Posts Tagged ‘discipline’

$814 million was lost on sportsbetting in 2014-15, which equates to $2 230 137 being lost by punters on sports EVERY DAY in Australia.

So if you think you can beat the system then well done and good luck for the future, as the hard evidence clearly shows that a lot of money is being lost by people betting on sports.  With the odds structures always favouring the sports betting agencies, they are taking their cut whether you win or lose, and then with the fickle nature of sports results, picking a winner is still no easier.

The only recommendation I can make to those who enjoy a punt on sports is to bet smart, look for value and ‘good bets’ and seek help if you are losing more than you are winning beyond the budget you have set for yourself.

Beaner

 

Punters lose $23 Billion

Richard Willingham and Benjamin Preiss
Published: August 22, 2016 – 8:02PM

Australian punters lost nearly $23 billion last year, with a 30 per cent growth in sports betting helping to drive a continued rise in annual gambling losses.

New Australian Gambling Statistics figures show Australians lost $1241 per head in 2014-15, with poker machines still the biggest cause of punter losses with $11.6 billion lost, an increase of 4.9 per cent.

The continued growth of punter losses reignited calls for state and federal governments to get serious about tackling problem gambling through action on sports betting advertising and pokies.

The annual compilation of all state and territory data shows that total expenditure, or gambler losses, hit $22.7 billion in 2014-15, an increase of 7.7 per cent on the previous financial year.

There has been an explosion in sports betting, with the sector growing by 30.1 per cent in 12 months – with predictions the exponential growth will continue.

But sports betting is still one of the smallest segments of the market, worth $814 million, compared to pokies, racing ($2.8 billion), and Lotto ($1.7 billion).

Traditional betting on racing was the smallest growing sector at just 2.7 per cent.

The Victorian government on Sunday announced a ban on betting ads near schools and on public transport, while Canberra is moving to crack down on offshore bookies, as well as strengthen consumer protection for local online punters.

There are also renewed calls from Senator Nick Xenophon, the Greens and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie for poker machine reform.

Gambling losses in total for Victoria hit almost $5.8 billion in the 2014-15, with poker machine losses surpassing $2.5 billion, propping up Treasury coffers by more than $1 billion.

In NSW, punter losses hit $8.9 billion, with $5.7 billion lost on the pokies alone, sports betting worth $162 million and racing $945 million.

Across the nation casinos raked in $5.1 billion of gambler losses, with Melbourne’s Crown Casino hauling in $1.8 billion.

Monash University Public Health expert Charles Livingstone said the growth in sports betting losses was “phenomenal”.

“It demonstrates why we need to better regulate promotion and advertising. Otherwise we’re facing big growth in gambling problems and harm from young men and women,” Dr Livingstone said.

“But the 600-pound gorilla of Australian gambling is still the pokies: $12 billion in losses per year, and still growing, year after year. If we’re worried by sports betting, we should be 13 times more worried about the pokies.”

Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said state governments could fix the “poker machine madness”

“[That is] if any of them really cared about the issue,” he said.

The Australian Gambling Statistics 2014-15 shows that in Victoria total per person gambling losses hit $1250. Pokies losses was the biggest segment with $558 lost per Victorian.

In NSW, per person losses were higher at $1517.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the rate of problem gambling in the online sector was three times that of other areas.

“Many Australians love to gamble but we have to make sure the gambling environment is a safe one – that’s why we are cracking down on illegal offshore gambling providers and introducing much strong consumer protection for online gambling,” Mr Tudge said.

Deakin University associate professor of public health, Samantha Thomas, suspected sports betting had grown on the back of heavy marketing.

“While not all losses equal harm, a lot of them do. It’s time for governments to start to seriously consider the factors that are contributing to these growing losses and implement effective evidenced-based strategies to reduce harm,” she said.

“This includes addressing the factors from industry, such as prolific advertising or high intensity poker machines, that may be contributing to harm. Clearly, ‘gamble responsibly’ strategies are not having an impact on reducing losses or preventing harm.”

Victorian Gaming Regulation Minister Marlene Kairouz said the state government shared the community’s concerns about problem gambling. She said the government had invested $150 million over four years to support problem gambling services.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/australian-punters-lose-23-billion-half-on-the-pokies-20160822-gqyiz5.html

I have set myself a goal of turning $20 into $1000 through sportsbetting.  This is an aside from the Champ Bros syndicate, which is travelling quite nicely in 2015 btw.  The idea is that if I can successfully achieve this, then I could theoretically turn $200 into $10k, and then $2000 into $100k.  The % growth is all the same, it’s just the numbers get bigger by a factor of 10 each scenario. So even though the betting amounts are quite small in these examples, I am looking to the big picture where I could duplicate these strategies with higher stakes in the future.

I started this challenge by depositing $20 into my Bet365 a/c on Saturday 18th April, and have not made any further deposits.  Currently the balance is $146 with some bets pending.  My strategy is to only place ‘good bets’, where the odds exceed the number of outcomes, and I have also been dabbling in the upset theory again, especially with the tennis.

During the last 3 weeks I have also come to the conclusion that the ‘low ball’ strategy is the best approach to maintain my balance and see it grow slowly over time.  This is a poker term for someone who likes to keep the pots small and chip away at their opponents, especially in a heads up situation where there are only 2 players. The theory is you won’t be committing chips into big pots and gambling on outcomes, but instead you believe you can outplay your opponent over time, so you keep the pots small, minimise your losses and eventually win all your opponents chips through superior play and forcing them into making mistakes. How I’ve adapted this idea is to place lots of smaller bets with the aim of making small profits that outweigh the small losses if the bet doesn’t win. Inside this I have also been using combo bets within my selections, which reduces the amount I can win if all the legs happen to get up, but it also is more likely to ensure a return even if I miss a few legs of either small profit or small loss.

E.g. If I pick 6 AFL games over a weekend that I like the lines for when pushed out to 2-1, I might group them into doubles or trebles depending on how likely I think the teams will go. With 6 games into doubles, there are 15 combinations. With 6 games into trebles, there are 20 combinations.

If I was willing to stake $5 for this bet, then I would place .33c on each double or 0.25c on each treble. The sports bet websites and apps are set up now so this easily done by choosing the combo bet you want and the amount you want to stake so you don’t have manually make each bet.

If I happen to miss a leg or two out of these games, I will still make some money or incur a small lose, and I will only get zero return if I get fewer results than the combo I chose, which hasn’t happened yet. It is a conservative approach to gambling, but I am patient and so far I have been very happy to see my $20 investment slowly grow.

The other interesting option I have been exploiting is the new ‘Cash Out’ feature all the sites are offering now. Once you have a few legs of your multi in the bag, you will see that your cash out option will usually be higher than your starting stake, so you have already made a profit if you choose to end your bet there. A few times I have cashed out early and maximised my return, as I didn’t like my chances with the outcomes of the other matches, and if those games went against me the return would have dropped to less than what I staked originally, whereas the cash out option guaranteed me a profit. This works especially well with the upset theory in tennis.

