Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Punter Conditioned to Bet by Secret Bingo Call


The world of psychology. It's spooky like an informed witch. Let's face it, if you could pump millions of pounds into research which you knew longterm would make five, ten, twenty or one-hundred times return on investment what would you do?

Invest. 

Truth be told, we don't know the impact of psychology upon us in this day. Sure we know the basics but are we likely to understand something big? Something that is a closely kept secret. As long as it keeps reeling in the cash - like a one-armed bandit with three melons ready to fall - we know Jack Sheet. 

The three melons are Peter, Paul and Jane. Poor souls. They have just been manipulated with joyous splendour into paying for something they don't want and they are telling everyone about this thingamebob like Carol Vorderman spouts on about equity release while answering the dreams of some random child she showed how to do long division (until the director said: ''That's a wrap'').

Years ago, I used to go to the Isle College in Wisbech. Capital of the Fens. I was born in this small town and don't mind saying it is a beautiful place with a rough and ready crowd. Sorry if that offends, but it's true. Anyway, besides a touch of slander, I used to go in the bookmakers on Market Square. The one in the corner. I can't think which BRAND it was. It wasn't Ladbroke as that was down some little lane. This is about a million years ago so I doubt any of the places are the same. 

Anyway, I used to go to the bookies to get out of the cold if buying some food in town. I had an interest in horse racing even in those formative years so it was good to watch a race or two. I used to enjoy the crowd. A mix of young and old. A regular called Mr Christmas. It was a nice little group. I didn't use to say much as I'm quiet until I get to know people. But I felt like I was part of the community.

They had all manner of opportunities to gamble. Horse racing, greyhounds, virtual racing (if you bet on this you need psychiatric help!) and also, some crazy bingo game. It was playing as though on a loop. Numbers, numbers, bloody numbers. There was this old bloke who sat in the corner. I don't think his legs were too good so he didn't like to walk to the counter too often. 

However, over the weeks, I watch him musing over his bets. He was slow and deliberate like a tortoise. He had a dodgy hand. And a laugh like a green woodpecker. A beady eye that gave the impression he was looking at you through a periscope. He enjoyed a bet on the horses. 

He used to complain about the bingo with its incessant number calling. 

It had some kind of jingle to it which sent a sickly-sweet feeling through your stomach. I'm sure I saw the old bloke bracing himself a few times as if he was about to throw up. 

I kept him at arm's length, rather warming to the festive conversations of Mr Christmas who seemed happy 365 days a year. 

Here we go - Bingo. 

Number 22. 76. 184. (I wasn't sure bingo went that high).

You maybe thinking, well what's all this bingo talk about.

Here's the psychology. Every time the number 50 was called, the old bloke rushed to the counter to placed a bet. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence. But it seemed to happen as regular as clockwork. It was difficult to tell how often he bet as afterwards, he would leave and say he was going to do some shopping. 

I wonder what happened to that bloke?

Monday, 9 September 2019

Does Smoking A Cigar Improve Your Gambling Performance?

Does Smoking A Cigar Improve Your Gambling Performance?
I doubt anyone has asked you this question before. 

Perhaps you feel compelled to ask the next gentleman (or lady, God forbid) who is smoking a large cigar about their performance in the many and varied aspects of their daily life. 

It's funny but even Sigmund Freud was nearly cornered by the insight of one of his students who asked about him smoking a large cigar. Clearly, relating to the point it could be seen as a phallic symbol. Freud, a true intellectual giant, considered the question with interest and intent. After a few moments thought he uttered these famous words: ''Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!''

Have you noticed how many professional gamblers are seen in films, the press and even in real life smoking a cigar? Billowing plumes of nicotine fighting with carbon monoxide with an element of uranium. I've never been a smoker, but my father loved a pint and Castella. When he was feeling flush, he'd whip out a King Edward. I must admit, I always enjoyed the smell of those wafting fumes. 

Why do people associate gamblers with smoking cigars? I guess in the first place it takes a wealthy type to smoke anything these days. Especially a Cuban cigar, or a hand-rolled number like a Double Corona Regius. Surely, no one smoke these sticks of TNT as they cost $54,000 each. It doesn't sound possible, hey, but that's the word from the smokers' den. 

