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How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

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How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby googleeph2 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:46 am

Honest question about real sports gambling (not office or forum pools). Sorry if I'm like a kid walking up to a poker game and asking a lot of inappropriate questions while the game is in progress.

I'm 50 yrs old. The most gambling I've done happened 20, 25 yrs ago.
I'd tank during football, then recover to varying degrees with college hoops. Spreads were wide and there were a lot more games to choose from.

But over time, I'm sure I lost $. Had fun just playing though, so I know winning money isn't the only reason to gamble.

Personally, I see very little point in gambling on things you cannot control, like slot machines. But making choices on outcomes like games at least introduces some skill or knowledge. Also, betting on a personal feat like making putts on a golf course seems logical to me.

Many of my earliest baseball cards were obtained by an ongoing game in first grade where we took turns flipping cards against a brick wall. The flipper of the first card that covered a part of another card won all the cards that had been flipped (was tough on the corners of the cards). Then the game would begin again.

I realize gamblers are notoriously guarded on admitting they lost $. But do most here finish ahead, over time? Do any of those snake-oil guys on Sat am radio help?

Sometimes, I see a game that I know will be a winner. If I were to bet on it, it would be heavily. I'll make a mental note, and many times, I'll look back and be amazed that I'd have lost.

Are over/unders easier for NFL games?

I follow the Browns spreads of course, and when they lose, I at least take satisfaction when rival fans lost money if they'd have bet on their team.
Sorry to you guys who've bet against the Browns, figuring a win-win was possible thru either a winning wager or a Browns win.

Just curious. Guys on the sidelines like me can be amazed at the amount of action out there.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby swerb » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:33 pm

It's hard. Very hard. Paying an extra 10% on losing wagers is what makes it hard.

I've been gambling on sports, pretty much non-stop, since I was about 14 years old, over 20 years now. While I've had some great runs, and some big hits, the reality of the matter is when you get on a good run like that ... it's hard not to get stupid. You feel invincible and start thinking about what could be if you up your bets and keep the run going. I have no doubts that I've lost a ton of $ over these last 20 years.

To me though, it's a hobby. I love sports, love trying to handicap sports. Love the rush having $ on a game provides, and the high of winning a bet. If I am gonna bet $30-$100 a game on March Madness for 3 weeks, I'll expect to lose a few hundred bucks and be fine with it if I do, knowing that the possibility of a hot streak and a nice payout is also possible.

Biggest difference for me now - I never bet more than I can afford to lose. Never bet an amount on a game that will make me depressed if I lose. My money management skills have also gotten better as I've gotten older and started a family, which also helps puts things in perspective. I try and play more pool type contests, as a way to diminish the urge to wager on every bowl game, or every March Madness game.

Most of the touts or snake oil guys out there are exactly that. There are just a handful of people whose opinions on games influence mine. For college football, Phil Steele. Also, there is a guy that posts under the screen name "THUNDER" at http://www.madjacksports.com/forum/ ... he has been around FOREVER, is a professional gambler that is very well connected posts all his plays publicly, and is outstanding. Like any bettor, he has ups and downs, but has been consistently good for a very long time.

But to answer your question, very very few people win over the long haul at sports betting. It requires amazing discipline.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby noles1 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:59 pm

I've had off and on moments personally.

In college I won $100 over the course of a college season. Next year I turned around and lost $500 in a month and shut it down for awhile. Mostly bowl season and NFL playoffs. Probably dropped a couple $100 over the past 5-6 yrs. with it all.

Only picked it back up in the past year and am sitting down $150 since June but have some Futures out there that could even things up. Plus with fantasy or tourney pick em, I mostly win money pretty frequently with those.

I mostly gamble out of enjoyment and have no delusions of winning. Like Swerb, I've never had a bet where if I didn't win I was really concerned.

Oddly enough, I've went to Vegas twice and both times left with money in my pocket from Craps, Roulette, Sports and BlackJack. $600+.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby leadpipe » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:29 pm

Amazing how few can beat the 52.5% it takes to beat the vig.

Even more amazing is how many people take such bad odds that they need to win more than the 52.5% they need to.

The last year I wrote the article for the site I was at one point in the season 56%, but that didn't stop people from pm'ing me about how I was a stiff, when if they had half a brain, they'd be making money.

Clowns think they - or the "guy" they buy picks from is gonna go 70% the entire season, when, it's unheard of.

A few major problems with amateurs:

They get poor odds. They wager waaaay too many games (Like EVERY Monday and Sunday night game) They wager late in the week, after the numbers have been pounded into shape. If you're betting professional football sides or totals on Sunday morning....good luck to ya. And, just like a diet, they are looking for the easy & fun way to get the job done - of which there really isn't one.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby googleeph2 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:41 pm

I read a book on blackjack once. Made a lot of sense to me. Besides stating the right times to hit, double down, etc., it talked about always betting the minimum if you win a hand. If you lose, double the bet. At some point, you gotta win your hand and win that minimum bet you put up before that first loss of the losing streak.

