Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sports Betting Experiment Update

Here's the 100 game update for my sports betting experiment.

Overall: 54-49-2 (includes combinations, teasers, moneyline, etc.)
Sides: 41-36-1
Totals: 10-5-0
ML: 0-3-0
2-bet combinations: 3-4-1
Teasers: 0-1-0

Using average bet size as a single unit, we're at +11.2 units, and an ROI of 10.68%. The original bankroll for the experiment has nearly tripled at +177% over 23 days of wagering. But, it was a really small amount to begin with, since I'm not ready to put 'real' money on this sort of thing... yet.

Here's a quick chart to show the progress.

Prior to starting my experiment, I said to myself that if I can get 10% or more ROI after 100 games, I would increase my bet size. So, I think going forward I'll step up my bet sizes by 50%, and go back down if I suffer any serious string of losses.

I guess that's all for now.

Have a Happy New Year's, everyone. And, remember not to get too sloppy tonight. It was a rough 2008, but it's done and over with now. See you all next year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Staycation and the Holidays

I'm on Day 3 of my staycation. I really can't remember the last time I took a break from work and stayed in without any plans. Last week I was in SoCal, which was fun, but now it's time to just relax and do nothing.

I guess I did want to mention a couple games I played when I was away last week. One game was called Blokus. It's a neat game where you try to rid yourselves of your tetris-like pieces by placing them on the board in turn. The rules are simple. Each piece (except for your first piece) needs to connect to one of your other pieces by a corner and no actual flat edges can touch. Turns out there's a ton of strategy in the game, and I found it to be a lot of fun despite getting crushed both times I played it.

Another game we played was called Rumis. This one I didn't like as much, but it seemed that others preferred it. It's a weird three dimensional tower building game where you take turns adding to the tower with various building code restrictions. The object is to have the most of your color exposed from a bird's eye view of the structure. I also got crushed in this game.

Anyway, I'm going to just kick back and do nothing. I've still been keeping up with my sports betting experiment. I'll report back soon once I reach 100 total bets made.

Have a Happy New Year's if I don't blog before then.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Night of Poker

It's been forever since I last played cards.  I think it's been almost three months.  Totally unacceptable in my view.  But, I guess I just don't have as much free time as I would like.

The dead stretch came to a close last night, as Dan and I hit up Commerce in the afternoon yesterday.  We sat in a newly formed 9/18 game, and I have to say that initially the table was pretty horrible.  You can always tell when you get 3 or 4 blind chops each orbit in a full-handed game.  Fortunately, this was short-lived and the game got quite a bit better by early evening.

Dan basically ran over the table.  He was up over 3 racks at one point fairly early in the night.  I was unfortunately on the wrong side of variance.  I was stuck a little over two racks before a few hands started to hold up.  The game got better and better as the night progressed, and I was not stuck much any more when midnight struck.  It was around then that Dan took off... he had to work today.

The game was really, really good after midnight.  It no longer amazes me when people cold call 3 bets cold with J6s in a game that is a few steps above the lowest limits offered.  9/18 is still considered low-limits, but a bad night and you're going to be out close to a grand.  You'd think that players with no real clue would have just as much fun playing smaller.  Surely, they're not playing to make money.

By 2am I was completely unstuck and treaded water for a while.  I managed to win just shy of a rack by the time I left at five in the morning.  Money won is twice as sweet as money earned, but money won after being stuck like a pig for 10 hours is even sweeter.

Okay, off to do some last minute Christmas shopping.  Check you all later.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sports Betting

Some of you know that I've been dabbling a bit with sports betting. Basically, I've come up with a meta-system, which unfortunately still has a fair bit of subjective influences. It's a meta-system because it is not based on actually handicapping games, but based on the weighted effectiveness of handicappers.

I figure this is not too much different than determining which Wall Street analysts are worth listening to, and which ones are full of hot air when it comes to their recommendations of certain stocks.

Anyway, I didn't want to share this until I had more bets under my belt. The sample size is way too small for now, but I've made 49 bets so far. The meta-system has worked out alright thus far. At this point I have no real confidence that it's good, bad, or useless. I guess if it was bad, then it would actually be good as you could always bet against it. If we were to assume that the average bet size was a unit, then after 49 bets, the system is up 10.85 units with bets ranging from about 0.75 to 1.5 units.