Sir Mark Prescott, a horse trainer related to the Queen, used to be synonymous with cigar smoking. An avid steamer, he sent tremors across the bows of Cigar Aficianodos Magazine when the slick-backed maestro gave up the habit of a lifetime and soon after went on the cold list of trainers who simply couldn't find a winner for love nor money. Any takers for 10 nicotine patches to 5. Anyone!

From a medical perspective, smoking is dangerous. It's worse than gambling unless you smoke old betting slips. (Joke) One of the few advantages of smoking is that it may help prevent obesity, as nicotine is an appetite suppressant. 

Here's my philosophy about smoking cigars and gambling. If a gambler can afford to smoke a big cigar it shows they have money to burn. Which in turn details they have some wealth, prosperity and success. Smoking a cigar may help fulfil the desire to be the part of a successful gambler acting as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you see a punter at the racecourse smoking a large cigar do you think of success or failure? 

Question: Should you place a bet or buy a £10 cigar? 

5 Ways Psychology can Improve your Gambling


Psychology – the study of behaviour and mind. I think you will agree it is a fascinating subject because it helps identify new wisdom, understanding and advancement of the human condition. I have always been interested in the other side of the coin. How can we use psychology to actually improve our chance of winning? It's a topic of conversation that I have heard very little news. However, I have spent many hours reading psychology books from a quantitative and qualitative perspective and these tips can help you win when betting on the horses.
 
1) Are You Sitting Comfortably? (I Hope Not)

It sounds a crazy idea but research has shown that the chair you sit when making your tips can be the difference between winning and losing. Or, at least, improving your chances of making it a profitable day. It was found that people sitting on a harder chair were harder negotiators than those who sat in comfort. 


2) Loose Lips Sink Tips (Titanic Bet)

Be careful who you listen to. You may not realise it, but you are influenced without knowing. The racing paper, TV channel, opinions and thoughts can easily sway your judgement. If you have good reason to follow your tip – don't be swayed. 

3) Dr Know-It-All

Become an expert. Can the novice punter be better than the expert? It is said that it takes 10,000 hours or study to become an expert of any subject. Make sure you put in the hours and especially work within a niche. It will give you a huge advantage over the opposition. 

4) What Was The Name Of That Horse?

I followed that horse off a cliff. We've all been there. I bet on that horse the last three times so I can't afford to let it go by today. You probably didn't realise but this is psychology at work. You are much more likely to bet on an old favourite horse that new name because of this previous relationship. However, you need to keep this point in mind as all too often this type of horse disappoint and become very costly to follow. 

5) These Words Are Pure Value

The Contrast Theory. This is worth noting. How many times have you seen one horse beat another only to see them re-oppose next start? Take a look at the betting. The beaten horse is likely to be a bigger prize. Not a surprise you might say. But how big are the odds? The human condition details that we often make mistakes in this area and favour the previous winner much more than we should to a level where the outsider of the two horses is a value bet. If the horse looks to have a reason why it could improve: going, distance, jockey it may be the bet. 

The next time you place a bet, take a moment to consider how psychology may have helped or hindered your chance of winning.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Life's A Bitch When Betting From Your Deck Chair


This chair I'm sitting feels a little hard. As I'm getting on in years (joke) perhaps I should give a comfy rocker a test drive. That's a rocking chair not an affluent, long-haired bloke with an electric guitar. That deck chair on the beach looks inviting. The sound of the sea, gulls calling... peace and harmony. The perfect situation to take your phone from your pocket and place a bet. 

I guess you are wondering why I'm talking about chairs. After all, this website is about the psychology of gambling not a subdivision of Ikea. Trust me, if I thought I could sell you a chair I would have a link to one of those Han's Wegner wonderbars (basically a super cool chair). But wait a minute, check out the chair you are sitting this moment because it might be a little more important than you thought.


