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Thread: Why are humans involved at all in bookmaking?

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  1. #26  
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    haha,
    that site isnt too sharp for someone trying to sell cutting edge software.
    Thats like a guy selling office chairs and sits you down on a stool.

    If I didnt know better I'd say Pinnacle has computer help. Some games I'm sitting here on 2 computers at hlf time working 2 keyboards on one single hlf time bet and they are all over it with 30 other games going on and they still beat me. I just cant picture 20 bookmakers all scrambling at once and getting it right.
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  2. #27  
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    As many of you already know, PINNACLE'S main guy is sharp as a whip and he used to be part of the original computer group...

    When I visited their office on a few occasions, I was VERY IMPRESSED at what I saw...

    It's truly like poetry in motion...

    They may have the market beat not only as bookmakers, but as gamblers, too...

    Although I am a big fan of Walters as a sports bettor, I am VERY impressed with the main guy at Pinnacle, too...

    THE SHRINK
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  3. #28  
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    A talented bookmaker KNOWS his customers and moves more off of the person who is behind the bet, rather than purely the amount bet...
    Shrink,
    Do you do any consultancy stuff for some books? And is this what you then tell them?
    If so and if they listen to you too, then I think we will see a few more casualties very soon!
    I call this discrimination amongst your clients. One of the main things I have (painfully) learnt not to do in life: to discriminate.
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  4. #29  
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    acw, it is common knowledge that every successful bookmaker decides how far to move the lines based on who makes the bet. this goes back decades and decades. I disagree with you in that I think that the better the bookmaker knows his customer base, the better off he will be in the long run. You perspective here is totally wrong when it comes to sports betting. If a bookmaker moved the same amount off of everyone, he would diminish his profit astronomically. Have a good night, and i wish i was at Sha tin.
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  5. #30  
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    acw,

    Do I do SOME consulting work for sports books with regards to their numbers?

    YES...

    BUT, I think you may have misunderstood what I meant....

    I would NEVER DISCRIMINATE against a customer, but I do VALUE some people's opinions a lot more than I do others who may be betting higer amounts of coin on the same game...

    If BW bets 5k into my book, I would move the line more than if Joe Q Public bet 10k on same game...

    THE SHRINK
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  6. #31  
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    Jazz-

    The "tracking system" method you describe is an "empirical" method that would involve a lot of statistics. Analyzing those statistics into something useful would probably take a PhD in statistics. The sample size from a single book may not be even large enough for this approach.

    The research for tracking stuff like this for WallStreet was done by thousands of PhD's over decades (and they are still learning). Also, they had a lot more data. A decent size book takes 10,000 bets a week. A big book takes maybe 100,000 to 200,000 per week. WallStreet deals in billions of transactions each day.

    Jazz, by your argument, a person could develop a perfect handicapping program from just a pile of data. In reality, you need HUMAN experts to train the system and give it enough basic tips/tricks to keep it on course.

    Automatic line moving software would still require significant input from the bookmakers (particularly how to weigh "respected" players and how loose/tight to make the moves).

    The problem is exceedingly difficult and most bookmakers I've met would NEVER let you put in rules that they didn't understand themselves. It took me years to convince some that you could have 2-team and 4-team 10-point big teasers (not just the standard 3-team big teasers). The problem was that they didn't understand how to compute the payout odds, and used only the standard odds written on a stone tablet somewhere.
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  7. #32  
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    The Pinnacles, Grandes, Olympics of the World could never go automated but the BODOGs, Gamedays, VIPs, etc. could in a heartbeat and be more profitable.

