Sunday afternoon lottery

Sunday football afternoon: I have some bets down. I like these afternoons.

Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

2010 World Cup Final

Clockwork Orange Mark II are 2 1/2 to 1 dogs in tomorrow’s game, so I bet on them.  The price seemed right.

I don’t really have a dog in the fight.  I just hope the Dutch force Spain out of their plan to win 1-0 at the end of regulation.

At the end of each World Cup, I always wonder how a sporting event that lasts a whole month seems to go by so quickly.

Published in: on July 10, 2010 at 4:37 am  Comments (2)  


Germany vs. Argentina at 9 Central time. I’m thinking a draw at the end of regulation time and who knows after that… Let’s face it. The future is often murky and inhabited by shadows whose substance and essence we cannot reckon.

That’s one reason why gambling is so difficult.

Published in: on July 3, 2010 at 8:40 am  Comments (2)  

Baseball wagering Sat 25 Jul 09

Today’s baseball picks: Cubs over the Reds, Tigers over the White Sox.  Straight wagers on both games, and a two team parlay of same.

Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Love, chance, and flipping the coin

Recently, I’ve been studying methods of statistical analysis.  I have gravitated toward baseball analysis since it provides a good laboratory for applying statistical methods to learn about what counts as ability and what counts as chance.  Much of which we care about learning should be related to discovering what counts as ability versus chance.

I’ve been thinking about how love and romance might be amenable to statistical analysis.  One must first define love and romance appropriately so that one can attach numbers to it.  I suspect even those who have had hundreds of sexual partners can narrow their number of romances and trues loves to less than a dozen.  Lets take a person who has fallen deeply in love  four times in their life.  Lets say all those loves failed.  What can we say about that person’s ability to achieve love and happiness?  Not much unless we possess some numbers to validate or invalidate our hypotheses.

Flip a fair coin four times and count the number of heads.  What is the chance that you will get four heads in a row?  It’s 1 out of 16 times giving a .0625 probability.  Let’s say each time a person falls in love they have a 50-50 chance of it being a success.  Fall in love four times and you have a 93.75% chance of one those being a success.  If the success rate of romance it 50% you’d expect a lot of satisfied souls roam the earth.  Such does not seem to be the case.

The romance coin might be biased in favor of failure.  The chances of all failures in four tries might be much higher than 6.25%.  Yet observing a person who has failed at love four out four times, one still wonders how much of that is due to innate inability to achieve a lasting love or chance alone.

In my own case, zero successes out of however many tries doesn’t seem as daunting when looked at from a statistical point of view.  I don’t know the population mean and standard deviation regarding the random variable love.  I have done no sampling to estimate those parameters.  Maybe, my failures are closer to the mean than I think.  Bad luck might plague me as it does many others.

If success at romances are independent events, then past failures mean nothing with the next flip of the coin.  I’m not ready to flip it.  Probably never will flip it again.  I have a feeling the mathematical expectation is negative.  It’s like betting on sports against your bookie.  Play the game long enough and you will eventually lose all your whip out cash.

Frumpy indolence charms me more than romance these days.

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Some football

Sitting at the bar on a Saturday night. About to watch the Oklahome vs. Mizzu football game. I’ve got Mizzu and 17 points for some whipout cash. Then there are the drunk out-of-town chicks. But that will be later maybe.

Published in: on December 6, 2008 at 8:13 pm  Comments (2)  

Week one (for me anyway)

My first weekend of football wagering. I got a high and tight haircut before the afternoon barely started. I was overly aggressive with my picks.

Hey, they are playing next weekend. I’ll get ’em then. It is sort oI like love.

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Germany vs. Turkey

Euro 2008 is coming to a close. Germany plays Turkey today in a semi-final match. Germany is a huge favorite. I wonder. I just wonder if the long odds against Turkey are justified. I am going to find out the hard way by betting on Turkey. For you Chicago fans, the broadcast starts at 1:45 on ESPN.

Happy wagering!

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Baseball 2008

As you can well imagine, we are inundated with requests at State Street asking who we are betting on this baseball season. Well, quite frankly, we have not bet on a damned thing so far. And we have missed a lot of grand opportunities with the Cubs and White Sox both on fire.

