Thursday, January 31, 2013

500% deposit bonus on

Check out this ALC sign up bonus they have been advertising on Yahoo. For new players if you put in $2 and buy a 6/49 ticket online ALC will credit you $10 in your account.

That amounts to a 500% deposit bonus on the $2. It's actually a bit better than that because as I show in the post below the $2 ticket has around 68 cents of equity.

The $10 bonus is unrestricted clear money in your account and you don't have to put it in play. You can withdraw it direct as straight cash.

Atlantic Lotto: a cruel predator

Atlantic Lotto has been running feel good ads again on the supper hour news, and have revived the askaway site.

In their recent ads they remarkably brag about how much money they rip off the players for. For every dollar wagered by players they pay out 34 cents to winners, keeping 66 cents.

The government helps itself to 35% off the top as profit. Additionally 12% of the ALC wagers go to government as taxes. So it's actually 47% of every dollar wagered is removed and transferred to government. I'm not sure why ALC needs the remaining 19% to fund operations seems kind of high but w/e I guess.

Let's compare ALC to a simple casino game. red-black on standard 37 slot roulette. In this game for every dollar wagered

18 times in 37 the player wins and the house pays out $2
19 times in 37 the house wins and pays $0

So for every dollar wagered the house returns over 97 cents to the players, keeping only 3% as pre-expense profit margin. Why then does ALC need to keep 66 cents of every dollar wagered?

In order to rig red/black roulette to pay out at 34% ALC rates it would have to be
1-7 the players win
8-36 and 00 the house wins

Incredibly the ALC feel good ads insist they provide "safe and regulated" gambling. How can it be considered "safe" for the players if they are obviously being fleeced and ripped off?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

photos project is done

I've just finished up a long standing personal project. I've now collected and sorted all of my pictures into photo albums.

It took a while as there were pics from a 35mm camera and two cell phones. I'd still like to get a real camera some day, a Canon in the $200-$300 range. There were a number of pics posted to facebook and some that weren't. So it took a while to sort through what was where. I copied the picture files to memory stick and got them developed on a year by year basis. I used Shoppers and Superstore for developing.

Did I mention it took a while to sort through it all? Basically through the NFL playoffs I was working on this while the games were on tv. Ah now it's all done, everything is caught up, developed and in the albums. I got the albums at Superstore. I filled one 320 pic album and a good start on the second.

Going forward the plan is to definitely stay on top of it and get the pics developed close to when they are taken. It will be easier now as I have the definite done up to now point so I know where my starting point is.


So that's that. It's good to complete a personal project. I've got a few more to work on. Next I think will be the long delayed hockey cards project. Picking up from the completion of football and baseball. Get them finally sorted out, see where it's at, figure out which sets to complete and which to release.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New England Patriots and Super Bowl luck

It looks like a good super bowl this year. I was hoping for Baltimore in the AFC championship game and they made it.

There's been some talk over the years about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick after losing their last two appearances. That makes them 3-2 in the big game. I think a lot of that talk is ill informed. Let's look at the modern Pats SB results

2001beat St. Louis 20-17
2003beat Carolina 32-29
2004beat Philadelphia 24-21
2007lost New York Giants 17-14
2011lost New York Giants 21-17

Well the first thing you notice is how close the games were. Looking at the final scores they could all pretty much be described as toss ups. Now going 3-2 in "coin flips" is a pretty standard result. This table is the coin flips results.

ResultLikelihood Percent

hmmm so 3-2 is just about right. that might also help explain the Tom Landry Cowboys going 2-3 in the Super Bowl.

Another way to look at it is in terms of expectation. To do this we have to estimate the chance going into the game that the Patriots would win. In 2001 against the greatest show on turf Rams team they were an underdog. In 2007 coming in 18-0 they were a strong team and the favorite. Now there's some subjective guesswork in estimating their chances going into each game but here goes

YearPregame Chance of Winning

add them together and it comes to 2.80 expected wins. so again 3-2 is just about right

Monday, January 28, 2013

quantifying hockey

After reading Moneyball I got thinking if hockey could be similarly quantified. I think to some extent it can. This isn't fully thought through and others have spent a lot more time on this than me. Still here goes.

Reduced to simpler situations it can be quantified and expected value can be used. Suppose there is a two on one. The puck carrier would like to pass to his teammate for a one timer. The defenceman can choose to cut off the pass and let the puck carrier go in on a clear breakaway, or he can cut off the puck carrier and try to break up the one timer pass. What should the defenceman do?

To find the correct move we need some more data. Let's say that the goalie stops 3 of every 5 breakaways. However on one timers the shooter will score 3 times out of 5. The defenceman can break up a one time pass 3 times in 10.

Now it becomes clear what to do. On a breakaway the puck carrier will score 40% of the time, for an expectation of 0.40 goals. One the one timer the pass gets through 70% of the time and the shooter scores 60% of the time, or an expectation of 0.7 * 0.6 = 0.42 goals. So the correct play is for the defence to cut off the pass and allow the breakaway- the fans might not like it but it's the best outcome for the defence in this situation.

