Saturday, September 24, 2011

In a spirit of openness and transparency, from today on, Target's daily sports book bets will be posted right here for all to see!

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(For current information about Target's ongoing sports betting experiment, please go to the Sethbets website, or click here for an introduction to progressive betting)

I have posted a few of these BST winning screen shots lately, proud that even in its simplest, least aggressive form, Target can still thrash a fair game of blackjack and offer proof besides.

After all, I said, there's no way I can interfere with an online game over which I have no control (other than beating the bleep out of it!).

Then it was pointed out to me that there are in fact all sorts of ways I could be cooking the books - throwing away low-value bets to increase the indicated house edge, for example...or not disclosing how many times I had to "buy in" over and over again before hitting a winning streak long enough to make Target seem unbeatable.

Darn! Honesty and integrity don't count for much these days, it seems.

Then again, when it comes to gambling, it may not be smart to trust anyone, however above board they might appear to be.

And since I have been blasting online "casinos" for games that are clearly set up to react defensively to progressive betting, I don't have much choice but to go an extra mile or so to reinforce my own credentials.

My advice to readers has always been to stay well away from online betting services when it comes to their versions of casino table games, but to enjoy the convenience they offer to sports bettors.

The Sethbets website has provided daily updates on Target's sports betting ups and downs for a very long time now, but I have not disclosed daily selections ahead of game times because I figured readers should be required to do at least a little work for themselves.

So...I guess I could be cooking the books, at least in the minds of those who are rightly suspicious of any betting method that claims to defy Newton's Law (the one that says that what goes up must eventually come down).

Participants in the long-running real time, real money Target betting trial have been getting selections ahead of time every betting day since July 24, 2010.

So they, at least, know that everything's kosher and the strategy has in truth been earning more than $10,000 a month since then.

For them, my decision to post daily picks and finals online won't change anything beyond stripping them of their "membership" in an exclusive club - and they have already learned all they need to know.

Truth is that sports betting does not require any special skills or inside knowledge.

As with casino games of chance, winning is not about how you play, but how you bet.

When I began the very first real time trial, in the summer of 2009, the idea was that selections should be randomly picked, relying on two factors that were outside of Target's control: odds values, and bet IDs.

Just to be clear, bookmakers determine odds (of course!) and the regulating authority for each sport assigns a numerical ID to each team and each game to simplify record-keeping.

I have a couple of rules I follow consistently: I can pick up to 20 propositions a day, and their assignment to lines 1 through 20 is in numerical order (bet #901 before #902, and so on, and on multi-sport days, #606 will precede #901); I only bet underdogs, and for most of the time since the current trial began, I have ignored odds above +140.

For a few months this past summer, I out-smarted myself by breaking the numerical order rule and assigning picks with the shortest odds to bets with the highest values.

And boy did I ever live to regret it.

Now, we're back to accepting bets in the order they come down the pike - a return to serendipity which got us out of deep doo-doo in July and has been taking good care of us ever since.

On July 14, I opened an "Online Only" trial which limits selections to just FIVE picks a day, again determined by the +100 to +140 range, and official numerical order.

What I'm trying to get across here is that anyone can do this!

It doesn't take specialized knowledge to pull up a daily schedule (this one, for example) and extract qualifying bets.

For sure, no one needs the services of the professional handicappers ("cappers") who charge big bucks for "expert" selections that are almost invariably favorites and then claim win rates that reflect the fact that they avoid risk-taking like the galloping clap!

The lesson from sports betting echoes the one from casino table games: It takes money to make money.

There simply is not - cannot be - a consistent, reliably-profitable method that does not from time to time demand risk.

Luck is helpful, now and then. But anyone who counts on luck will go broke sooner than later.

Certainly, after more than 4,000 bets, Target's current sports betting win of $160,000 can't be put down to blind luck.

The "bookies" edge since July 24, 2010, currently stands at a tidy 10.0% (for my 4,048 selections) and exactly matches the value I expected - and predicted - when I started all this.

I began with a $25,000 bankroll which was exposed less than $2,000 but which would have been wiped out more than four times over by the $102,000 slump that resulted soon after I dispensed with the numerical order rule.

All I can say to that is that when I changed the selection assignment method (same picks, but shuffled!) I was well over $100,000 ahead and felt I could do better.

I guess I just got greedy - and greed is always a gambler's worst enemy, more deadly by far than the crappiest bad luck!

My objective, way back when, was to demonstrate that emotionless objectivity was the key to long-term winning.

It worked brilliantly for close to a year. And then I went and fixed what wasn't busted.

The good news is that the slump emphasized that the more you think you know, the less likely you are to win in the long run.

Not good news for the guys who spend hours every day squinting at stats and sticking wet fingers in the air to find out which way the wind's blowing.

I guess the KISS rule is not so stupid after all!

Please visit the Sethbets website for directions to the FIVE and TWENTY pages that from now on will show daily selections ahead of game times, followed by finals when I have them.

As always, there's no charge for the information I provide, and I make no pretense to special expertise.

One last thing to note from the on-going TWENTY trial: losses outnumbered wins by 10% (2,227 to 1,821), but the average win value of $655 exceeded the average loss value of $464 by 41 percent.

As I have been saying since Day One, you know you're going to lose more bets than you win, over time, so you have to make sure you win more when you win than you lose when you lose.

Loosely translating Pythagoras: "Duhhhhhhh...!"

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" such as Bodog, spend a few minutes and save a lot of money by reading this._