Sunday, 28 February 2021

Horse Racing: Using Data to Find Winners

One thing you will notice about successful punters - they often rely on data. 

You read about successful gambling syndicates or individuals such as Patrick Veitch and Starlizard run by Tony Bloom. 

Data is used with military precision. 

There's a good reason for this. It works. Even with exacting levels of information their return on investment may be minimal. However, betting with vast amounts of money, even a percent profit can return big money. Let alone if you can get to the dizzy heights of, perhaps 16%, as detailed by some. 

Data is king. 

It's the difference between knowing and not knowing, something.  

Without statistical significance we are in the realm of guessing. There's nothing wrong with guessing because to a point even the best of us do just that. 

I once had someone send me an email saying: ''You don't know anything about two-year-old horse racing, you're just guessing.''

The joys of having a mailing list. 

Even the best trainers guess. If they guess, what do you expect a mere mortal to do? 

What's the saying: ''Never bet on a tip from a jockey.''

Perhaps a variation of the word guessing is interpretation. 

The data I use is interpreted to bring understanding. 

Even with the best data we are at the mercy of anomalies. For instance, every favourite doesn't win. This assessment of the favourite is based on data. It is still a matter of opinion. Using the given data. When dealing with physical beings, we can only use skill to find and interpret the data. As they say, animals aren't machines. Even a machine can go wrong. However, if dealing with fixed odds, such as a roulette wheel, we can understand what, on average, we are dealing with. 

So when someone says: ''You're guessing!''

I think you're right because even Willie Mullins heading to the Cheltenham Festival is guessing. If he isn't guessing quite so much about his horses he is the opposition which he is unlikely to be privy. He is guessing with millions of variables. It may be something like a rogue, sleepy, winter wasp stinging a horse which goes unnoticed, but if the horse has an allergic reaction you may as well be betting on the rag.

Over the last few years, I have investigated just about every trainer. Without this data I would well and truly be guessing. Not to say that experience and all those other skills would leave me lacking. I don't believe I would be lacking. In fact, I know I would have enough ability to make my betting pay. 

But data helps us work within some area of structure, the realms of possibility. 

I don't care who you are or what you know or what you say, any horse can defy the odds. 

But should we be scared of such anomalies?

Without question, no. 

Data sets the boundaries. It tells you, on balance, what is possible and what is not. It is a friend who tips you a good few winners and helps you leave those losers alone. 

Data is key to your success. In fact, it is something that easily sets you apart because it is a truth of some kind. 

For example, data about a horse trainer can be a significant pointer, added to other aspects such as form, significant entries, jockey booking, course stats and all other parts of the jigsaw puzzle show the way. 

No one, unless some God-given force, knows the future. 

You can name anyone on planet Earth, and they will have misgivings, worries, concerns about a potential loss. 

But long term it is a different matter. 

You can use data to bring confidence, structure and a reference point to work from. 

This will help you look in the right direction. 

If you are looking in the wrong direction you have no hope. 

Data is king. But it is only part of understanding. It is the scaffolding to your success. 

When it comes to it, we are all guessing to a point. Even the greatest minds are guessing to point. 

That isn't a weakness, it's a fact, and one that really is the truth of an understanding that you should applaud.

 

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Psychological Edge: Sitting on The Gambling Seat

Gambling and psychology. 

Where do the two collide? 

The study of behaviour and mind has been used to investigate psychopathology, gambling addiction. It is an area of research that makes interesting reading and the findings have helped compulsive gamblers find answers to questions and techniques to kick the habit. 

Psychology isn't just about finding answers to problems. 

It can be used as a tool for advantage. 

Psychology is more a part of life than you realise. It's part of the gambling world. From the way words, literature, adverts and even the layout of business premises are created and implemented for positive or negative.  

Everything. 

Here's something I doubt you have ever thought about. 

Why would you?

But this piece of research just shows you how something seemingly innocent, pointless or irrelevant can make the difference between a good or bad decision. 

This can be the difference between winning and losing money. 

That's something we all need to consider. 

Psychological research will captivate you. 

So what are we talking about? 

Basically, the seat that you sit. 

What the hell difference does it matter where you place your posterior? 

Let's set the scene. You just sat down to do a day's trading. You are ready to make a few trades. You may win, lose or draw. 

Would you ever, ever, ever consider that the chair you sit can make you think in different ways. 

You have a good or bad day's betting because you chose the wrong chair. 

Different, hey. 

This post was inspired by an old article titled: Life's a Bitch When Betting from your Deckchair

The chair you sit may hamper or hinder your betting performance. 

