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Kelly criterion method
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How Weather Affects Sports Betting
Increase Your Chances of Winning Long Term Betting on Sports
Intermediate and Advanced Sports Betting
Common sportsbetting myths
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Choosing a staking method based on your betting profile
Betting staking plans
Value betting explained
Sports-betting- a game of numbers
Market movement in betting
Types of odds explained
European types of bets explained
American types of bets explained
Martingale Considerations in Sports Betting
In-play betting
Accumulator betting
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A Crash Course in Horse Racing
A Crash Course In Sports Betting
American odds versus decimal odds
Bankroll management
Money management in sportsbetting- odds, edge and variance
Basic bet types explained
Paying for Picks
Betting on winning streaks
Betting psychology- a crash course about aspiring professional bettors
Popular Sports Betting Beliefs
Do you make these 9 sportsbetting mistakes?
Does intuition have a place in sportsbetting?
Exchange betting
Randomness in sportsbetting
Fractional versus decimal odds
Home team advantage analised
How bad at sportsbetting are you?
Reasons to Keep Betting Records
How bookmakers make money
How bookmakers work
How do betting exchanges work
Should You Bet on Multiple Sports or Specialize?
How do free bets work
How does luck influence short term betting
How good are betting tipsters
Sports Betting for Beginners
How loss aversion impacts performance
How many sports to bet on
How Much Should You Bet On a Sporting Event?
Staking-one method to improve your betting
How much you should risk per bet?
How Sports Betting Has Changed Over the Last 20 Years
How To Avoid A Big Sports Betting Loss
The art of multiple betting
The history of lotteries
The value of information in soccer betting
Three careers ideally suited to betting
Tips for Better Sports Betting Results
Types of Online Sports Betting Bonuses
Understanding and managing your risk of ruin
Understanding Horse Racing Bet Types
Understanding Live Betting
Value betting is an essential skill for bettors
Ways to Increase the Percentage of Sports Bets You Win
What are drawdowns and how to manage them
What are the most common mistakes the bettors make
What are the real chances of winning the lottery?
What distinguishes winning from losing betors
What is a handicap soccer betting?
What is the Fibonacci betting system?
What is the Labouchere betting system
What is the Martingale staking system
Why do we gamble? Irrationality and overconfidence
Why patience is an essential trait for any serious bettor
Poisson Distribution: Predict the score in soccer betting
Fixed Staking vs. Variable Staking
Basketball betting: Bet types explained
7 Sure-Fire Baseball Betting Strategies
How Does In-Play Betting Work?
To Parlay, or Not to Parlay?
Wisdom of the Crowds applied to betting
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A Novice’s Tutorial on Casino Gambling Games
How to Gamble with Dice – Popular Dice Games and Their Variations
How Online Casinos Helped Me Love Roulette Even More
My Top Three Tips for Getting Comps in Casinos
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5 Gambling Tricks You Can Only Use Online
5 LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS THAT AFFECT YOUR AVERAGE HOURLY LOSS IN A CASINO
5 REASONS CASINO GAMES ARE SO ENTERTAINING
5 Things All Casino Gambling Fans Are Sick of Hearing
5 Tips to Managing Your Casino Bankroll Effectively
The Five Most Important Tips I Ever Learned on Bankroll Management
5 Rookie Mistakes in Blackjack and How to Avoid Them
7 roulette variations probably you have never heard of
7 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT CASINOS
7 Ways Casino Players Sabotage Their Chances of Success
How to Tell If You’re About to Make a Mistake with Your Next Casino Bet
The 12 Types of People I Meet in Casinos – Analyzing My Fellow Gamblers
10 SURE-FIRE CASINO GAMBLING STRATEGIES THAT WORK
What I Love Most About My Three Favorite Video Poker Games
The Last Guide to Video Poker Tournament Strategies You’ll Ever Need
Baccarat and the Martingale System – Can It Work?
Is There a Gambling System That Never Loses?
Combining the Martingale System with Odds Bets in Craps
Which Bets on Which Casino Games Offer the Best Odds of Doubling Your Money?
What’s Next for Online Gambling?
Using Self-Discipline in the Casino
20 ONLINE GAMBLING TIPS
Going All-In – When to Bet It All in Poker
10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Roulette Before I Started
Who’s the Best Video Poker Player in the World
Are No-Deposit Bonuses at Online Casinos a Waste of Your Time or Worth Going For?
Are Online Casino Bonuses Worth Taking?
BEATING BACCARAT – WINNING SYSTEMS & STRATEGIES
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SLOT MACHINE
EUROPEAN VS. AMERICAN ROULETTE
EVEN MONEY CASINO BETS
Feel Confident When Gambling Online – 8 Tips to Help You Choose a Secure Site
Finding the Best Slots Online
Gambling and Poker Playing: 10 Things to Know
GAMBLING GAMES THAT ARE REALLY WORTH TRYING
HOW TO AVOID GOING BROKE AT THE ROULETTE WHEEL
HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST ONLINE CASINO SIGNUP BONUS
How to make a million playing video poker
How to Spend Your Gambling Winnings
HOW TO SURVIVE A BLIZZARD AT THE CRAPS TABLE
HOW TO WIN AT ROULETTE
How to Win Consistently at Casino Gambling
How to Win Consistently at Craps
How to Win Consistently at Roulette
HOW VOLATILITY WORKS IN CASINO GAMBLING
Is It Possible to Play Roulette as a Career (Or Even as a Part Time Gig)?
Is One Blackjack Game Better Than Another?
MONEY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY FOR YOUR NEXT CASINO TRIP
ONLINE CASINO DISPUTES
SKILL BASED CASINO GAMES: PROS AND CONS
The 5 secret joys of casino gambling
The Benefits of an Online Gambling Environment
The Best Long-Term Strategies for Playing Progressive Jackpot Slots
THE BIGGEST JACKPOTS IN ONLINE GAMBLING
THE EASIEST WAY TO LEARN BLACKJACK STRATEGY
THE HOUSE EDGE
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The Surprising Secret to Winning at Casino Gambling
Who Takes Care of Your Safety at Online Casinos?
Why Don’t Craps Players Just Use the Right Strategy?
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WHY IS THE DON’T PASS BET BETTER THAN THE PASS BET IN CRAPS?
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What are the real chances of winning the lottery?

