Gambling: Sports Betting & Dostoevsky

A couple months ago, James created this website and I drafted my biography in the “About” section before writing my first piece. These few paragraphs describe us to an extent, but it’s much easier to go for humor when you’re introducing yourself to an audience that doesn’t really know you and, in practice at least, will probably never really know you.

It affords you the opportunity to list your first interest as “grilled cheeses” when in reality you’re just another schmo that sometimes toasts them and sometimes fries them, sometimes adding in prosciutto or arugula or pesto or whatever. I make grilled cheeses and enjoy them, but they’re hardly an interest and you hope you get a chuckle from the stranger who’s in on the joke that your passion isn’t the first thing you learned to cook with a kitchen appliance.

Next is Matchbox Twenty—it’s an inside joke, but as is the case with inside jokes more often than not we just can’t resist the urge to unveil the inside joke to the public without properly letting them in on it. I don’t know why we do it, it serves no one in the end, and I’m referring to those that commit this terrible offense as “we” to convince myself that I’m not the only offender.

Anyway, Matchbox is the band that everyone pretends to despise but secretly enjoys listening to. The instrumentals and the lyrics and the melodies—everything about it—is simple and pretty generic but you damn well bet when “Unwell” comes on in the car on the soft rock station-that-your-mom-used-to-listen-to-in-the-van-that-you-never-quite-stopped-listening-to-in-your-own-car I’m going to have a great time and belt it out.

Likewise, in high school my friends would belt out Matchbox songs that came on the radio during car rides, and we’d include Matchbox on the playlists for parties that no one except us would attend. Metaphorically, we were Matchbox, not crazy but a little unwell, underappreciated but perhaps terribly cliché, but above all else well-intentioned and agreeable. Late on a night out in my early college career, I replied to the question of “What kind of music do you like?” with “Matchbox” and it was met with crickets. There was sentimental value in my response—my egregiously drunk self was pleased—that to me, in a nutshell, is Matchbox.

But my purpose in writing this post altogether was to get to the last interest I listed: Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I emit the first ‘y’ most of the time—but on the “About” page it appears I didn’t. Camus elects to go with Dostoievsky which burnt my eyes the first time I saw it, but I kinda dig Camus, and thus won’t hate on those who want to use the ‘i’. By text with James, he’s affectionately referred to as Dosto.

Now tonight as I was readying to go to bed, I happened to glance at the Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky sitting on my desk. I haven’t put much of a dent in it—I’m a little into Part II of Notes from Underground. It’s been good—very good—but the title that captured my attention is The Gambler.

I know it’s supposed to be quite autobiographical, and I know a gambling addiction led to financial hardship and relationship problems for Dosto. It is fascinating that a man of such self-awareness could fall victim to an addiction that is generally associated with those who are merely weak of will.

It got me thinking about my own experience with gambling. As a young kid, my dad would drive to the Old Oak in town on Saturdays to bring back a list of the NFL games on show the following day. You’d pick each game straight up, and for the Sunday night game you’d pick the winner along with the total number of points that’d be scored. I enjoyed filling out the forms, and some weeks I did really well. I imagine the pool was a $5 or $10 buy-in, and some Monday mornings the lunch money bowl was a tad bit greener than usual.

I associated gambling with fun, and still do. My friend and I had the shittiest run of luck at the low-stakes blackjack table in Barcelona, like got absolutely fucking smoked the whole night and we both generally knew when we should and shouldn’t be hitting, but it just wasn’t going to be our night and we still had a blast playing.

In more recent times, I’ve gravitated towards sports betting on Bovada and Draftkings. Mostly soccer, lately golf as well. The lines Bovada offers are terrible relative to most of the other bookies, but there’s just something alluring about betting on a soccer game between St. Lucia and Barbados for me. The odds on Draftkings are stacked ridiculously against you too, only the top 20% or so of entries are even paid out at all, and I have a knack for falling just below that threshold, but it’s still so much damn fun to construct a lineup and compete against thousands of other people.

The question I am left asking myself is ultimately this: has it gone too far? When I’m researching the recent matches played by Trinidad and Tobago to predict whether they’ll beat the Bahamas tonight or when I’m sifting through the PGA Tour page to see who has the best Greens-In-Regulation percentage in the past month so I can put that golfer in my lineup, has it gone too far? Better yet, I also know that it’s not a great use of my time.