Of course, the trick is that you need to be able to bankroll a string of losses.
Say you find a $2 game. Win your hand? Bet $2 again, every time. Lose? Bet $4. Lose that, bet $8 etc. until you win and get the original $2 you played for. Then back to the $2 bet.

Of course, you need to be able to bankroll a lot of losses in a row in order to get your $2 back. 2+4+8+16+32+64+128+256+512+1024.
That's 10 hands for a chance to get the original $2 back. If you could bankroll any losing streak, eventually you'll get it back.

I like the concept, and again, if you know when to double down, you come out ahead there too.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby LakeErieWarriors » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:24 pm

I am down a couple hundred lifetime. Not a huge gambler but it seems like the more bread I lay down on a game, the dumber the gamble seems to be for me, historically. Which is basically me getting too greedy. Like to play it safe with the small wagers, keeps it more fun (finished like + $10 for the NFL season). Murphy's Law always magically appears whenever I'm bettin alot though; sucks.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby jpd1224 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:35 pm

Along about 1980 a well known long time local bookkeeper comes into the detective bureau checking the status on the investigation of his stolen 1968 El Dorado. The young homicide detective chuckles to himself and says, "yeah, Bly, we got a few leads we're runnin' down. Gimme a couple more days." Of course the file was thrown in the trash about a week earlier.
However the young detective, Shamus, knew that in fact a couple of his detective cohorts were customers of the old man. So he thought he'd pick up some advice.
Shamus: Hey, kind sir, yours is an interesting business. May I ask what are some of the pitfalls, just in case I wanted to keep busy after I retire?
Bly: Well, son, like anything worth doing, you gotta work hard. Sundays, Holidays, ya know.
Then you got guys tryin to beat ya outta it. You just can't lay the hammer down now like you could 20 years ago.
Shamus: Yeah, my guys don't like that stuff.
Bly: Biggest problem is when I go to square, guys know you're carryin envelopes and I been whacked from behind once or twice.
Shamus: So you need security.
Bly: Sure. Then you don't wanna beat your guys up too much in the bank. Ya want em ta be careful. They got kids to feed.
Shamus: How thoughtful. But I'm sure guys get on a heater and beat you for sum now and then.
Bly: HaHaHaHa. NEVER happens! Worst I've done is have a guy or two win a little over the course of the season. I just consider it a short term advance.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby GodHatesClevelandSport » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:52 pm

This one guy I know just got destroyed over the baseball season a couple years ago. He complained about it to his bookie.

Bookie goes, "Hey, forget about it, football's coming up, try that out."

Few weeks later this guy is back complaining again about how he's losing. Didn't have a single winning week for the first month.

Bookie goes, "Don't worry, basketball's coming up. I take hoops."

That didn't work out for this guy either. He got destroyed on basketball. Went back to the bookie one more time saying he couldn't catch a break, was going to quit, blah blah blah.

Bookie goes, "Hey, man, I know the feeling. Why don't you try some hockey? I got some hockey action I take."

Guy goes, "Hockey??? I don't know fuck ANYTHING about hockey!"
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby Jumbo » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:02 am

googleeph2 wrote:I read a book on blackjack once. Made a lot of sense to me. Besides stating the right times to hit, double down, etc., it talked about always betting the minimum if you win a hand. If you lose, double the bet. At some point, you gotta win your hand and win that minimum bet you put up before that first loss of the losing streak.


There was a thread, I think on this site, that talks about how this doesn't actually work. The discussion was in the context of betting red/black and doubling on roulette, but the same concept applies. There are two problems with this, that cause it to not work in practice:

(1) Played long enough, you do eventually hit a point where you can't afford another loss.
(2) Table maximums. Even if you don't ever have a string that you literally can't afford the next doubling, you will have a fair number of losses where you hit the table maximum and can't make back your loss with one win.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby Govbarney » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:55 am

I have always preferred betting the ponies to people, and because of the parimutuel your wagering against your fellow horse players and not a house (in that respect its kind of like poker).

As far as finishing in the black goes , I think its more likely to happen with a serious horse handicapper as opposed to a sports handicapper.

I have met many people who essentially play the ponies for a living, and make money on it every year. Granted to get to that level it becomes a job , and not a recreational activity like it is for ham & eggers like me. To do that though you have to be smart ,on a daily basis do more research than a Harvard law student and most importantly be disciplined. Some of these guys can get pretty wealthy over time , especially when they get involved in all the handicapping tournaments that racebooks, and tracks put on. But it all depends on how disciplined they are, one drunken night of betting harness races exotics can ruin a whole year.