Psychology and the influence of the unconscious mind are becoming an important factor in understanding the human condition and particularly how this relates to our modern world. Whether we like it or not, psychology is becoming a tool of advantage to the extent that companies are paying fortunes with regard to the fascinating world of neuromarketing.


So what about that chair? Well, for the first time I can tell you that a chair isn't just something you sit on. All those years and I just hadn't seen the wood for the chairs. So what's your favourite seating arrangement? A Han's Werger, stool, bean bag or the classic poof? I don't think I would have the confidence to go into a shop and ask for a classic poof! But back to the chairs. More importantly, where do you sit when watching the racing, football or whatever sport tickles your fancy? Being specific, have you ever considered that the chair which you sit may change your betting performance? I must admit - even with my interest in psychology - I hadn't considered this point until reading an article written by Jeremy Mercer: Exploring the Promise and the Perils of the New Unconscious.


In 2009, a group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology took part in a study on ''bargaining techniques''. The students were seated in an office, shown a car listed at $16,500 and told to get the best possible price. Offers were made and rejected, deals struck, and then the students went on their way, from what seemed a straightforward negotiation.


However, this experiment was rather remarkable in the fact that it tested whether people could be unconsciously influenced through the sense of touch. Basically, could the chair that you sit have an influence on your behaviour? Half of the students sat on hard wooden seats while the others sat on soft cushioned chairs. It was found that those sitting on hard chairs were less flexible in their negotiations and offered less money - on average $347 less - to purchase the car. 


It was concluded that hard surfaces make people ''harder'' when negotiating because the hardness triggers concepts of stability, which the unconscious brain translates into a more confident bargaining position. This ''hard chair effect'' is part of new research which unlocks the mysteries of the human unconscious and the power it can harness. 


Next time you consider a bet, take a moment to consider how your environment may effect your unconscious mind. With further research, it is possible bookmakers may be using this new technology to hinder your success. 


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

3 Fears: Time, Mirrors & Opinions


Have I got time to write this post?

I have an hour glass in the kitchen, a month glass in the living room and standard 80-year life glass in the bedroom. I purchased them TOGETHER on Ebay to save time!

The 80-year life glass is in the shape of a human torso, where everyday a thimble full of sand drops to its feet, half in the left leg and half in the right. The big toes took three months to fill. Scary. Time has passed by and I am halfway up the shins. I think seeing the sands of time pass by has spurred me on to make the most of every minute of the day. Do you have a fear of Chronophobia? I guess it's the kind of phobia you don't consider as a child. Someone may think about it for you. But when we all grow up and the years crack on the fear of time is something that many people can concur.  

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most beautiful of them all? Do you love looking at yourself in the mirror? I guess the best assessment of whether you do is by counting the number of mirrors you have in your home. As time goes on you may notice you have more hour, month, life glasses while the mirrors are removed. The fear of mirrors is called Catoprophobia. Do cats like to look at themselves in the mirror?

What we have talked about here is all a matter of opinion. You love mirrors, you're terrified of the sound of that clock ticking in the hallway. This is a strange one. Do you have a fear of having an opinion. The wall flower of politics. The person who walks swiftly on if someone asks if you like bootleg or skinny jeans? Notice how Delia Smith couldn't bring herself to say she liked Oxo over another favourite brand. Your best friend asks you who will win the FA Cup. Sorry, I didn't hear that! The fear of opinions is called Allodoxophobia.  

I wondered why you didn't have an opinion about time or mirrors. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

He's Backed Every Favourite Since 1973


When you make a decision it seems natural to think you have weighed up all the factors. Let's say you considered a bet. You think the horse has winning form. It likes the ground. Good jockey. The price is better than you thought and looks value. Job done. Well, that's the logic, hey. However, research suggests there may be a problem. Our decision making is mostly unconscious. Now you may consider that is a load of old rubbish. ''I know what I think!'' But

 consider how these aspects may influence your ''decisions''. 



Are you influenced by what others say? The paper favourite? What does that bloke from the Racing Post have to say? You maverick doing your own thing. In an instant you can appreciate how social validation plays its part.  The difficultly is that so much of our ''decision making'' is ingrained, habitual, implicit that even trying to make it conscious is no easy task. As Sigmund Freud would say: ''We are trying to make the unconscious conscious.''

