspective, hopefully 50% of the time. If you're on the right side of a game, and you catch some breaks, it does'nt matter. You'd be winning anyway. Only when things go against you is it close. Therefore, if you are right 80% of the time you will win about half of those, (40% of the total),because you were right, blow the spread away a quarter of the time,(20% of the total), when your team gets the breaks, and lose 20% of the total by missed fieldgoals, freakish turnovers, acts of God, and blown calls that the league apologizes nicely for the following Tuesday. You also win 5 of the 20% of games you picked wrong on, but the end result is you get screwed 4 times more often than you luck out.
Does this make sense? Or is it just the rambling rant of an exasperated fatalist who wonders why he is constantly being slapped about by the hand of fate.
The amount of thought you have obviously put into this theory can be much better spent. I, like you and most people I know, have spent far too much time analyzing what went wrong. Bad calls, missed field goals, etc. "even out" in the long run. People simply dwell on losses in a feable attempt to "figure it out" for next time. Winning does not get analyzed because it is more fun to simply count the money and move on to the next play. It's not much different than the knucklehead in the 7-seat at a blackjack table who hits a 12 against the dealer-6 and takes the breaker...... but when that player draws a 4 or 5 and then the dealer goes on to bust, everyone is too busy giving high-fives to lament on how stupid he was. (of course heads-up is the only way to play blackjack anyway).
The best thing that I have found for betting football is to pick a winning stat (greater than 60%) that has held up for several years running, AND STAY WITH IT! I bet more money on a fewer amount of games, but I stay with it for the entire season and don't throw other games in. The stat I like most (which is successful over the past several years) is taking all the home-dogs STRICTLY IN INTER-DIVISION GAMES!
Of course, when the playoffs arrive, I disregard everything and go with my gut like everone else!
Trends in football don't mean much, since Roxy eventually takes any well known trend (i.e., home dogs in inter divisional games) into account when making the lines. The same goes for playing a team on a winning streak in MLB, etc.
Good handicappers that I know (and I know exactly one, who happens to reside in Tennessee) generally have over seven or eight years of statistics that they crunch in a computer, then adjust the computer's numbers with what they see as pertinent subjective factors. If beating football could be done the Marc Lawrence way (i.e., spotting an angle or trend and betting the hell out of it), handicapping a game would take less than three minutes, and the book's would be broke.
A good rule of thumb; if you've spotted a trend, half the football betting public has also spotted it, and you can be damn sure that Roxy's spotted it. If you want to beat the game, figure on spending AT LEAST thirty to forty hours a week in the NFL, and double that in MLB and the NBA. You could get away with less, but I don't think most people do.
Or, do the sensible thing- stay the hell away from the NFL. There's a reason you can get down twenty times more money on a Bronco- Raiders game than you can on a James Madison--Richmond contest in NCAA hoops.
I don't think trends mean much either, nor do I think linesmakers adjust all that much for them, unless they feel the public is inclined to bet them. Trends usually are just a short term variance easily within the probability distribution curve. Also I don't think Pro-football is that hard to beat. 30-40 hours a week seems excessive, the line makers certainly don't spend that much time. About 8-12 hours to update power ratings does it for me. I think there is a danger of overanalyzing.
Many times in football you can see a win or a loss developing a long way off. In basketball, more frequently, it goes right down to the buzzer. Also the consistency of performance seems to vary more. These are a couple of reasons why I think football , particularly Pro-football, is a superior wagering vehicle. Sure, there is a lot more coverage and information on Broncos/Raiders than an obscure college basketball game, but think of how often the line makers are wrong. I don't mean a lop-sided turnover ratio blowout type game, but a well played, even break game. Teams have performance peaks and valleys during the season that the lines often don't account for. Of course its always easier to see this in retrospect. A really good example is the inagural seasons of expansion teams Carolina and Jacksonville. They were both statistically sound teams from the beginning, (Jacksonville did have a turnover problem for a while), yet linesmakers rigidly held to their sub-par expectations for 8-10 weeks before giving them the numbers they deserved. It was a great party if you ignored expansion team trend history.