My justification is that it’s pretty enjoyable and it isn’t causing financial distress. My strategy for not losing much money is to not bet much money. It’s often $1 bets against lines that are too kind to pass up, or $3 buy-ins to Draftkings tournaments. It’s low risk, and barring a few exceptions, pretty low reward.

It’s commonplace for people to say they have addictive personalities—I think most of my close friends, in some respects, do. I may have one as well, I’m not really sure, I could fall somewhere in the middle. Some things tickle the fancy, others don’t register whatsoever.

With the sports betting, I guess it’s just something that I enjoy doing, something than I manage quite closely out of fear that there could be a beast buried within me just waiting to be let off the leash. I don’t know if such a beast exists at all for me, and my prideful answer would be that I doubt it does, but it’s humbling to know that someone like a Dostoevsky—someone whose thoughts I very much admire—was thoroughly wounded by his own inner beast.

This little exploration into a voluntary sports betting habit of course pales in comparison to the rampant addiction epidemics we face on a daily basis. In our neck of the woods, the one of choice is opioids. Everywhere, it’s tobacco or alcohol or cocaine. Millions of lives and families go through it on a daily basis.

As a society we’re beginning to discuss these sorts of battles more openly than ever before and research what methods work to overcome them, and it follows that strides should be made. Perhaps, too, we may come to realize that there are psychological conditions that unite all of us in our respective struggles.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Terry Lewis says:

    I’m no gambler, but I think that if it stops being fun, that’s when you know you’ve got a problem. Gambling addicts don’t do it for fun – they are driven. So if you’re having fun my guess is it’s all good – but what do I know? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patrick Baga says:

    Agreed wholeheartedly, I think that’s the distinction – the voluntary decision to do something you enjoy vs. it being an involuntary impulse you don’t even particularly enjoy. I suppose the key is catching yourself if & when you cross that threshold and not denying that you’ve transitioned to the latter.

    Sounds simple enough, but equally the industry plays on hoping to get you to that 2nd stage (dark rooms, no clocks, complimentary drinks). And of course all the games that are designed to have you come so close to winning but just missing out, compelling the gambler to play again since he always comes so close and next time will be the time he wins.

    Suppose it all goes back to staying keenly aware and appreciating the number of testimonies out there from people who have let it get the best of them and letting them resonate. There but for the grace of God, go I

    Liked by 1 person

  3. timofo says:

    In a perfect world sports betting should be fun, and things like small winning odds and the difficulty to predict will give people some motivation to engage with it moderately. I personally don’t see any difference between sports betting, stock market investments, a friendly bet between friends and even, by going out of my way and saying, just real life. How many times did you get yourself into something (career opportunity, renting an apartment you’re not sure about, trusting someone and hoping for the best) and found yourself on the losing side?
    It’s just real life. Maybe if more people would engage in betting in moderation, they will improve at decision making and taking calculated risks, and we all know how important that can be.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Patrick Baga says:

      Well-stated, it isn’t as if the bookie, casino, etc. isn’t up front about the odds you’re facing and w/ sports in particular most of the time there isn’t going to be a payout when you venture beyond backing favorites.

      Accepting this fact of life should instill a moderate betting disposition and improve risk calculation. All goes back to being honest with yourself about what the odds are going in, and knowing that when you inevitably do go on a losing run you’re not suffering some sort of injustice. And if it’s a run you’re unable to shake, get out and have a crack at something else.

      Thanks for the comment

      Like

  4. MoreScores says:

    In my view, there are two extremes when it comes to sports betting. At one end are those who take part for entertainment purposes; at the other are those who do it for profit.

    Those who take part for entertainment and who can be said to have a healthy relationship with it will bet only what they can afford to lose and, to a large extent, will be willing to lose that money as a trade-off for the enhanced entertainment value that they have enjoyed or the opportunity it has provided to prove their ahead-of-time view to be correct.

    Those who take part for profit will take an altogether more dispassionate approach to their trade. They will generally follow a framework/strategy which has some form of ruleset and rigour and will take bets where they have identified value/mis-pricing in the betting market, rather than simply betting the sport/league/game which happens to be in front of them. It is totally analogous to trading in financial markets.

