Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gambling Thoughts

(Note: If you're looking for a good 10 minute read, check out Dr. Pauly's post about getting coolered and how it makes you ponder what the hell is going on inside your head.)

It's been an interesting 2011 for a punter like myself. Hot or cold, depending where you look.

I have been slaying the ponies with my value betting scheme. I've always had "good luck" with Thoroughbred racing, but now I wonder if that luck was just studying market forces and intuitively applying it to the races.

After two serious attempts at handicapping, I've finally tweaked my methods into something that should make steady income (and is completely legal in the USA).

My only bad beat with the horses is the lousy weather this month, which seems to cancel about 1/3 of the race cards every day.

Fantasy sports has been "meh" lately, after a horrible December. After my sour experience with Fan Duel, I emptied my account and moved on. I will be playing more hockey on Fantasy Sports Live and Draftstreet after the all-star break.

Sports betting has been the coldest of all since my return from Vegas. I had a horrible 2 for 10 Saturday in late December, putting me down for that month. January finds me at 26-26-1, but that makes my bankroll go down 10% because of the juice.

When it comes to betting on games, I'm different than Pauly. It's really just a mathematical exercise for me. Basically, I make my own lines. After setting my own lines, I compare them to the book. The games with the biggest discrepancy are the ones I target. I double check the teams involved to make sure nothing is disrupting their lineups or game plan - weather, suspensions, funerals, shootings, etc.

Once I make my picks/wagers, that's it. Time to move on to something else. I don't usually sweat the games unless there is little else going on.

My experience is that I've seen wins or losses come in spectacular fashion. I just don't think there's need to agonize over a wager. Once you place a wager the money is no longer yours. I view sports wagers as one of three outcomes:

1) Your pick was bad and had no chance at all of winning. This happens to everyone, even the pro bettors.

2) Your pick was solid but fell short. Your team didn't cover or lost a close one. Even though you lost money, you made the correct wager. (Hey, pocket aces don't always hold up.)

3) Your pick carries the day. You look smart. (Although sometimes your team only covered because they got lucky. Thank the appropriate gambling gods and move on.)

When I review my bets, I note the outcomes. As long as I'm not making many wagers with outcome #1... I'm good, win or lose.

Losing is still frustrating. When I lose in one area of gaming, I like to step back and concentrate on another one. It seems I have good focus in racing right now, so that is where my energy lies lately.

I enjoy dabbling in these past times, but I'm not looking for any shortcuts. Without question I'm an entrepreneur. There is inherent risk taking coursing through my veins.

Whether any of this tomfoolery amounts to anything significant remains to be seen.


Dr. Pauly said...

Great post, Buf.

I realized that the money doesn't matter to me as much as my desire to "beat the system", but let's not forget that I'm also an adrenaline junkie so I also live for the gambler's high. I'd love to be able to make bets and go do something else, but sometimes I can't. The sweat is just too enticing!

In Pai Gow, Otis has a saying: "Set it and forget it."

Otis' wisdom can be applied to so many things in life. Looks like that's how you treat your bets -- set it and forget it.

Buffalo66 said...

I understand the lure of the sweat.

Poker is the one area where I agonize over and over again. I always feel I could have played better and improved my results.

It messes with my mind. Often.