E.g. I have been backing the upset in tennis for short priced favourites. After watching the results for a few weeks it became apparent that there are many upsets in the tennis, even at the odds of 1.10 for the favourite. It was something that I explored a few years ago when I got fed up with my short priced tennis multis getting smashed by one of the odds on favs getting beat nearly every single multi.

The bet on the tennis I made the other day highlighted how a smart use of the cash out option made me a tidy profit.

I chose 5 matches and got the odds of 5.50, 4.00, 5.00, 6.50 and 4.00. I don’t really care who is playing or where, I just look for odds of 4-1 and over in the available games. I staked $5 on 10 x doubles of .50c each. The first 2 results I got happened to be both wins and the 3rd game was underway but not looking good as my player was a set down but had broken serve in the 2nd set. I was still in a great position though with 2 wins on the board, where the 5.50 and the 4.00 underdogs had both got up. Bet 365 was offering me cash out of around $21 at this point. I thought this was great, and here’s why. I had already made $11 I couldn’t lose (5.5 x 4 x .5), so if I let the matches play out this is what I would pocket regardless of the remaining results. I had already made a profit on my $5 investment. If I happened to get one more leg, I would then have 3 x doubles combos and over $30. As I watched the current game unfold it looked more likely that my player was going to lose, and literally after each point the cash out figure was dropping. I cashed in and got $20.10. Now I might have missed out on a potentially bigger payout, but I had also nearly doubled my worst case scenario regardless of the remaining outcomes, and it was this factor that I found most appealing. In these types of bets I only need 2 upsets to make a profit and that’s all I expect with such short priced favs. As it turned out the remaining favs all won easily and my decision to exit at this point was a sound one.

The aspect of my strategy that this highlighted the most is DON’T GET GREEDY, as greed leads to poor decision making.

I have also been using the cash out option to get some money back on bets where I would have ended up with a zero return. I’ll take the small loss at the risk of some massive turn around in the match were the team I chose comes back to win, as this rarely happens.

Remember Low Ball; small bets, small wins and even smaller losses over time equals a growing profit.

I am also using another simple staking approach that I learnt from successful poker pro Erik Seidel. Seidel used to be a backgammon champion, and he then worked in the stock market before turning to poker. What he learnt from his time trading on the share market he adapted to poker with a simple premise; how much should I invest in this hand? If it was a hand with a low chance of winning, he would want to invest less in it, whereas if he had a good starting hand, he would be willing to invest more in it. With this in mind, generally I am going to be investing less on bets that have less chance of winning and conversely I can risk a bit more on bets that I think are a good chance of making me a profit.

E.g. If I am choosing 6 matches and betting on doubles combos, I will stake a bit more as I am more likely to get some doubles and a return on my investment. If I am betting on trebles or 4-folds, I will stake less as these are a bit less likely to win, plus the returns are higher if they do so I can get to the same profit by betting less.

I’ve been trialling a lot of bet types, mainly trying to find good bets in the AFL that look likely to return a profit over time. The soccer draw theory is also doing well, and I haven’t explored too many other sports yet as my sporting interest lies mainly with Aussie rules football and the English soccer. The tennis upset theory is also showing promise, as I like the odds you get backing the upset for a head to head match with 2 outcomes, even if the other player is heavily favoured to win.

Remember, upsets happen!

In the AFL I am taking a few approaches. I am using the Alternative Handicap option (Pick your own line), where I choose the team I think is going to win and then push the line to get a 2.10 return. I am looking for teams that I think will win by more than the bookies margin, and by pushing the line a few points passed that, I get the 2-1 I am looking for. The other approach is to find teams that you think will get closer than the line suggests, so they will lose by less than predicted. When you look at the odds for both teams once you get the 2-1 odds both ways, there is usually about an 8 or 9 point spread which I call the bookies margin, because if the result falls into that points spread, I can’t win no matter which team I backed.

E.g. Carlton v Brisbane Sunday 10th May

Brisbane +21.5 – 2.05

Carlton -29.5 – 2.10

With these lines to get just over 2-1, Carlton has to win by 30 or more and Brisbane has to lose by 21 or less for me to collect, giving the bookies a 9 point spread where they will win.

The other bet I am doing quite well out of is the first score option. There are 4 outcomes for this bet in each match, home goal, home behind, away goal and away behind. What I noticed when I examined the odds for this option is that quite often there were returns of up to 4.50 for one of the options. I like this a lot; a 4.50 return for a bet with 4 outcomes! This is a good bet. I don’t care that that option has been deemed less likely to occur, probably through the data Bet365 has accumulated over the years, and I’m sure the AFL players in these matches aren’t trying to conform to the data either.

E.g. AFL round 6 (still in play)

I went through all the games and picked the first score option that paid the highest odds of 4-1 and over for each match. In some games all the odds are less than 4-1 so I leave them alone. This is what I backed with their odds:

St Kilda Behind – 4.00 (Win)

GWS Goal – 4.25 (Loss)

Gold Coast Goal – 4.50 (Win)

Melbourne Behind – 4.50 (Win)

Essendon Behind – 4.50 (Loss)

Brisbane Goal – 4.25 (yet to play)

West Coast Behind – 4.50 (yet to play)

So there are 7 legs, and I grouped them into doubles, giving me 21 combos. I staked .25c each combo so the bet cost me $5.25. The reason for doubles is that this is a hard bet to win when considering the possible outcomes. A double is 4×4 = 16 possible outcomes, where a treble is 4x4x4 = 64 outcomes; quite a big difference. Obviously the payout is greater for the trebles, but the other thing to consider is that there are 35 bet combos with the 7 legs, so using the min bet of .25 on Bet365, it would cost $8.75 for a less likely win. If I had more starting money I would consider this option as the potential payouts would be nice (4.5×4.5×4.5 = $91.13x.25 = $22.78), but there is a greater likelihood of getting 2 wins and no payout at all, which isn’t the risk/reward strategy I am following in this challenge.

So far I have won 3 out of 5 matches, a great result for the good bet theory with 2 games still to play. If I had of bet trebles, I would already have won $20.25 (4×4.5×4.5×0.25), and one more win out of the remaining 2 matches would give 4 more combos, and 2 wins 10 combos. But this is all speculation and we are in the real world here.

My wins so far have guaranteed me a min return of (4×4.5x.25) + (4×4.5x.25) + (4.5×4.5x.25) = $14.06, a profit of 267.8%.

The current cash out value is sitting at $19.53 which is very tempting. But one more win will increase the combos to 6 and a return of over $24, and 2 more wins will increase the combos to 10 with a max return of $47.28. So to take a $5 gain here at the expense of a much higher payout isn’t such a smart move.

The difference between this and the tennis scenario earlier is that the tennis results were relying on the underdog to get up and win against the heavily fancied favourite, whereas these results are still good bets, where I am getting more than 4-1 on the 4 possible outcomes.

