Posts Tagged ‘gambling theory’

It is no surprise to me that Bet365 and no doubt many other sports bet agencies are doing everything they can to maximize their profits at the expense of a fair playing field.  A Bet365 insider has come forward and explained how they limit how much winning punters can win, as Bet365 is only interested in encouraging losing gamblers to lose more.

So if you think sports betting is a level playing field, compared to say the pokies where we know they are programmed in how much they payout, think again.  You are gambling against sophisticated algorithms that are designed to limit how much you can win and maximize how much you lose.

Beaner

 

In this sports betting company, the winners are called ‘problem customers’

On a hot Saturday afternoon in Darwin, James Poppleton is mopping the sweat from his brow.

It hasn’t rained for 160 days.

On this particular day, he’s got even more reason to perspire.

He’s about to speak out against his former employer — one of the world’s largest betting companies.

Mr Poppleton worked for 18 months as a customer account supervisor at bet365.

What he saw during his time at the company disturbed him so much he’s blowing the whistle on bet365’s practices — despite the personal risk.

The problem with winning

“Australians have an innate sense of fairness almost built-in, and what the bookies do, what bet365 does is not fair,” he said.

“You can’t win. Those that win are stopped. Those that lose are exploited and then they develop cheating techniques as well.”

Taking in a game of women’s AFL at Tracy Village Oval, there’s a palpable sense that a deluge of rain is about to break Darwin’s dry spell, and James is spilling what he knows about how parts of the sports betting industry operates.

“I’m speaking out about bet365 because the information I know is a burden on my conscience.”

For the first time, he’s revealing how bet365 uses backdoor algorithms, restrictions and alleged delaying tactics to skew the competition and drive up profits — all while the punter thinks they’re playing a fair game.

Punters are suspicious

It was a bet365 promotion on the Big Bash League that made the agency attractive to Daniel Laidlaw. He’s a punter who understands odds better than most.

A professional poker player by night, he treats sports betting as a hobby.

He noticed something unusual was happening with his bet365 account earlier this year.

“When I tried to place my usual-sized bets, it was apparent that I could only bet to win an amount in the range of $5-10 dollars when previously, I’d be able to bet to win amounts between $1,000 and $5,000.”

As a result, Mr Laidlaw now gambles with offshore betting sites that pay no tax in Australia.

Bet365 won’t tell Mr Laidlaw why it restricted the size of his bets.

ABC Investigations has obtained a screenshot of Mr Laidlaw’s account details from inside bet365. It reveals that he has been effectively banned from betting with the agency. The truth is revealed by a secret algorithm that classifies Daniel as a successful punter and therefore a risk to the company’s profits.

Daniel's risk rating is shown as 0.0025

It rates him at 0.0025. This means inside bet365 Mr Laidlaw is considered a threat to its bottom-line.

According to former bet365 employee James Poppleton, a risk rating of 0.0025 is one of the highest that can be assigned.

He explains how the system operates:

“Your data tells them how many bets you’ve placed, what sport you’ve put it on, your average bet, your total turnover and your win or loss ratio to the company,” he says.

“If you win, the algorithm kicks in and stops you from being able to bet any significant amount of money.”

Mr Laidlaw has not been able to obtain his risk rating from the company itself.

“I think it’s outrageous. It’s unfair. And there’s also just no transparency. If they’re profiling us in this way, then we should know as customers exactly what it means and have access to this information,” he says.

No one from bet365 would agree to an interview with the ABC. In a statement, it said its “service is provided in accordance with its published terms and conditions and all applicable laws and regulations.”

As part of those terms and conditions, it can close or suspend an account at any time for any reason.

Mr Poppleton claims these algorithms apply not just to winners, but those who lose as well.

“As soon as you start losing, they’ll open you up to lose more and more and more, you can bet bigger and bigger amounts,” he says.

“If you stop winning, you’re allowed to bet more and more and more. It’s the opposite of responsible gambling.”