Well then you reinvented the wheel. One thing you will never hear uttered from a successful sports bettor is that the NFL is the easiest game to beat. NEVER NEVER NEVER! One good point I accept is that maybe 1/2 to 2/3 of all football games are truly handicappable. You may try all games, but the fact is that in the remainder of the games, luck or some factor you cant really handicap will come into play. Your side may dominate the game in yardage and own the line of scrimmage, but has a bad snap on a punt that turns into a blocked kick, has a bad pass interference call go against them in the end zone, has a wide open receiver fall down, and to top it off has a gust of wind come up and slightly alter the course of a long pass and it goes from six points to interception. These things happen all the time and they affect football games much more than any other sport. If you make a mistake in basketball its two points for the opponent and you can go back and get it next possession. Not so easy in football. The "luck" factor makes it so that in the games that arent decided in this fashion, you have to pick closer to 70% to be really successful and this rarely will happen because you cant possibly analyze every factor, especially if you think you can just win with power ratings. I will never argue with those who spend the time working. I used to work 40 hours a week or so and was picking 56% and was happy with it. Now I work maybe 20 and I pick closer to 54-55. Also remember some of the work is spent shopping for lines. Its easier today than it used to be with more phone accounts available in Vegas and with internet and phone wagering available in the Caribbean. No very successful bettor I know just uses an outlet or two. Its more like 10-15 outs to get every possible edge on the line. Just some food for thought...it amazes me how little is understood about sports gambling by the general public and how little respect they give for the hard working pros. I quit doing it exclusively because it is just too grinding and time consuming, along with emotionally stressful work. No one ever gets rich in this business without earning it.
But here are some reasons I think Pro-Football wagering may not be the easiest game to beat, but perhaps the safest sport to wager on:
The dynamic of performance because of limited playing time. Each team only plays 16 hours of regulation time a season. The teams doing well get complacent and continue to work their strategy until other teams can stop them. Meanwhile a struggling team continues to change strategies until they find something or someone that is successful. Its not always apparant that a new strategy is beginning to work, EXCEPT in the statistics. golden opportunities if you know which statistics matter.
It's true that mistakes can be fatal, but it usually takes a compounding of goofs for the wrong team to cover. In basketball, most mistakes are'nt fatal, but there is a lot more opportunities for bad luck. I don't know, but would imagine that a certain percentage of missed 3-pointers would correlate with an infintismale chance of covering. And what makes them miss? When your hot your hot!
In my opinion, power ratings, updated weekly, are the best way to go in football. There are motivational concerns but they are infrequent and can easily be over-analyzed. It's best to stay current and throw out stats from earlier contests that are'nt applicable to a teams current direction. As much as I wish you could correlate statistics with a teams turnover expectancy, I have'nt found a morally certain way to do it yet. Until then it's best to ignore them.
I can't argue with shopping for points, but I've found it only changes maybe 4 or 5 games a year for me. ( I'm very happy about this) Most of the time it is just getting down early or late in anticipation of line moves. I can anticipate a line move correctly about 75% of the time.
I'm glad that there are people interested in talking about Pro Football wagering. It has always seemed like a great low-risk opportunity to profit. But not much.
Well all I can say is, I only wish it were that easy. I get asked often when people find out that I used to bet sports professionally what its like. I said until you win, there are three phases. First you just pick the games. You think you are smarter than all the bums betting and you can beat it without any real "work". That eventually fails and then you go to step two: power ratings. You think well the computer can figure it out better than the people so I try that. It works sometimes, usually just is about break even since in reality, if generic power ratings are off from the real line then they are probably missing something. Third is your stage: I will create my own power ratings! Well usually this crashes and burns, but occasionally a few modest winners come about. I hope you stay in this category...and I will admit you probably put more time into your ratings than most. However its like poker in a way...you can achieve very modest success doing things by the "book". When you want to go further and become a truly successful person you will have to put in more. Become attuned to the psychology of the activity. Literally think of it as not beating the man, but beating the other bettors. I too enjoy talking about the mechanics and theory of sports betting and wish it were more prevalent. Notice lots of poker players can do just that. Sports bettors though seem to get caught up on who they like in a game, something I almost never do. I mean studying a game is like studying a particular poker hand; there is some practical theory to it, but it often gets buried in the situation.
I am a former sports bettor myself, and also enjoy point-counter point. However, the "interesting" part of it stops there. All the analyzing in the world gains you approxiamately what? Maybe .00whatever percentage? In my opinion, this translates into NOTHING more in the long run for your bottom line! How much are we talking about wagering per game? $10.......$10,000? IT DOESN'T MATTER!
I would be interested to hear a breakdown of annual profit. If you add up all the hours spent calculating your wagers, then divide it by your profit, what are you making per hour? Is it any more in the long run than the average person who runs hot and cold?...or the person who flips burgers from 9 to 5?
The "fun" lies in the POSSIBILITIES......the "truth" lies with REALITY...and that is the fact that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than making a good profit in the NFL.
Good luck, but don't give up your day job!
"One thing you will never hear uttered from a successful sports bettor is that the NFL is the easiest game to beat. NEVER NEVER NEVER!"
Well, almost never. I find the NFL the easiest game to beat. Why? The lines simply aren't as accurate as they should be. Everybody and his brother thinks he can pick the NFL. This results in a much higher public/expert ratio in the NFL than any other sport. Roxy & Co must respect the public's proclivities when setting the line because they are betting the lion's share of the dough. In other sports the "smart money" makes up a much larger portion of the overall betting pool. Those games have more accurate lines as a result.