Poker pro Chris Ferguson (aka Jesus) once said something along the lines that it is worse to fold a potentially winning hand than it is to stay in with a potentially losing hand. I like to apply this logic to the cash out option, where it is best to risk losing a small amount if I cash out early by seeing the bet through with the potential to win much more. Over time in this scenario, you will make more money by staying in than cashing out early, as the upcoming bets are good bets where your reward is greater than your risk.

The $20 Challenge betting strategy summary:

  • Don’t make big bets, as you can always lose on any bet you make – there are no sure things.
  • Aim for small wins and lots of them.
  • Use the cash out option to minimise your losses or take a profit above your potential payout if the other bets are likely to lose.
  • Make as many ‘good bets’ as possible and gamble on these.
  • If doing large multi bets, aim for doubles or trebles as you are more likely to get a return instead of an all or nothing result.
  • Don’t get greedy and don’t take any result for granted.
  • Be patient and disciplined.
  • Stay smart.

Beaner

With a bit of savvy and a whole lotta luck it is possible to turn a $10 investment into $10 000 by winning 9 bets in a row that are just about coin tosses.

The betting strategy is easy. All you need to do is win 3 x 3-leg multi-bets in a row getting 10-1 or more each bet.

Bet 1: $10 x 10-1 = $100

Bet 2: $100 x 10-1 = $1000

Bet 3: $1000 x 10-1 = $10 000

Seems easy doesn’t it, and in theory it is. To reach the 10-1 odds each multi using only 3-legs is possible by finding odds that are just over 2-1.

2.15 x 2.15 x 2.2 = 10.1695

2.16 x 2.16 x 2.16 = 10.078

Now the best way to find these type of odds and still fell like it is a fair contest is to use the choose your own line betting option, where you push the odds of your preferred winning team to the point of getting close to the odds above, and hope that they first of all win, and then win by a bit more than the bookies anticipated when they set the line.

This method also produces a ‘good bet’ as it is obviously 1000-1 to get from $10 to $10 000, but using 3 legs each multi on a 2 outcome event means there are only 8 possible outcomes in each multi (remember there are no draws in line betting).

8 x 8 x 8 = 512 possible outcomes, which is significantly lower than the 1000-1 you are creating by getting slightly more than the 2-1 each bet.

The reality starts to bite a bit when you happen to have won the first 2 multi bets and you are placing a $1000+ bet on 3 more legs in the multi to win the $10k. It looks and sounds easy theoretically, but it is not easy to do. Many will tell themselves it is only $10 as that is all they started with, and many will feel confident having won 6 bets in a row already that their form will hold up, but many more people will be feeling very nervous about laying down the final bet. You may have only started with $10, but once you win the bet the money is yours to do what you like with. Personally I am ok gambling the $100 for the 2nd bet, however taking the next step to risk $1000 is something I would struggle to do. I’d probably be more inclined to bank $500 for peace of mind and stake the rest, or as I have done in the past when running a small AFL syndicate, put it to a vote with the members (we took the money after bet 2 won and it paid for our next 2 seasons plus a nice profit each).

As with all get rich quick all-up or accumulator type systems, it seems straight forward how the money will build up when you are on a winning streak, although life in the real world is never that easy and gambling with large sums of money is not going to be easy to do for many people.

If you have decided to go the pot and gamble the lot in the 3rd bet, another safety option would be to make sure the last leg of the multi starts at a later time than the other games, so that if you have won the first 2 legs and everything is riding on the last winner getting up, you have set yourself up for an arbitrage situation. If your bet wins, you get the big payoff, but you can also back the other team at the adjacent line, so if they happen to win or beat your line, you will still get a collect. You are in a win-win situation now and you can sit back and enjoy the game. You won’t win the full $10k, but you won’t lose it all either, so you have to look at it like the winners you have nailed so far have created some credit for you. The bet is worth a potential $10 000, so if you could find five grand or so to back the other option with and get your 2-1 (it will be less at the equivalent line), you are guaranteed to be 5 large up at the end of the day regardless of the outcome of this final leg. From my POV, I will take the latter option and bank my $5k as opposed to potentially losing the last leg and winding up with nothing but regret and anger and a shocking hangover the next day. A punter with a profit to show for their hard work is usually a happy punter, and that’s what I always strive to be.

There is more to come on arbitrage sports betting too as it is something I have been taking a great interest in of late.

Beaner

Just to recap quickly, the premise of my sports betting theory is to get better odds than the number of possible outcomes there are for the bet.

For example, in a game of soccer there are three possible outcomes for the game; home win, draw, and away win. When you look at the odds for a game of soccer, the draw will nearly always pay more than 3-1, making it a good bet. Now there is probably good reason for the bookies offering you more than 3-1, in that there aren’t as many draws as wins and losses, but if you do your homework and follow the teams that draw most often in any given league, you are giving yourself an edge to make a profit betting on the soccer.

With the 2015 AFL season about to get underway this Thursday night the 2nd April, I was interested to apply this logic to the line bet. Taking the odds from Sportsbet.com.au, you quickly get an idea of the ‘rake’ Sportsbet are taking from each line bet. Looking at the line bet options for round 1 of the AFL, every bet gives you a return of 1.92 where Sportsbet have determined the line, or what they think the difference between the two teams in terms of the margin. Interestingly, if you look ahead to round 2, every line bet is only paying 1.85!

Let’s run through what all this means.

AFL R1 – Carlton v Richmond: Carlton (+11.5) and Richmond are (-11.5) are both paying 1.92.

Richmond is favourite to win this match in head to head betting at 1.55, with Carlton at 2.45.

With the margin in the line bet, -11.5 means Richmond has to win by 12 points or more, and +11.5 means Carlton can lose by up to 11 points and you still win the bet.

Now looking at this from the perspective of trying to find a good bet, if you think Carlton will win, take the head to head odds of 2.45 and you are straight away getting better odds than the 2 outcomes for the game. There is the slight chance that the game could end in a draw, where Sportsbet have the policy of paying half the value of the ticket.

“Dead Heat Rule – In the event of a Dead Heat or Draw, where such an option was not offered for betting purposes, the ticket will be paid out at face value divided by the number of Dead Heating winners of the event.” Sportsbet.com.au

Important Note – line betting doesn’t have a draw option, so it is a true 2 outcome event.

If you think Richmond will win, betting head to head will only give you a return of 1.55, and if you think Richmond can win by 12 points or more, the line bet will pay 1.92, but both of these options fall short of the minimum 2-1 I am looking for with a 2 outcome result.

With the ‘Pick your own line’ market, I can get my 2-1 or better payout by pushing the margin out a bit further. The Richmond (-14.5) bet pays 2-1, so if Richmond win by more than 15 points I will double my money. This is only 3 points more than standard line bet shown earlier, paying 1.92, and I will risk those 3 points to push my bet into the ‘good bet’ zone.

Now if I think Richmond is a 3 goal better side (18 points), I could choose my own line at -17.5 and get the odds of 2.15.

Going the other way with Carlton, their 2-1 option is at +7.5, so they can lose by 7 points and you still win your bet.