    I believe the danger and the unhealthy relationship arises when entertainment and profit are attempted in parallel. Essentially, it forces you to conflate what you WANT to bet on with what you SHOULD bet on. Rarely are these the same thing. Worse, when profit is also your objective, the temptation is to increase your stake size under the cover of false confidence and hope. Add to this that the most accurately priced sports betting markets also happen to be those which most people want to watch, in terms of both quality and availability to view, and you find yourself with a poor combination where you will be unable to gain an edge.

    Personally, I am enjoying some early success breaking into the ‘profit’ end of the spectrum described above – in fact, I have more than tripled my money in 2 months. If this subject is of interest to you, I write more extensively and track my own progress weekly on my own blog. But I think one thing that epitomises the difference between the two approaches is that I try not even to watch results as they come in, never mind the games themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kaayya says:

    So then I hope this story can help you somehow, I start for fun and the joy & my love to the game has brought me a good life.

    My name Kris, I have 20 years of experiences in soccerbetting. I’m 40 years old by the way.

    I decided to write a blog about my success story of finding my own way of betting on soccer matches. My goal is to share with everybody and I’m sure my stories I tell will bring benefit, ideas and motivations to others.

    And this is my story…

    Years back, I had succeed my ways of betting and since that I got profits every week from betting soccer matches.

    It’s not that I suddenly got easy on this matter, I lost for so many times. In fact, I always lose every week I do betting on my early years, but I never care much because I bet for a very small amount of money, and the reason I did it was all because of the big love of the game. My stake was $1 per bet and I shot it as much as I could, the fun of betting was the goal.

    And years I’m doing that, I found that something cames up on the surfaces, I’m not sure the first year I senses it, but it’s getting crystal clear day after day, and I begin to start dreaming of making a great success from this business.

    After long of searching, fixing, matching, comparing etc. I find that it’s not that hard to do it, but yet impossible to notice if we don’t look closer to the matches, theres a pattern!. And by adding a little management to it, perfect.

    It’s a way, and I named it ‘Sabar way’.

    The key success of Sabar way devided into 3,

    1. Data

    2. Special Bet

    3. Quotas

    1. Data

    Data is lists of soccer pattern and schedules. Data itself devided into 3,

    1.1. List data (LD)

    1.2. List of fame (LOF)

    1.3 . List of football diary (LOFD)

    1.1. List data (LD)

    LD is a list of football clubs and their fixtures which passed the Seasonal Pattern Selections (SPS), SPS is a soccer pattern that usually formed perfectly in late September (based on european major leagues fixtures) and expired on late Apryl.

    The teams which successfully enter the list will become priority for betting and will out of the list when they lose 3 in a row.

    Example of LD for 2016/2017 season was,

    1. Almere City Almost will score at least 1 goal at 2nd half, if possible invest first in Special bet and after break to Almere SP/over

    – 04/03/17 @Away (EED) MVV
    – 11/03/17 @Away (EED) Jong PSV
    – 14/03/17 @Home (EED) Dordrecht

    2. FC Oss almost will lose to bigger clubs at home but strong to same level, away always over 3
    – 04/03/17 @Home (EED) Jong Ajax
    – 11/03/17 @Away (EED) RKC Waalwijk
    – 14/03/17 @Home (EED) Cambuur

    3. Alanyaspor home always over, but very weak to big clubs, invest over only & hit big clubs hdp&sp&over
    – 12/03/17 @Home ( SUL) Fenerbahçe
    – 02/04/17 @Home ( SUL) Kasimpasa
    – 16/04/17 @Home ( SUL) Osmanlispor

    1.2. List of fame (LOF)

    LOF is a list of match fixtures that highly will make a profit

    Example of LOF,

    – 29/07/2017, Guantzhou Evergrande will win against RF

    – 05/09/2017 Croatia will win against Turkey

    – 28/10/2017 Montedio Yamagata will win against Ehime

    1.3. List of football diary (LOFD)

    LOFD is a list of histories or match patterns that has continuely happen for a period of times. The schedule matches here will be listed in LOF

    Example of LOFD

    – Poland Super Cup, Legia Warsawa always lose

    – KRC Genk Vs Lokeren, Home weak, vise versa

    – Galatasaray Vs Bursaspor at home Over goals, on away Under.