We have all dreamt of being rich and this is one reason why people buy lottery tickets, even if the odds of scooping the jackpot are depressingly low. But how low are the odds exactly and what can you do instead to make money?

The human brain can be brilliantly rational. But sometimes, we act in irrational ways. This is what psychologists call cognitive bias. When we know about cognitive biases we can improve our decisions, and in the case of gambling make money, or at least avoid lightening our wallet.

What is optimism bias

Optimism bias is the tendency to think that we are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others. When we are part of a group of peers, optimism bias translates into “not-me” bias making the odds of being hit by an unfortunate event look remote.

Interestingly enough, optimism bias works the other way round too for positive event. When it comes to pleasurable events, our brain tends to exaggerate the chance of low probability events to occur, which is why lottery players continue to buy tickets week after week.

Classic examples of optimism bias include smokers believing they are less likely to contract lung cancer than other smokers and traders who think that they are less exposed to losses in the markets.

If I won the lottery…

Behavioural studies have shown that the human brain is not good at dealing with very small odds.

We realize, for example, that fatally slipping during shower is unlikely, but we have no sense of how unlikely. Is it more or less unlikely than dying in a terrorist attack while on-board? What about dying from accidental alcohol poisoning?

If you spent $1000 on a 6/49 Lottery for $1 a ticket every weekend for 270 years you would on average be expected to win 1 Jackpot.

To demonstrate the irrationality of decision making when it comes to events with low probability, Nobel prize winner Kahneman conducted an experiment regarding the purchase of insurance. A group of Americans were offered the option between insurance against their own death in a terrorist attack while travelling to Europe and another group insurance that would cover death of any kind for the same trip. Even though "death of any kind" includes "death in a terrorist attack", the first group were willing to pay more than the latter.

When it comes to winning the jackpot (6/49 lottery), the chances are as slim as 1 in 14 million. In his book "Taking Chances" John Haigh compares the remoteness of the chance of winning the jackpot with your chance of death.

“If you are in middle age, and good health, your chance of death within the next year might be one in a thousand. That means your chance of death in the next hour is about one in nine million…If the winning numbers are drawn at 8.05pm, and you buy your one ticket before 7.20pm, you are more likely to expire before the draw is made, than win a share of the jackpot (Sorry)”

To put it differently, if you spent $1000 on a 6/49 Lottery for $1 a ticket every weekend for 270 years you would on average be expected to win one Jackpot.

So why do we persist in buying lottery tickets, since we are faced with such odds? The short answer is that our brain blocks out the less savoury but more probable outcomes and here’s how it does it. 

Unfooled by randomness

Since our brain is not well equipped to evaluate small probabilities, what it does instead, is to rely on whether it can picture the outcome - also known as the availability bias.

When it comes to lotteries, winners are often highly publicised. This can have a long lasting impression. You might, for example, find yourself wondering “If they can do it, why can't I?", which makes the idea that wins are regular appealing, when in fact they are rare.

After the World Trade Centre was hit, the image of terror attacks killing lots of people is easy to bring to mind. It doesn’t matter that the chance of fatally sipping in shower (1 in 810,000) is about 31 times more likely than dying in a terrorist attack while on board (1 in 25 million). People are more obsessed about terrorism than showering.

Survival of the mathematically fittest

Wondering why lotteries continue to be so successful, although buying lottery tickets is a gambling strategy with negative expected value? Beyond the basic reason that hope dies hard, there is yet another bias that reinforces the behavior.

In activities of pure chance psychological rewards such as the “near miss”, (i.e. failures that are close to being successful) are seen as signs that raise the chances of winning, whereas in reality such information gives zero insight on the likelihood of future success.

As much as we like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, even smart people fall prey to one bias or another and it is almost impossible to know which bias will be applied in a given situation. To make matters more complicated, it is also possible for the same person to use a different bias in the same situation on different occasions.

Hoping to win the lottery is one way to invest your time and money. Another is to develop a strategy with positive expected value and apply it consistently. Statistics suggest you are better off with the latter.