Tag Archives: gambling

Randomness: Enemy of Humans

If anything is clear after 10 years of Google and 12 years of the Internet, it’s that supplying an unbelievable amount of information to people confuses things to them more than it clarifies things. One of the most ubiquitous signs that this is the case is the enormous number of:

Coincidence?!?! I DON’T THINK SO!

statements that surround every low-probability A.I. (after Internet) event. Sidenote: B.C. and A.D. are getting old. It’s time to move to B.I. (before Internet) and A.I. (defined above) in the way we define the years. Anyway, let’s make a list of some of these events in no particular order:

  1. Almost every event surrounding 9/11
  2. The non-existence of WMD’s in Iraq
  3. The triumph of Christina Aguilera over Britney Spears
  4. The rise of Apple Computer

I’m not going to sit here and think of other things, you get the point. If you don’t get the point, the point is that people, for whatever reason, can’t accept that a low-probability event is the explanation for something HUGE. They’d rather come up with some storybook explanation that makes it seem like the event was, in fact, predictable. One of the best examples of this is in Sports. You always hear about “this team won the (Championship Game) because…”, even when said team won by a small enough margin to be attributed to randomness. Whenever I hear a woman talk about how she met her husband, and how it was just always meant to be, it just seems so obviously ridiculous to me that I’m not even sure how to point it out.

I mean, what the fuck, people really want to believe that the highest probability event is what “should always happen” and what does always happen outside of extremely unlikely events. That’s not how the world works. The biggest news with the biggest impact is the stuff with a low probability of happening; and the big impact stuff is what matters. The events that happen with high probability are footnotes in history.

I think the disconnect is there because people are very conservative by nature. They look at the probability of success rather than both the probability of success combined with the value of success. For example, is it better to go for an 80% chance of banging a 9 or a 1% chance of banging Rachel Bilson (assuming you could correctly estimate the probabilities)? Keep in mind there’s a 1/5 chance that you fail with the 9 and spend the rest of your life wondering if you could have banged Rachel Bilson in her prime. The risks of failure with the 9 are so unbelievably great that you have to go for Rachel Bilson.

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2008 Summer Games: Disaster in the Making

When China won the 2008 Summer Games, I thought it was a bad idea. When I visited Beijing and saw how awfully unprepared they were (as of last summer), I knew it was a bad idea. Then when the pro-Tibet protesters started, everyone knew it was a bad idea.

For kicks, I looked up the current odds of countries protesting the Olympics this summer. The odds I found were odds of which country would be the FIRST to protest the games. “Protesting the games” means the first country to withdraw all participating entrants from the Olympics. None of this partial protest nonsense. Here’s what they are (from Sportsbooks.com):

Spain             10 - 1
Canada            10 - 1
Greece            10 - 1
Germany           10 - 1
Ireland            8 - 1
Italy              6 - 1
United Kingdom     6 - 1
Australia          4 - 1
France             5 - 2
USA                5 - 2

This means that if France boycotted the Olympics and the US followed suit, you’d lose your bet if you bet on the US because they weren’t the first country to protest. This either means that it’s extremely likely that countries will boycott the games this summer, or that people are willing to bet that countries will boycott and the oddsmakers are screwing them over (there’s no option to bet on ‘no countries will boycott’). Kind of interesting.

I will project that there is a 100% chance that China will have a worse World image after these Olympics than they do before them. I mean, what good is going to come out of this deal? Why didn’t they just give it to Toronto or Paris?

While we’re on the odds topic: Barack Obama is a 1-20 favorite to with the North Carolina primary and Hillary Clinton is a 1-6 favorite to win the Indiana primary. Those are pretty good betting odds for Hillary, she’s definitely going to win Indiana. I’d stay away from the Obama in NC bet though, too much risk.

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Championship Weekend: NFL Gambling Guide

Note: All times are local times. Weather is taken into account since I think it’s the most under-handicapped game information out there.

Game 1: Sunday, 3:00 PM: San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots.

Weather: 18°F, 19 mph crosswind, Sunny

Weather Factor: Advantage Patriots

All you need to know about this game:

“The San Diego Chargers did not have their primary offensive weapons at practice, as running back LaDainian Tomlinson, quarterback Philip Rivers, and tight end Antonio Gates all did not participate due to injuries.

As the Chargers prepare to clash with the New England Patriots in Foxboro on Sunday’s AFC Championship, the status of their three stars is unknown.”

The Chargers are just coming off a big win in Indianapolis, they’re just happy to be here, Norv Turner is their head coach, and their 2 biggest offensive threats are injured. Phillip Rivers has a sprained MCL. How much do you believe in Billy Volek magic? Personally, I think his go-ahead drive against the Colts was the most improbable NFL playoff moment since the Music City Miracle.

Pick: PATRIOTS -14 over Chargers

Game 2: Sunday, 5:30 PM: New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

Weather: 3°F, 12 mph crosswind, Flurries

Weather Factor: No Advantage for either team without snow. Huge Packers Advantage with snow. Huge.

In one of the more improbable playoff runs I can remember, the Giants have won 9 road games in a row to get to the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay. It’s no coincidence this happened after they gave the Patriots all they could handle at Giants Stadium in the last game of the year. They have a deadly pass rush, which will play well against the Packers’ pass-first offense. I can see a close game, with the Packers winning by a field goal.

Pick 1: Giants +7 over PACKERS

However, if it snows, the Giants are fucked. Super fucked (Michael Vicked). In that case, it’s going to be something like 31-10 Packers.

Pick 2: PACKERS -7 over Giants (if it snows enough to accumulate and disrupt the game)

Side note: there are few things that are as exciting as wagering on a sporting event you are watching. Without a doubt, my greatest television watching moments have been when something happens, perhaps something that inconsequential to the outcome of the game, to pull my wager into the green. So why gamble? In the words of Mo Vaughn: “It’s not about the money.”

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