Friday, April 16, 2010

Even in a slump, the 50x 7-dog trial results confirm that underdogs are a good bet. But my selection process definitely needs work!

(Video poker update tacked on to the end of this post)

Gamblers are an impatient and often greedy lot, which is why so many early-in-the-game winners go home losers.

I can't pretend to be delighted with the continuing downward spiral that is affecting both sets of 7-dog trial numbers, but I learned long ago that consistently beating the bookies is not a short-term sure thing.

I cringe to see the 50x rules set at its lowest point for weeks, and take little comfort in the fact that more aggressive betting would have had us out of the hole by now and heading for a new win record.

The one weakness that becomes ever more clear as time goes by is in the selection process, which started out as a totally random roll of the dice, then swung all the way in the opposite direction to become too subjective.

As you know, most days I get picks posted way before game time and even when I don't, I pay no attention to mid-game results because I invariably have my bets placed long before I sit down to update this blog.

That has become much easier since I switched over to online "bookies" - but I am still waiting for that darn pigeon to land in Taiwan, and cannot help but wonder if Pinnacle is ever going to acknowledge my deposit so that I can get really serious!

I spent a lot of time pulling together a custom database of games starting with the opening of the 2009 baseball season, because I wanted to be completely confident that I was basing my dogs concept on accurate data.

Today I went "what if?" fishing to find out the optimum "plus range" according to the 7-dog trial data set, and then via the whole database covering all four sports (baseball, pro-football, basketball and hockey).

It is an axiom of the no-one-can-win fraternity that nothing about the future can be learned from the past and that win-loss patterns observed in one data set, no matter how enormous, will not be found in any other sample.

I decided to confine today's efforts to dogs with odds above even money (+100) because the greatest benefit of underdog betting is that a lesser number of wins is more than offset by a greater payback when a favorite is trounced, and you have your money on the presumed loser.

Just lately I have been tightening my range, feeling ever more uncomfortable because whenever I had too many choices, it was up to me to whittle the number of picks down to seven at most.

The ideal is to have a selection method that is completely objective.

That may be easier for me that it is for most people, because I have never had the slightest interest in professional sports and marvel at friends who can work themselves into a frenzy while watching a bunch of strangers try to beat the crap out of one another.

Google might suffer an upload implosion if I try to post all the results I generated today, so I'll stick with the nitty-gritty.

What you see above are depictions of a tightrope walk, with the rope at different lengths and heights!

Logically, shorter odds mean more frequent wins, and longer odds mean fewer wins with bigger paybacks.

Nothing controversial about that...

So what we have to do is find a happy medium that gives us a better chance of beating the book without making too many bets and risking too much money.

Our 7-dog trial sample within the range +110 to +145 gave us a flat-bet value of +0.12% vs. a house edge of (-)10.2%, meaning that even with target betting, we would have ended up just a little ahead betting ALL dogs within that range from Nov 1 last year to April 15.

The number for the whole database, going all the way back to April of last year and consisting of about twice as many games, was an overall "punter's edge" of +1.08% vs. a house advantage of (-)9.7%.

The dog win rate (DWR) for the smaller sample was 44.9% and for the whole database, it was 45.1%.

The average dog payback for the small set was +124 and for all entries it was +125.

Any similarities, do you think?

Crimping the range to +110 to +125 gives us a 7-dog trial flat-bet win rate of +2.05% vs. a bookies' edge of (-)5.6% and a DWR of 47.2%. The average payback was +116 against a break-even value of +112 (52.8/47.2).

The matching numbers for the whole database are +1.75% vs. (-)6.0%, a DWR of 47.0% and an average payback of +117 (+113).

Again, patterns in the larger sample are mirrored in the smaller.

And what we see in both data sets is that if we did not vary our bet by a thin dime throughout the year-long test period, backing underdogs all the way would show a small profit.

But since we are not about breaking even, target betting is the way to turn the underdog edge into consistent long-term profits.

More about that next time.

Meanwhile, today's update.

And now for something completely different...

I have mentioned my video poker (or "pokey"!) theories before, and just want to add the last screenshot from my iPod experiment.

It's the last because I finally landed a royal flush, after building a bankroll of over 21,000 units just from flushes, straights, a mish-mash of nothing much, and three straight flushes to keep it interesting.

It's been said that I have somehow found a way to manipulate the application to get my hands on more than the 100 units it allows each time you bust out.

It's funny, but whenever I demonstrate the flaw in the conventional wisdom that casino games can't be beaten, someone out there will accuse me of cheating.

Which casino does he or she work for, I wonder!

I am now so far ahead on the mini-screen iPod versions of blackjack, baccarat and 3-card poker that I would have a condo in Hawaii if it was all real money.

It's not, so here I stay in rural northern Nevada, happy as a clam.

An important reminder: The only person likely to make money out of this blog is you, Dear Reader. There's nothing to buy, ever, and your soul is safe (from me, at least). Test my ideas and use them or don't. It's up to you. One more piece of friendly advice: If you are inclined to use target betting with real money against online "casinos" spend a few minutes and save a lot of money by reading this.