    All they would need to do is spyder a sharp line like Pinnacle's and all the squares would think they were stealing. This automated book would have monster decisions and be on the right side more than 50% of the time just like every scalper I know can't keep money in Pinnacle. Just remember 11 is bigger than 10 and the square shops would increase their hold % by 2 maybe 3 points.
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  8. #33  
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    The human mind is much greater than any computer, this is why Russian chess players beat the best computers, this is why computers can not create classic oil paintings.
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  9. #34  
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    BUT, I think you may have misunderstood what I meant....
    No misunderstanding here!
    So what if some day this 10k player becomes smart! And do not say that that will never happen!
    I can give you a perfect example where it all started to go wrong several years ago in England on the horses. At some stage this brilliant guy comes from some other country, has a close look at English racing and discovers that certain horses are running at 7-1, which in his point of view should be a 4-1 shot and the other way round he sees horses running at 4-1 that simply have no chance of winning at all. In other words this guy has a huge advantage on the racing. He starts playing and starts winning. In England in those days they had the policy that if you are winning, your account had to be closed. This guy as a consequence got all his accounts with each single bookmaker closed. So what to do? You are a winner, but the books say: “Sorry, we only want bets from losers”. Now bookmakers in my point of view are not very smart and should not be very smart! Take a look around at those that are even so much more stupid to post on this forum and you get it all. But lets continue the story of this so-called smart guy that entered English racing. He needed to get on. BetFair did not exist yet. What he did, was very smart. He approached losers. Normally you want losers to be around, because they pay you as a winner, it is the bookmakers job to get that money transferred from the losers to you as a winner and take a little commission out of it, but in England the cvnts only wanted to gamble themselves against losers. A different situation needs a different approach, so this guy started to get his bets on through losers! Of course these losers that could get on very big, because of their history, loved becoming a winner. Those that know English racing well have seen some big books on the track go one by one! And BetFair has killed them completely.

    You know what bookmakers should do? They should try to get their books closed and no more than that! So far in the Caribbean I only see Pinnacle trying to do that. On the European football Indosoccer and Macauslot are doing a very good job on that in Asia. And obviously BetFair has created some nice solution. All others are simply gamblers and I do not mind gambling against them, as long as they pay!
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  10. #35  
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    Java: "Jazz, by your argument, a person could develop a perfect handicapping program from just a pile of data. In reality, you need HUMAN experts to train the system and give it enough basic tips/tricks to keep it on course."

    You make some good points, Java, but nowhere did I say it would be perfect. To my knowledge, no one has designed a perfect expert system, for a very easy reason to understand: humans themselves do not act in a perfect manner. Look around the books out there and tell me of one who is perfect - no one is. I agree with the point that you would need human experts to train the system, in fact that's what I meant when I said you'd need to follow experts around if they couldn't impart their knowledge in a way you could understand, but do you honestly think mass bookmaking is such a complex and arcane art (or at least the part concerned with taking bets and cash management) that only a BOOKMAKER is capable of understanding it?? I don't, and that's no disrespect to the bookmakers.

    Also: "The problem is exceedingly difficult and most bookmakers I've met would NEVER let you put in rules that they didn't understand themselves."

    Well, probably true, but you wouldn't need to talk to most bookmakers, just a few good ones. Who says they wouldn't understand the rules, once they have an incentive to? And that incentive I believe would again only come from legitimate corporations in a future that sees legalized bookmaking in the U.S., who would want at minimum a system in place to act as a 'check and balance' initially against a manager, in order to (and let's be honest) prevent problems with a rogue manager in collusion with beards or others. They'd probably think of it as an 'eye in the sky', but the true usefulness of it would come when they'd see more profits than before. Expert systems are fully capable of 'learning', and when they encounter a pattern they do not already know a rule for, they can automatically take a game OTB while the manager then checks out the problem.

    The original question posted was "but why arent the lines completely controlled by the inflow of money with software adjusting lines accordingly?", it definitely wasn't "why do humans have any role in bookmaking or running the business?". Human experts always have a role in anything in which an expert system operates, it's just that the nature of their input changes, to the extent that the expert system can handle the tasks that CAN be automated.

    Finally, here are the reasons I think this hasn't been done yet - because of inertia and resistance to change inherent in those who would stand to lose status, lack of funds, fear and distrust (as you pointed out). I honestly don't think it's because the technology cannot be developed to do it.
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  11. #36  
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    Man, this is one of the best threads I have ever read here at RX. Many very good points - and all made without any flaming!

    The best points, IMO, have been by Jazz and Drunkguy. I really have to agree with DG when he asks "How could a "live" BM adjust any better than a computer in this situation?" I mean, really. Are you saying a computer can be duped, but a live BM couldn't? I also agree with Oscar when he points out that "the BODOGs, Gamedays, VIPs, etc. could (go automated) in a heartbeat and be more profitable." I would add SIA to this list, too, with almost all squares as the customer base.