Bet365 said it, “has a robust responsible gambling policy in place to monitor each customer’s gambling patterns and expenditure and ensure that their gambling behaviour is within responsible limits.”

A reclusive billionaire

From humble origins, bet365 has capitalised on an explosion in online gambling and now boasts over $5 billion in turnover for its global operations. The UK-based agency is privately owned by the Coates family and based in the city of Stoke-on-Trent.

At its centre is the reclusive mathematical and entrepreneurial genius Denise Coates, who is now by far Britain’s highest-paid chief executive officer; she took home a whopping $506 million pay packet last year.

Her father owned what she once described as a “small chain of pretty rubbish betting shops”. It has been reported she bought the domain name bet365.com on eBay and launched the business from a portable cabin in a car park near one of the family betting shops.

‘Ban or bankrupt’

Bet365 soon pioneered a new way of maximising profits.

The betting agency would entice punters to sign up with good odds, free bets and special offers and then ban or restrict the successful ones, sending them off to gamble with their competitors.

“The other companies didn’t know what to do,” says Brian Chappell, the founder of the UK consumer advocate group Justice for Punters.

“They were asking: ‘How do we get our losing customers back because all we’re ending up with is our winning customers?’ So, they had to join the game, didn’t they?”

The consumer advocate describes the business model that bet365 pioneered as “ban or bankrupt”.

“It’s this business model of being really, really ruthless with your customer base. You end up with a customer base that is virtually 100 per cent known losers.”

Part of bet365’s success in Australia is attributable to its relationship with the biggest sporting codes — it’s an official gold partner of Cricket Australia.

Its logo can be seen on the boundary rope during play, and the odds are regularly spruiked during pay-TV coverage.

‘Problem customers’

For bet365 the most lucrative area of sports betting globally is in-play betting, although the company claims it’s a minor part of its Australian business. In-play allows punters to bet while a match is live — the next goal in football, the next try in football, the next wicket in cricket.

Bullet points describing the problem customer.

A smart in-play punter will have a good knowledge of the sport, an understanding of how odds work and will then apply those skills to try and beat the bookmaker in fast-moving sports where odds can sometimes lag behind what’s unfolding in the game.

In Australia, you can only bet in-play over the phone thanks to laws dating back to 2001 which attempted to minimise the losses from online betting.

A secret internal bet365 document obtained by ABC Investigations suggests that mandatory phone betting for in-play was causing problems for the company.

The policy document, dated September 2016, is designed to deal with what bet365 calls “problem customers” and says:

“The nature of betting on the telephone as opposed to betting online lends itself to the possibility of being exploited in fast-changing markets … some customers are aware of this fact and use the pace of the sport to their advantage when placing bets.”

The leaked document shows that bet365 was concerned by customers stalling on the phone or placing what it calls late bets.

bet365 told the ABC it targets, “those who seek to gain an unfair advantage over other customers through deliberately deceptive and fraudulent means including by using delay tactics and other abuses of the system.”

Given the terms and conditions already allows the company to ban customers it suspects of fraud or reject any bet it sees fit, James Poppleton describes the problem customer policy in a different way.

“We were having lots of customers who were better than the trading department at betting at live in-play, so they would see where the odds were just that little bit better than what they believed they should be. And they were winning,” he says.

The so-called “problem customers” were put on a list and managed by a special team which would check their betting history, listen to their calls and potentially restrict them from betting.

According to Mr Poppleton, this policy wasn’t doing enough to prevent these “problem customers” from winning.

He claims the company came up with a new secret strategy to deal with them.

‘Delay testing’

An internal bet365 email from September 2017, obtained by ABC Investigations, announced that something called Quick Code Delay Testing was taking place.

Customers making Quick Code bets over the phone using 3- or 4-digit codes were having the length of their calls logged. According to the email, the testing was to see, “if there is any delay between placing the bets on Cricket as opposed to the other sports.”

