Saturday, 8 January 2011


I didn't know until today that Stevenage Borough are now just Stevenage. A bit unfortunate when your nickname is "The Boro". This wasn't the only big change to their entry in my spreadsheet with their 'shock' victory over Newcastle propelling them to top spot in the League Two ratings. I'm still not convinced that I should transfer points between teams on cup days, because one result can make a big difference, but the big benefeciaries are teams that I seldom use the ratings to bet on anyway, and the teams that suffer probably shouldn't be losing at home to Notts County or at Stevenage anyway!

A good comment on my previous post about "Finding An Edge", which was a little provocative. I can be like that. Mouldhouse took the time to say a few things.

"The answer is that if you are profitable long-term, then you have an edge, whether you are aware of it or not. If you are not profitable long-term, then you do not have an edge."

Not necessarily a cause and effect thing. A small minority will have made money thanks to one decent score, with no edge whatsoever. Usually a multiple bet of course. Think "lottery ticket".
This is why I qualified my statement with 'if you are profitable long-term', and while a million pound lottery winner would (I would hope!) be profitable long-term, I rather meant to exclude such exceptions.
"No one serious about making money can be happy with a price that isn't value."

Again, not 100% accurate. Some of the biggest winning traders I know are constantly happy taking prices that are not value, because they know the markets they operate in, and know they will be able to sell those bets back at even worse value and lock in a green screen. I'm sure you must do this as well sometimes. I'm sure lots of winners have laid 1.0x for "insurance", knowing they are giving money away and that at the price they are giving away value, but happy to lock in a large gain on the event.
Yes indeed, but the key here is that your experience of the market tells you that the probability is high that you will be able to exit your position for a profit. I might lay at 1.05 not because I expect the layed selection to win, but because I am confident that I can exit at 1.1 at some point. Is 1.05 value to back or lay? If the bet goes on to win more than 95.24% of the time, then arguably it is. But what if 55% of the time it goes out to 1.1 before coming in to win?
"It is rather sad to read about people waiting for pay day before they can put their next deposit into their account, and then pulling funds out to pay for incidental expenses."

Yes, it is, but without those guys, you won't be winning on betfair. Without people like that in the long run you wouldn't be winning anywhere with people like that, because the sharks would eat each other on the exchanges, and the bookies wouldn't be profitable enough. Its one of those things about being a +EV player - its a nice feeling, but you are never going to be Robin Hood. Via the conduit of the middleman, be it betfair or the bookmaker, sadly you feed on the shortcomings and lack of ability of the rest of the pool. Doesn't stop me sleeping at night to be honest.
Fortunately for us, there seems to be no likelihood that optimism will conquer realism any time soon. Evidence such as the never-ending demand for Roulette and Lottery betting systems shows that logic takes a back-seat for many people. Or the idea that a funky staking system can somehow turn a losing system into a winning one.

Still, these people are in good company. Even the famed mathematician Jean le Rond d'Alambert famously erred in claiming that the probability that at least one head should appear in two consecutive tosses of a fair coin is 2/3 rather than 3/4.

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