Your past behaviour will affect how you behave in the future? It most likely will unless you can appreciate why you behave in such a way. Have you noticed the bloke in the bookies who only bets on the favourite? Every time it's a favourite. He may try and mix it up a little with a cross the card double (but it's still two favourites). But why? We like to stay true to ourselves and so we follow a personal commitment to do just that. Take a read of our post: I followed That Horse Off A Cliff

Boy, you will be waiting a long time for Uncle Harold to take out his mat and do some break dancing.

Back an outsider? Fu*k Off!!!!!


But what else? Do you follow a tipster even though he has been in terrible form of late because he had a good winner last year. I owe him. Or your mate took your advice last week and he's really keen on this horse  and would you believe it's in the same race as mine. That reciprocity can turn your mind. But so too can your ''decision'' never to trust anyone's advice but your own (talking to myself here).

However, this doesn't mean your thinking is faulty, irrational or bad. It's simply that our conscious mind cannot cope with all the data it tries to process. Our unconscious mind has evolved to do the job. For the most part it does it well. It's not a tyrant trying to teach us a lesson for being a naughty child. It trusts it makes a decision in our interests. That's the ''gut feeling''. 

Probably the best way to appreciating how we make decisions is to keep a diary. Not so much about our selection or bets but how we got to that point. This is much more difficult than it sounds but it can be revealing especially if you notice a pattern of behaviour keeps cropping up. 


What do you think, Sigmund?


Monday, 11 February 2019

How to Pick a Grand National Winner: 7 Secret Tips the Bookies Can't Beat


We've all heard of different ways to pick a Grand National winner.

From liking the name, colours, to ''I always bet on the favourite''.

But when it comes to narrowing down the field, what are those secret tips which give you a fighting chance to win a bundle of cash?

Take a look at our 7 Grand National Secrets to make this year go down a storm:

Don't be scared of the price

Never, ever, laugh at someone who bets on an outsider in this race as nearly anything is possible. Did you know that five 100/1 winners have shocked the bookies (and punters) since the race was inaugurated back in 1839? Since 2009, there have been winners at odds of 100/1, 33/1, 66/1, 25/1, 25/1, 33/1. Horses have to be a certain standard to be allowed to enter this steeplechase and that means all are capable on their day. The handicapper is there to give each horse a chance of winning. That's why horses at huge odds often go better than the favourite. 

Experience is key

Although 40 horses take part it is usually the older, more experienced, runners which hold the greatest chance of winning. Only four horses have won at the age of eight. This included the three-time winning superhorse Red Rum. 

Weight stops trains

It's true, and it also stops horses winning the Grand National. The better the horse's achievements on course, the higher the weight it has to carry over a long distance of four miles and four furlongs. To jump 30 fences in dry conditions is difficult but if the going turns soft it is next to impossible. Ideally, your horse should carry less than 11-6lbs. 

It's a marathon, not a sprint

There are many speed horse which try their luck at Aintree but very few win. You have to go back to Mr Frisk in 1990, who set a course record with a time of 8m 47.8s. Those fast ground conditions are unlikely to be seen again due to animal welfare. So it often pays to bet on a horse with stamina. The majority of winners have won a chase over 3 miles and most had won over further. As the fences are smaller, horses have a tendency to go even faster which plays into the hands of those who love a test of stamina.

Your horse needs to jump

I know it sounds obvious but jumping is the key to getting around the Grand National. If it is clumsy or has a proven record for falling then look at other selections. 

Experience is key 

The Grand National is a stiff test for the best horses and some take to it while others struggle from the start. Experience is a huge advantage in this race and why those who have completed the course before or even hit the frame deserve extra credit. Include the form of other nationals such as the Welsh, Irish and Scottish races.  Ten of the last 14 winners had previously run in at least one of these three races. Mon Mome, who won at odds of 100/1 in 2009, had started favourite in the Welsh National.  