    2. Special bet

    Special bet is a package bet that combined from 3 shots,

    – Asian handicap of weaker team

    – Team goals Over of stronger team

    – Total goal Over

    Only apply it to matches which have a very high chances of Over goals,

    Example of Special bet was like Celta Vigo Vs Real Madrid

    – Celta +1

    – Real Madrid Over 1.75

    – Total goal Over 2.75

    Full time 1-4, win 2, lose 1… Win 1

    By this type of bet, just to make sure the match will scores Over goals, you will get chances of winning all 3 shots, and if you fail to predicted, you not gonna lose all the 3 shots afterall.

    3. Quota

    Quota is maximum shots available per day for a week, also with the formations offplay-inplay (less to most best formations), and the do’s & don’ts

    Monday-thursday 6 shots (6-0/4-2/3-3/5-1)

    Friday 8 (8-0/5-3/6-2/4-4)

    Weekend 10 shots each (10-0/5-5/6-4/7-3)

    *Special bet counted as 1 shot

    *Flat quota, can be less but not more

    *International matches off, except whats already on LOF

    …………

    That is The Sabar way.

    I effectively work this way from late september to late apryl, because before september the pattern is not perfectly form yet, and after apryl the pattern will destroyed, because the seasons near to end and many teams on the top fights for championship, the weak teams in relegations line fights hard to survive, and they whose in the mddle doesn’t seem to care anymore, so yeah theres a wild football world after apryl, and thats happen all the time.

    By this time, I only bet whats already listed in LOF, or mostly I call it enough and gone for holiday like what I’m doing now.

    Basicly, I begin to do SPS from the first minute the major european league fixtures started, thats in Late July or August early.

    And since that I’ve done this for so long, it’s easy for me to focusing leagues or teams for the selections. And as long as I concern, the pattern is always repeat every year, the only change is the teams, but the type of pattern is still the same.

    Like this 2016/17 seasons, I love to invest my money on Torino, early Monaco, Niort, Almere City, Benfica II, Belfort, Varzim, Guabira, Aarau and many more, but the previous seasons were completely different teams on the list, and next seasons will bring me another team to cherish but with same type of patterns, I will show later in another pages.

    It’s also rare there will be big clubs in the lists, their handcaps are insane and the only worth is only if we invest in Special Bet, but still not worth the quotas since there are always better matches than them to invest in the day.

    Why I put quota?. I used to carried away and the profits of my betting became random, 1st week profits 150%, 2nd week lose 80%, 3rd week lose 20%… I don’t like that even still got profits, my mood will ruined and I lost the fun & my passions.

    So I decided to add Quota and set minimum target per week I have to acchieve, I set 20% of capital profits per week and works for me until now. Even so, I rarely got 20%.

    But before all that, I’ve made a way to get my maximum desireable capital. Only when I reach that max capital, I will okay with the 20% profit I’ll get each week. The way was that I set a level,

    1. 1.5

    2. 2.25

    3. 3

    4. 4.5

    5. 6

    6. 9

    7. 13.5

    8. 20

    Back then, I had capital of 1 million Rupiahs, that was like less than $100. And I set 8 levels to fulfill my target to 20 millions. I divided the capital to 20 shots and do the Sabar way.

    Each level needs 50% of capital profits, so when the Sabar way per week target is 20%, then I need 5 months maximum. But less in 2 months, I got it!.

    And now eventough my profits for you guys perhaps is not much, but I do fine for a jobless dude who earn $400 minimum per week by literally doing nothing. So if you have bigger capital and you wanna do what I do, I will be more than happy to share my knowledges and experiences, for free!. Just don’t hesitate asking me okay.

    And I will much appreciate if you guys wanna share thoughts, patterns, or even your betting way, and I know there are pay tipster bla bla bla, if you guys need tips just asks me, I am way pros than those pay tipster and I will gladly share it to you, for free!!!.

    And I will create other pages about LD, LOD, and LOFD. I will explain more further and detail there.

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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