Top 10 Biggest Betting Mistakes: The Finale

| February 16, 2016 | Reply

It’s been a tough few weeks.

In-fighting among cast members…

A questionable social media rant by the director…

And even rumours of the plug being pulled altogether.

But, today I bring you good news…

It’s finally time for the finale of my ‘Top 10 biggest betting mistakes’.

3) Using a stat or a trend without knowing what it means in context.

That line probably has you a little befuddled so it’s best explained by way of an example…

Here’s a (made up) stat without context…

Since 1990 70% of Gold Cup winners have been aged seven or eight.

Oh, great, you might think…

Let’s narrow down my search to seven and eight year olds.

But wait, what’s this…

Since 1990 90% of Gold Cup runners have been aged seven or eight.

You see, this means something else entirely.

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This means that seven and eight year olds have provided 70% of winners from 90% of runners, which means they are actually doing considerably worse than expected.

Indeed, rather than back seven or eight year olds you would be considerably better off backing all other age groups, as they have provided 30% of winners from just 10% of runners.

Now granted, that’s a fairly extreme example but stats like this are bandied about all the time and usually with absolutely no context provided.

Here’s an absolutely true stat with context…

44% of Queen Mother Champion Chase winners (since 1997) were bred in Ireland.

45% of Queen Mother Champion Chase runners (since 1997) were bred in Ireland.

That means that the performance of Irish bred horses in that particular race is pretty much in line with expectation and so, while the Irish bred winners is a jolly nice stat, on its own it’s entirely useless from a winner finding point of view.

2) Playing ANY casino game, fruit machine, lottery or bingo ticket WITHOUT the aid of a promotional offer

Unless taking advantage of a promotion (such as a no deposit bonus) the only thing that any of these activities will do is bleed both your wallet and, just as importantly, your brain dry…

Have you ever been in a proper bingo hall?

I did once and it was even more tedious than a Facebook post the other day asking people to name cities without the letter a in them (99% won’t be able to!! 99% of clinically dead people perhaps).

Now granted, this point is something that you’ll likely know already but it really is worth repeating as the amount of otherwise sane human beings who engage in roulette, the National Lottery etc really is quite startling.

And for those who say ‘it’s only a bit of fun’…

How much fun is losing money exactly?

If you really want the buzz of potentially winning a huge amount of money for a small stake, take part in the Scoop 6 once a week…

Granted the jackpots aren’t quite as obscene but I’d sooner have an outside chance of winning a couple of hundred grand than a 1 in 13,983,816 chance of winning a couple of million.

Plus, if you want excitement, I’d say cheering home a horse is just a tad more interesting than watching an orange skinned D list celebrity press a button on a glorified bingo machine.

1. In the words of DCI John Luther…

“There’s this thing called Confirmation Theory. When we’re looking to solve a puzzle – a gruesome murder say, or a 16 runner Newbury handicap perhaps – we naturally look for arguments that support our pre-conceived opinions rather than look for arguments that oppose it.

“Therefore, rather than build a balanced view of the murder/race, we simply find further reasons to support our initial view until we have enough reasons to pat ourselves on the back and follow through with it. We may as well have not wasted time analysing the gruesome murder/race at all”.

Ok, so they may not have been his exact words (I was distracted by my mourning for the wonderfully foxy Ruth Wilson) but the point about Confirmation Theory stands…

It’s a real thing folks!

If you start analysing a race with any sort of pre-conceived opinion whatsoever, you’re likely to look for things which back up your argument and glance past any holes in it.

In an ideal world you’ll avoid this by having no pre-conceived opinions whatsoever but if that simply isn’t possible then here’s a trick for you…

Next time you have a fancy for a horse in a race that you’ve not looked at properly yet, do everything you can to find reasons why it WON’T win.

If it passes this test then great – fill your boots – but more often than you’d think, you’ll actually end up finding a far better angle into the race which results in you backing a horse that you’d never previously considered but that actually has far more solid credentials.

So there you have it, my ‘Top 10 biggest betting mistakes’…

If there have been any Hollywood scriptwriters reading this, you know what to do.

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