Lawyers acting for the company told the ABC that the purpose of the testing was designed to reduce “naturally occurring” delays experienced by customers when placing bets over the phone.

Mr Poppleton had suspicions it was for something else entirely.

He claims the testing was to see whether customers would notice if there was a delay for in-play betting on certain sports.

“I asked one of the managers if the purpose of the testing was to see whether or not you could tell if there was a delay at the point of bet placement within the tele-bet software. And he said, yes.”

The ABC contacted the manager in question and asked him to confirm Mr Poppleton’s allegation. He did not respond.

Mr Poppleton claims at the time, there was a delay of 1-3 seconds between when a bet was submitted over the phone in certain sports and when it was accepted.

Seconds may not sound like much, but when betting on fast-moving sports involving elite athletes, even micro-seconds can count. Broadcast delays can mean the action on the TV is a few seconds behind the action at the ground.

He claims any delay would give more time for a bookmaker to reject a punter’s bet or reconsider the odds on offer.

The former bet365 employee says the testing stopped soon after he raised the issue with a manager.

Mr Poppleton concluded that it had solved the problem of sharp punters winning on in-play and it was no longer necessary to use the “problem customer” policy.

“The procedures we used to manage customers who were beating us in-play were no longer needed.”

He claims the alleged delay was big enough to make a difference but small enough for the punter not to notice and gave bet365 an unfair advantage.

Bet365 told the ABC, “it has never used any form of delay in its telephone in-play betting service in Australia,” and that its “telephone system does not have any such functionality”.

Delay ‘is cheating’: Punter

ABC Investigations has obtained four screenshots from computer terminals inside bet365. They show customer accounts which have the words “Delay Added” next to punters’ names.

Three of these accounts appear to belong to overseas punters.

“I’ve seen a complaint spreadsheet that a couple of international customers had asked if there was a delay within their accounts,” says James Poppleton.

He says if there’s a delay put on for overseas customers it’s unfair, especially if they’re not told about it:

“Putting a delay into people’s accounts or into individual sports and not informing the punter is cheating. They are only doing it to make more profit, to stop people who are smarter than the bookie and to win more money off them, to cheat them. Punters should know what the rules of betting are.”

One of the accounts with “Delay Added” next to the punter’s name appears to be Australian but also has the term “Aus BetCall” against it. This is a reference to an old bet365 system which allowed a punter to place bets using a phone or computer without having to have an actual human conversation.

Screenshot says "Picking off slow suspends (Aus BetCall) - delay added"

Several betting agencies had different versions of these systems but they are no longer in use after a government crackdown.

The regulator

The main regulator for sports betting is the Northern Territory Racing Commission.

The NT government introduced very low tax rates to attract corporate bookmakers ten years ago. More than 20 agencies subsequently set up their headquarters in Darwin, including bet365.

Alastair Shields has been the chair of the NT Racing Commission for just over 18 months.

He says he’s not heard of any allegations about delays in in-play betting.

“If there was some deliberate action taken to delay … that’s something we would have jurisdiction to look at, in particular, whether that, I guess, complies with their licence conditions, within the terms and conditions of their contract.”

When it comes to restrictions placed on successful punter’s accounts he says he has had complaints about that, but there’s little he could do about it.

“Essentially, it’s a contractual matter between a client and a sports bookmaker. That’s a bit the same as if I go into a shop and the shopkeeper decides they don’t want to serve me. They can decide not to do that.”

A fair bet?

Mr Poppleton had an acrimonious relationship with bet365 before he left and is worried about the cost of speaking out.

“They’ll either deny it and say I’m lying or that I’m a disgruntled employee.”

He says two disputes with management before he left the company were resolved but he began to question the culture of bet365.

Mr Poppleton says one was over staff being forced to take annual leave and another about employees being disciplined for taking sick leave.

“It motivated me to look further into the other activities of the company, and that led me to discover that the whole company is set up for screwing the punter.”

