The results of the World Cup experiment.

Wednesday, 25 June, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

First, how it all got startedi :

mircea_popescu Ok so here's a story : BitBet curently has 19 World Cup bets open. The average bet on these is .175 (excluding house and mpif), like so .79, .44, 0, .21, .60, .10, .54, .03, 0, 0, .01, 0, .05, .28, .01, .04, 0, .11, .11. Now, on top of these, there's no less than 30 bets pending approval on WC, pretty much "X country will advance from groups". Obviously mods wanted to consult. Now, in the spirit of being in Argentina and these people loving the WC, I ok'd the whole bulk. But, let me point out, this is pretty horrible business for BitBet, per seii. And obviously, I'll be using this data to inform further decisions on what to accept. So logically a) if you wonder later why your zeroconf sports bet got rejected by mods, the reason is probably here and b) if you want to see sport bets on BitBet, this is a bad time to sit and watch and a great time to get involved.

mike_c Sport bets do fine on bitbet (see nba finals bets). Soccer on the other hand... Bet created: "Much grass will grow while waiting for somebody to score a goal".iii You Argentines should be watching Manu Ginobli beat the crap out of Lebron.
mircea_popescu Obviously also a great time to affliate BitBet, but then again, I couldn't even find an affiliate manager at all. Apparently everyone wants to sit on his ass and derp on reddit about things, nobody wants to work anymore. What's a Manu Ginobli ?

mike_c An awesome Argentine basketball player currently winning the NBA finals.
mircea_popescu Aok.

mike_c There's a couple Frenchies winning too. Amazingly, after getting drilled in the ribs, one of the Frenchies did not immediately give up but played through!
What exactly is an affiliate manager, anyway.
mircea_popescu An affiliate manager is a guy who knows a lot of affiliate marketeers who trust him.

* asciilifeform only ever heard of 'affiliate marketeer' as euphemism for spammer
mircea_popescu I don't even know what the state of the industry is anymore. 20 years ago you had the legitimate folk and then the dumb noobs pretending, much like in Bitcoin. Maybe in the meanwhile it died, I dunno. Probable, judging by the fact that everyone I used to know back then is off the grid.

kakobrekla ascii has it.
asciilifeform If it was once alive - now dead, replaced by scar tissue.
mircea_popescu I guess so. Sad. Anyway, in 1994 a good affiliate could send you even 100k clicks which'd convert upwards of 10%. At an average sale of ~60, you do the math.

kakobrekla I think lots of such people moved to SEO and such. Which is also a scam.
mircea_popescu I'm pretty sure they were doing plenty of SEO whatever back then. Except back then it actually worked. mike_c you know NBA isn't doing SO much better. Basically this is the best proof bitcoin is populated by nerds : 0 interest in sports.

benkay Sports betting is a mass thing anyways, isn't it?
kakobrekla Well that kuka bet was kinda interesting until it was shown it's scripted.iv
mircea_popescu Right ? Nerdiest thing ever.

kakobrekla It's sports!
diametric I can't wait for the berkshire bet to resolve.

kakobrekla Ditch the other categories. New categories: difficulty, price action, stocks, arrests.
mircea_popescu Definitely sports don't merit their own category I'm thinking. The way I figure it, if the WC set fails to attract 500 btc total pool, we'll just ditch sports as a category and mostly reject all proposed sports bet without zeroconf.

kakobrekla But it helps to keep that part separated from the good part.
mircea_popescu Just put 'em all in misc.

asciilifeform For some reason I imagined sport bets were a 'major thing' (not for me personally, but for a mythical 'unwashed mass waiting to arise'). Turns out, no?
mircea_popescu Seems not. Unwashed masses wish to arise THOUGH WAITING. Not through anything else.