But all that has changed today. We have bet the Cubs straight up against the Braves tonight, the White Sox straight up against the hapless and helpless Tigers tonight, and a two team parlay on both Chicago teams too.

We aren’t talking about some pork chop bets either. We’re talking about some 100% US prime whip-out cash bets.

Published in: on June 11, 2008 at 11:32 am  Comments (2)  

The Happy Totals

As you can well expect, we are flooded at State Street with queries as to how we did in wagering on NFL games this year. In a fit of boredom we wagered on the Giants to win yesterday at 7 to 2 odds. Damn, we are lucky. That put us up an excellent amount for the whole season.

It is perverse to brag about one’s luck, but damn we really are lucky here at State Street.

Published in: on February 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

The consolation of gambling

The Diamondbacks swept the Cubs from the playoffs in three straight games. This is the morning after, the time when grim reality seems exactly as it is. I look at it this way though. Tottenham vs. Liverpool is being broadcast on my TV. I need Liverpool to win as part of a four team English Premier League parlay bet. The focus on the new game arrests the morbidity associated with remembering the Cubs’ terrible series.

One of the nice things about gambling is that it keeps you occupied with winning today and tomorrow rather than reflecting too much on past losses.

Published in: on October 7, 2007 at 9:22 am  Comments (2)  


I am currently reading the graphic novel Watchmen. (I know, I am a little late to that party.) I am also reading Horse Race Betting for Dummies. They fit together in the sense that I can easily flip between them.

They also fit together in a way I cannot explain, yet feel. It may have something to do with a complete retreat from reality, or immersing myself into a small slice of reality I have done my best to avoid. How does one bet on the future–not just the classic gambling games? What will happen before my death? Can I control it, or am I fooling myself?

Of course, I can control it (else I’d go mad), but my mind is too numb to put it together today as I was out drinking with out-of-town friends for ten hours straight yesterday. They attacked me in two relays. That’s not fair. They won’t get away with it today.

Published in: on September 23, 2007 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Those eyes, that chest, and Vegas Real Estate

Here is my take on real estate prices in Las Vegas: the Strip is expensive and out of my league, but places close to the Strip are immanently doable.

I have been thinking during this early AM that my fascination with Las Vegas is not as much about gambling as it is about periodically immersing myself into the gambling culture. I can do all the gambling I want on the computer, but I can’t see the faces of the winners and losers who are doing it with me. I can also go to the local casinos in the Chicago area and get a taste of the gambling culture. But it ain’t Vegas.

The games in a casino provide a contrast in styles and emotional needs. The craps table is usually inhabited by swarms of men fueled by testerone. It’s a violent and greedy place. You must keep your eyes on your chips at all times since men lose track of what belongs to them and what belongs to you. When you win, the loser standing next to you can easily convince himself that your winnings are actually his. If you are playing craps properly, you might have 14 bets on the table. That’s a lot of bets to keep track of. It also requires a serious bankroll. Things happen fast in the game. One bad roll of the dice and all 14 bets are swept off the table. It’s a punch to the ego and it hurts. Losing a bet on the turn of a card is one thing. Losing 14 bets when you roll a seven while trying make points quite another.

The blackjack table is entirely different. It’s a social game designed to make the experience last longer and to enjoy the company of the players and dealer. My trip to Vegas this last weekend made me appreciate that aspect of the game. However, social experiences in bad places have their good points and bad. Early in the AM on Sunday morning, I was sitting at the blackjack table with an attractive couple from Los Angeles. The woman sat next to me. She was spectacularly beautiful. She was not wearing makeup; she had no need. She wore tight jeans and a low cut blouse. I could feel her body heat. I was smitten in the stupid way I get when I have been drinking in the bar. Of course, I was drinking at the table and had been drinking hard for 72 hours, which added to the fatigue of not sleeping for 72 hours either. My Vegas induced adrenaline was running low.

So anyway, the woman did not know how to play the game. She wanted her boyfriend or husband, whatever he was, to explain the game to her. He wouldn’t. She left the table miffed and frustrated. Her husband made some excuses for her even though he should have been making excuses for himself. He had a thousand dollars worth of chips in front of him and he was betting the $10 minimum per hand and doing it quite ineptly. The woman did not know it, but she was lucky he was not teaching her how to play. Quite frankly, I would have sold my soul to teach her the basic strategy.

