Many people have been, are, and will always be seduced by the idea of defeating the house, be it when it comes to roulette, blackjack, bingo, sports betting, or any other kind of risk. Throughout history, many mathematicians and scientists have tried to develop a formula that can control luck and the unpredictable. However, even if very few have succeeded in getting a medium-term profit, these trials have defined the world we live in.
Martingale, good only in theory…
One of the first strategies presented as invincible was the famous Martingale, method which is used to this very day by adrenaline seekers all over the globe. This approach, which implies doubling the stake after each 2 odds bet lost, appeared in the 18th century in Paris. On paper, at first sight, this strategy seems to be invincible, however, after a few calculations and after realizing the limits imposed by today’s casinos, we realize that the Martingale is a bankruptcy approach. Even in the field of sports betting, this method, even though it is somewhat easier to put in practice, it simply cannot be applied successfully in the long run, as the stake can reach huge amounts, which at times cannot be played, either due to lack of liquidity, or due to the limits.
The scientists searched for mathematical solutions to beat the house
If today, in certain geographical areas and social groups, gambling is seen as a deviant behavior, in the past, the situation was different at the global level. Here are a few of the celebrities whose names have been tightly linked to the gambling history in one way or another:
Galileo Galilei was asked by a group of Italian noblemen to find out which dice combinations turn out more often than others. Johannes Kepler, astronomer and mathematician, wrote a short theory about dice and gambling in general.
The savant Girolamo had a passion for gambling, and this led to the development and understanding of the theory behind these games, him being one of the first men to set the grounds with regards to probabilities.
Antoine Gombaud asked the famous scientist Blaise Pascal of chances to once get a 6 out of 4 dice throws are the same with the chances of getting a 6-6 combination out of 24 throws, believing that the correct answer is “affirmative”.
Starting from the concept developed by Cardano, Pascal and his friend, Pierre de Fermat, mathematician and famous lawyer at that age, succeeded in calculated the estimated value, that is how profitable it is to bet repeatedly. In conclusion, Pascal and Fermat found out that there are multiple chances to get a 6 after 4 throws than a 6-6 combination after 24 throws.
What is even more interesting is the fact that the mathematician Richard Epstein believes that “the players can pretend that they are the godfather of the theory of probability”. Practically, the gambling enthusiasts have, in time, perfected methods which today represent the basis of certain types of essential businesses in society, such as insurance. Therefore, it is obvious that the relationship between bets and science has been an extremely beneficial one for humanity.
History has however shown us that there have been people which were able to profit from gambling. Besides the famous students who cleaned numerous casinos in the United States applying the card counting technique in blackjack, there are other cases which were highly debated, as well.
Oddly, one of the players who had success in this niche didn’t even want to beat the house. The Greek Nicholas Andrea Dandolos won money constantly by betting against the superstitions and instincts of those at the gambling tables, practically offering them the chance to place a bet with him directly, without middlemen. The Greek punter seemed to not do as well with math as he did with reading people and the ways they let themselves be led by impulse, however, in reality, he placed bets on value, that is when the winning chances were better than indicated by the odd the offered to those with which he placed the bets.
Beware of conmen
The same thing cannot be said about Elliot Short, known as “the King of Betfair”, a young lad aged 26 years from Great Britain, who succeeded to obtain no less than 400,000 pounds sterling from various persons who financed the apparently invincible system for making money from betting.
News of the World presented Short in an article as being a former trader who won 21 million pounds sterling by playing by his system. The Englishman had an extravagant lifestyle, wearing designer outfits, owning a Mercedes limo with a personal chauffeur and an office in Knightsbridge – the most exclusive district in England’s capital. Moreover, Short frequented the most select clubs in London, however, in reality, all the stories told in the paper were nothing else than fairy tales made-up by this conman, who embraced luxury by spending the money received from naive investors who believed the story without doing a thorough check-up.
Subsequently, because we are all aware that the truth does come out eventually, Elliot Short was sentenced to 5 years in prison, but his victims never got even a pound back. This case, seemingly, is not an isolated one at global level and not even if we look at what is going on in our country. If we think it through, in Romania, there have been and still are hundreds of conmen dealing which fraud in this field, be it at a smaller scale.
We are talking about tipsters, who have simply took over the Romanian online in the last 5 years. Was the case of Elliot Short (sentenced in 2013) the inspiration the Romanian conmen needed to take to this virgin and profitable niche? We cannot know for sure, however it is certain that poverty and the modest living in our country pushes people to these types of methods, with hopes of getting rich fast.
The idea of getting rich from bets is a bad idea
The truth is that the idea of getting rich from bets is a bad idea. Gambling games must represent entertainment for adults. When player do not understand the fact that the odds are against them from a mathematical points of view, things can take an unpleasant turn, transforming the game into a weapon with a dangerous potential. That is why, the correct education of punters should become an obligation for all those involved in the phenomenon.
We’re not saying it is impossible to make money from sports betting and poker, but we have to emphasize the fact that the casino games shall surely generate loses for each type of participant.
Furthermore, even in the case of sports betting or poker games, those who apply the value bets method never have the certainty that they will make a profit at the end of the month or the year, so you have to set realistic expectations from the beginning. It is a lot harder to make a profit from betting than it seems. That is why, as general advice, we recommend that you end 2 years with a profit using smaller amounts and practicing the desired strategy, so that later you may try to bring it to another level. And never forget the golden rule of common sense: Never invest more than you can lose, regardless of the safety you feel with regards to a certain hand or a certain tip!
by Valentin Macovei