Thursday, December 02, 2004


So, when Don Money asked me if Mark Cuban's hedge fund for sports gambling would be something I would invest in, I needed to post my "if I only lived in Vegas" musings to answer fully.

Yes, DM, I would, but only if Mr. Cuban met with me for a few minutes first to discuss what I believe is a foolproof plan for sports gambling if you had the time and money.

Now, perhaps you may have heard of the doubling system in Blackjack. Essentially, that is a betting system that is "in theory" foolproof. What it requires is that you start off with a bet, let's say $1. If you win, you put that $1 profit away, and you bet $1 again. Every time you lose, however, you double the bet--i.e., if you lose, you bet $2 next, then $4, then $8, etc. When you finally win a hand, you will have recouped your losses and actually won $1. You put that $1 profit away and start over.

The casinos know this, which is the reason that blackjack tables have maximum bets (you thought it was because they didn't want you to lose more than $5000 at a time?). The maximum bet rule stops the doubling system because while you will definitely win a hand eventually, you may actually lose the 11 or so hands in a row it will take you to be more than $5000 down at a $5-$10 minimum table. If there was no such maximum, and you had a serious bankroll, you could make blackjack a career and never lose. With the maximum limit, you can lose and lose a lot.

Sports betting in Vegas is subject to no such maximums of which I know. Therefore, the doubling system should in theory be foolproof. The beauty of it is also that it doesn't matter who you bet on, what sport, or what knowledge you have as long as you follow two important rules: 1) only bet on the 50-50 spread and over/under lines (as opposed to odds, parlays, money lines, etc.) and 2) do not bet on multiple things at once.

This works especially well during baseball season when there are multiple game starts throughout the day. Assuming you start on the first day of the season, figure about 190 days of baseball and about two-three segments of games (2pm eastern, 8pm eastern, 11pm eastern) each day, so you'd be making about 500 bets a season. Let's assume $100 per bet, each win gets you a profit of $100 (I'm ignoring the percentages that the casino takes--you can adjust the bets accordingly to take this into account ($110 to win $100 the first time, $231 to win $210 the second time, etc.)). With 50-50 odds, you should win approximately 250 of the bets leading to a profit of $25,000.

Anyway, I don't live in Vegas and I don't have Mark Cuban's bankroll. But, Mr. Cuban, if you use this strategy and add to your billions, I expect a small cut :-)


At 1:51 PM, Blogger SuperNoVa said...

Hey Rocco, Vinny, introduce Mr. Midnight to the concept of the "vig."

And help the Judge find his checkbook.

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "vig" is accounted for in my description--but I appreciate your vigorous scrutinizing of our blog. With you keeping a vigil, our postings will remain a seemless symphony, played in vigoroso, no doubt comparable to the sweet wine forged by the tender care of the expert vigneron. Nothing, nay, nothing will knock down the viga that holds up our fortress of blogging, for if it is ever threatened, I know that the vigilante of the Internet will seek redemption. Therefore, SuperNova, I wish you nothing but vim and vigor for the rest of your life, which, to paraphrase Shakespeare, is merely a vignette.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger dexys_midnight said...

I'm not sure why it switched me over to anonymous for my last comment, but obviously it was me (I confess to the vice of vigosity viscosity).

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is this casino that doesn't have a limit on sports gambling? never heard of such a thing. Reason: it doesn't exist.

also, besides the obvious problem of the math not adding up due to maximums, your baseball theory holds no water at all.

take a look at baseball lines. there are no 50/50 odds. they work on a money line that changes.

I can't see where Mark Cuban would be stupid enough to even think that this strategy would work, let alone, speak to you at all about anything financial.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger dexys_midnight said...

Ahhhh, anonymous, you have caught me in a quandry. As one of the hosts of this blog, I welcome you and your input, and encourage you to visit our site often and post as often as you'd like.

On the other hand, as SNV and DM can attest, asking for a war of math is really asking for a world of hurt. So, let me see if I can do this nicely (not sure why you went with such vitriolic words to try to make your point--I guess that is just a symptom of a weak argument (I don't even know why a subject like this would even raise an argument)).

You appear to make two points, ouitside an attack on my character.
1) All sports books have small maximums like the tables and I am an idiot for thinking otherwise.

2) Even if they didn't, there are no baseball 50-50 lines. you go.
1) Bellagio: 702-693-7111; Mandalay Bay: 1-877-632-7800; Venitian: 702.414.1000.
I encourage you to call any one of them as I just did and ask for the sports book. (I also called the MGM Grand: 702-891-7777, but they said they were not allowed to answer "gaming questions" over the phone). All of them said that it varies, but the consensus was that on a standard game, it is typically at least $100,000-$200,000, but all said that it can always be waived by management (and that for special events like big fights, playoff games, etc. there was rarely ever a maximum). They then, of course, highly encouraged me to use their casino for my next trip.
By the way, if you have ever been to any of these casinos, you will know that each of them has a window on the right-hand side of the book dedicated exclusively to $5,000 and up bets.

2) All baseball games have over-under lines on runs scored in Vegas. That is a 50-50 proposition. Such bets fit my description as you are no doubt aware (as do -110 money lines which incorporate the same vig).

As I mentioned...please..enjoy our site and feel free to post and get an id so we can know who it is that is making such cogent and thoughtful comments :-)

At 3:11 PM, Blogger dexys_midnight said...

And my apologies for spelling Venetian incorrectly in my typing haste.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger DM said...

For the record, here is the link for Cuban's idea:

At 1:08 AM, Blogger Guatemala Trip said...

I realize this was posted a long time ago, but I'd like to hear if anything has become of this.

The problem with this is that starting at $100 bets, if the event of 11 straight losses happens, you will need to wager over $200,000 on your next bet. What's the probability of that event occuring? About 1 in 2,000. If you play 500 games over a season, that means you have a 1 in 4 chance of having to lay down a $200,000+ wager on a game... to win $25,000 fro a season. If you lose that game, you need to wager close to $500,000. And your odds of winning that bet, no matter how many you've lost in a row, is still 50%. That is a difficult bet to lay down.

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