(Win, Loss)
All Bets (27, 22)
Sides (17, 17)
Totals (8, 1)
ML (0, 2)
Combo [2-bet parlays] (2, 2)

I've been keeping a spreadsheet of all bets, and I've been fairly diligent about posting up the picks each day before the games have been played. If anyone is interested in taking a look, please let me know, and I'll share the Google spreadsheet with you. Would also like to know if this is just really a stupid idea of mine too, if that's your opinion.

Well, I guess that's all for now. I am actually taking time off work until the new year. Going to head to SoCal for a week and then do nothing (except, maybe play some poker) the week after. Hope everyone enjoys the holidays.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Number Spiral

For you mathy types, you might find this interesting: Number Spiral. I've never seen the site before, but I guess it's been there for years. Anyway, I thought it was cool on a first quick read. I'll probably go back and check it out some more when I have time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Famous Suicides

Had a conversation earlier about famous suicides, and so I did some surfing on the web to learn more about some of them. In doing so, I came across many more famous suicide stories, and I was intrigued. There are so many of them out there... here are a few that caught my interest, which I didn't feel were all that well known.

Did you know that two of Bing Crosby's sons killed themselves with shotguns independently? I suppose it might have been bigger news back in the day, but I don't think it's household knowledge.

The e-mail spammer guy, Edward Davidson, that they called the "spam king" who was indicted last year actually escaped from his minimum security prison earlier this year and went on to kill his wife and one of his daughters before taking his own life.

Famous trader, Jesse Livermore, shot himself 11 years after he made a fortune (~$100MM) from the Great Crash of 1929. Long ago I read Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, which was purportedly a fictionalized account of his life. I don't recall there being any suicide in that story though.

King Zhou of Shang, the last king of the Shang Dynasty, killed himself by surrounding himself with all of his treasures and then setting his palace on fire. Apparently, he was a ridiculously corrupt king, and he had some of the most extravagent constructions at his palace. He had built a large pool filled with alcohol and an island of meat in the middle of it. This allowed him and his guests to float around in canoes while eating from the meat island or drinking from the pool as they pleased.

Anson Jones was the last president of the Republic of Texas. I guess what happened with him was that he got pissed off after Sam Houston was chosen over him to represent Texas. Later on he thought the state's legislature would send him to the Senate, but he received no votes. This tipped him over the edge, so he offed himself after dinner one day by shooting himself.

George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodakand inventor of roll film, killed himself after being hit with a spinal disorder causing him intense pain. According to internet sources, he left a nice succinct suicide note that read: To my Friends, My work is done. Why wait?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Math Olympiad Problem

Last week, I worked on one of the problems from this year's Mexican Math Olympiad (a math competition for really bright high school students in Mexico). In the actual competition, you get 9 hours to complete six problems (broken up over two 4-1/2 hour days). The problem I worked on was probably one of the easier ones, but I really don't know.

In any case, it took me a number of hours working on it in pieces before I came up with a solution. My solution was actually quite inelegant, but it was verified to be correct. So, I'm pleased with that. I haven't really tried any of the other problems, but I'm guessing that I couldn't solve most of them anyway (they're quite tough).

So, for those of you that enjoy a mathematical challenge from time to time, here's the problem.

There are N knights seated at a round table. Call the knights K_1, K_2, K_3, ..., K_N. The king decides to play a game to reward one of his knights. Beginning with K_1 and going clockwise, the knights will say the numbers 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, and so on. Note that each knight says only one number, before moving on to the next knight who will say the next number.

If a knight says 2 or 3 on his turn, then he immediately gets up and leaves the table. This little game continues until there is only one knight left at the table, and that knight is declared the winner.

For example, if N=7, then knights will say 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1 in the first round. This leaves behind only K_1, K_4, K_7 for the second round. At this point, K_1 will say 2 (since, that's where we left off after Round 1), K_4 will say 3, and the winner will be K_7, as all the other knights are gone.

Now, here's the actual question: Find all the values of N such that the winner will be K_2008.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Quick Update

Sold off the Khongzhong (KONG) at 3.40 for just under 40% gain. Will look to re-enter if an opportunity arises.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Image Processing in Mathematica

For anyone interested in image processing, this post on the Wolfram blog might be interesting. I think it's pretty neat, and it surely could simplify rapid testing of custom filters and image processing functions. It's often a pain to spend a lot of time coding up what you thought might be interesting only to learn that it wasn't so useful. And, I agree with what they say about Photoshop scripts... it's just not as nice as interfacing with a real API.

Of course, everything shown in that post can be done with your own image processing libraries and your own front-end, but if it's easy to do with what they've got, why not use it. I'd like to play with the new Mathematica some time, but unfortunately, that time isn't available now.