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# If you were a bookie... Polls and bets on the 2004 elections

joefromchicago

1
Mon 17 Nov, 2003 06:14 pm
nimh wrote:
Does that work, then?

Yes, that works.
nimh wrote:
But what, then, do the Labour odds of 1/6 mean? How does 1/6 end up signifying a 69% chance, if I got that right?

It means that you'd win one pound for every six pounds you bet. In other words, the bookies pretty much think Labour is a "lock," a "sure thing."
nimh wrote:
Never thought this would end up a thread to teach me about betting ... <grins>

Well then here's another bit of information: timberlandko's "tote board" is certainly comprehensive, but a real bookie would never offer odds that, in sum, equal 100%. For instance, in the Ladbrooke's example, the LibDems have a 2% chance, the Tories a 29% chance, and Labour a 67% chance -- which add up to approximately 98%. If we expect that bettors will wager in roughly the same percentages (extrapolated to 100%), the extra 2% represents a "cushion" for the bookie. In general, that cushion is the bookie's margin of profit (in much the same way that a casino makes its money from the 0 and 00 slots of a roulette wheel). Giving odds that equal 100%, in contrast, would leave the bookie no room for profit. So I'm afraid that timberlandko's book joint would probably go out of business if he kept offering the odds he's posting.
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joefromchicago

1
Mon 17 Nov, 2003 06:17 pm
timberlandko wrote:
I'll book the bet myself, joe, but against a minimum \$1 Grand payout, or a larger full multiple thereoff. And, of course, any mutually agreeable escrow arrangement, involving certified funds, will be fine. Looks to me like a fairly certain 8%+ Annual ROI, plus whatever minimal interest as will accrue from the escrow account. I have a few investments I wished were doing that well.

Will you accept a two-party, post-dated check drawn on a Paraguayan bank account?
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nimh

1
Mon 17 Nov, 2003 06:31 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
nimh wrote:
But what, then, do the Labour odds of 1/6 mean? How does 1/6 end up signifying a 69% chance, if I got that right?

It means that you'd win one pound for every six pounds you bet. In other words, the bookies pretty much think Labour is a "lock," a "sure thing."

Oh, OK. So 1/6 means the same as when you would have written ... 7/6 ?

When do they switch from the one style of noting the odds - say, 7/2 for a Tory victory - to the other style - in the example, the 1/6 odds on Labour? Why not just write 7/6?

joefromchicago wrote:
Giving odds that equal 100%, in contrast, would leave the bookie no room for profit.

Yeh - that makes sense. De Volkskrant, for example, wasnt out to make any profit on that "Political Stock Exchange".

They say such "political stock exchanges" have better track records in predicting election outcomes than any opinion pollster!
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timberlandko

1
Mon 17 Nov, 2003 06:45 pm
LOL, joe ... I think we have a bit more negotiating to do

And yeah, my "tote board" merely posits probabilities. Frankly, likely improperly figured probabilites ... there was a good deal of extrapolation and guess work, apart from a sorta arbitrary figuring of financial condition based on rate-and-trend of contributions, rate-and-trend-of-spending, and cash-on-hand ... a lot less precise than plucking data from SEC filings, Annual Reports, and investment analysis websites. I'm neither a bookie nor a Warren Buffett. I see I neglected a bookie's first rule, which is to ensure a profit regardless of outcome, and Warren's first rule, which is never guess at the data.

Here in the US, there is the Iowa Electronic Markets , a sort of real-money study project conducted by The University of Iowa's business school ... its a kind of futures market on probabilities of stuff like national political contests and Federal Reserve Board actions. Looking over their archives, it appears their accuracy has been significantly higher than statistical chance over about a decade or so, but nowhere near a sure thing.
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au1929

1
Mon 17 Nov, 2003 07:03 pm
If dean were to run against Bush. Unless something unforseen happens. I would say the odds are 5-1 against Dean. He is more than likely going to be the democratic candidate and is a sure loser.
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nimh

1
Mon 17 Nov, 2003 07:05 pm
(Re: Iowa Electronic Markets) - Yeh, that was the model/software the Dutch "political stock exchange" adopted.
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joefromchicago

1
Mon 17 Nov, 2003 11:05 pm
OK, I've given this some more thought, and I was wrong. The sum of the odds (in percentages) need to add up to more than 100% in order for the bookie to build in a profit margin. For instance, on a wheel with ten numbered spots, each spot has a 10% chance -- i.e. 10:1 odds. In order for the casino to make a profit, the odds have to be less than 10:1 -- let's say it offers 9:1 odds on each spot. At 9:1, each spot is "rated" at an 11% chance, making the total percentages equal 110%. It's the extra 10% that gives the casino its "edge."