Now hockey, like football and basketball, is different from baseball in that a team in a positive scoring situation can end up being scored upon. Power play is around 20% effective so drawing a penalty may be worth 0.2 goals. However there may be around 2% shorthanded goals. So the value of the power play may be 0.18 of a goal. In baseball only the team at bat can score so it is easier to consider offence separately from defence.

So how do you win a hockey game? Well the team that scores more goals wins. Of course there's more to it than that, as in that case teams would just pull their goalie for the entire game and add another skater to increase scoring. In a "fluid" game like hockey and basketball you need to both score more and prevent fever scores. There's value in offence and defence up to a point of diminishing returns.

I think Ted Sator way back had some good ideas. He was perhaps a bit ahead of his time. Today with access to big data there may be some applications to possibly determine value of things like blocking a shot, winning a faceoff in the offensive zone, a defenceman joining a rush, superior rebound control. The applications might be in building a winning roster, identifying underpriced or overpriced players, or predicting the number of goals that will be scored in a game or a more probable range of goals for each team.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

ah free speech on the Ottawa campus

So second rate Carleton has decided to try to catch up to UOttawa by reminding us there is no place for thoughtcrime on their campus. To prove their hostility to dissenting views, a straw man Free Speech Wall was erected to be torn down within hours.

The courageous destructor? Seventh year student Arun Smith. Seventh year you say? Glad to see the people's tax money used productively funding his education. Our future leaders. Maybe some school board or big city newspaper will have him.

Well Carleton had to catch up after the Anne Coulter book burning at UOttawa. Next up is for the Carleton admin to follow up these events with a bizarre, Orwellian announcement that the university obviously supports and has always supported freedom of thought and expression on campus.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

math problem: three of a kind

I was playing cards last night and an interesting situation came up.

In this game after the deal there are three community cards turned over in the middle of the card table. These three cards are called the flop. On this hand the three card flop happened to be three Kings.

The dealer remarked that there is a 1 in 256 chance that the flop is all the same rank - i.e. three of a kind. I thought about it for a little bit and told the dealer that this is wrong. The chance of the flop being three of a kind is not 1 in 256. I told him the correct answer. The dealer called the floor and they were confused and the floor walked away muttering saying he would look it up on the internet.

This isn't a difficult problem and I was able to work it out without writing anything down. A high school student with basic probability should be able to solve it. To simplify and standardize I will express it as follows.

A standard 52 card deck is shuffled so the cards are in random order. What is the probability that the top three cards in the deck are the same rank? It can be three of any kind Kings, Aces, 222, etc.

I'll let it sit for a couple of days and post the answer in the comments.

Monday, January 21, 2013

shit sandwich

Back in the financial crisis an interesting phrase started to appear on some of the forums.

Nobody wants to take the first bite of a shit sandwich

Instinctively that would seem to be true and self evident. But I got thinking about it a bit more.

While the statement is true, there is a more general form which is also true. Actually nobody wants to take any bite of a shit sandwich.

But is the statement really true? Consider this situation. It's between you and some other guy. There's a shit sandwich. One person takes the first bite. The other person has to eat the rest. Well in that case suddenly that first bite doesn't seem so bad.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

bad Steve Murphy interview

Back in November there was a Steve Murphy interview with General Tom Lawson, head of Canada's military.

It was a good opportunity but Steve and the director of the segment didn't do a great job. Early in Steve noticed the General has a recently added fourth maple leaf on his shoulder. Well that's nice, Steve or the director could have thought to get the general to turn ever so slightly so the camera could get a close up of the maple leafs on the general's shoulder. We viewers didn't even get to see it! Terrible.

So it was around the time of the David Petraeus thing and the Halifax security conference. While Steve touched on it a bit and probed the general some, he missed some good questions he could have asked General Lawson

  • will the lovely Paula Broadwell be joining us for the security conference?
  • is the social liaison at the base all set with the entertainment for the weekend?
  • do you personally command the Army?

it was a disappointing interview and not really well done

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

I finished up the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It was good. I learned of the book from the movie. I haven't seen the movie.

The book is the story of the 2002 Oakland A's. A small budget team damaged by the loss of key players after 2001, general manager Billy Beane tries to find effective low cost replacements. The book is the story of how Billy and assistant GM Paul DePodesta find overlooked and undervalued players in other teams. Billy and Paul are very data driven, leaning on the writings of the likes of Bill James. They come to the conclusion that getting on base is good, getting out is bad (hence their discarding of base stealing and bunting), defence and speed are overrated (or at least overpriced). The author writes nice notes on the players they find, a washed up catcher who could hit converted to first basemen, a submarine pitcher with 84 mph fastball the white sox wouldn't call up despite mowing down AAA batters for 2 years.

It was a really good book, definitely worth reading.