These days we’re lucky. Really lucky. We are not bound or hemmed in by our locations or even the countries where we live. We can place bets around the world on a huge range of sports from horse racing, to different codes of football, basketball, hockey and many more.
Yet, the cultures of countries are different and sports aren’t all the same. In particular, the results and scoring is different. This means that bookies often use different methods to display odds. There are British style odds, decimal or European-style odds, percentage odds and American moneyline odds.
To be an international gambler you need to be able to understand these different odds. In the next few posts we’ll be exploring these and some techniques to convert from one to another.
Everyone wants to beat the bookie and win at casinos. It is my conviction that a proper mathematical system can help you win.
The problem is if you have an improper mathematical system. A mathematical system that isn’t proved and doesn’t work is less than useless. It’s positively dangerous.
One such system is in my view the Martingale system. This was used in 18th century France, a country which was, at that time, full of committed gamblers.
The Martingale system involves doubling your bet each time you lose, in the expecation that you could win your stake back. If you mange to win your losses back, then you shoudl start over reducing your bet size.
The problem is that if you hit a losing streak then you can quickly go bankrupt, because the amounts you lose quickly increase.
I think everyone understands that if your losses exponentially increase you will quickly lose all your money!
The shocking truth is that no matter what game of chance you play, over the long term a gambler will go broke! This is known as the theory of the ‘Gambler’s Ruin’. Put simply it means that whatever the odds of the game, even if you expect to win, a bad run can wipe out your bank balance.
When you’re gambling against someone with almost infinite resources, for example, a casino, the casino can sustain a bad run much longer than the gambler. Therefore, over time, the casino will always take all the gambler’s money.
There is a solution to this problem, of course. As usual the solution is counter-intuitive.
If the gambler loses then the size of bets should be reduced by the appropriate amount. In this way, the risk of bankruptcy is reduced to almost nothing. Many people when they gamble try to win back their losses. This is an example of a disastrous strategy which will only ensure that the gambler loses more and faster.
Similarly of this is that as the gambler wins more the size of bets should be increased to increase the amount of money that could be won.
This is the truth of the mathematics of gambling.