Looking at the ‘Pick your own line’ market compared to the straight line bet, Richmond (-11.5) only pays 1.89 instead of 1.92 for the line bet option, so Sportsbet have reduced the payout when you use the ‘Pick your own line’ option. Carlton’s line bet equivalent of +11.5 pays only 1.82 instead of 1.92, which is an even bigger reduction. Sneaky buggers!

The system I am going to use with AFL this year is to bet on 3-leg multibets, where each leg is a ‘Pick your own line’ bet paying just over 2-1.

An example multibet from round 1 could be Richmond (-17.5) @ 2.15, Gold Coast (-20.5) @ 2.15 and GWS (-24.5) @ 2.20.

This gives me the combined odds of 10.16, which is well over the 8 possible outcomes for the 3 games. So let’s say my strategy is to bet $10 each multibet, a win at these odds would pay $101.69. So I will need to win 1 in every 10 bets on average to make a profit over time, and against the odds of 8 outcomes for each multibet, this swings the chance of making a profit over time into my favour.

If you run a simulator where your return is 10-1 for an 8 outcome event, you will make money over time guaranteed, even factoring in losing streaks and deviations from the expected results. This is how poker players like Chris Ferguson developed their poker theories, by running millions of hands through a computer program to determine which style of play would statistically make a profit over time. So if he encountered a ‘coin-flip’ hand that won even 50.1% of the time, that would be enough of an edge to push all-in with, as Ferguson knew that over time this strategy would see him come out in front.

The trick is finding the right AFL bets to place to overcome the bookies rake imbedded in every bet, but if you know your teams and keep track of their form, scoring potential, how they match up with their opponents, key injuries, form at different grounds and good old crystal ball intuition, you are giving yourself a great chance of making a profit over time from betting on the AFL, which should be every gambler’s ultimate goal!

Beaner

Well it had been a horror start to the system so far, but things finally turned around last night. I had lost the first 3 bets in a row and was quite despondent that I was gonna do my dough on another crackpot system of mine, and had basically resigned myself to losing the next bet (as usual) and possibly pulling the pin on it and starting again with something else.

My starting bet was $20, and the system requires you to double the bet every time you lose at the 2-1 odds until you get the win. For the amount of money I had allocated for the year, I can only lose 6 bets in a row and then I’m bust. But hey, what are the chances of losing 6 times in a row when backing good things?

21/2 – NBA: 2-leg Multi (1.47, 1.39) $20 @ 2.04 – Lost

7/2 – NBA: 2-leg Multi (1.47, 1.39) $40 @ 2.04 – Lost

By now I’m totally over the basketball, where I’d won one leg in each bet, and then watched the other favourite get overrun in the 4th quarter both times to lose. I find the basketball very hard to bet on as the results seem unpredictable, but with the AFL months away I thought I’d give it a try. So I went back to the EPL which I love and have had much success on in the past gambling wise as well.

21/2 – EPL: Man U to beat Swansea $80 @ 2.05 – Lost

Now it might seem like a strange move to use a sport with 3 outcomes to try and win a 2-1 bet, but as I have pointed out previously, there are actually 4 outcomes when using 2 x win/loss events, so in fact I have reduced my chances of losing by 1 possible outcome. Not that that counted for anything as bloody Manchester United lost and gave me even more reasons to hate them. Now I had to wait to build up my bank from the $60 a fortnight available to me to place my next bet, which was going to be $160. If I lost that, then it would take about 3 months to place my next bet of $320, which is too much thinking time for me.

21/3 – EPL: 2-leg Multi (1.33, 1.57) $160 @ 2.08 – Win

I made a move that went against my system, to include 2 EPL games in my bet, which meant there were now 9 possible outcomes from these matches and only one of those was going to be of benefit to me; both favourites actually winning. I bet on Man City to beat West Brom (1.33) and Tottenham to beat Leicester (1.57). I did my due diligence and studied all their home and away form for the last 5 matches, and thought they were good bets. I liked Man City’s fire power to kick a winning score and Harry Kane for Tottenham is on fire this year and again backed him to score. I also really liked Arsenal to beat Newcastle at 1.57 due to Giroud’s form, but I like to stick with the home teams when unsure. I also flirted with the idea of betting the $160 on all 3 teams @ 3.28 to win $524.80, as I figured if I’m going to go bust, then I may as well go down in a blaze of glory. I knew this was ‘tilt’ thinking (being ‘on tilt’ means you start betting recklessly, usually after some close losses/ bad beats) so I summoned my discipline to stick to the plan. Like the Man U bet, I thought this was a sure thing, but I never ever take results for granted now and just hoped like hell that everything played out as it should.

Well City won 3-0 in the first game of the day, scoring at 27’, 40’ and 77’ and not giving me any grief. One leg down and one to go, so I was now in a position to be back to 3 outcomes for the result to win $334.10. C’mon Tottenham!!

My man Kane got the ball rolling with an early brace, scoring at 6’ and 13’, but by the 50 min mark it was 2-2 after goals to Vardy and Morgan, and that all too familiar feeling started to creep into me like the heathen it is that I was destined to lose this bet. How could Tottenham draw with or lose to the bloody bottom team on the EPL ladder?!?! I was furious and seriously frustrated. What a mugs game this is, what an idiot I am, I should have gone with Arsenal who were cruising to a 2-1 victory. Sucker, fool!

Then Tottenham got a penalty where Kane slotted his 3rd for the day and soon after there was an own goal at 85’ to give Spurs a 4-2 lead. I started to breathe and relax; 5 minutes left and overtime, surely that is enough. But no, winning is never that easy and sure enough Nugent scored for Leicester at 90’ and the tension levels hit their peak again. Bloody hell, I thought, this is going to be a draw; defend you Spurs bastards, DEFEND! When the final whistle blew Tottenham had held on to win 4-3 and the bet came through a winner.  Woohoo!

The good news is I can reset to $20 this week and start again, and hopefully not be in this position again where I endure 3 or 4 losses in a row for the rest of the year.  i don’t like to lose any bet but I also don’t lose sleep over $20.  $160 or $320?  Different story.

My thoughts now are to choose head to head games and back the slight outsider at 2-1, or look at the line betting and choose a line that gives me 2-1. This will reduce the result down to 2 outcomes, basically a coin flip with two even teams and see if I can avoid the dreaded losing streak this way. I actually enjoy backing the roughie as it is more rewarding to see the bookies underdog get up and win, as opposed as to watching a sure thing get rolled and blowing your hard earned that way.

Beaner

The Martingale betting system has been around since the 18th Century where it originated in France, and is a simple one in principal.  You place a bet on a 2-1 outcome.  If you win, you double what you bet.  If you lose, you double your bet, and you keep doing this until you win, where you will win back all your losses plus make a profit of your initial bet.  After the win you reset and start again.  The Martingale system also assumes that you have an infinite bank roll and that there is no table limit or a limit to how much you can bet.  Let’s take a look at an example:

You bet $10 at 2-1 to win $20 – a $10 profit.