I'm not just blowing smoke; my documented record with The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma City backs me up on this point. I have one of only 2 services to have a Top Ten ranking in the NFL each of the past 2 seasons(first two years of the service's existence). And my cumulative record is #1 over that time.
Baseball is something of an anomaly, due to the fact that it has a smaller built-in edge than football.
BTW, there's a nice interview with Roxy in the JASA's journal "Chance". Winter 1999 issue I think. Makes a number of interesting(and similar) points.
If you can't find the above journal in your local university library, try
It has/had a link to that essay.
Wild Bill, Danno, JKR;
You all make great points. Still, when it comes down to it, the one sport genuinely worth investing the time in is college hoops; nothing else comes close. I've hit 55% or better the past two years playing over 500 games a year by doing NOTHING but line tracking. If you can 'read' the lines, and figure out where the smart money's going, then college buckets are the best.
The NFL, IMO, is not where a handicapper wants to spend his time. If I was going to do any serious handicapping in October/ November, it would be on the MLB playoffs and the NBA, with some college football mixed in. But no pro football. Like I said, there's a reason why the maximum bet in the NFL is so much higher than in any other sport.
Well I certainly agree with that. If a player really wanted to know the easiest sport to beat consistently it is without a doubt baseball. No pointspreads to beat and a dime line makes it hands down the best. College hoops are pretty profitable too, but this is one place where the bettor is losing his edge because all the technology has made the numbers quite a bit stronger. Used to be before the internet that many a sports bettor just had a field day with the game, but now with the internet the easy research that used to win isnt as good anymore. Baseball would normally fall into that category, but the truth is that there is so much information it just causes indecision in many sports bettors I know. Value is everything in sports betting and baseball is certainly the one sport where someone who knows how to find value will excel. And to top it off, college hoops bet limits are getting smaller all the time. You can bet easily 3 to 5 times as much on baseball. I havent been betting in Vegas for awhile but I was shocked on my last visit to see some pretty big name books accepting only $500 on sides for college hoops. Good luck making a good living off of that limit.
Yeah, I've noticed the same thing. You're starting to see some fairly accurate lines in NCAAB these days, which used to be virtually unheard of.
Glad you concur w/ my opinion on the NFL. Can you make money in the foots? Probably. But you're really going to have to work for it, and you generally end up sweating some pretty nasty 'beats'. As Roxy says, "the great thing about football is that when you win a bet you're a genius, and when you lose it's because some idiot fumbled a snap"...
Here is my 2 centavos. I think pro football is the worst sport to bet on because the luck factor is too high since the teams only play 16 games a year. I prefer basketball and baseball wagering for that reason. Although the sweetest situation I ever saw in sports betting was in college football. It happened a long time ago and involved a player called Gordy Lockbaum who played for Holy Cross. I doubt if I will ever witness anything this good ever again in sports betting.
God, Tom, that was like 12 years ago. You're dating yourself! :) (If, in fact, Lockbaum is the player I'm thinking of, a 60 minute stud who tore up the league for two years).
You are right he did play on offense and defense. I knew I was dating myself. I didn't think anyone would remember old Gordy. They would run up the score every week, covering huge point spreads, building up Gordy's stats as he was being hyped for the Heisman.
This thread was very interesting as I think it is very difficult to beat sports betting over the long run. I've definitely a net loser betting on sports. I can tell a lot of the people in this thread are experienced betters. I agree with a lot of the insights here. I never followed college hoops real close but it does seem plausible that there is good value in betting the games. I like WildBill's approach as I found myself looking more for good values than as time passed. I do think there is something about pro football teams and emotional cycles but I've never researched it enough.
Something you might note on sports is that quite a few professional analysts in Nevada talk alot about the "hold percentages" of the sports books since they are required by law to report them. They also talk about who won the battle each week and year...the bettors or the books and much of it is based on these numbers. Football can go either way due to the sheer volume bet, but notice it has never really gone too far below its theoretical 4.5%. I remember one year I was living in Vegas back then and it was 3% for a whole season and bookmakers were crying weekly about how the bettors got to them. Think about it...they only made 3% on millions and millions of dollars and they are complaining. Bet there are many businesses that wish for that. Sometimes baseball and basketball get down close to 2%, but the books have always won! So they must be doing something right. Note though that since the hold is below the theoretical often in many sports (not football), that they can and are beaten by the public, just not to the point of being a loser. Don't forget these numbers next time you start to think its easy to beat sports.
pokerkook - It has been a long time (10 years), but I used to see people playing backgammon for money at bridge tournaments. Some for a break from the bridge, and a few hustlers.
If you check this out, do be careful whom you select as fish. A lot of the expert bridge players are also very fine backgammon players. The odds-calculation part of the game seems to transfer very well from bridge skill.
