Thursday, July 20, 2006

Monte Carlo or Bust

I recently realised that I have a gambling problem. I booked an appointment with the experts at the Special Bets clinic and as always they were more than happy to help. Before I had even sat down they had diagnosed me with an acute case of OCBPD ("Obsessive Compulsive Backing Pete Disorder").

You see, I just can't stop backing Pete. Heaven only knows what is going through the minds of people currently wanting to lay him at 1.37 to win this year's Big Brother. Are they taking profits from previous bets at higher odds? Are they simply crazy? What could possibly encourage anybody in their right mind to bet against Pete and his Mountain of Love? He won't walk out, he's a fighter. He may yet be poisoned by Glyn's cooking, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. As far as I can see, only a summoning to the big Diary Room in the Sky can stop Pete from strolling home as things currently stand.

The Special Bets specialist prescribed me with large doses of statistical analysis in order to cure my obsession, and it has worked. I've suddenly stopped backing him. "Why?" I hear you scream with genuinely feigned interest. The answer lies in one of the best places to look when dealing with games of chance: Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo simulation is statistical analysis by brute force, in effect simulating every possible outcome. It is an honour and a privilege to have access to the 425 responses to the special survey we conducted over the last two days regarding your feelings towards the remaining housemates. A genuine thank you goes out to all those that took part. My repayment to you all is an attempt to use this data to simulate what could possibly happen to voting behaviour over the next five weeks.

If the vote were made this evening, Pete would win. The reason that there is still money to be made by backing him tonight is because of the risk that voters will change their preferences before the final night. It is with regard to how preferences may change that I have conducted over 12,000 simulations.

My assumptions are simple. Each housemate has an equal chance of attracting voters over the remainder of the competition (there is also a twelfth scenario that things simply don't change). Using the information regarding who you like and dislike I have assigned probabilities that each respondent will "migrate" their preference to a different housemate should they have a strong end to the show.

As the simulations flickered across my computer screen, my excitement grew. I realised that all I had to do was count how many times each housemate won and that would be their probability of winning according to the model, and hence I could calculate a "fair value" on the betting exchanges. When the flickering stopped, this is what I saw:

So you can see why I've stopped backing Pete. I don't think he's not going to win, it's just that according to how you feel he's not good value at 1.37. Comparing the above table to the current betfair odds, it would appear that the odds for Glyn, Imogen and Mikey are also too short, whereas value can be found in Richard and Any Other.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.



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Anonymous Alf Garnett's PR Guru said...

Hi Statman! Great post..I hope the flickering didn't induce an epileptic fit? You model works for betdaq but can you redo the bottom table to reflect the betfair win market - I mean - can you "bundle" all the "any others" together please?

11:25 PM  
Blogger Statman said...

Hi Alf Garnett's PR Guru.

Sounds like a nice job you have. Can you do anything for Jim davidson? I worry about him after Big Break got the axe.

I might be misunderstanding you, if so I apologise, but your request for a "bundle" of "Any Others" should be satisfied by the last entry in the table.


11:40 PM  
Anonymous Alf Garnett's PR Guru said...

What I mean is...

"any other" on Betfair is trading at 13/15. It incorporates Aisleyne+Michael+Jayne+Jennie+Spiral_Suzie

To relate your analysis to that winner market we either need them all together, or broken out separately - you done a bit of both... seems a shame given the high quality of the work...

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Alf Garnett's PR Guru said...

Oh is see - are saying that the "Any Other" DOES reflect Aisleyne+Michael+Jayne+Jennie+Spiral_Suzie?

11:54 PM  
Blogger Statman said...


12:10 AM  
Anonymous Lord Muck said...

Thanks Statman, I think I was skivving off the day we did Monte Carlo Simulation at skool! Are you moving you OCBP Disorder to anyother then? looks like a great punt if you're right!

12:15 AM  
Blogger Statman said...

Hi Lord Muck.

Great name, and thanks for the question.

I think people's obsessions are subjective. If you do not currently have a position on Pete, then the analysis shows that maybe this is not such a good entry point.

However, as I said, I still think he's going to win. It's just I'm not compulsively obsessed about backing him at this time and these prices.


12:24 AM  
Anonymous superstar tipster said...

Can we have some early results from the friday poll soon please

9:19 AM  
Anonymous superstar tipster said...

Is all the money going on over 70% on betfair at the moment yours?

11:02 AM  
Blogger Statman said...

Hi Superstar

The answer to your question is no.

We opened our poll this morning and as we approach 100 responses this is how it stands:

Jayne 69%
Richard 31%

We will keep you posted.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous superstar tipster said...

Thanks statman, someone obviously has somehow formed a strong opinion that it will be over 70%.

Does todays poll only include people who say they are more likely to vote than not?

11:11 AM  
Blogger Statman said...

Superstar, that's what you are.

Breaking out the 40% who are more likely to vote puts Jayne on 70.7%

Numbers still a little on the small side.

Special Bets will come back to you.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous superstar tipster said...

How's the poll looking now statman.

''I'm a superstar reaching for the stars la la la ''

2:03 PM  
Blogger Statman said...

"I don't know who you are,
But you must be some kind of superstar,
Coz you got all eyes on you no matter where you are"

Up way over 200 responses now.

71% Jayne

Filtered for voters: 72%

2:42 PM  
Blogger zoomraker said...

If there is no value to be had in backing Pete does that mean there is value to be had by laying him.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Statman said...

Hi Zoomraker. Thanks for the question.

Let me make myself absolutely clear on this. I am still convinced that Pete will win, however the odds are "ahead" of where they should be right now given the current stage of the competition.

The question you need to ask yourself is how you think Pete's odds will behave relative to his "fair value". If you think his premium will be held until the end of the show, and you are not fully invested yet, then maybe you should back him here on the basis you don't think you'll see a better absolute price.

If you are however like me and have been backing Pete extremely aggressively for some time, then it is a time to pause and reflect given the results of the simulation.

If you are speculating that Pete's odds will go out from here and you want to make money from that then the analysis shows there is room for this to happen, but you have to be sure you are comfortable that something could cause such a move.

There is also the question of efficient use of your money. I would suggest that given Pete is overvalued, it would be better to play eviction percentages where you may find more attractive opportunities, than let your money sit in a bet where it may take one or two weeks for reality to justify the odds available.

We will be sure to let you know about any opportunites we see today regarding the eviction this evening.



3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is your poll saying please. I need some expert opinion.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Admin said...

Anonymous we'll post an update on the new thread by 7.30pm...

7:14 PM  
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