Bet $10 – lose

Bet $20 – lose

Bet $40 – lose

Bet $80 – lose

Bet $160 – win $320

Now if you look at the bet amounts, they are $10 more than the sum of all previous bets, which is how much profit you are going to make when you finally breakthrough for the win. $10 + $20 + $40 + $80 = $150 (lost), plus the $160 you bet = $310, and you win $320 for a $10 profit.

This system was commonly used to play roulette betting on either black or red, but you don’t get a pure 2-1 return as there is a zero or double zero on the wheel which yields no win for either red or black.  This is the house edge imbedded in the odds, so you also have to overcome that when chasing your profit.  You may also find that if you suffer a losing streak you will quickly reach the table limit for how much you are allowed to bet.  Say you happen to lose 10 bets in a row; with the 11th bet you will be wagering $10240 to make a $10 profit.  And losing streaks happen! So if you can find me a gambler who is willing to bet $10240 to be $10 up, you’re finding me a fool.

$10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, $640, $1280, $2560, $5120, $10240 for the 11th bet.

Sports Betting Variation

This system can easily be applied to sports betting, using the multi-bet with favourites with a win/loss result to get to your 2-1 or more odds for each bet.  There is some merit in this if you think you can tip winners consistently, and you may also feel that you have some control over the result as you can pick the teams you want in your multi-bet.

Let’s look at the simplest ways to get to 2-1.  These are some of the variations you could use for a 2-leg multi if you wanted to cap the fav at 1.7 to get just over the 2-1 odds:

1.7 x 1.2 = 2.04

1.65 x 1.25 = 2.06

1.6 x 1.3 = 2.08

1.55 x 1.35 = 2.09

1.55 x 1.3 = 2.02

1.5 x 1.4 = 2.1

1.5 x 1.35 = 2.03

1.45 x 1.45 = 2.1

1.45 x 1.4 = 2.03

Of course you could back 1.7 x 1.7 to get odds of 2.89, or back just the one outsider at 2.2 if you thought it had a good chance of winning, but basically you’d want to ensure that you’re 2-leg multi yields more than 2-1 each and every bet.  Why only 2-legs?  Well there are 4 possible outcomes for 2 head to head matches, but 8 possible outcomes for 3 head to head matches.  To get a return of 2-1 on a 3-leg multi which has 8 possible results is increasing your risk of losing dramatically.

Another approach is to bet on a single soccer match, with the fav at about 2-1.  Now this may seem more difficult as there are 3 outcomes for a soccer game (home win/ draw/ away win), but as mentioned there are 4 outcomes for a 2-leg multi, so you are actually reducing your possible outcomes by one by betting on a lone soccer match.  Now a 2-1 fav in the soccer isn’t guaranteed to win, but you know what, how many short priced favs in the soccer have cost you a multi-bet when the match has ended in a frustrating draw or even an upset loss.  Never forget there are no certainties and you are gambling with every bet, so you may as well risk a good return on your wager.

From here it is simply a matter of choosing your starting stake, and being disciplined in your betting to stick to the system.  To lose money, you’d have to endure a losing streak where one of the two favs loses for a prolonged period of time in the 2-leg multi approach, or your 2-1 soccer fav keeps getting rolled.  If you know your sport and have a good strike rate as a tipster, then this system could be for you.  But buyer beware; it doesn’t take long in a losing streak to be betting large amounts of money, and if your bankroll isn’t very deep, you could find yourself in a hole very quickly.  You’d also want to find out what the max bet is with your sports bet agency to know how many losses you could endure based on your starting amount.

Let’s say you had a bank roll of $2000 and decided to start with a base bet of $50.  Now assuming the worst and you have a horror run with 5 losing bets, you won’t be able to place the 6th bet to try and recoup your losses thus far, as you would be required to bet $1600 but only have $450 left.

$50, $100, $200, $400, $800 = $1550 down after 5 losing bets.

This is assuming a minimum of one upset a week for 5 consecutive weeks, but if you’ve read the blog or have any experience in sports betting, there is absolutely no guarantee that a favourite will win, no matter how short the odds are.  UPSETS HAPPEN!

I don’t know about you, but I’d be starting to crack after only 3 consecutive losses starting with $50, where I’d have to be betting $400 just to make a $50 profit.

So if you are a gun tipster and think you can avoid the upset regularly, then the Martingale approach to sports betting will make you money over time.  My personal belief though is that you are still gambling, and it only takes the one seemingly impossible losing streak to wipe out all your gains and more when you either exceed your bank roll or you reach the max bet the bookie will take.

Beaner

The reasons for why people gamble are many and varied and there is no magic blanket that can be thrown over the gambling population that has a universal explanation for their motivation.  One of the reasons should be to make more money than you gamble, which should be the goal of every punter.  But often it isn’t.  People gamble for many reasons, and making money isn’t always the number one agenda.  Is it fun to lose money to the sports bet outlets regularly?  I wouldn’t think so, but it should still be fun trying to win money consistently and land your occasional white whale.  When it’s no longer fun and dissatisfaction dominates your gambling emotions, you should be examining your motivation for betting.

The Champ Bros have always found it is more fun to be winning money than to be losing it.  It is very frustrating for us to lose money, as Kenny will attest to this year and I have experienced in many previous years.  We don’t see the point in betting money and not caring about losing.  This is not the attitude we carry into the challenge of trying to make a profit from sports betting.  We want to win, and we want to find the strategy which gives us a chance of winning.  And this isn’t easy.  We don’t kid ourselves about this and openly say from the outset that turning a consistent profit is difficult, where most years breaking even is a good result.  But buyer beware, as ‘breaking even’ is actually winning more than you are spending.

Picking winners and finding ‘good bets’ is just the beginning to staying in front and maintaining a profit for the long haul. To do this you also have to beat the bookmaker’s edge (aka vigorish/ vig or take or juice, or in poker terms, the rake), which means that you have to win more than merely breaking even to compensate for what you are giving to the sports bet agency EVERY SINGLE BET.  Just as poker players have to beat other players PLUS the casino rake and time charge to make money over time, the sports bet punter has to pick the winners and surpass the bookies vig as well.

I always look at a head-to-head match as having two possible outcomes.  This is important as the odds often distract the punter from this reality. Ideally you would want to get 2-1 on every bet you make on a head-to-head match; you bet $10 and win $20 if you get it right (which includes the $10 you wagered).  No one else takes a cut of this money and your win is based solely on picking the winning team.  But the book makers would have you believe that no two teams are ever evenly matched (or rarely so).  If you go through all the head-to-head sports it is very rare that two teams will have the same odds.  Have a look through the matches in the AFL, NRL, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NBL etc.  It is uncommon to find two teams with the same odds to win.

And when you do, you will see the bookmaker’s vigorish straight away.  Below is a typical list of odds for head-to-head games from a selection of Australian sports betting agencies (this list is for the MLB):

Bet365:  1.95/1.95

Centrebet:  1.93/1.93

Sportingbet:  1.93/1.93

Sportsbet:  1.92/1.92

IASbet:  1.92/1.92

Unibet:  1.91/1.91

Tom Waterhouse:  1.91/1.91

Luxbet:  1.91/1.91

TAB Sportsbet:  1.87/1.87

As you can see, TAB Sportsbet generally has the lowest returns of all the agencies, but ironically is probably the most popular in Australia.