But even for guys like me, if you follow a few simple rules, know how to read a DRF, do decent amount of research the night before (but not so much so it feels like you are studying for the SATs), and don't bet every single god damn race. You can still go to the track on your leisure time, and get die breaking even, and in the course of that life you will get the priceless pleasure of experiencing the unique ambiance of a Horse Track.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby leadpipe » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:32 pm

Jumbo wrote:
googleeph2 wrote:I read a book on blackjack once. Made a lot of sense to me. Besides stating the right times to hit, double down, etc., it talked about always betting the minimum if you win a hand. If you lose, double the bet. At some point, you gotta win your hand and win that minimum bet you put up before that first loss of the losing streak.


There was a thread, I think on this site, that talks about how this doesn't actually work. The discussion was in the context of betting red/black and doubling on roulette, but the same concept applies. There are two problems with this, that cause it to not work in practice:

(1) Played long enough, you do eventually hit a point where you can't afford another loss.
(2) Table maximums. Even if you don't ever have a string that you literally can't afford the next doubling, you will have a fair number of losses where you hit the table maximum and can't make back your loss with one win.


Ahhh the old Martingale system. A classic.

Be suprised how fast you'll reach the table max, and more importantly your max. Cause if there's a pit boss worth his salt on the floor, and sees you doing this, he'll get you a table with the highest limit.

If you save a penny on Jan 1st, double it to two pennies on Jan. 2nd, and keep doubling the total each day, you'll be a millionaire the first of February.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby RickNashEquilibrium » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:15 pm

leadpipe wrote:Ahhh the old Martingale system. A classic.

Be suprised how fast you'll reach the table max, and more importantly your max. Cause if there's a pit boss worth his salt on the floor, and sees you doing this, he'll get you a table with the highest limit.

If you save a penny on Jan 1st, double it to two pennies on Jan. 2nd, and keep doubling the total each day, you'll be a millionaire the first of February.


You'de be surprised how effective this approach can be at online poker if you have a big enough bankroll and the guile to waste really good hands. Obviously, at the high levels people wisen up to what you are doing, but I made a lot of money over the years simply by repeatedly over-shoving with big hands. I did my own Chris Ferguson experiment during college which started me out playing $.25-.$.50 no limit. Basically, even if I had to reload, as soon as I doubled my stack I would move up a limit. I went on a huge run while only reloading once at $1-$2 and wound up doubling my stack enough times to play right at $5-$10 on FTP. Of course by the time you get to $2-$4 you can't sit around peddling the nuts, but the point remains. Just like craps/blackjack or what Doyle said in Super System, if you keep winning small amounts to make one big bet every now and again, that one big bet is eventually going to be in your favor.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby GodHatesClevelandSport » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:58 pm

RickNashEquilibrium wrote:
leadpipe wrote:Ahhh the old Martingale system. A classic.

Be suprised how fast you'll reach the table max, and more importantly your max. Cause if there's a pit boss worth his salt on the floor, and sees you doing this, he'll get you a table with the highest limit.

If you save a penny on Jan 1st, double it to two pennies on Jan. 2nd, and keep doubling the total each day, you'll be a millionaire the first of February.


You'de be surprised how effective this approach can be at online poker if you have a big enough bankroll and the guile to waste really good hands. Obviously, at the high levels people wisen up to what you are doing, but I made a lot of money over the years simply by repeatedly over-shoving with big hands. I did my own Chris Ferguson experiment during college which started me out playing $.25-.$.50 no limit. Basically, even if I had to reload, as soon as I doubled my stack I would move up a limit. I went on a huge run while only reloading once at $1-$2 and wound up doubling my stack enough times to play right at $5-$10 on FTP. Of course by the time you get to $2-$4 you can't sit around peddling the nuts, but the point remains. Just like craps/blackjack or what Doyle said in Super System, if you keep winning small amounts to make one big bet every now and again, that one big bet is eventually going to be in your favor.


Moving up in blinds when you're improving your game or ahead isn't the Martingale system. Doubling your bets every time is the Martingale system.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby Action Boy » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:45 pm

Really hard to be successful, but fun as hell. I don't know many gamblers that have the discipline and time to succeed.

I have been hooked for close to 30 years and have had the typical ups and downs. I prefer the college scene more than the pros. More games and a better chance for Vegas to miss a number in college, especially early in the season. That being said, Vegas is so damn good in setting the numbers.

I always have a budget and I never bet more than I can afford. The 'high' is still there for each and every game.
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Re: How Many Finish in the Black, Over Time?

Unread postby jpd1224 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:20 pm

Action Boy wrote:Really hard to be successful, but fun as hell. I don't know many gamblers that have the discipline and time to succeed.

I have been hooked for close to 30 years and have had the typical ups and downs. I prefer the college scene more than the pros. More games and a better chance for Vegas to miss a number in college, especially early in the season. That being said, Vegas is so damn good in setting the numbers.

I always have a budget and I never bet more than I can afford. The 'high' is still there for each and every game.



Interesting choice of words, AB. I am living hell on earth this year with oh-by-the-way 30 footers at the buzzer to lose by a half. Now THAT is fun.
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