He says he’s ashamed about his time working for bet365 but hopes speaking out will help shed light on the secretive world of sports betting.

“I think punters, when they find out, will be angry. Aussie punters think they’re getting a fair go. Getting a fair game. A fair bet. And they’re not.”

By Steve Cannane and Kyle Taylor

Fri 6 Dec 2019, 11:52 AM AEDT

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-05/bet365-whistleblower-says-winners-given-delays/11768486

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-22/social-media-games-potential-gateway-to-problem-gambling/7346018

By Norman Hermant

People who play simulated gambling games for free online are more likely to become problem gamblers in real life, according to a report from the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC).

Report’s key findings:

  • Children are more exposed to gambling than ever before
  • Online games are blurring the lines between simulated and real gambling
  • The games create unrealistic expectations about real-life gambling

The report also said the easy access to free gambling games on smart phones and tablets was a major concern.

The AGRC — part of Federal Government’s Australian Institute of Family Studies — said more and more people saw gambling as a part of everyday life and they were being exposed to gambling at younger ages than ever before.

“Young people today are growing up around these electronic games,” said Anna Thomas, one of the authors of the Is It Gambling Or A Game? report.

“This is introducing gambling to them at a much younger age than you’d normally expect.”

The report — a compilation of online gambling related research over the last 15 years — said the proliferation of gambling games raised a number of red flags:

  • Because the online games are so realistic, the lines between simulated gambling and real life “commercial” gambling are increasingly blurred.
  • Simulated gambling is accessed increasingly through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Players are heavily exposed to commercial gambling site advertising on these sites.
  • In simulated games, players are protected from the consequences of losing — they can just play again if their luck turns. That creates unrealistic expectations of gambling in real life.

“That’s the danger of these kinds of games,” said Jake Newstadt, who sought help for his gambling problems two years ago.

“They kind of plant potential messages inside of us that we’re not really aware of.”

 

‘It can become quite addictive’: reformed gambler

Mr Newstadt, 25, started gambling at age 12.

He now works as a project worker helping problem gamblers. He is not surprised by the popularity of simulated gambling games — everything from slot machines, to roulette, to online poker.

“On some level, these games do the same thing as real gambling,” he said.

“They trigger something in the brain where there’s this moment of anxiety about not knowing whether this result is going to go our way or not … and that pattern can become quite addictive.”

The AGRC report also raised concerns about online games that disguise their gambling components.

These games have nothing to do with gambling as a central theme. But they have opportunities to gamble embedded in the game.

The wildly popular online game Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is largely a first person shooter.

But players quickly learn the action is also a platform for numerous gambling games.

“They don’t explicitly say it, but that’s definitely what it is,” said 19-year-old Ashley Walton, who has been playing CS:GO for three years.

In CS:GO, players can purchase keys for around $3. The keys open digital cases, which reveal “prizes” a player can win — mostly different kinds of weapons to use in the game.

In a display box on the screen, the potential prizes slide by until one stops in the prize window.

“That was probably the first time I actually dabbled in gambling with real money,” said Mr Walton.

There is no limit on how many keys a player can buy. The prizes vary in value in an off-site digital aftermarket, where buyers will pay up to $1,000 for very rare items.

But Mr Walton said most of the prizes were worth less than the $3 the keys cost.

“The appeal for me was I just wanted to make money from it, while getting the items I wanted,” he said.

“But that fell through.”

Most parents unaware of simulated gambling

Anna Thomas from The Australian Gambling Research Centre said most parents were not aware of the gambling features embedded in many games.

“It can be a game that overtly has nothing to do with gambling,” she said.

“You may have no idea that (your kids) are actually going into a room … and having that experience in another game that’s really something completely different to gambling.”

One of the report’s key recommendations is much more thorough regulation of these games.

Currently, computer games are regulated by the Commonwealth’s Classification Board.