Note: I couldn’t always find the basic head-head odds at bet365, but I think they call it the ‘Money Line’ and it is at 1.95 v 1.95 (it also shows up as ‘to win’ and ‘result’ with some sports too).

 

With the Tennis qualifiers, there is a drop in the odds offered compared to what is offered above, which was for Major League Baseball, so there is some variance between sports for what odds the agencies will offer when they deem it to be an even contest.

E.g. for the ATP Petange Challenger Qualifiers (9th Sept 2013), the head-to-head odds below were available. As you can see, they are significantly lower than what is offered above for the MLB.

Sportsbet:  1.87/1.87

Centrebet:  1.87/1.87

Sportingbet:  1.87/1.87

Tom Waterhouse:  1.86/1.86

Bet365:  1.83/1.83

My guess as to why this is the case?  The tennis players involved would be relative unknowns and hard to find any form lines on, so the betting agencies offer these matches with lower returns to protect themselves from match fixing, which would be easier to achieve with individuals than team events at this level.  Tanking or not, Bet365 is making 8.5% on any bets for this match, regardless of who wins (see below).

The other easy way to see what the different sports bet agencies are offering for an even bet is to look at the line betting.  When they offer the line, you will see the return for either team will usually be the same, as they have squared them up by offering the points difference.

Vigorish

What all this basically means is that the bookies are making money on EACH and EVERY bet you make, even if you win.

If Kenny and I both pick a team in a match deemed to be even, say with TAB Sportsbet at 1.87, and we each bet $10, one of us stands to win $18.70.  TAB Sportsbet gets $20 out of us, and then gives the winner $18.70, keeping $1.30 on the transaction, which is 6.5% profit for them.  So you can imagine if $100 000 was bet on the match with an even spread of bets between both teams, TAB Sportsbet would make $6500 REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME.  Think about that, wouldn’t that be nice.

Where it gets interesting is when the matches aren’t evenly matched.  Say TAB Sportsbet is offering 1.20 on the fav and 4.60 on the upset in a head to head match.  They have deemed one team to be much stronger than the other and are prepared to gamble on this result.  Now if Kenny and I again both pick a team and bet $10 each, one of us stands to win $12 and the other $46.  TAB Sportsbet get $20 out of us.  On the 1.20 win they will make $8, but on the 4.60 upset they will lose $26.

The same match is listed as 1.23 and 4.40 on Sportsbet and in the same scenario, we can win either $12.30 or $44, and they will either make $7.70 or lose $24.

So how do they make their money in these matches?

The majority of punters will be betting on the favourite hoping to win $12 from their $10 bet (a $2 profit).  Those picking the upset are trying to win and make a profit of $36. For the bookie, they just need to position the odds so that the result gives them a profit no matter what the outcome is, as seen with the odds above.

Say 10 people bet $10 each on the upset.  They have bet $100 and the bookie would have to pay out $360 extra to cover them.  That would require 36 bets on the favourite of $10 each.  So overall there was $460 bet.  If the fav does get up, it has to payout those 36 punters $12 each, which is $432, and a profit of $28.  In this balanced scenario, even if the upset did occur, they still wouldn’t lose any money.  But if say 40 people bet on the fav and 10 on the upset, they will make a profit with either result.  $500 bet.  Fav wins = payout $480 ($20 profit).  Upset = payout $460 ($40 profit).

So as I hope you can see, it wouldn’t be difficult to keep adjusting the odds of either outcome depending on how much money was being spent on which result, so that the sports bet agencies always made a profit on EACH and EVERY bet they offer to the punters.

Vigorish Formula

There is a formula where you can easily calculate this bookmaker’s edge/ vigorish, and it doesn’t take many calculations to see how much profit they make from every bet they offer the punter.

v = 100 * (1 – (p*q/ p+q) )

Where v = vigorish, and p and q are the decimal payouts for each outcome.

In the TAB Sportsbet scenario for an even match, p = 1.87 and q = 1.87

v = 100 * (1 – (1.87*1.87/ 1.87+1.87)) = 100 * (1 – (3.4969/ 3.74)) = 100 * (1 – 0.935) = 100 * 0.065 = 6.5%.

Hey, same as my calculation above!

In the second TAB Sportsbet example, p = 1.20 and q = 4.60

v = 100 * (1 – (1.20*4.60/ 1.20+4.60)) = 100 * (1 – (5.52/ 5.8)) = 100 * (1 – 0.9517) = 100 * 0.04828 = 4.828%

So believe it or not, TAB Sportsbet are still making 4.828% out of the 1.20 v 4.60 match no matter who wins.  Again, an easy way to make money; I’ll take people’s bets on any sport they like, give them odds so they can gamble on winning some money, and then take 5% of every single transaction regardless of the result.

Who Pays the Vigorish

There is some debate as to who actually pays the bookies juice; the winner or the loser.  It is a bit of a perspective dilemma, whether you view it from the winner’s perspective or the loser’s perspective, but I like to keep things simple and this is my explanation.  The winner pays the vigorish.

Let’s use the head-to-head match where both teams are paying 1.87, and Kenny and I bet $10 each on a team to win; he picks Collingwood and I choose Richmond.  At the end of the game, one of us is going to lose $10 and one of us will win $18.70.  When you bet $10, you assume that if you lose, the $10 is lost.  If the odds were a true reflection of an even match, the winner would expect to double their money and collect $20.  However, they are only going to receive $18.70, and are paying a tax of $1.30 to the bookie for handling their money for this bet.

It can be argued that because the bookie was holding both our bets as a $20 pool, the winner gets back their $10 bet and the $8.70 from the odds, which is what they were expecting, and the loser has in fact paid the $1.30 tax out of their losing $10, with $8.70 of their losing bet going to the winner.  The problem I have with this view is say only 1 bet was placed on the event and it wins.  There is no loser to pay the vigorish, so the bookmaker must be paying it for you.  This could be argued theoretically, but the bottom line is, the sports bet agencies don’t EVER pay even money for evenly matched head-to-head events, and the reduction in the odds below 2-1 is what the punter is paying as a tax to the bookies if they win their bet.

With betting exchanges like Betfair, they take a flat rate (5% less incentives) of the NET PROFIT the punter may make on any event they have bet on, where the loser just forgoes their investment with no further loss incurred. This to me is what the sports betting agencies do as well, except they often take more juice and it is factored into the odds before you make the bet.

The next post is going to look at the formula for calculating vigorish for events with 3 outcomes, which will be applied to the soccer.

Beaner

The Champ Bros see sports betting as one of the more likely ways of making a profit through gambling, as you can minimise your risk and maximise your chances of winning money over time through discipline, research and understanding the odds structures of the book makers, and most importantly, avoiding the ‘sucker bet’ (and the NRL on a Monday night).