Cheltenham Festival Chase Winners

These are horses which go well when competing in the Grand National, especially British trained.   

Monday, 24 December 2018

Awkward Silences, Television & Smiles


Another post about psychological ramblings. 

Have you ever been to the bookmaker and noticed an awkward silence? Perhaps you won a bit too much money and along with a loss of wedge the bookmaker isn't just giving you the cold shoulder. But how long did it take you to feel something just wasn't right? If you had a stopwatch, what number of second would pass before you pressed the stop button feeling kind of awkward? 

Supposedly, an awkward silence can be felt after just 4 (long) seconds. It doesn't seem quite long enough but that's what they say. 

Television. Who doesn't enjoy watching TV? Often known as the box in the corner - more like hanging on a wall these days - it is part of everyday leisure. Where would we be without that fun box? Psychology has a lot to say about TV. You name it, there is research about this, that and the other. But what does it say about people who love too much TV? How many hours a week do you watch TV? I seem to be watching less and less so it may be saying something positive about me. So what does it say? Here goes. Unhappy people watch more TV. 

When was the last time someone gave you a smile? I guess it wasn't the bookmaker who you won all that money. Not the TV addict who was too busy watching a ''gripping'' episode of Emmerdale. Why should they even think to smile. Not only should you enjoy receiving a smile but giving them too. Research shows that smiling can make you feel happier. 

If you are watching TV in the same room as someone and feel an awkward silence coming on, switch it off, look at the person, and smile. The world is feeling a happier place, hey?

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Habits, Daydreams and Influence

Habits, Daydreams and Influence

Habits. They can be good or bad. Even a good habit can turn bad so it's a tricky subject. 

Psychologists detail that is takes 66 days to form a habit. Bet for 65 and stop. But that suggests gambling is a negative. For many it is most certainly a problem they could do without. Addiction is a bad habit. Interesting that psychologist say it take 10,000 hours to become an expert in a subject. So you get a habit many moons before you become an expert. 

Daydreams. I guess even people who say they never dream, daydream more than they think. So what are you daydreaming about? Becoming a professional gambler? Perhaps dreaming about traveling the world with all that money. Not to say that it is a bad thing to walk through your mind. So what percentage of our days are spent daydreaming. It's a significant amount at 30%. 

But how easily are we influenced? I mean, if I can look you in the eye how easy would you think I could be influenced? It's a strange one but in some respects an obvious one too. Part of the human condition which often reveals a falsehood. 

You believe I am more easy to influence than you. And I believe the same about you.

When you consider these three aspects of life it really makes you realise that we are at the mercy of so many factors and why understanding them can help negate or accept their impact.   

Monday, 12 November 2018

Learning, Authority and Please Don't Frown


Psychology can tell us a lot about ourselves. You, me the old bloke down the street. Knowledge is power and reason enough why understanding is good. 

However, never forget that your mind is unique. 

The next time someone says you are unique, take it as a compliment and agree. 

How do you learn? It is difficult to be objective about yourself and how you learn but psychology can help us appreciate this subject a little better. 

We do learn by example - give someone a similar situation and they will learn to join the dots. 

We've all gone round a friend's house and seen clothes all over the place and it looks like a tip. Believe it or not, they are organised. Science has proven that every human has a tendency to categorize. It's just that the ''messy'' ones have their own particular form of categorization. Ask them, they know where to find items. 

Be careful about working in groups. Why? Because they have a tendency to lead to extreme decisions. It also leads people to drift away from the original topic. 

Be careful of leaders. Their authority will sway your decision making. 

Do you know that controlling your facial muscles can help control your anger? Don't frown and you will not feel so emotional. 

Don't be frightened of a challenge. It is a fact that facing challenges make you happier. 

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Attracted, Threatened & Bored by Your Eye Contact


Nonverbal communication. It was first scientifically researched in 1872 by Charles Darwin in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.  

It can tell you more than you think. How about eye contact? Is that bookmaker looking at you in a certain way? 

So what does eye contact, or more specifically the time someone looks in your direction, mean? 

If someone measured the amount of eye contact by percentage, you may be receiving some very mixed messages.