    Great topic, great answers. Definitely need more threads like this here.
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  12. #37  
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Railbird:
    The human mind is much greater than any computer, this is why Russian chess players beat the best computers, this is why computers can not create classic oil paintings.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Humans have evoloved for thousands of years, computers have evolved for 50. They will equal, and perhaps surpass our intelligence some day in a pure logical sense.

    There is no logic or fact involved with a classic oil painting, so that will have to be left to the queer artists. As for anything fact related (equations, logic, etc ..) I think the computer will be superior.
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  13. #38  
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    What you guys are referring to is already being done to an extent. Some stores program their computer to mirror line changes from CRIS or Oly. Other stores employ a clerk to mirror these line changes. Stores like this can do this because they aren't concerned what their decisions are since anyone who wins will be shown the door anyway. These stores, however, would be more profitable if run by a knowledgeable BM.
    A store that takes bigger action from ALL players could never be run by a computer. Too much feel and instinct are needed for all the reasons mentioned by drunk, jazz, etc...
    Just my opionion. Hope it helps.

    Lenny
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  14. #39  
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    I think you could create a computer to do this but I think the approach some have listed may be flawed? Instead of looking at it as to how to handle moving the line. You need to find a way to figure out who the sharps will take before they bet, when you can figure that out you will be getting somewhere. As Shrink pointed out, lines makers like the guys at pinnacle are pretty sharp, I think a large part of that is being able to anticipate who the sharp action will be on before the bet is placed.
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  15. #40  
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    Bookmaking clearly requires alot of skill, intuition and experience to consistently come out ahead. Most don't have these attributes so they try to copy those that have.

    For those operators who are not skilled in linemaking they may be better off using the model used by Betfair et al.

    The system on the betting exchanges sets a line simply by the laws of supply and demand. Bets are matched at a particular number so long as the demand is there. If there is too much demand the number will drop too little and it will rise.

    The exchange is never gambling on the outcome of the event as they simply keep a small % of the winnings of each bet. Looking at the amounts matched on some of these exchanges this results in large profits for the exchange allowing them to keep operating and improve their product for the consumer.

    Winning accounts are never closed as they are not harming the exchanges bottom line. In contrast to some bookmakers those bettors with a genuine edge are rewarded and are allowed to continue trading.

    However there will always be a market for those who are skilled in the art of bookmaking.
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  16. #41  
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    First of all, I think that Java's first response and all of CHIPS' posts have been right on.
    The second thing that nobody has mentioned is that books can chart their players differently now. For example, Billy Walters can be charted at 150%, so if he bets 10k, it will show up as 15k. In contrary, if Joe Square bets 10k and you chart him at 30%, it will show up as a 3k bet.
    Overall, I have to agree that this could never happen at a store that takes a lot of sharp action. Bookies use their instincts and their sharper players to move lines. Also they judge how much they want to take back on a game depending on how sharp they fill the play is.
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  17. #42  
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> This is what I like seeing on our forum guys...
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Much so. We will keep trying.

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  18. #43  
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by unstoppable:
    Im sure the process is automated already to some extent at all offshore books, but why arent the lines completely controlled by the inflow of money with software adjusting lines accordingly?

    If someone attempts to place a large bet that would throw the balance way off, then their bet could just be kicked out and be made to call in to see if it can be accomadated.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    ALREADY BEING DONE...........
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  19. #44  
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    I've been in charge of quite a few race/sports books in LV. I was always given a br, pencil & paper and the owners got out of the way. I made serious $$ for them. Could a computer have made/earned more ?? I doubt it but.....
    ScottyS
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  20. #45  
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    Wow interesting topic and there are some myths which need addressing.

    Firstly, ACW. I understand your point about the bookmakers in England but as somebody who has booked bets on both sides of the Atlantic there are huge differences. The horse guys that were beating the books in the UK were representing such a big percentage of horseracing turnover at telephone and internet books that they were making it unprofitable. There are very few horeracing punters that bet more than a few hundred pounds and the horseracing market in the UK is inefficient because a) prices are controlled by a handful of on course bookmakers who can and do manipulate prices to their own end and b) because the nature of each way betting means that some favourites go off at prices which they shouldn't because to shorten them would involve lengthening horses and therefore inflating their place prices.

