February 27, 2008
The Wizard's NewsFrom the Wizard....
My Superbowl Winnings
Another Super Bowl has come and gone. The two weeks before the game I spent much of my time analyzing hundreds of different prop bets, and going about town betting them. In my last newsletter I said I planned to try harder to get the virgin lines, shortly after their release. Once again, I was rather unsuccessful in that department. Only at the Rampart do I believe I was the first sharp prop bettor on the scene, and their lines were pretty well set this year. I was fairly early at the Palms and Hilton, and got some good, but not great, bets down. This year the softest opening lines were at Stations, Golden Nugget, and Boyd properties. Unfortunately, I was late to the party, and only got some crumbs.
Overall, I bet $144,331 of my own money, and had a profit of $20,068.28, or 13.90%. I also bet $143,842 of investor money, which had a profit of $18,250.21, or 12.69%. Normally I don't discuss my specific bets, to avoid teaching others to compete with me, but I will say I had very big plays on the Patriots to win straight up, and against a three-point margin of victory, unfortunately.
I realize that betting a big favorite on the money line may sound like a square bet, and it is usually is, but the Super Bowl is an exception. Every other football game is dominated by money that is bet for gambling reasons, as opposed to team loyalty. However, the Super Bowl brings out a lot of bets by people who normally don't bet on sports. These fan-based bets on the underdog tend to be placed on the money line, and on the favorite against the spread. I speculate the reason is that Giants bettors would not want to lose the game but win their bet, which is what would have happened if the Patriots won by less than 12. Patriots bettors would not want to lay the long odds on the money line, so they gave up the 12 points. According to my calculations, the Patriots had a 83.8% chance of winning the game. A fair price to lay would have been about -520, but I got -425. For those not familiar with this notation, -425 means you have to risk $425 to win $100, getting $525 back, or any proportion thereof. Normally I would not have bet it so big, but I had lots of props favoring the Giants, so I hedged. On the 3-point margin of victory, I felt with the large point spread and total, the probability against that happening was 93.5%. I put the fair money line at -1427, and bet it heavy at -700. Let the record show I bet that prop all four times of the Patriot's recent Super Bowl appearances, and they won or lost by three points every time.
Despite that last drive costing me about $30,000, I would like to congratulate the Giants overcoming huge odds as a wild card team, beating Tampa Bay, Dallas, Green Bay, and New England, to win the Super Bowl. I calculate the probability of the Giants winning all four of those games to be 1 in 195. With or without the money riding on it, that was the best Super Bowl I can remember watching.
Dispute With the Stratosphere
I'm only going to touch on this lightly, because I'm still trying to achieve a resolution. While making Super Bowl bets, I brought in an expired winning ticket for a college football bet. To my knowledge Nevada sportsbooks generally honor expired tickets anyway, although they might request that the ticket be put through their accounting department to verify it. In fact, I have never heard of any casino not honoring an expired ticket. So I had very little doubt that it would be refused. However, that is exactly what happened. I go into much more detail about it on the website (link removed). Between that and another incident, I am in the process of developing a player advocacy web site, dedicated to dispute resolution and warning players of dishonest casinos. Bluejay says he will let you vote on a title banner.
Ask the Wizard!
Here's an excerpt from the newest Ask the Wizard, column #203.
(Q) Hi, I have developed a card game I believe would be ideal for casino use. I am about to put a patent on it. I need to know how to get it into a casino. I think I need to find someone to partner me. — Richard from Brisbane, Australia
What's New on the Site
- Mini Pai Gow: You've been asking for this one for months. Here is my analysis of this six-card pai gow poker variant. Jan 16
- Ask the Wizard columns #201, #202, and #203.
From Michael Bluejay....
Who are our readers?
I've been forgetting to share this with you for nearly a year! Last May, Bodog asked us for some demographic info on our readers. We'd never collected any before, so we promptly ran a survey on the site. I shared that report with Bodog, but I forgot to share it with you. Whoops. It must be all the drugs I did in the 60's. Anyway, at long last, the super-curious (or super-nosy) can finally get the scoop on Wizard of Odds reader demographics (link removed).
Hanging With the Wizard
Let me tell you something: math isn't just the Wizard's day job, he lives and breathes it. Actually, he dreams it. His wife says that she heard him reciting the digits of pi in his sleep! And when he called and left a message for me the other day...well, I'm just gonna let you listen to the message and judge for yourself: the Wizard's voicemail (link removed).
Bodog in Chinese
In a move that will probably make the Wizard's wife happy, Bodog is now available in Chinese, along with Chinese-language customer support. 中国語電話番号！ (Okay, that's Japanese, not Chinese, but I think it's a close enough translation. The Wizard doesn't pay me enough to know Japanese and Chinese. Oh, it means "Chinese language phone number!") Anyway, you can visit Bodog's Chinese site (link removed).
Frustrated by broken websites?
After years of trying to navigate websites that just didn't work properly I finally did something about it: I created a site that lists problem sites and what they're doing wrong. Maybe this will get the companies that run the bad sites to make them work properly, and in any event, it's a good educational tool for would-be web developers. Here you can see exactly what not to do when creating a commercial website. Check out Problem Websites.
Interestingly, I list the Stratosphere's site (which has a whole bunch of problems), but that's coincidental to the Wizard's dispute with them. I first put the Strat up on Problem Websites a good year before the wiz had any issue with them. And I went back to their site recently not because of the Wizard's dispute, but because I wanted to check the prices on a suite for a friend who's coming to town, which is when I discovered that the site has gone even further downhill.
Free Book Drawing Winner
This month's winner of the Wizard's book, Gambling 102, is "cvpiro" — subscriber #1823 (alphabetically) of 10,255, and who signed up for the list way back in July 2005. Congratulations cvpiro!