How To Smell Lovely (Part One)

| March 7, 2019 | Reply

Monday’s guff about Noel Edmunds, gameshows and roulette was, of course, really a question regarding staking and bank management. If you missed it, you can read it here.

In each situation mentioned – roulette, dice, coin-flip – you were given an edge and yet it would have been possible to walk out of each empty handed, so let’s look at some of the key points involved in this ordeal.

To recap, in roulette an advantage was given on number 29, in the roll of the dice number four and tails in the coin flip. These are where the focus should have been, these are where the gains are to be made and these are where ALL of the bets should have been placed.

Let’s get the easy bits over and done with…

Noel’s hot and cold lists were a red herring. The wheel/dice/coin has no memory and just because a certain outcome has occurred frequently or infrequently in recent rounds doesn’t make the outcome of the next spin any different.

A coin is just as likely to come down heads whether tails has appeared the last five times in a row or if heads has shown its face fifteen times out of the last twenty.

It matters not whether the number 17 has been called the last twice or not at all since Christmas, the odds of it coming up next time will still be 36/1.

But, if heads and tails are both likely to come up on average five times in ten and heads has come up four times in the first six spins of the game, doesn’t that mean that tails is now more likely? Not at all.

The odds for this current set of ten spins now need to be recalculated. The odds on the next spin and the forthcoming next ten spins remain unchanged. What has just happened bears no influence on what is about to happen. How could it?

We also know that the ‘house’ has an advantage with all numbers and bets other than on 29, 4 (in the roll of the dice) and tails. Therefore, any bet other than on these outcomes hands the advantage to the opponent…

With red, black, even and odd on the roulette wheel we double our money each time a correct call is made but the odds of it happening are a little less than that at 18/37. If we place £1 on any of these 370 times, we are likely to win on 180 occasions, returning £360, and make a loss of £10.

What about if we use a staking plan to try to gain an advantage? The loss above is small and the wins are frequent, therefore if we increase out stakes with each loser maybe we could come out on top?

Steady there, Nelly, you could be getting yourself into trouble pretty quickly here.

This may seem like a plan – an extended run of consecutive losers may seem unlikely but if and when it happens the consequences can be catastrophic. You may spend plenty of time picnicking on calm waters, but then suddenly find yourself attempting to navigate Drake Passage in a dingy, armed only with a baguette for a paddle.

Let’s say you start off with £1 and win. Great, £1 banked and you start again. Onwards and upwards…

It’s repeated and you lose. Okay, double stakes to £2. Now in this sequence you’ve staked £1+£2 and if this wins £4 is returned, another £1 banked and back to the start you go. When there’s another loss, £2 becomes £4, meaning £7 staked (£1+£2+£4) and gives £8 back for a win. And so on.

However, below shows how this can spiral out of control:

(start staking) £1
(1 loss leads to ) £1 + £2 = £3
(2 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 = £7
(3 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 = £15
(4 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 = £31
(5 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 + £32 = £63
(6 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 + £32 + £64 = £127
(7 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 + £32 + £64 + £128 = £255
(8 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 + £32 + £64 + £128 + £256 = £511
(9 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 + £32 + £64 + £128 + £256 + £512 = £1023
(10 losses leads to) £1 + £2 + £4 + £8 + £16 + £32 + £64 + £128 + £256 + £512 + £1024 = £2047

After only 10 losses in a row, this would result in being faced with staking £1024 to win back the lost £1023 and being able to make the desired solitary pound and yet there’s still a chance below half that it won’t end there.

Okay, it won’t get to that stage very often (on average once every 784 times) but it could also happen on the first attempt. At what point could you keep continuing until there’s nothing left to buy the bottle of scotch needed to drown your sorrows?

Apart from the very real possibility of reaching a frightening conclusion, the maths don’t stack up here either. Even if on average £783 is made for every failure, when it does go wrong the losses far exceed this total.

The same problem applies if you introduce a cut-off point of say, 5 losses. If you’ve reached that stage then £63 will be lost. But, this will happen around every 28 times. On average, you’ll be winning £27 to lose £63.

The simple conclusion is that the way to win is to focus on the outcomes that have been given with an odds advantage and it will be very unlikely to succeed otherwise.

However, this can still go wrong if the bank isn’t managed to account for short-term swings and that’s what I’ll be moving onto next week.

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Category: Betting Advice

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