Sports betting has its own pitfalls with the odds offered by the bookies being less than the true odds for the event, where a $1 bet on a head to head match between two evenly matched sides only returns $1.87 for either side to win (TAB) or $1.92 (Sportsbet), obviously less than $2 it should be in a perfect world.

This view of ours is the result of years of dabbling in other forms of gambling and betting and learning how the other types of gambling and games out there function.  The following is a brief analysis of what the punter is up against when playing the pokies or gambling in the casino, and why gambling and especially poker machines can easily lead to gambling addiction.

It must be noted here that gambling addiction is very real and that no punter at any level or in any form of gambling is immune from it.  Our approach is that gambling is supposed to be fun and a challenge, where we know what we’re up against and we are trying to find the edge that gives us an advantage over the book makers.  As mentioned before, we are low ball punters who are very disciplined in not deviating from our strategies or in how much we bet, which adds to the challenge and makes turning a consistent profit all the more rewarding.

Poker Machines

How Victorian Poker Machines Work

Poker machines (pokies) are a popular form of gambling, but make no mistake, pokies are designed to earn revenue for the venue operators and not for you. This is known as the ‘House Edge’.

Each machine has an inbuilt computer program that randomly generates 1000s of possible outcomes every second.  When you press the button:

1.    The machine will randomly pick one result from the many thousands of possibilities in a millisecond.
2.    The next second it will generate thousands more.
3.    It does this continuously, every second all day and night, without thinking or remembering.

The machine accepts any credits bet. If the machine determines a win, credits are paid.  If not, the machine continues to generate outcomes until the button is pressed again, each press completely unrelated to the last.

Bonus Features

Game bonus features are designed to give you the feeling that you are getting something for nothing or a second chance to win. However, everything that happens on a poker machine, including ‘game features’ and ‘free spins’ are included in the calculations made by the poker machine manufacturer. So even when it appears that you’re getting free spins, the fact is, you have already paid for them with the losses you’ve had already on the machine.

Surely some money must return to the players?

The ‘return to player’ setting is the average amount won by players as a share of the total amount bet. By law, Victorian poker machine venues and the casino must return at least 87 percent of the total amount that is bet each year to players.

It takes millions of games for a machine to reach its ‘return to player’ setting and it’s important to note that there is no legal requirement for any individual poker machine to return the expected rate (87%) in any given period of play.

In Victoria this is a minimum of 87 per cent. This doesn’t mean that every time you play you will get 87 per cent of your money back. It means that if you could play enough spins to cover every possible combination on a machine (about 80 million) then you could expect to get 87 per cent of your money back. This also means the operator can count on 13 per cent of your money. For this reason the operator doesn’t ‘cheat’ and the machines aren’t ‘rigged’, they simply have a built in advantage for the operator—there are many more losing combinations than winning ones.

Why are poker machines so addictive?

While there is little research actually taking place in Australia about this problem, there is some research from the USA about their slot machine epidemic and the role of dopamine in the brain, and I also have my own theories related to operant conditioning.

Dopamine

When dopamine is released in the brain, it can give a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. E.g. Food and sex release dopamine.  These feelings of pleasure and satisfaction become desired, and to satisfy that desire a person will repeat the behaviours that release dopamine. Several studies have been conducted which targeted neural response to rewards. The results were unanimous in the fact that when someone performed an action over and over again, and was given a reward randomly, dopamine levels rose. If the reward was given consistently, i.e. every fourth time the action was performed, the dopamine levels remained constant. Finally, if no reward was given, the dopamine levels dropped. This also explains why eating new foods or eating food when travelling overseas is usually more pleasurable, and why having spontaneous sex is more exciting; the ‘freshness’ of the experience acts as an unexpected reward, releasing more dopamine into your brain.

These same random rewards can be seen in gambling and especially with poker machine payouts. Because the outcome is based on chance, a player does not know prior if he or she will win. Therefore, if the person wins (a random reward), dopamine levels increase.  From this it has been concluded by some that only people whose dopamine levels are naturally low become addicted to gambling.  When pokies players are on a losing streak though, their dopamine levels would drop (no reward being given) and this leads to them feeling miserable when they have lost their money.  Their solution? To play the pokies again trying to get the win (the unexpected reward) that will once again increase their dopamine levels.  This chasing of the pleasure and satisfaction dervied from dopamine is a losing battle though, as the brain won’t release as much dopamine when the action is repeated without something new happening, and the expectation of the reward also suppresses the release of dopamine.

This is a similar cycle that leads to cocaine addiction, as cocaine chemically inhibits the recycling of dopamine in the brain, causing a flooding of dopamine and intense pleasure in the user for about 30 minutes.  Tolerance soon builds though as dopamine is also released when something pleasurable and unexpected occurs.  Routine limits the release of dopamine, and as the cocaine user gets an expectation of the pleasure, the pleasure won’t be as intense as less dopamine is released with the similar action.

Interestingly, medications which boost dopamine can cause compulsive gambling. Parkinson’s disease results from a severe dopamine shortage caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells in mid-brain structures that are involved in bodily movement. Some Parkinson’s disease patients who received drug therapy to increase their dopamine levels developed gambling problems.  Soon after the drug therapy ceased, their gambling addiction also ended.

One patient, a 52-year-old who had only occasionally gambled before taking the Parkinson’s medication, became a compulsive player, losing $100,000 in casinos. A month after discontinuing the drug, his gambling stopped and his wife said she had her “old husband back.” Another patient who developed a compulsion to play poker machines said he saw a report on the strange side-effect of the medication on the Internet and had a “eureka!” moment. His desire to gamble vanished three days after he stopped taking the drug.

Operant Conditioning

I believe another factor at play when people become addicted to poker machines is a form of operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning is a type of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behaviour, where an association is made between behaviour and a consequence for that behaviour.

For example, a rat can be trained to push a button and get food as a reward, reinforcing the behaviour of pushing the button.  This is a Positive Reinforcement.

Now a rat in a cage will also learn very quickly that if the same portion of food is dispensed (say from a tube) each time the button is pushed, it can come back any time and push the button and the same amount of food will arrive.  In the meantime, the rat will sleep or go about its business without any stress worrying about its next meal.

An Intermittent Reinforcement is when the reward is given at random intervals, and/or the reward is a random amount.  It has been found that a participant is more likely to act when they only sometimes get what they wanted.  So when an action’s reward is unknown and not guaranteed, there is a greater response (no doubt related to the release of dopamine).

So if the rat in the cage pushes the button and starts getting random amounts of food at random intervals (not every time the button is pushed), it is going to be in a more agitated state as its next meal is not guaranteed.  The result?  The rat will keep pushing the button and waiting at the end of the tube for the food to arrive, as it no longer knows when it is coming or how much food there will be.  Does this action remind you of anything?  Why don’t they just get up and walk away…

If you push the rat one insidious step further and gave it a diminishing amount of food over time, say only 87% of what was delivered in the previous hour, what do you think would happen?

The rat would sit at the end of the tube and keep pushing the button until it starved to death.  And this is also the unfortunate fate of the poker machine player.