If you are talking about the form of a given race at Kempton and your mate is looking at you 60% of the time you're not doing a very good job of convincing him. You can bet that the person is bored.

So that friend is looking at you quite intently, an extra 20%, perhaps. What does it mean? They fancy you. 

This last occurrence may happen if you have given a few losing tips. So what does eye contact cranked up to 100% mean? 

It's not good news. The boredom has gone beyond attraction and now we are talking one thing.

You are being threatened.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

7 Psychology Principles to Change Someone's Mind

7 psychology tips to influence Shock. Horror. I've been brainwashed.


Not the usual spring clean with a dot of Dettol in a quart of freezing water and natural sea sponge. No, this is was a full-on brainwashing by the use of psychology. I wish I could say I am in pain. But I've never felt so eased into changing my mind. 

Take a look at these tips to help persuade people into doing all many of silly things.

1) When someone expresses something with confidence your attitude hardens. 

2) A consistent, confident voice is most effective.

3) Priming can be used to influence people. The magician who says ''try'' and ''cycling'' in different sentences because he wants you to think TRICYCLE. 

4) If someone keeps agreeing with you, you feel obligated to agree with them. This reciprocity can make you say yes at the most inappropriate times.

5) Someone shouts: ''It's the last one on the shelf. I just couldn't help but rush over and got that pot of hemorrhoid cream (yikes). Scarcity makes you run for this you don;t even need!

6) I noticed all my friend going out and buying this latest book on How to Make an Ant Farm because Jon Bon Jovi sang about it. I'm a sucker for this social influence. 

7) Certain words hold more power than others. Three types of words: God words (blessings or demands), Devil words (terms of despise or disgust) & charismatic terms. 

The most powerful words in the English language: You, Because, Free, Instantly, and New.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

By The Age of 60 You Will Tell How Many Lies?

How Many Lies Does The Average Person Tell A Day?
I love reading about psychology. One day, when all the pieces start fitting together, the study of behaviour and mind will be something we exalt and fear in equal measures. Such will be its power to make us bow to its wisdom. The true power of manipulation being with those who own the research to understand how a verbal or physical response can make the difference between you saying yes or no to a variety of questions. 

You may remember that a recent post mentioned the act of lying. The most common lie being: ''I'm fine.'' 

I guess you can see how that is popular. People ask how you are... but do they really want an answer by dredging your guts as you dissect the problem? I doubt it. So people say ''I'm fine'' as the perfect answer to a multitude of sins. 

More lies!

As the quote goes: There are three types of lies. ''Lies, damned lies & statistics.'' 

So what do statics say about the kind of lies each and everyone of us say on a daily basis?

As we are talking statics we revel in the act of the normal, average person.

The average person (you, me and the old dear down the road) tells 4 lies a day. 

That's quite good :-)

I guess there is a ''I'm fine'' in those four...to take up at least 25%. 

So let's do the math(s). That's 1460 lies in a year. Sounds a little bit worse, hey. There must be a few big lies in that number. I guess lots of ''I'm fine''. 



I noticed this article in the Express which says: Women are MORE dishonest than men: Females more likely to tell every day fibs.   

I'm not pointing the finger. 

''I'm fine''. 

So let's think about a whole lifetime of lies. Well, brace yourself, it's 87,600 lies by the time you are 60

Have you ever had a few moments like Jim Carey in Liar Liar? 



Friday, 18 May 2018

Fear of your Mother in Law, Laughter & Opinions

Fear of your Mother in Law, Laughter & Opinions

The worst day of your life!

(Only kidding, this is just about psychology).

How many jokes can you tell? Comedians would die a death on stage without using their mother in-law as killer material. Les Dawson used to not only tell jokes about her but dress up like her too. 

Now, it would be darn bad news to suggest that every would-be husband or bloke with a ball and chain around his cankle is  having sleepless nights wondering if, at some point, there will be a kind, considerate and menacing knock at the door. The smell of Olay wafting through the letterbox and the dulcet tones of ''It's only me!''

Who is that? Sounds like the mother in law!!!!! 