I learned about this aspect of research after reading an articled penned by Jeremy Mercer: Exploring the Promise and the Perils of the New Unconscious

In 2009, a group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology took part in a study on ''bargaining techniques''. The students were seated in an office, shown a car listed at $16,500 and told to get the best possible price. 

Offers were made and rejected, deals struck. Then the students went on their way. 

By all accounts, it was a straightforward negotiation. 

The experiment was remarkable because it tested whether people could be unconsciously influenced through the sense of touch. 

Putting it bluntly, could the chair that you sit have an influence on your behaviour?

There's you sitting in your comfy armchair, ready to bet on the afternoon meeting at Sandown Park. 

You may be saying: ''How can the chair you sit make sod all difference to your profit and loss?''

It take a bit of believing, hey. 

Half of the students sat on a hard wooden seat, while the others sat on a soft cushioned chair. 

It was found that those sitting on a hard chair were better negotiator and got the best deal. 

It is hypothesised that the harder the chair, the harder the negotiator. It translates into a more confident bargaining position. 

The ''Hard Chair Effect'' is part of new research which unlocks mysteries of human unconscious and the power it can harness. 

The next time you are considering a bet, take a moment to consider the environment may affect your unconscious mind - positive or negative. 

Punters and bookmakers alike can use this research to take advantage. 

Psychology can be a tool for advantage. 

 

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Gambling Addiction: When Winning isn't Enough

We hear stories about gambling addiction. 

I guess it's a problem we don't consider too much unless we are stuck in that position or know a friend or a loved one who is literally at the mercy of their next bet. 

A compulsion they struggle to ignore or fall prey. 

Thankfully I have never had a problem with gambling addiction although I imagine a lot of people would probably be convinced I have. I don't bet for fun. In fact, I don't really like gambling full stop. It sounds a strange kind of happening. 

''So you make money from gambling-related websites and betting but it's really your thing?''

In truth, I see gambling as a high-level game of skill. For that to be the case, it has to be skill based rather than fixed odds, which, long term, cannot be beaten. Perhaps the exception to that thought being a skilled card counters at blackjack. 

A skill is a skill. 

You try playing a county chess player. 

They will make your average Joe look like a country bumpkin chewing on a carrot. 

It seems many gamblers have a problem. Within the world of psychology this is called a psychopathology. 

Gambling addition is an illness. It is a very strong compulsion to bet even when the punter knows it is a problem. 

I guess that is the nature of addiction. 

Denial, irrational, compulsion...

If you find you are waiting outside the bookmakers to play on the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (F.O.B.T.) then you may well have a problem. If you bet more than you can afford to lose. You are chasing your loses. 

Stop for a moment and question what you are doing.

I had my friend write an article and I embedded a YouTube Video titled: Gambling Addiction & Me: The Real Hustler (Full Documentary) Real Stories about Alexis Conran who explored gambling addiction in the light of his late father who went from a happy-go-lucky punter to a conman who was eventually imprisoned and sadly died of throat cancer while incarceration. 

The video is worth watching as it shows the truth of gambling addiction. 

Perhaps one of the saddest aspects of gambling addiction is that ''winning isn't enough'' and it is actually those near misses that get a gambler hooked on a dopamine adrenaline rush. Research has shown that the gambling addict's brain is basically wired differently from most. 

Conran chatted with a number of addicts who struggled to kick the habit. They varied from young and old, men and women. 

While in Las Vegas, he chatted to a couple who paid the price for their addiction. They lived in a storm drain under a road. Their clothes kept in a shopping cart in case it rained. The couple, in their 30 - 40s, had lived their for the past six months. They would wander round casinos hoping to get lucky by finding a chip on the floor or a few dollars left on a slot machine. If they found a few dollars the bloke would gamble it and hope to win enough to get the basics to survive. Their life was a perpetual hope of somehow winning enough money to get out of a life of despair accepting it was as much keeping them in a life of destitution. 

The man said it himself: ''It's a double-edged sword.''

He said he had gambled over a million dollars (gone through his hands, which is very different from losing a million).

It was a sorry state of affairs. 

The problem of anyone struggling with addiction is that they are likely to continue to fight their demons for the rest of time. 

Sadly, many addicts (and family members) lose their lives as a consequence of a very personal problem. 

For Alexis Conran this addiction cost him the love of his father from a very young age. He disappeared and left him and his mother probably feeling he was doing them a favour. 

Conran had battled with the loss of his father and questioned his interest in gambling to the point he was concerned he could be the same. 

He is far from an addict. 

However, the sadness of missing a life with his father and not having the opportunity to forgive him revealed the real loss of those to gambling addiction. 

A loss that so often is felt by all.

If you have a gambling problem, please find the strength to get help. 

The opportunity is life changing. 