The woman came back to the table and sat across from my spot at third base. She did not play. She watched me play. Each time I looked up I was staring into her eyes. Well, at her chest too. It was a handsome chest. It unnerved me. It bothered my card play.

Once they left the table I was alone. It was 3 AM. I left too. I went to a restaurant and ate eggs benedict and drank coffee.

Now, I am sitting in the dark writing and thinking about her and this other woman and wondering about the rest of my life. Will I gamble on real estate in Vegas. All the wrong reasons nag my mind.

Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 5:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Las Vegas: two major victories

I spent 48 hours in Las Vegas this weekend. The sum total of my sleep was two one hour power naps. I maxed out my playing time. I lost less than 20% of my gambling budget–always a major victory when you are in Vegas.

I also hung out with a former girlfriend who I had not seen in six years. Damn, she’s even more beautiful than the last time I was with her. Now, I am never going to get over her. However, the fact that she wanted to see me counts as another major victory.

Published in: on September 17, 2007 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  

The Sex

I’m off to Las Vegas in a few hours. It’s not really for the gambling; I can do that here. One way or the other, it’s about the sex. And the condo too for that matter. And watching all those people gamble–the ones who gamble well and the ones who don’t.

And just being there rather than here.

Published in: on September 14, 2007 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Should we stay or should we go?

George Packer’s article in The New Yorker, Planning for Defeat: how should we withdraw from Iraq?, provides a chilling and sobering assessment of the Iraq situation. If there is a solution, nobody knows it.

My take is many more will die no matter what happens. That bet is off the board, since there could not possibly be any takers for the contrary side.

Published in: on September 8, 2007 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Viva Las Vegas

I think I’m going to Las Vegas the weekend after this next. A long lost friend will be there and has invited me to meet her.

I also plan on doing some advance scouting on condos there. Getting a condo in Vegas is now on my plan “A” list now that I have sold a house. Why not. I can turn my money over to a friendly face at the casino instead of a computer screen.

If and when I buy, friends are free to use it when I am not there. And here’s my gambling advice to those hitting the casinos: get lucky at the beginning and stay lucky until you leave.

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 3:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Another crock; buy some at half price while they last

From the NYT: Panel Says Iraqi Forces Not Ready.

However, there is good news for the gullible. Even though the whole Iraqi police force needs to be disbanded because of rampant sectarianism and corruption, the US might be able to change mission and reduce forces next year.

What a crock. I might have to adjust my over/under of US troop presence in Iraq upwards. Oh well, that is just what happens when you gamble.

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wagering on the number of the soon to be dead

I have tried to reduce my opinions about US politics to betting propositions. I have not been successful in doing it, but I consider the exercise an interesting chore–one worthy of continued pursuit. Despite that, I am still an unrepentant leftist. The only concern I have about being such is that it may indicate an unconscious bias. (My conservative friends consider me an unrepentant radical leftist by the way.)

The biggest political betting proposition remains the war in Iraq. How many US troops will be killed or wounded in Iraq this month? What’s the over/under? Even though I have no influence on the result, I still get to play the game in my mind as if I were in Las Vegas betting on the turn of a card or the roll of dice. It’s a grim and repulsive thing to bet on, but getting killed or wounded in Iraq is a grim and repulsive event. How many Americans deal with the Iraq war caused dead and wounded everyday in the normal course of events in their lives? Not many I imagine.

Another interesting betting propositions is how many Iraqi casualties there will be in the course of a month. You cannot bet on that though because accurate statistics are not kept about it. For good or ill, the one precious thing we have is our short life on this earth. You would think that in the welter of statistics we keep our lives and deaths would be the most accurately kept. But it isn’t. I get better numbers on my fantasy sports teams than institutions keep on Iraqi war and occupation related deaths. That’s more ghoulish than my desire to bet on it.

I wonder how our perceptions and decisions would change if we fully realized we are gamblers pure and simple. How many grand theories and narratives would disintegrate to dust? Would the classics of political philosophy remain such, or give way to something else. A close rereading might be in order.