So many son in-laws are blessed with a ''second'' mummy.

However, there is a word for all this! A word which tells a very sad tale. Some men (and women) have a phobia called Socerphobia (nothing to do with football). It's a phobia of parents in law. 

I'm sure you're laughing about the whole mother/father in law scenario. I mean, who wouldn't laugh about it? I'll tell you who! Someone with a problem that most of us don't have. Some people don't dare watch a comedy on TV. They only feel safe watching Jimmy Carr because they know it could bring on a fear like no other fear. 

The fear of laughter is actually real. I must admit, I have never known anyone with such a fear. Perhaps they are too cheerless to mention it in general conversation. However, if you know someone who never - ever - laughs at your jokes, is ''seemingly'' miserable 24/7, and they never watch comedies - you might have a candidate. Whisper to them (no, not a joke). Do you have Geliophobia? 

Where would the average mother in law be without an opinion? They need the odd comments to created a bit of conflict to last a year or two. So, I guess we can be assured that no mother in law across the world has this particular phobia. Allodoxophobia. The fear of having an opinion. How could someone last a day without having an opinion? If you know some then please feel free to keep asking their opinion about house decor, the weather or some randomness which is bound to get no response. Take joy in the fact they not only have no opinion but come out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. 

Do you know a parent in law who doesn't laugh or have an opinion. 

Never. 

Friday, 4 May 2018

The Man Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code

Benter in his office in Pittsburg 2018
A fascinating read about a gambler named Bill Benter, written by Kit Chellel, published on Bloomberg. 

This man made a fortune from horse racing by writing an algorithm than seemingly couldn't lose. In fact, he is close to winning a billion dollars. 

The story begins in Hong Kong a mecca for gambling vast sums of money. As the article says: ''Horse racing is like a religion in Hong Kong, whose citizens bet more than anywhere on Earth.'' 

You have only to look at Happy Valley racecourse, surrounded by skyscrapers and neon lights to realise this place is like nothing you have seen before. 

''On the evening of Nov. 6, 2001, all of Hong Kong was talking about the biggest jackpot the city had ever seen: at least HK$100 million (then about $13 million) for the winner of a single bet called the Triple Trio. The wager is a little like a trifecta of trifectas; it requires players to predict the top three horses, in any order, in three different heats. More than 10 million combinations are possible. When no one picks correctly, the prize money rolls over to the next set of races. That balmy November night, the pot had gone unclaimed six times over. About a million people placed a bet—equivalent to 1 in 7 city residents.'' 

''At Happy Valley’s ground level, young women in beer tents passed foamy pitchers to laughing expats, while the local Chinese, for whom gambling is a more serious affair, clutched racing newspapers and leaned over the handrails. At the crack of the starter’s pistol, the announcer’s voice rang out over loudspeakers: “Last leg of the Triple Trio,” he shouted in Australian-accented English, “and away they go!” ''

''As the pack thundered around the final bend, two horses muscled ahead. “It’s Mascot Treasure a length in front, but Bobo Duck is gunning him down,” said the announcer, voice rising. “Bobo Duck in front. Mascot fighting back!” The crowd roared as the riders raced across the finish line. Bobo Duck edged Mascot Treasure, and Frat Rat came in third.''

''Across the road from Happy Valley, 27 floors up, two Americans sat in a plush office, ignoring a live feed of the action that played mutely on a TV screen. The only sound was the hum of a dozen computers. Bill Benter and an associate named Paul Coladonato had their eyes fixed on a bank of three monitors, which displayed a matrix of bets their algorithm had made on the race—51,381 in all.''

''Benter and Coladonato watched as a software script filtered out the losing bets, one at a time, until there were 36 lines left on the screens. Thirty-five of their bets had correctly called the finishers in two of the races, qualifying for a consolation prize. And one wager had correctly predicted all nine horses. “F---,” Benter said. “We hit it.”''

Read more...

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Psychology: Why Number 7 is the Luckiest

Lucky Number 7
Surely a number is a number? 

They should represent the number of something. One apple, two pairs, three wise men... 

