Confession. I’ve been a bad boy for a long time. It all started when my parents gave me 5 bucks to exchange for quarters at the arcade when I was 8 years old. This was the most amount of money I ever held in my entire life. My parents figured it was enough money to hold me over for a couple hours as they went to lunch.
I was with my buddy and we took turns playing various games such as Pacman, Galaga, DigDug, Zaxxon, BurgerTime, and Frogger. About 45 minutes in, I had spent $4 of my $5 dollars and was worried my remaining $1 wouldn’t be enough to last me until my parents came back.
At this moment, my buddy bragged a lot about how good he was at my all-time favorite game 1942; the one where you fly a 1942 war plane and do 360 flips to avoid gun-fire. I let him keep talking about how great he was until I challenged him to a bet to see who could last longer for my last 4 quarters. He obliged, and I not only won $1, but won another $2 as he doubled down.
Little did he know that I had just finished the entire game last week and had been practicing for months on end before. Ever since that day, I’ve developed a system to increase my betting odds and make plenty of side money. This is an unusual post for me, since my tag-line is “Honorable Personal Finance.” As you read on, you’ll realize that perhaps winning money off willing participants who have big heads is not so bad, especially if the proceeds go to charity.
HOW TO DRASTICALLY INCREASE YOUR BETTING ODDS AND MAKE LOTS OF MONEY
You’ve read books like Bringing Down The House where they teach you to count cards and increase your odds by 1 or 2%. Frankly, that’s useless unless you have a massive bank roll and a large amount of time on your hands. Oh yeah, having a gang of 4 or 5 folks working with you who are smart and hot doesn’t hurt either!
What I’m going to tell you helps increase your chances of winning by well over 30% in my opinion. What used to be a 50/50 chance of winning, now becomes a 80/20 or better chance of winning. That is significant! In fact, using my method, you can basically lock in a 100% probability of winning. If you are poor, need money and know how to critically assess people, you are well on your way to make a lot of extra money.
1) Identify big egos. This is the #1 way to increase your betting odds. You have to find the loudest, most arrogant person around and figure out what he or she cares about. Ken Lewis from Bank of America had a huge empire building ego. John Thain smartly identified this and sold Merrill Lynch to him for $50 billion BEFORE the market open, even though it seemed apparent with futures pointing down more than 7% that Merrill might not even exist by the day’s close! Other examples could be fanatic east coast sports fans who believe West Coast schools are too soft. It could be some loudmouth Republican who thinks Ron Paul is going to win. Or, it could be some IT engineer who has no financial investing experience, but consistently touts how great he is at investing.
2) Make them even more overconfident. You’ve got to really play them up by asking them questions on why they think their pick is going to win. Let them tell you about all their previous victories and how smart they are. You’ve got to butter them up and make them feel like geniuses. The more confident you get them, the easier it is for them to lose site of what the market odds are. This is when you patiently wait and innocently suggest a bet that is well in your favor. You must make yourself look as stupid as believably possible.
3) Check official Vegas betting odds. You can go on various online sites to see what the official odds are between a sporting event, or a Presidential race. If you are only getting 50 cents to win a dollar because your selection is the favorite, and you can get someone to agree pay you one dollar, you suddenly increased your returns by 100%. It’s important to always know what the official betting lines are because the chances are, the person you are betting with doesn’t know.
5) Lock in your gains. For example, President Obama at one point was odds in favor to win the 2012 Presidential election with 1.5:1 (50% more likely to win, bet $1 to win $1.5, or bet $1.5 to win $1, “odds on”). If you can get someone to pay you $2 to win $1 by playing up how horrible the economy is, and saying the President has no chance of winning, but schucks, lets bet but give me better odds, you are an instant winner. Why? because you can simply lock in your gains by making a bet with someone else based on the official line. this case, if Republicans win, you earn $1.5 (win) – $1 (loss) = 50 cents and if Democrats win, you earn $2-$1 = $1.
Note: It’s important to NOT throw around terms such as odds on, money line, point spread and so forth. Using betting terms will give away to your opponent that you are a seasoned better. Instead, spell everything out i.e. “So, if Obama wins I get $2, but if the field wins, I give you $1, right?” Use a clueless, slow accent. Even throw out wrong nomenclature to confuse them!
6) Consider pressing. Remember, the bigger the talker, the more you can extract out of them. During the betting process, when you see your chance of winning increasing, press! Let’s say you bet on the 49ers getting 10 points against the Eagles, but the 49ers are winning by 7, your opponent must score 17 points just to break even. Now is the time to press. Egomaniacs are super stubborn and will be willing to bet more, even when they are losing out.
Suckers are everywhere. Hundreds of people make thousands of dollars online with their info-products when they have absolutely no credibility. It’s beautiful and a bullish reason why I believe the economy will be OK, since you too, can do the same if you wanted to. Just be careful when you’re sitting at a poker table, if you don’t know who the sucker is, it’s you!
* The Internet. Over the past couple years, Twitter has been an incredible resource to pick people off. College bowl games and playoffs are especially lucrative. When Virginia Tech and Stanford played in the 2011 Orange Bowl, all I did was follow the hashtag #Hokies and #VaTech on Twitter. I patiently followed the stream and identified who was the loudest, most brash person out there bashing Stanford.
