Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Golf Highlights and Lowlights

So, at the start of the Year, it was definitely a goal .. really, the Number 1 goal, to break 90 on a proper golf course.

This isn't hard for mortals, with half-decent co-ordination/practise .. and I put in some serious effort, and finally cracked it, a few weeks ago, and have since recorded a 87 and 88.

My driving distance is improving, and am ashamed to say, today I hit a caddie (pretty much in my line), 210 yards away. He was ok, - a glancing blow on his forehead, but, I still wasn't v happy, and we did shout 'FORE' etc.

Needless injury is something no-one wants, and I will probably wait longer in future, for the slow-buggers in front, to get out of even, unrealistic range.

Anyway, am now a 19 handicap .. maybe 15 is a target to get down to, next yr.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Great memories ..

World news is v depressing right now, with atrocious things happening, it seems, just about everywhere.

I am not a political scientist, but wilfully taking someone elses life, just because they don't follow the same religion as u, looks like something, the world as a whole, will fight against.

Its hard to protect soft targets, and its easy to speculate, there will be more killing. Prayers go out, to everyone affected.

Thinking about life cut too short, it was a great sadness that Jonah Lomu, succumbed to his health problems.

I was lucky enough to watch a great deal of his career, and was even at THE match in Cape Town,  when he ran over Mike Catt. I have rarely seen such dominance. Looking at his tributes, he appears to have been a great father, and lived his life, purposefully.

 Its one of the greatest gifts of life, to have children - those that are lucky enough, know the joy of parenthood. As I get older, I really wish more people could lead happy lives, but, this week has seen, the ideologies of a few, make that less possible.

Monday, 16 November 2015

They dont want u to win ...

Its a problem.

If u are good at gambling, it seems, just about everywhere u want to ply your trade, has discovered bean-counters, who have obviously dissected each business revenue source, and recommended changes, to make more revenue/profit.

We have long known Betfair have Premium Charge, which some days, I can understand, as the markets are 'wrong', and u should be charged a premium for access to the idiots.

Casinos discourage Advantage Players, be they card counters, or player point whores.

Now, Poker Stars, have radically changed the elite poker rake-back system .. Super Nova Elite.

Poker has become far harder to beat online, and many pro players, now, are basically flat on the game, but, make money, getting rake-back, from the many thousands of hands they play each month.

(This can be real money .. they previously changed terms of play, from 12 tables max, to 24 tables max SIMULTANEOUS play, and used to offer bonuses of about $100k a yr, if u played for 12 hrs a day)

This will change from next yr (which is v controversial, as, to get to a certain rake-back status, u have to invest many hundreds of hours play, and cutting it off, with less than 3 mths notice, is seen by some, as breaking a contract).

Poker Stars say, they are changing the poker landscape, to make it easier for the recreational player .. and thus harder, for the professional, who they are trying to discourage. I can understand their logic .. player acquisition/player retention are key buzzwords, and certainly, public companies, owe their shareholders more than they do to professional gamblers .. but, u do need a base, for people to play with/against.

If companies like Betfair/poker Stars make it too hard for market makers/pro players, overall liquidity has to fall .. their has to be a balance.

Amaya, the holding company of Poker Stars, dropped 33% in the last few days ..

Friday, 13 November 2015

Pray for Rain

So, I am travelling thru the interior of South Africa .. and its v different.

There is dust everywhere, vast open tracts of land, with little sign of life. save for sheep and cattle, and its v apparent, they are in desperate need of serious rain.

Passing thru a small town, 11am, on a weekday, there was a congregation of about 200 people, outside a large farm goods store. I assumed, there must be an auction etc, of farming vehicles - but, on asking, was told, it was a prayer meeting, dedicated to the rain gods.

I recall reading recently, about a small african country, setting aside a national day of prayer, dedicated to asking for the Good lord, to help the countries leaders, decide etc .. but, this seemed more devout.

I hope it helps .. but, a few hours later, the sun is still beating down.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Gambling by computer - Daily Fantasy Sports issues

Daily fantasy sports is IMHO, clearly gambling, thou its seems to have been largely accepted that specific provisions in the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) - created a loophole.

I say seems, as the UIGEA author, recently wrote a paper, countering this, as the UIGEA had no idea, DFS would grow so exponentially, over the last 2 yrs.


Something with a $150m advertising budget, and allows paid entries, competing for money-prizes, based on skill/luck, to me, has the all the attributes of gambling. (DraftKings, recently spent $24m in TV advertising, in one week).

Now, the USA is v sticky about computer gambling, and specifically, 5 states - Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana or Washington. prohibit it so strongly, both DraftKings and Fanduel, do not allow entries from residents of those states.