    Secondly, anyone that thinks that it would be easier for the bookmaker at a square shop to be replaced by a computer is sadly mistaken. A great example is "J" at Bodog. He makes his company more money because he has a very good grasp of where his customers are likely to bet. Now obviously a computer can realise that a square shop should shade all favourites, or the Lakers every day, but the sheer amount of logic to replicate the feel required is huge and would require a bookmaker who is articulate and tech savvy enough to describe it to a coder.....generally we are not. As an example....Normally I would open a line on the Army/Navy game at, say, Navy -22 and first half maybe -12 but on this occasion we decide to make 1h Navy -13.5-115 because Army's scoring is skewed to late in the game (specifically the fourth quarter). Similarly I will likely shade the 2nd half to Army because of this. I am not suggesting that this cannot be programmed but it is a unique situation in the same way as the trend to the under in the second half of Nuggets is. I am not sure that a computer handling this would not create twice as many opportunities for the pros. After all it didn't take Billy Walters long to realise that he could send us all the wrong way with a relatively small amount of money and then have twice as much on the other side at a line a point better......and he isn't the only one playing these kind of games.

    The battle between bookmaker and wiseguy is no different to a battle between Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson. To automate either in full would involve both changing strategy hugely and take away a lot of the fun. I am not sure it can be done but I would love to try it one day

    Sky
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  21. #46  
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    Honestly I cannot judge American sports too well. I am still learning. Neither do I know that much about English racing other than that it was as much a psychological game one had to play with the books in regards to getting on than just finding an edge several years ago. BetFair has drastically changed English racing!

    Anyhow let us get back to the question if a computer can do all the work. On the European football it is successfully being done by at least a few that I know. Indosoccer is one of them. Imagine a match like Manchester United-Arsenal. Indosoccer thinks it is a 50/50 chance of MU winning them, so they put up this match at MU -1/2 goal -105 on both sides. Now these guys at Indosoccer are very smart. They are not like the English bookmakers trying to be clever in finding losing gamblers. No, these guys understand the ethics of bookmaking and simply want to have a position in which they are happy to lay both sides. They in general put prices up very early, so their initial prices simply have got to be very accurate, but they also know very well that in doing that they make themselves vulnerable. It does not remain there though. These guys have learnt something else too: Respect the public! Actually it is common sense. If one puts up 10 cent lines a week before the actual matches and is willing to take big amounts on them already, there will be guys out there that have more knowledge of those games and are trying to get you. Ok money comes in on MU. At this stage already many will say: “Oh money coming in on MU, but that is not smart. That team is the public’s favourite. I will take it!” For those that still believe this is not smart money: Those that have just backed MU and done nothing else for years already have been making around 10% on turnover, but more important remember at Indosoccer they are bookmakers and not gamblers! At some stage there is about US$20k more on MU than Arsenal, so they make MU -108 and Arsenal -102. Still money comes in on MU. Now MU becomes -110 and Arsenal Even Money. Now, believe me at some stage money will come back in on Arsenal. Well this whole process is being done fully automatic 24 hours a day! Is this so difficult to program?
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  22. #47  
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    acw,

    The example you choose is good for markets that are going to be up a while and can be guarenteed to have money flowing in all week on both sides.

    In Sky Mastersons example about half-time lines, the line is up for a short time and comparatively will not take much action. This is where the skill of the bookmaker predicting betting patterns and knowing the trends of the teams invovlved really comes into play.

    To teach a computer to "know" to that Army's scoring pattern is scewed towards late in the fourth quarter you would need to have it crunching all kinds of data. Multiply this by the number of events and for different sports and it soon becomes clear you will need a supercomputer to come up with anything approaching an accurate opinion.
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  23. #48  
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  24. #49  
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    I saw Sky Masterson commenting on Harry's book:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Backing-Big.../dp/1910335606

    I thought I remember that guy and did the search on the forum here.
    Interesting thread!
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  25. #50  
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    Interesting read. If we really transferred our knowledge to artificial intelligence, then computers could do it like human does. I cannot see why technology cannot do it if we are willing to make it happens.
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