“There’s a need for much more consistent and comprehensive information and advice,” Ms Thomas said.

“You might have the same game that on one platform is rated M, on another platform may have no rating at all, or 12 plus. Very little information to guide players or parents who are looking at the games that their children are playing.”

 

EPL Trending Picks 140116

Sportsbet now provides a ‘Trending Picks’ quick multi on their homepage. This example is of 3 EPL soccer games to be played overnight.

3 games of soccer provides 27 possible results, so although the odds of 5.67 may seem appealing for these matches, they are way under the 27-1 you should be getting, all things being equal.

It seems in all likelihood that these results will eventuate, but it only takes a draw or an upset to do your dough.

Chelsea should win as they are finding some form again, City should win but Everton are the draw specialists with an inform striker in Lukaku, and Arsenal is pretty good value at 2.70 and with their form should also win. Liverpool at home though are no easy beats so there is no real guarantee of that result either.

As far as Sportsbet is concerned, they will cop the small payout if all 3 teams do actually win, as the odds are so much in their favour that over time, more often than not these 3-leg multis will fail.

As a punter always searching for a ‘good bet’, I would be looking at a payout of greater than 27-1 for this multi, which can be found in choosing 3 draws (4.50 x 4.33 x 3.30 = 64.30), or 2 draws and a City win (4.5 x 4.33 x 1.5 = 29.23).

You could argue that my 2 outcomes are less likely to occur based on the match ups, but I think any bet you put on is a gamble (there are no certainties unless it is fixed), so you might as well aim for a return that exceeds the amount of risk.

So with the $10 bet, you will win $56.70 with Sportsbet’s multi.  My 2 bets would return $643 or $292.30 if either happened to win.  I’m in no way saying they will win, they are just 2 of the 27 possible results.  There are also many other combinations that will return greater than 27-1 that could be backed if you felt there was going to be an upset with Chelsea or City (Liverpool and Arsenal were both at 2.70 when I checked).

The ‘Trending Picks’ multi they are promoting on the homepage is like them waving a ticket that says bet $10 on me and I’ll give you $56.70 if you win.  Fine print – this game has 1 chance in 27 of winning.

If I ran a casino and was paying out 5.67 on a game with 27 possible outcomes, I would make a lot of money over time.  Imagine a roulette wheel with 27 slots on it.  26 of these are black and one of them is yellow.  You are only allowed to bet on yellow and the return is 5.67-1.  To be fair I’d make it known that the yellow slot is slightly wider than all the others, so theoretically the ball should land in it more often.  Otherwise who would want to play?

Beaner

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

This year I’m going to try a Martingale Sports Betting system.  The post from January 19, 2014 explains how it works.

With this system in mind, I am going to use a base bet of $20.  So each time I win a bet I will make at least a $20 return depending on the odds I get for my 2-leg multi, where I will be aiming for a minimum of a 2-1 return.  As I bet every second week with Kenny, I will be making around 26 bets for the year, and if I win every one of them, I will get a minimum profit of $520.  Even if I only win 10 of them altogether, I will still make a $200 profit, which will be fine as any profit is a good profit.

Now if I endure a losing streak it is worthwhile knowing how many times I can lose in a row.  At my disposal for the year is 26 x $60 = $1560.

Bet 1 = $20

Bet 2 = $40

Bet 3 = $80

Bet 4 = $160

Bet 5 = $320

Bet 6 = $640

Total bet = $1260

For the 7th bet, it would cost me $1280 but I wouldn’t be able to afford that, so if I happen to lose 6 of the bets in a row, I will essentially be bust.

So that is the risk I am taking; if I can get a winning bet on or before bet 6 in a losing streak throughout the year, I will make a profit.

The other bonus with this system is that once you get some money behind you, you can either increase your base bet, or have more money in the bank to be able to cover an extra loss.  I’d be more inclined to increase the base bet, as betting $1280 to win $20 profit isn’t my idea of a good time.