However, we know that numbers aren't just numbers, hey? That's why you have your favourites, dislike others or superstitious of some. 

When a feeling is evoked from a number... it isn't just a number any more.  

If I asked you to name an unlucky number it would most likely be 13. Although this may vary from country to country. It is considered luck in Italy. 

As detailed in our previous article: Fear of Bearded Men and the Number 13. Research has shown that one in ten people are superstitious about the number 13. 

What about Friday the 13th. Spooky. Known as Paraskevikdekatriaphobia, it has a fear strong enough to keep some people in bed all day. 

Number 7 is considered 'lucky'. When you ask someone to pick a number from 1 to 10 number 7 is chosen most often. The extremes 1 and 10 are neglected, the even numbers have too much of a recognisable patter, while number 5 is too obvious being positioned in the middle, that leaves 3, 7, 9. With 9 being close to the end, and 7 seeming more obscure than 3 it is chosen most often. 

A survey of 40000 people found that number 7 was closely followed by number 3. it shows the perception people have with numbers. 

Lucky number 7 is reinforced in western culture seen on slot machines and at casinos (777). 

Friday, 20 April 2018

Fear of Bearded Men and the Number 13

The bearded man
I guess we are all scared of something? 

Something terrifying - something stupid. Who is to say what we should be scared?

Psychology loves phobias. You name a phobia with a Greek sounding name and it is there. Poking it with a stick. Provoking it to respond, like a child throwing stones at wasp nest until you have a black cloud above your head. You know, wasps just stop flying and drop out of the air onto their victim and sting. 

I have never placed a bet with a bookmaker with a beard. I've never really thought too much about it until today. Reading about phobias I have learned that a fear of beards is called Pogonophobia. It doesn't really sound like a fear of beard, the word, I mean.  

Pogon is actually Greek for beard. Phobia English for phobia! (Via Latin from Greek).

Who knows why we have a fear of beards? Perhaps it is simply because someone can't grow one. Their ex had a big bushy beard, hiding a kitten. You simply never know. 

Numbers. What do they mean to you? Race cards. PIN number. Mobile No. Why would someone have a fear of numbers? I can understand one number if you are superstitious. Thirteen. See I wrote it there in letter rather than the number 13. 

So you have a phobia called Triskadekaphobia. 

Tri = 3. 

Deka = 10. 

A fear of thirteen. Basically, Friday the 13th. 

Interesting that no one had hardly mentioned the word until 1900. So it must have appeared in some publication around that date. The unlucky 13 relates to 1890s and Last Supper. Judas, the last and thirteenth disciple to sit at the table, who betrayed Jesus. 

Thirteen is consider lucky for some. 

Where?

In Italy it is considered lucky. 

If you have a fear of 13 you are not alone. Famous people include: Stephen King (horror writer). 

Never bet on a bearded jockey, riding a horse number thirteen and its name is Triskadekaphobia.  

I know for a fact a horse of that name raced in UK. Number thirteen. Possible. Bearded jockey. 33/1. 


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Fat Teddy Bears, Lying and Alcohol

I guess these three words could be described as the good, bad and ugly. I would imagine most people have partaken in owning a teddy bear, drinking alcohol and even lying. 

It makes me wonder who is the person who still has all three going on as an adult, especially if a man. I have this scenario in mind of a toy collector (bears), who lied about the price he paid for this Stieff bear, which tormented him so much that Mr Bear Collector turned to alcohol.  I'm sure you could imagine lots of story lines. 

Plenty of people have lied or turned to alcohol when gambling goes wrong. But I wonder what they would say if you ask how they are...

As always, everything in moderation and remember that willpower is a good foundation to build reason, logic and responsibility. 

So what does psychology tell us about these three things:

Did you know, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men admit to sleeping with a teddy bear. 

Lier, lier....

Do you know the most common lie? 

''I'm fine''

As many as 9% of adult Americans have been to Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at some time in their life. 

Fat Teddy Bears. Well, lets talk about fat in general - piling on the pounds. Posting a calorie chart in fast food restaurants leads people to choose less healthy options