I would guess the hustling at bridge tournaments is pretty lean at this point. I play lots of bridge and only occasionally see a bg game pop up. Usually as Dick pointed out at least one of the players is very good.
As another thought, do you have any friends at a local country club? The one my parents belonged to had some pretty decent bg action.
I used to play a ton of bridge with my folks when I was a kid, and absolutely loved the game. Unfortunately as I got older no one I knew could play, so I was stuck playing euchre. Still, I'd love to start playing again (or, more accurately, would like to learn how again), but I have no idea how to go about it. Any advice?
If you live in or near a reasonably sized city, they almost surely have a duplicate bridge club. They will be listed in the yellow pages. Be forewarned that bridge players are a very competitive lot, especially considering that there is no money riding on the outcome. If you can't find a local club email me at Josprung@aol.com and give me your location.
Has anyone here used Len Ragozin's Sheets? If so, are the price of his sheets worth it. Also , I've heard of a person utilizing Kelly Criterion betting in conjunction with the sheets to play professionally. Comments anyone?
I'm feeling a bit lazy, so I thought I'd just ask and see what happens. I don't know my sports too well, but are there any times when a Line is wrong enough that a person like me could make a good bet? If there is please guide me to the source if information.
There are times, but it's hard to know just when it happens. If you're interested, I'd recommend spending some time this upcoming winter doing some line tracking in NCAAB. I won't go into the details here (although I'd be happy to if you're interested, just let me know), but the idea is that you can determine what the 'right side' of a game is just by watching the line moves. Unless you really know what you're doing this will cost you A TON of money in the NFL, NBA, etc., but in college hoops it's at least a little profitable (but very time consuming, since you've got to stay on top of the lines all day). I've managed to hit about 54.5% over the past two years doing this (somewhere around 600 plays, though I'd have to look up the numbers to make sure that's correct), so if you've got the time and the inclination (and at least three outlets) you can make a couple bucks when you're not in the card room :).
Be careful with this whole idea because the money being moved on college hoops isnt the same as it used to be. Some bigger syndicates that I know have stopped almost completely betting the games in Nevada and they were the true movers of the line. With even big shops not taking more than 2 dimes on a game, they just cant make a big score like they can and do in the Caribbean or other places worldwide. The biggest money being bet on sports is no longer going through Vegas so I am not sure how confident you can be with line tracking as each year goes by. Players are getting barred from betting at some shops and this used to never happen. The fact is that the whole atmosphere to sports betting in Nevada has changed and big scores are not being made there much anymore and they books are not welcoming the action. The corporate view of gaming has overcome the sports side and the players who moved the lines most consistenly arent welcome in it.
Something to consider, that fact that you don't follow sports would make your betting decisions a lot more objective than someone who does. I believe this would be to your advantage. A lot of betters form an opinion and make their bets solely on that basis. Others won't bet against their favorite team or on a team they hate, blah, blah, blah. I can already see that if you were to engaged in making money at betting on sports you would use a systematic way to do it which is a lot different than most bettors approach sports betting at least at first.
Thats what I like about power ratings, total objectivity. Even though my ratings are based on my own subjective opinions about what statistics matter and which ones don't; I find that when I apply them blindly across the board, I get some surprises in the weekly matchups. It also seems like I usually get burned when I try to scale back a bet, or press a bet , based on the conventional wisdom du'jour.
An example might be injuries. Teams compensate by focus and concentration, but you can't be sure to what degree they will be succesful. I think it's best to take whatever adjustments the linemaker gives you; shop for points and then bet your numbers without adjustments.
A systematic approach to Pro football is the best, I think, for grinding out a small, but steady winning percentage. Perhaps a bettor who is very involved, experienced, and selective could do better, maybe a lot better, but I think they are rare.
Is it possible for an American to bet legally on European sports on European betting exchanges?
Can this be done by telephone or Internet from the United States (or do bets have to be placed in person)?
I'm not sure what you mean by "betting exchanges", but there are plenty of online books that will take wagers from Americans on European events. Bowman's certainly takes wagers on most major European soccer matches. There are plenty of others as well.
Has anybody heard about a little paper called "A Bayes Strategy for Roulette" by Professor Jerome Klotz. He modifies the Kelly Criterion for the application of biased roulette wheels. The main adjustments have been for situations where you do not know the true odds of success, and that there is negative correlation between the numbers.
Does anybody know if the appropriate adjustments have been made to Professor Klotz's paper for horse racing.? I suspect that one could use his paper as a springboard to determine optimal bet sizes. As I don't have the requisite mathematical expertise, Iam needing some help!!
Is this paper available online?
The email address is www.stat.wisc.edu/~klotz.klotz.html If you have problems downloading it as I did, just email Professor Klotz and he'll help you out. His email address is at the University of Wisconsin web site.
Other Gambling Games
May 1999 Digest is provided by Two Plus Two Publishing and ConJelCo