Incredibly, the Hokies were 3.5 point favorites! This was because #1, there is an east coast bias where for some reason, broadcasters and fans believe the West Coast is weak, and #2 they were playing on the east coast. I’ve watched both teams, and it was clear to me Stanford was the superior team, even if they had to travel. If I were making the line, I would have objectively made Stanford a 10 point favorite, so right then and there, I had a 13.5 point advantage with the Hokies being 3.5 favorites. I was able to ping two guys for $600 total, and collect via Paypal after Stanford blew VaTech away 40-12.
* Rallies & Bars. If you go to a Sarah Palin fund raiser rally, you will obviously encounter huge Sarah Palin supporters. All you have to do is cozy up to her loudest supporters, listen to them talk about how great she is to the point where they cannot help but accept your bet that she will not win the presidency, or the Republican ticket for that matter. Go to a sports bar that supports a particular team, it’s the same thing. You can better your odds due to their fanaticism and lock your gains by betting with someone else with the real odds.
* Opposing team stadiums. This one is a no-brainer. Fans who go to NFL games have a ton invested: time, transportation, parking, and ticket costs. They are truly fans who have a ton of pride. These fans are easy to bet with given a win is all they care about. If their team is a 10 point underdog, they will take even odds because all they care about is a victory!
* Young folks who disrespect their elders. Young folks haven’t seen as many highs and lows of life yet, which is why they are either overly optimistic, or overly pessimistic. For example, If you find a 21 year old college student who thinks making $250,000 a year is easy because he’s had some success in the stock market or with his side business, hold on to him tight! You can shake a good amount of money from him! I don’t go after much older people because again, I respect my elders, even if there might be the occasional annoying one.
* The rich. The rich are different from you and me. They seek experience and convenience i.e. the thrill of betting with someone they know, rather than the cumbersome nature of going through a whole ordeal to get a bet on. For their convenience, they are willing to “pay up” or give you favorable odds.
It’s important that after you lock in the wins, you must not brag. Make your opponent feel like they have the upper hand until the very end when you take their money. You can’t let them feel that they’ve been taken advantage of, partly because you can still increase the size of the bet before the results are in! Always keep the window open for your opponent to increase their bets when your odds are in your favor.
I’M A CHANGED MAN AND WANT TO HELP
At some point, people started catching on that I’m not as dumb as I make myself out to be. As a result, I’ve stopped getting action from people I know face to face, and have had to resort to the internet. The biggest annoyance is when I approach the most arrogant, big-talker, and he refuses to put his money where his mouth is. That’s just lame.
I’m no longer an 8 year old kid who has to beg his parents for money. Now, I just beg the government when I need a generous bailout! All this betting stuff is just for fun now. I still love the arbitrage, but I’ve started to feel a little bad about taking other people’s money, even though they are delusional most of the time. It’s not like I’m putting a gun to their head, forcing them to bet. They made their own bed, just like I make my own and lose on occasion as well.
As a result of my conscience, I now use my proceeds for charity. Oddly, the use of charity has made it more compelling for someone to bet against me! That’s great to hear because the real winners are the charities, since no matter who wins, they win. The bet structure is simply: If I win, the loser donates to my charity of choice and vice versa.
CURRENTLY ACCEPTING PRESIDENTIAL 2012 BETS FOR CHARITY
Note: I wrote this portion on 9/19/2011 and want to keep this here for my records.
I am a firm believer that President Obama will win the 2012 presidential election. He’s go the Jobs Act Bill, a united party, fantastic oratory skills, and is the devil we know. I do realize there are many anti-Obama fans out there who believe he’s toast, since unemployment is at 9.1% and the economy has decelerated. The beautiful thing is, the worse the economy gets, perversely the better Obama’s chances because he’ll just blame the Republican Congress for gridlock. On the other hand, the better the economy gets, Obama will simply take credit. It’s a win-win. I’m delusional right? Thank you!
I’d like to stop my pro-Obama arguments here, because I don’t want to scare you Republican believers away. I’ve got about $1,200 from 5 different people for even money now, and I’d like to raise up to $3,000 for charity. I ask that we put a $500 limit per person on the bet, to keep it friendly. To reiterate, the bet is for even odds that the field wins and I take Obama. The loser donates to the charity of the winner’s choice.
Hope you guys have learned a lot from this article, and that you are willing to bet against Obama and me. There’s obviously a chance Obama will not win, which is why you should consider raising my money for your charity. Remember, I am one big donkey blogger who doesn’t know his head from his ass. It’s obvious the economy is falling apart and change is needed. Let’s go! Put your money where your mouth is and take some money off of me!
Recommendation For Building Your Wealth
Manage Your Finances In One Place: Get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing and when my CDs are expiring. Their best feature is their Investment Portfolio Fee Analyzer tool that is saving me $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying!
Be Your Own Fund Manager: Motif Investing allows you to build a basket of 30 stocks for only $9.95, instead of spending the normal $7.95 for each position ($230+ commissions). There’s no need to pay expensive and ongoing active management fees for mutual funds again. Once you build your own portfolio, or purchase one of the 150+ professionally created motifs, you can simple dollar cost average with one click of the button every time you have money to invest. You can even buy retirement Horizon motifs, that act like target date funds, except you don’t have to pay the 1% management fee either. Finally, you get up to $150 in free trading credit when you start trading with Motif Investing. Motif Investing is truly the low-cost, efficient, and most innovative way to invest today.
Note: Collected about $2,300 from online friends after Obama got re-elected. Charities win!
Updated on 2/8/2015.