This has become an issue, as the DFS employee, who won $300k, on Fanduel, may have been in Louisiana, when he placed his entry - and that's a BIG problem.

DFS is growing so exponentially, it bares a lot of similarities to the Poker Boom, when, average players could pick up $100k a yr, for doing v little. This time round, I feel federal oversight will come far quicker .. and oddly, may help the cause for the legalisation of sports betting.

Amaya, (owner of Poker Stars), can now legally operate in the internet gambling market of New Jersey .. what this quite means, is a trifle unclear, but, I would expect to see Poker Stars available on computers again, to New Jersey residents, (and as Poker Stars has a sports book, its not a long reach, to see them offering odds etc).

As specific states, get revenue, others will want there share of the pie.

Amaya (traded on Toronto stock exchange, is currently $31, up from $25 a yr ago).

I think its probably a buy.

Monday, 12 October 2015

The power of a Lemon ...

So, its Monday morning, am am mindlessly watching some Poker on Youtube.

On different monitors, I have the Test match mkts up .. (Tomorrow, Pak play Eng in Dubai), and am thinking about some bets.

For the uninformed, a test match is scheduled to last 5 days, and will result in either :

Team A win

Team B wins

Its a Draw (no-one wins)

Its a Tie .. (about a 3000/1 chance)

Cricket markets get a lot of liquidity from India, where, they are conditioned to having a position around the Draw. This causes it to be over-bet .. but, with new cricket laws/more aggressive play, there are currently less draws than the mkt thinks = Value to oppose.

Some stats :

Since the last cricket World Cup, there have been 23 tests .. for each, the Draw price normally starts about 3.25, but often trades below 2.0

4 have finished on Day 3
6 have finished on Day 4
5 have finished on Day 5

and there have been 5 draws .. so, the true probability is 5/23 or, close to 5.5 (9/2).

Present odds for the game tomorrow :

Pakistan 2.4

England 3.35

Draw 3.5

Some people would be laying 3.5 the Draw ...

Now for the lemon :

On the poker, there was a water-dispenser .. and there was a sign saying, dont put lemons in styrofoam cups.

The lemon contains limonene, better known as Citra-solv, and this will dissolve the syrofoam.

Its not hazardous to health, but, eventually, it will dissolve the cup, leaving u with a 'non-toxic' substance like model-airplane glue ..

See .. u learn something every-day.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Advantage Play

Las Vegas has a set name for 'Professional Gamblers' - or at least, those they think will give them the most trouble (profit wise).

The term is 'Advantage Players' .. in that, they provide a financial risk, to the casino, in that the player, probably knows more about the game, than many of the dealers/pit bosses.

Each year, Las Vegas hosts an expo, which exhibits new casino games, coming down the pipe, and "Ap's" naturally go along, for research purposes.

The display teams, are mainly ignorant salespeople, so, details are often hard to get,but, u can get an overview.

New games coming along, include slots, which are said to have a deal of skill, worked in.

Some slots, will rate the play of the slot player, and based upon the skill level exhibited (in holding certain reels etc .. will change how loose or tight, the slot machine is.

Ap's, clearly see a flaw in this .. u could play like a Muppet, on 1c stakes, for 2 days, and then, when the machine lifts its planned return, hit if for the max, with professional level play.

It is often said, a chain is as strong, as its weakest link .. and this is the problem, in large organisations, there is always a weak point, which can be targeted.

In Las Vegas, profit once largely came from the casino (90%+), but now, its largely an equal mix, of casino/night-club and hotel. As such, the casino hosts, have much less leeway, to comp guests.

The night-clubs are not cheap .. and the contents once inside, are .. to my mind, mindlessly expensive.

Recently, on someones 21st birthday, a young man decided to visit, and paid the $164 entry fee, but declined to pay $1000 to go into the VIP section. He was courted by the night-club, and asked if he wanted to upgrade, but, politely declined. He was asked, more than once, and declined.

A movie-star was in the VIP area, and oddly perhaps, asked to meet our hero. The youngster went to say hello, stayed, for maybe 5 mins, and returned to his seat. On sitting back down, he was told he was in the VIP area, and must now pay the $1000 cover charge. He declined.

Security was called, and they over-stepped (allegedly). Some punches may have been thrown, and our hero was handcuffed.

Once a senior manager got involved, it was clear, the night-club was in serious doo-do, and let him go.

A high-level Las Vegas lawyer, is now negotiating with the night-club. A settlement of a few hundred thousand dollars, is likely.

I repeat .. its hard to not have weak links. Look, and u will find them in most organisations .. exploit them, and u will be thinking like an AP.