Friday, 21 February 2020

Pastafarianism and Snake Oil

One is generally best served in life by maintaining a healthy scepticism towards any outrageous claims that fly in the face of common sense. This is particularly true when the claimant is attempting to relieve the more gullible among us of our money.

The term 'snake oil salesman' originally referred to fraudulent health products or unproven medicine but has come to refer to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit.

It is essentially deceptive marketing and unfortunately the betting world has more than its fair share of characters engaging in such activities.

A few of these have been mentioned in this blog, including Psychoff, who as I mentioned recently has apparently resurfaced and is now offering a trading course for the not insignificant sum of £1,999 for up to 10 people.

As might be expected, views on the merits of this opportunity vary, with some like myself finding it extremely unlikely that such a course could be worth anything close to that amount, to those such as @rast8 who think there is a possibility the course might be worth every penny. 
Now to be clear, of course I concede that there is a possibility this course is indeed worth £1,999. Unfortunately, based on the evidence we have, this possibility is extremely small.

There's a possibility that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists but the onus is not on me to prove that it doesn't actually exist.

The onus is on those making the outrageous claim (FSM / course is worth £1,999) to provide the extraordinary evidence that makes their case.

I have seen no such evidence from Psychoff, @rast8, or indeed anyone, justifying such a rich price tag.

Let's start with what we do know, which is that it was claimed 10 years ago that Dr Guven was having some success trading low-level Eastern European football games in-play. Given that the liquidity in such games is likely rather low, and the number of market participants similarly low, this is certainly feasible. I used to trade in some pretty thin markets myself, and there was money to be made but at the price of giving up hours of your life. Fortunately for me, this coincided with a time when I was working all hours of the night and could combine trading with my regular work!

If this strategy in these markets is still profitable, and I suspect such markets are not as lucrative now as maybe they once were, why would Dr Guven be willing to sell it to anyone?

As soon as there are 10 more people trading these games, his share of the pie essentially disappears. Not only that, but the 10 new entrants would find their opportunities also pretty much non-existent too, and it would be hard to justify their course fee.

If the strategy is no longer profitable, clearly the sale of such a course is an attempt to rip-off others. 
@rast8 suggested (above) that maybe Psychoff is tired of trading, and is switching to teaching his course as an easier way of making money, but in my experience:
If you're tired of trading, why not just take a few weeks off or cut down on the time you are trading and see how you feel after a break? When I used to occasionally work overtime it was great at first, the extra money was worth it, but after a time it would get old, but I didn't then quit my job. I eased back, took a holiday.

Does it really make sense to sell the golden goose just because you're currently bored or tired?

In the unlikely event that Psychoff has truly uncovered an edge in trading liquid football markets, this would be such a valuable edge that it would not make any sense to share it, and certainly not for a mere £20k. Such an edge may well be worth £20k to one person, but by sharing it among 10 others, it becomes valueless. I think we can safely eliminate this possibility anyway. Shouting from the rooftops that you have an edge would be strange behaviour from someone, especially a Doctor, who really did have such an edge. In my experience, there's often an inverse correlation between the amount someone talks about their success and the actual degree of their success.

And again, in Dr Guven's own words, he uses will-power to achieve success, although curiously this wasn't enough to overcome his weight problem. 

This is a big hint that things are not quite as claimed. We've had traders reviewed in this blog who claim fantastic success, posting pictures of themselves on vacation, interested in brand new cars and yet who dress like a homeless person and live in rented accommodation or famously, in a caravan in their mother's front garden. Look at the evidence available before reaching a decision, and in the meantime, err on the side of caution.

Caveat emptor. If you are going to throw away £1,999 on this course, at least weigh up the evidence rationally. What return are you seriously expecting on that money? As I've said before:
You can put 50 people in a room and teach them how to trade. But you can't teach them how to be a trader. It's a personal journey and one of self discovery.

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