Which makes me wonder why Ladbroke's calculated its odds the way it did. My only guess is that Ladbroke's takes some kind of commission on bets (or, in bookie terms, "vigorish" or "juice") as a means of gaining a profit.
nimh wrote:
Oh, OK. So 1/6 means the same as when you would have written ... 7/6 ?

When do they switch from the one style of noting the odds - say, 7/2 for a Tory victory - to the other style - in the example, the 1/6 odds on Labour? Why not just write 7/6?

No, 1:6 isn't the same as 7:6. 7:6 odds means that for every 6 dollars wagered, the bettor would win 7 dollars. Someone wagering 600 dollars at 7:6 odds would win 700 dollars; wagering 600 dollars at 1:6 odds would net 100 dollars in winnings.
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Suzette

1
Tue 18 Nov, 2003 03:49 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Suzette, I agree about '04, but '12 is a bit too far off for my ability to achieve determination with sufficient probability to justify a wager, Re your '08 conjecture, I'll take that straight up, no odds, for \$10 Grand right now, and either your attorney or mine can draw up and execute the escrow, subject, of course, to the other attorney's review and approval. I trust certified funds deposited into an independently controlled and mutually inaccessible-untill-on-or-after-Nov 12 '08-maturity Money Market Fund will be acceptable, but I'm more than willing to discuss alternate accomodations should you prefer. Lemme know.

I've re-thought this and have decided to agree to simply execute both of our attorneys :wink: !
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timberlandko

1
Tue 18 Nov, 2003 04:10 pm
A notion not without some merit, I suspect, Suzette. Still, hold off a bit on shooting mine, would ya? He owes Mrs Timber and me a dinner yet. I'll let you know when I've collected.
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Suzette

1
Tue 18 Nov, 2003 04:12 pm
Well, now, that gives me a splendid idea!

Do you remember a certain restaurant scene from the original 'Godfather'? :wink:
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timberlandko

1
Tue 18 Nov, 2003 04:18 pm

That'll work.
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nimh

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 02:20 pm
On topic:

Tarantulas posted this link in a new thread of his.
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sozobe

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 02:32 pm
Wow, the high numbers for Kerry are good, right?

Interesting link!
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nimh

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 03:12 pm
Ehm no, I dont think so ...

the 96/98 would be about his chances of getting the Dem nomination, I'd guess.

The 61/62 would be about ... Bush being re-elected .... is my guess. Alas.
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Miller

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 03:22 pm
It'll be a very tight race. My guess is that it could go to the Supremes again ( because of the Nader factor ).
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timberlandko

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 03:22 pm
Ahhhhh, heck. whatchya go an' tell her for, nimh? She was so happy there for a minute

Yeah, Soz, that reflects the odds of Kerry securing the Dem Nomination. Drill down a bit there, and you'll find there is no traffic against it, meaning, essentially, there's no bet. Bush remains better than 6-to-4 favorite to win the election, and the issue continues to draw traffic, with a stable-to-downward trend of buys-against.
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timberlandko

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 03:23 pm
Miller wrote:
It'll be a very tight race. My guess is that it could go to the Supremes again ( because of the Nader factor ).

Wanna bet?
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nimh

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 03:53 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Ahhhhh, heck. whatchya go an' tell her for, nimh? She was so happy there for a minute

True ...

timberlandko wrote:
Yeah, Soz, that reflects the odds of Kerry securing the Dem Nomination. Drill down a bit there, and you'll find there is no traffic against it, meaning, essentially, there's no bet. Bush remains better than 6-to-4 favorite to win the election, and the issue continues to draw traffic, with a stable-to-downward trend of buys-against.

Lessee if this works ...

When the graph goes up, as it did last December, that means people start believing ever more in Bush; when the graph goes down, as in January and February this year, it means people are starting to believe less in Bush. At the moment the trend looks very stable, though still at quite a high level for Bush (like T says, 6-to-4).
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nimh

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 03:54 pm
Nope - didnt work. Anyway, just click the "PRESIDENT.GWBUSH2004" line and you'll see it yourself.
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Craven de Kere

1
Tue 6 Apr, 2004 03:57 pm
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