State Street, you are an addicted gambler. Yes, and damned proud of it. Life leaves me no other choice.

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tours of Duty: the betting proposition

When I was in Vietnam in 1967-68 a tour of duty was one year and twenty days. You were only required to serve one tour of duty. With the Iraq occupation, people are required to serve multiple tours of duty and they are longer.

That leads to the question as to how many troops will be in Iraq at this time next year regardless of the situation. Everyone agrees the US military is at its breaking point. As an opening proposition I would say the over/under for number of troops in Iraq next Labor Day is 80,000–half the current number. Of course, 2008 elections will play their roll in setting the number of troops.

You have to be an optimist to think the situation in Iraq will be appreciably better at this time next year. Even the people who want to stay and fight it out such as McCain say the US needs more troops not less. The question is where those troops might come from. McCain says that Americans will rally to the cry if called upon to volunteer. Hmm? That would be another interesting betting proposition.

Don’t you just love gambling. There’s no better place to encounter reality up close and personal.

Published in: on September 5, 2007 at 12:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

The odds of a military coup in the US has President Bush at 200-1 odds to win the 2008 Presidential election. People must be betting on a military coup keeping him in office. I can’t think of any other way it could happen.

200-1 sounds like a long shot, but it also shows a lot of action on the wager. I wonder who is keeping the proposition alive.

Published in: on September 5, 2007 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Capitalism and iPhone wagering: sports, the financial markets, and houses

I have not made a wager using my iPhone thus far. Betting on the laptop at home keeps the pretense alive that I am making an informed judgment about a sporting event. Ha.

However, with the iPhone the world becomes my virtual casino as I can follow the results of the sporting events on which I have wagered anywhere I go. I can log into my sportsbook and see how my money is doing. (My money did not do well yesterday thanks to some trashy baseball bets I made.) Of course, I view this as a good thing while many find it deplorable or depraved. All I can say is that anyone who has the stomach to bet on the financial markets, stocks, bonds, etc., should have no qualms about throwing a few bucks down on a football game. For instance, I am watching the Man U vs. Sunderland game right now. I have Man U in a four team Premier League parlay this weekend. My guts are not churning as badly as when the stock market is open for business, and these days it’s always open for business somewhere.

The iPhone has a nice button on it to retrieve market results. With the volatility in the current market, I find myself pushing it often. That is probably not a good thing, for about the only thing you can predict about the market is that it will fluctuate as J. P. Morgan well remarked.

I sold a house recently. I should have sold it a year or two ago when house prices peaked in the neighborhood. I did manage to get out near the top. I am using the proceeds to buy property. I plan on buying a place next year somewhere in between Costa Rica and Chicago. At this time, a small condo in Las Vegas sounds intriguing. And a small place in downtown Chicago. I could jump back and forth between both places. Betting on sports in a Las Vegas casino has more cachet than betting on them in my living room while sitting around in my underwear trying to write. I figure housing prices ought to be cheaper next year with the debacle occurring in the housing market.

Selling the house was an interesting exercise. I did my own market research as the real estate agent I used was not much help in doing that. The Internet makes it easy. The Internet makes buying and selling anything easy. Whether that is good or bad depends upon the disposition of one’s assets. I plan on buying low next year when more properties, borrowers, and lenders are distressed.

Capitalism is gambling in it’s purest form. In fact, capitalism might be defined as organized gambling. Lots of folks extoll the virtues of capitalism right up until they crap out in the game. Then the government or somebody else giving them a helping hand does not sound like such a bad idea. Funny how that works. You don’t miss your water until the well runs dry.

The trick to moving to a more humane and rational economic system is finding the right changes at the right time while playing the hand you are dealt in the capitalism game. You don’t want to starve to death while waiting for the revolution with the exception of a few martyrs. I find this a brutal thing to say, yet smarter minds than mine have not found an effective long lasting cure for capitalism. Capitalism is like a swiftly mutating virus. As soon as you find a treatment, it changes into something else.

Man U and Sunderland are tied coming up to half time. Whatever, there’s plenty of good games left to follow today in which my whip out cash hangs in the balance. My anxiety and stress is not nearly as high as when following the market or selling a house.

Published in: on September 1, 2007 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment