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Bookmakers Vs Punters perspective

No sooner had the dust settled on last weekend's Queensland state election than the stories abounded about how "someone" had put $10k on the Labor Party at 100/1 to win less than ten seats and picked up a cool million dollars in the process.

You know that "someone"? Probably the same "someone" whose girlfriend is best friends with the jockey's wife who told her........or the same "someone" who saw "this thing trial at a pre dawn workout on how it ran 22 secs for the last 400 metres into a 40 kph headwind" - you know, those "someones"!

Is it true? Did someone do that? Don't know. If they did, good luck to them because they needed it. And they took unders, I reckon, for something that had never happened before in history and is highly unlikely ever to happen again. From the bookmakers point of view it was a good bet and one I am sure they would be happy to accept time and time again.

It's exactly the same as the big payouts you occasionally hear about where some poor mug has walked in to a pub where there is Keno - rare to find one without the ubiquitous animated screens playing over and over with flashing numbers - and he's fluked a win in the 15/15 jackpot of $3 million. The old keno company is delighted to be putting out the mandatory press release about how "a lucky punter has won $3 million in a $1 Keno game". Cheapest advertising they can get and it works a treat.

It neatly highlights and demonstrates the very basic difference between bookmakers, casinos and lotto companies and the punters they trade off. The sports bookies and casinos KNOW that they will get a (almost) fixed return from every million dollars they turn over - day after day, week after week, year after year. They take the long term perspective, confident in the knowledge that they have "done their sums right" and can almost be guaranteed of whatever their targeted return happens to be.

They don't care if some dumb-lucky schmuck punter comes along once in a blue moon and actually wins a million because they know that when they publicise it in the all-to-eager media, there'll be another 2 million punters adopt the same "well if he can win it so can I" attitude and give them all that money back.

And there IS the difference. Most punters work for a short term fix/gain/plan where the bookmakers and casinos and can't-lose-lotto-companies ONLY are there working for the long term profit they are guaranteed of picking up through turning over large amounts of money in the quest for a (what some people think of as) a small long term gain.

So if this is, really, indisputable, why are you trying to do it differently? Why do you believe that you can win long term using a short term approach when so many thousands and thousands have ventured down the same path and failed? Why would you think you are smarter than them? Are you? Really?

If long term is the cash game, why are you bashing your head against a wall trying to beat those that really do know, using a short term strategy?

My "playing" with this over the years has proved, beyond a doubt in my mind, that if you are trying to average more than 1% on turnover (endlessly repeating) in the very long term, the odds are indeed stacked against you. As I have written in other places on this site, the faster you try to accumulate, the higher the risk. The higher the risk the more the psychological pressure which CANNOT be overstated. The more the pressure, the worse the decision making.

Yes it is a vicious circle and you always have to be aware of the consequences. Some horse win, most lose. You will undoubtedly back many more losers than winners over the space of a year. Money management (staking) is, in my opinion, far more important than the method that you use to decide on which of these conveyances you choose to invest on.

Ordinary mediocre winners at a mid week meeting at Oodnagarlarbin that pay $2.50 are worth exactly the same as the latest "peoples' champion" who wins the "feature race of the day" at a flash metropolitan track.That $2.50 return from a mid week hack buys exactly the same amount of petrol (which is of course about a glass and a half at today's prices).

Get the numbers right and this is a good fun way to make a dollar or two. Get the figures wrong and it is a one way street to frustration. I always aim for a very modest return over a very long term in my dealings and while it may well be sometimes frustrating to salute with a double figure winner with two fifths of three quarters of nothing on it, I 'd rather do that than lose a motza on the latest glamour "certainty" at $1.90 and have a reduced chance of regaining that (necessarily) larger amount lost.

Why do you think the industry takes so much time and trouble write about and speak about the latest "peoples' champion"? What difference is there between that and the media release put out by the Keno company about the latest flukey million dollar winner?

In the final analysis, if you can't bet like the casinos and bookmakers and take the long term view, you really are trying to swim against the tide. And guess what? The casinos and bookmakers have a set percentage of their assets set aside for covering any short term losses that is in a totally different account that their fixed daily operating and capital expenditure accounts. It is THEIR punting bank exactly in the same way as we emphasise the need to have your own punting bank that is totally separate from your day to day living expenses.

Casinos don't pay the waitresses in the restaurants or the dealers at the blackjack tables from the same account as their "gambling operational contingency" account or whatever it may be called by their conservative accountants. Neither should you!

There always will be a large percentage of half-educated punters who will always make up the pool that the more advanced and slightly more knowledgeable will take their profits from. I don't feel guilty writing that. It's the way it always has been and the way it always will be.

Your biggest decision is what side of the pool you choose to swim in.

© March, 2012 - All rights reserved. May be copied freely for personal use and yes you can put it up on your web page providing this copyright notice stays in tact