So that is the plan, and all going well, I will survive going bust and be canny and lucky enough to get my 2-1 winner more often than not.

Beaner

After a disrupted year to the Champ Bros Sports Betting Synd, we are back in 2015 and ready to have a punt to try and win some money.

I’m going to stick with what has worked for me the last few years, which is betting on soccer draws using a horse racing place punting system that I like.  It may not pay huge dividends, but it is more likely to have a regular return with the chance of a big payout.  And it only takes a few big payouts throughout the year to turn a profit, which is always our ultimate aim.

The system dictates that you pick 3 soccer matches that you think could be draws.  You bet $10 on each individual match ($30), $5 on the 3 x double combos ($15) and $5 on the treble, for a total of $50.

Expected Returns

With the draw usually paying around 3.30, getting one draw will pay $33, incurring a small loss for the week.

Getting 2 draws out of the 3 will pay $66 plus the double, which will be 3.3 x 3.3 x $5 = $54.45, for a total of $120.45, which will create a profit for the week.

And the bonanza is getting all 3 draws, which will pay on all bets.  $99 (3 x $33) + $163.35 (3 x $54.45) + the treble $179.69 (3.3 x 3.3 x 3.3 x $5) = $442.04.  This payout will cover nearly 9 weeks of zero returns, so even if you can achieve this result once every 8 weeks with no other returns, you will be in front.

2014 was actually a lean year in the EPL soccer for draws compared to the previous two seasons, but so far in the 2014/2015 it is looking ok again.  On the 1st Jan 2015 there were 6 draws and on the 28th December 2014 there were 5 draws, and those are the weeks where you can make some money using this theory.

Kenny

The EPL soccer is back for another season, and the draw theory is going to be the go again.

In round 2 there were 5 draws, and 4 of them were between teams of relatively equal standing, making them possible to predict without too much guess work.

The draws were:

Aston Villa v Newcastle: 0-0

Southampton v West Brom: 0-0

Everton v Arsenal: 2-2

Hull v Stoke: 1-1

Sunderland v Man U: 1-1

So out of the 10 matches played, half of the games were draws.

If you were lucky enough to tip all 5 draws, you were beating odds of 243-1 (3x3x3x3x3). BUT the beauty of the draw system is the odds for the draw in the EPL is always greater than 3-1, usually around the 3.30 mark on Bet365 for close games, and much more where there is a heavy favourite.

So if we use the conservative odds of 3.30 to calculate the payout, you would have received at least $3913.54 for a $10 bet, which is nearly 400-1.

I like to bet on trebles, where you are only trying to beat odds of 27-1, and I’ve had payouts of over 50-1, almost getting double the actual odds of winning the bet (3.5 x 3.8 x 4 = 53.2). Talk about a ‘good bet’!

The other way to increase your odds of getting a winner is to choose 5 games, and then use the Multiple Bet Options. When you choose Trebles, there are 10 possible combinations, so if you bet $5 it will cost $50. If you do happen to pick all 5 draws, you will win all 10 of the treble combinations.

There are also 10 x doubles combinations, 5 x 4-Folds combinations (where you need to get 4 draws of the 5 games to win), 1 x 5-Folds, or the Super Yankee.

The Super Yankee will place a bet on all the combinations, which is 26 bets (10 x Doubles, 10 x Trebles, 5 x 4-Folds and 1 x 5-Folds). This is a good way to get a return, and you will also get a payout on the 5-Fold if you happen to pick all 5 draws. But it won’t be cheap, where if you bet $2 on each combo, the total bet will cost $52.

We will have to see how this season pans out, as last season was not a good one for draws (especially after December), where it was well down on the previous 2 seasons.

2013/14 – 78 draws

2012/13 – 107 draws

2011/12 – 93 draws

Where there are 380 games in an EPL season.

But so far so good, and let’s hope the EPL draws keep on rolling in 2014/15.

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