The poker machines pay out a random amount of money at random intervals, and this Intermittent Reinforcement of an action quickly leads to addiction.  And when you include the factor that poker machines only return 87% of what is invested over time, every addicted player will eventually go broke, starving to death while sitting at the machine and pushing the button.

Why do the people who are less well off tend to gamble the most?

I can’t answer this question definitively as it is a highly complex issue, but I can share a hypothetical scenario I used to present to my students when I was teaching at Swinburne University.  It was a simple proposal and it was always raised after the gambling lecture in the subject Popular Culture, when the students would inevitably want to discuss this very issue.

My proposition was that they could gamble their final grade on the flip of a coin.  They win and they get a high distinction, they lose and they get a fail.

After their initial shock and unsure laughter and then my promise that it was just a hypothetical and wouldn’t impact on their actual mark, there would always be at least one student in the class willing to risk a fail for the chance to win a high distinction.

The student would choose heads or tails and I would get another volunteer to flip the coin so there was no bias, and we would look at the result.  A win would often result in a fist pump and cheers, while a loss would be followed by a shrug of the shoulders and a, “I was going to be lucky to pass anyway” style comment.

The brighter students in the class would get my point straight away; that the ones most likely to gamble in this scenario were in fact the ones who had the least to lose.  It would be very unlikely that someone who is already heading for a distinction would risk that grade for a fail, undoing all their hard work and study on the flip of a coin.  But the same hypothetical is very enticing for a student who is looking at just a pass or a fail anyway, as they have just about nothing to lose in gambling their poor grade.

Now I understand that this analysis may be a fallacy when it comes to explaining why some people in the poorer demographics tend to gamble more than those in the richer areas, but I think for some people there would be a relationship between the respect you have for the money you’ve earned through time and hard work and the likelihood you would risk losing it all through gambling.

Casino Gambling

When you step into a casino to gamble it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of options in front of you. With rooms of pokies, card tables, dice games and spinning wheels it’s a good idea to find out how each game works before you play. Otherwise, you may find yourself losing more money than you imagined.

Each game has a house margin which is the overall percentage of money bet that is kept by the casino or house. Skilled players may be able to reduce the house margin slightly to be in their favour in games of skill, but in games of chance, the margin always remains the same.

Skill-based games are never an assurance of winning and the odds are always in favour of the house.  Just like the poker machines, this is how the casinos make their money.

BLACKJACK is a card game of chance and skill where players may improve their chance of winning by using a better strategy. After receiving two cards from the dealer, the player can choose to be dealt more cards so as to have a total score closer to 21 than the dealer’s total – without going over 21. Face (picture) cards count as 10, aces count as 1 or 11 and the cards 1 to 10 count as their face value. The house margin for Blackjack is generally less than 1% for skilled players.

CARIBBEAN STUD POKER is a game of chance and skill where an initial “ante” or “stake” is bet and players receive five cards face down. The dealer receives four cards face down and one face up. If a player thinks they can beat the dealer’s hand they must double their original bet. If they don’t think they can beat the hand, then they forfeit their original bet. The best poker hand between the player and the dealer wins. Jackpot bets are also available, but even with an allowance for the jackpot, the house margin is around 5.5 percent.

BACCARAT is a game of chance in which cards of 10 and below count as their face value, aces count as 1, and 10s and “face cards”, such as Queens and Kings count for 0. Two cards are dealt to each of the players and the banker with an optional third. The total of the hand’s value works by dropping the first digit (a hand totalling 15 would be counted as 5) the aim being to get a hand value closest to 9. Bets can be placed on the player’s or the banker’s hand, or on the hands being tied. The house margin for Baccarat is around 1.2 percent.

SIC BO is a dice game of chance in which three dice are rolled and players try to predict possible outcomes and totals of the dice rolls. Players can bet on the dice rolls amounting to particular totals, combinations of two dice, single numbers being rolled through to specific triple rolls. There are no betting strategies to reduce the margins of Sic Bo, depending on the bet placed the house margin remains between 2.8 and 16.2 percent.

ROULETTE wheels in Australia have 37 numbers on them, 18 red, 18 black and one zero. Double Zero Roulette has an additional zero to make 38 numbers. The wheel is spun and a small ball is sent spinning in the opposite direction. Bets can be placed on the ball landing on specific numbers or colours (red or black), on odd/even outcomes or on “low” or “high” numbers. The house margin is 2.7 percent for roulette and 5.26 percent for Double Zero Roulette.

PAI GOW is a chance-based game played with 32 tiles. 22 of these tiles form 11 Identical Pairs and the remaining 10 tiles form 5 mixed pairs. After the game has been dealt, each player and the Bank (house) needs to construct two separate hands with their four tiles called a Low Hand and a High Hand. The player’s hands and the Bank’s hands are then compared to determine who wins. Pai Gow has a house margin of 1.5 percent.

BIG WHEEL is a game of chance in which a wheel is divided into 52 compartments, each one showing one of seven different symbols. Players simply bet on a symbol and win if the wheel lands on that symbol. The house margin for Big Wheel remains consistently at 7.7 percent.

POKER at Crown Casino in Melbourne has become very popular since the dedicated room downstairs was started and the Aussie Millions is held there every year.  A lot of poker players believe they are playing the casino game where they have the most control over their fate, and that a good player can always make money.  In a pure cash game this may be the case, but at the casino there are some factors that make turning a consistent profit much more difficult.  With the hourly time charge and rake from every hand, the bottom line is that if players sat down with the same amount of money and no extra money was added to the table, the casino would end up with the majority of their money over time, with only one player having what was left.

As of 2012, Crown Casino in Melbourne takes the following rake per hand from the low limit cash game:

$1/$2 – 10% capped at $15 (plus $5/hour time charge)

Lottery Games

I’m not going to go into great detail about playing the lottery as it is a pure game of chance.  The following are some common Australian lotteries and the odds of your numbers actually coming up.

LOTTO draws are made on both state and national levels. 45 balls numbered 1 to 45 are combined and six balls are randomly selected to create the winning combination, with another two balls selected as the supplementary numbers. At least four games are played per Lotto card and your chance of choosing the six winning numbers and receiving the Division One prize with a single game is 1 in 8 145 060.

POWERBALL uses two machines each containing 45 balls numbered 1 to 45. Five balls are drawn at random from one machine, while one ball, the Powerball, is drawn from the second machine. You must play at least two games in a draw. Your chance of matching all five balls plus the Powerball is 1 in 54 979 155.

KENO is played in a registered venue such as a club, hotel or casino and consists of 80 numbers (1–80) where 20 numbers are drawn at random. On a $1 game players choose 10 or 15 numbers. If a player chooses between 7 – 10 numbers, a proportion of their bet is allocated to a jackpot. Your chance of winning the jackpot on the 10 number game is 1 in 8 911 711.

Beaner

References

http://www.gambleaware.vic.gov.au/know-odds/how-gambling-works

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro05/web1/isiddiqui.html

http://www.addictscience.com/gambling/