* asciilifeform recalls betting shop in Timis
mircea_popescu Yes, but that's the same bitcents they do here. TLPv actually has a good write-up for this.

kakobrekla Perhaps yea if it's presented circle like. Or whatever it's called.
mircea_popescu Do me a favour, calculate the sum pool over the sports bets past 365 days.

kakobrekla Kay.
asciilifeform One hypothesis: the sports aficionados are... broke.
mircea_popescu Maybe.

mike_c Another: they aren't used to betting on games parimutuel style.
mircea_popescu Prolly a large factor also. The other way to formulate this is, sports bettors are not motivated by the money. They expect specific sorts of services provided for which BitBet is poorly fitted.

los_pantalones As a sports betting person myself, I can say the BitBet contracts don't really do it for me because I need a very last secondvi bet and live betting during the event. Specific services like what ?
mircea_popescu Drinks, tits, streaming game, betting tips, a whole atmosphere such as it is. In exchange for which they don't mind -50% EV.vii

los_pantalones Nah nah, I do online. I need in game but I like trading vol. It's not a prediction game.
mircea_popescu Explain this trading vol thing.

los_pantalones We spoke briefly about this before, BitBet is well suited to get an accurate prediction. Did you ever use tradesports?
mircea_popescu I don't actually bet.viii

los_pantalones Back in the day. All binary bets. Live before and during event. Let's say event is MP vs PNTS trades 0 to 100.
mircea_popescu Line style ?

los_pantalones No. You are pummeling me early, look fat and out of shape.
mike_c Contract bets. With bids/asks.
los_pantalones Trades near 10. I come back in the second round, look better, moves to 20. There is constant volume. Works really well in basketball. Big halftime lead, line moves too far to the edge, just fade it. There is vol in the expectation of the outcome of the event during the event, the price moves. I enjoy that. I hate the sportsbook type trading where you can only bet one side, so BitBet already better in that regard. But still retains the fixed bet part.
mircea_popescu I'm not sure why you think what you're describing isn't already present on BitBet.

los_pantalones When do the sports bets close?
mircea_popescu At some point after the event.
mike_c It doesn't have fixed odds. Odds change.

mircea_popescu Let me translate what you just described in BitBet terms. So, on 1st of month bet MP vs LP is made. Game is set for 5th. Bet closes on 7th. At game start on 5th, weighted pots are 57k MP 33k LP and weight is whatever, 85k. One hour later, weight being 84,500 you decide to buy more LP. Pot moves 57k to 37k, so so odds went from 1.72727272727 to 1.54054054054. Then you want to push the other way ? Bet a little more on MP. So it's now 58k to 37k. Etc.

los_pantalones Ah, well, then I am absolutely wrong. I was under the impression the bet closed before the event. I will now promptly go bet.
mircea_popescu Which is why I need a bunch of fucking affiliates. To explain this to people, who otherwise would be betting. AND the beauty of parimutuel is that you can always adjust your exposure to a pot % so you never motherfucking get taken out of the game. You wish to have 1% of the pot, you can make sure you do no matter what happens.

mike_c *Provided infinite capital.
mircea_popescu Provided you own the % of total world capital that you wish your % of the pool to be. If you own 1% of all bitcoin, you're guaranteed a 1% slice of any bet pool you ever wish to have.

los_pantalones Looking at Bosnia will advance to group stage, the betting closes 23-06-2014, is that after the last potential match ?
assbot BitBet - Brazil will win FIFA World Cup 2014 :: 0.49 B (26%) on Yes, 1.41 B (74%) on No | closing in 1 day 6 hours | weight: 486 (100`000 to 1)
los_pantalones Why does this Brazil to win bet close in 30 hours ?
mircea_popescu Oh fuck. You bring a motherfucking VERY GOOD POINT don't you.

los_pantalones Ok, I'm not crazy!
mircea_popescu I broke the model in the implementation ;/

los_pantalones Yes! Say it!
mircea_popescu Jesus fuck.

