How many professionals are there among betters?

In today’s article, we will talk about how many professionals there are among the players at the rates, and what steps need to be taken to enter this cherished cohort.

There is a general consensus that 97% of gamblers generally lose. However, let’s try to figure out what this figure actually represents?

According to the theory of probability (we analyzed a similar example in one of our previous materials), about 25% of players who use the Pinnacle bookmaker’s odds and place bets on the handicap markets can be in the black after 1000 bets. The luck factor plays a significant role – 1% remains profitable even after 10 thousand bets, even without using analytics and some specific strategy.

However, in our material we will not talk about the lucky ones, but about those players who win thanks to their own knowledge and experience. They’ve obviously found a way to consistently reap what they call expected benefits. So how many of these betters are there really?

There are no unique studies on this topic, so let’s try to look at this issue through the eyes of leading bookmakers who adjust their own odds taking into account the bets of professional players.

Equalizing bet volumes by bookmakers

On numerous forums, betters are actively discussing why bookmakers have chosen certain odds for various popular events. Initially, bookmaker experts determine in advance the probability of a certain event outcome, and then adjust their odds taking into account a number of factors.

Before an event starts, quotes for it can change many times, and the more popular it is, the higher the probability of their shift in one direction or another. So, if the volume of bets on the victory of one of the teams in a football match is clearly off scale, the bookmaker will shift (that is, cut) the odds to the opposite outcome in order to balance the market. Further, if customers “take the bait” and the bet volumes become equal, the odds can return to their original values; otherwise, they will continue to fall.

In this case, the actions of the bookmaker are quite comparable to the actions of stock dealers who determine the price of a certain asset on the market by the degree of interaction between buyers and sellers. The bookmaker, one might say, determines the price of the bet, expressing it in its own coefficients, and replacing the interaction of sellers and buyers with the interaction of their customers, betting on the victory of team A or team B.

So, if teams A and B have made bets of 1 million rubles each, then the bookmaker will set equal odds of 2.00 for the victory of each of the opponents after adjustments (more precisely, about 1.95, taking into account its own margin) … If, for example, after that another 100 thousand were put on the win of team A, the quotes will be adjusted accordingly, and will now amount to 1.86 and 2.05 taking into account the margin. Further, they will also change depending on which direction the market swings and the volume of rates grows.

At the same time, the initial odds of the bookmakers should always be as close to the real ones as possible, otherwise experienced players can take advantage of the obvious bias in the market and, having made large bets, turn it in the direction they need.

Model for market development

Let’s build a model of a certain sporting event with equal chances of winning for each team, determined by odds of 2.00 (or 1.95, taking into account the bookmaker’s margin of 2.5%). Further, let’s assume that the odds were changed 100 times before the event started; Moreover, in each case, the players could either bet on one of the teams to win (by definition, a draw in our chosen match cannot happen – for example, in a volleyball match), or ignore the current quotes.

At the same time, professional players, knowing the true probabilities of the outcome of the event (that is, 50% chances of winning one of the teams in our model), will only place bets if the bookmaker quotes are clearly overstated; amateurs will simply follow the crowd.

So, if, as a result of several adjustments, the odds for Team A’s victory fall to 1.80, an inexperienced bettor will be inclined to think that by placing a bet on winning it, he is more likely to make a profit than placing bets on Team B’s triumph. The professional will make the exact opposite bet – after all, the coefficient on the victory of team B in this case (excluding the bookmaker’s margin) will be 2.20, and, therefore, will have a high positive mathematical expectation.

Another, albeit more indirect, factor that distinguishes a professional from an amateur is the amount of bets. It is obvious that an experienced bettor who is confident in his own predictions is more likely to make a large bet than a beginner who is just gaining experience. Although, of course, there are opposite examples.

The conclusion that can be drawn from the above is as follows. A player can only consider himself a professional if he learns to correctly determine the likelihood of a sporting event occurring and to choose matches where bookmakers offer odds that exceed this true probability.

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