Read our last post: Where Does a Successful Gambler Start?

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Where Does A Successful Gambler Start?

It starts and ends by learning from experience. 

Sure, we all have experiences: winning and losing. But the key part of all those experiences is a willful wanting to learn. If the experiences just ebb and flow over you like a bronzed beauty on the beach, then you may just look like Larry The Lobster, holding a betting slip. 

A losing betting slip. 

You don't want to be Larry The Losing Lobster. 

It doesn't have to be this way. 

However, the difficulty with the learning journey is that you don't often know what you are looking at until starring at it under a microscope. 

You are naive. It's natural. No one, even the most innately intelligent souls, ever woke up to understand even how to boil an egg unless they learned from experience. 

At the start of any journey, you have a lot to learn. I have a lot to learn. It helps if you, we, them have a road map or a recipe if you're adventurous and fancy making lobster thermidor.

So you're hungry to learn. 

That's the best place to start. 

To be honest, you are going to have to make a real mess of things before you have enough understanding to see where you are going wrong. 

I've had a good few people ask me to help them learn about two-year-old horse racing. I usually say: 

''It's too complicated.'' 

In truth, it's a time thing. Every man and his dog are too busy to really be able to talk in detail and try to explain. If I put a cost to such things, even the most wealthy would run away scared. It would take a long time to get on the same page, erase all those bad habits and then, slowly, move forward.  

I'm not sure if anyone would have the patience and stamina to achieve their goal. 

To make the journey easier I would have to create a very succinct learning experience. 

Something akin to one of these high-end courses you see so many online entrepreneurs selling for a grand at a time. 

Even then, it would be difficult. 

To be fair, you're probably reading this and feeling like your climbing a twenty-foot wall. 

And there's a bookmaker peeping over the top. 

I could sell horse racing tips. 

That will never happen. It's a soulless way to make money. 

You have to question anyone who sells tips because why would they want to detail something that is good. 

They may feel they can make more money by selling tips than betting themselves. Perhaps they do. 

Who knows? 

You need to have a high level of understanding about two-year-old horse racing, gambling...

If you don't know how many furlongs are in a mile, what time it takes for an average horse to run an average furlong, and a hundred other things you need to learn that information and then come back to start business. 

In truth, there is so much to learn that it can be like taming a monster. 

You may read these posts and feel it is difficult if not impossible to make your betting pay. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel. 

This year it is my aim to detail snippets of information, building blocks of intelligence and words of wisdom to help you look in the right direction, refine your thoughts and get to grips with a few things that can help you make a few quid. 

Here's looking forward to the new Flat turf season. 

 

Saturday, 20 February 2021

How Does Edward Thorp (A Man for all Markets) Look So Young?

You may be reading this article and asking: ''Who is Edward Oakley Thorp?''

If you have read a book or two about blackjack or Probability Theory then, yes, we are talking about the American mathematics professor. He is a respected author of many books including: Beat The Dealer (1962), A Winning Bet in Nevada Baccarat (1963), Elementary Boundaries (1966), Beat The Market (1967),The Mathematics of Gambling (1984), The Kelly Capital Growth Investment Criterion (2011) & his latest publication A Man for all Markets (2017).  

I've had a little bit of paid content on my websites and one or two articles written about Edward Thorp. In fact, I was reintroduced to his mastery with a recent article written by my good friend, Calvin Crane, who penned: 5 Successful Professional Gamblers

I added a Youtube video from the Investor's Podcast with Preston Pysh and associate with their informative interviews where they say: ''We Study Billionaires & Teach You What We Learn''.

Well, they talked to Edward Thorp in what I'd describe as an informal question and answer session. 

It lasted for about 40 minutes. 

The professor answered questions and he clearly knows what he is talking about. I understand two-year-old horse racing so I have little idea about hedge fund management. But I do like to learn and listen to his understanding of probability and blackjack.  

What struck me as most interesting although far from much to do with mathematics (although it may well do) is the fact that Edward Thorp is was born in 1932 and aged 88. 

You may be thinking, there are lots of people aged 88 on planet Earth and from a probability point of view I've read that one in three people from first world countries have a fair chance of living to 100. 

Here's the thing that struck me, the blokes doing the podcast and everyone who meets Professor Edward Thorp. 

He looks about 55 (a young fifty-five, at that). 

In fact, he is the youngest looking old bloke I have ever seen. 

Asked how he looks so young he replied (in my words): ''I used to be a marathon runner and that put him in good order and now eat small meals often, and healthy food. In addition, I have a personal trainer to keep fit. Also, I have lots of health-check tests because, basically, prevention is better than the cure.''  

A very successful, intriguing and healthy man.

 

Read our last post: The Method Behind the Madness