los_pantalones Say "my bad". Here I was, feeling like a lazy asshole...
mircea_popescu My bad :D

los_pantalones Nice! I can die a happy man.ix
mircea_popescu Anyway, this bitchfest of mine has yielded quite actionable advice from the chan that's +IQ. Specifically, I'll make the mods put close dates for sports bets AFTER the event.

kakobrekla 258.82066273 satoshi over 166. Eh... satoshi = btc. ;;calc 258/166
gribble 1.55421686747
kakobrekla O_o
mircea_popescu Of which 201 are from the cointoss.x So 57 over 166.xi

benkay Too bad about that mircea_popescu bitbet, eh.
mircea_popescu I wonder if people's CVs will end up including links to ba logs where I go "my bad".

los_pantalones Great point. I will def list that!
benkay Mine has the links to my few good ideas.
asciilifeform Knuth's typo cheques.
mircea_popescu Yeah I was thinking that.

los_pantalones Oh come to think of it, I love the decay feature of the BitBet on a live event. Prevents all the last minute people glomming onto the trade.
mircea_popescu Yes but 100k to 1 is too much for sports. Consider our case : bet is made on 1st. Weight is 100k. If someone puts 10 btc on it then, it's sealed. But if the most it collects is the few bicents we mostly get currently, then a few bitcoin bets during the event make sense, even if they're 1/10 weight. But NOT if they're 1/100000.

los_pantalones Yeah, agreed, just hadn't even thought that through.
mircea_popescu So from now on, sports bets will end at 10k, and close after the event.

los_pantalones mircea_popescu, you are a gentleman and a scholar, tyvm.
mircea_popescu This should also work nicely with []bot's live streaming of bets. -assets will become this place to watch sports!

los_pantalones Just what we all wanted
assbot Sports! | Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! | Adult Swim - YouTube
mircea_popescu No idea what I'll do with this entertainment section tho, it's even more fucked up than sports currently.

asciilifeform Potentially serious flaw: -assets cannot yet pour beer.
Apocalyptic Beer is overrated
mircea_popescu And with this little adventure, Confirmed bets: 10009. We crossed 10k. Confirmed total: 14820 BTC. So like 1.482 btc average pool. ;;ticker

gribble Bitstamp BTCUSD ticker | Best bid: 616.93, Best ask: 618.88, Bid-ask spread: 1.95000, Last trade: 616.93, 24 hour volume: 8565.07142918, 24 hour low: 613.71, 24 hour high: 640.79, 24 hour vwap: 623.452038028
mircea_popescu ;;calc 623.452038028 * 1.482

gribble 923.955920357
kakobrekla >Confirmed bets: 10044, thanks to sports spam. But hey, congrats mircea_popescu.
mircea_popescu no u

kakobrekla NO U!xii

This was on June 12th. Meanwhile we're in a position to know the results of this little experiment. To wit :

32 bets. all figures exclude house bets.

amts wagered per bet: .67, .29, .26, .22, 1.94, .53, 2.72, .32, .40, .64, 1.20, .45, .22, .35, .85, .41, .22, .32, .20, .51, 1.05, .77, .59, .85, .38, .30, 1.33, .53,
.20, .78, .78, .70
total 21.98 btc betxiii, avg per bet .69

number of wagers: 9, 6, 4, 7, 10, 8, 9, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 3, 5, 10, 5, 9, 4, 2, 6, 8, 5, 8, 5, 6, 4, 8, 7, 3, 5, 7, 3
total wagers made: 199, avg per bet 6

So, simply put : BitBet shareholders spent 3.2 BTC, and obtained in exchange about 0.3 BTC (rounded to the closest digit). That's a 90% loss. This is not even counting the extra effort which stretched the resources of the mod team, and which led to a few perfectly excusable mistakesxiv that cost me about half a Bitcoin.

While 90% loss is actually three times better results than the appalling 0.57 BTC over 16.6 BTC results of the past year's worth of sports betting, I can not in good conscience allow this bullshit to continue. Consequently, effective immediately :

  1. Sport bets will be only accepted by BitBet if they have a zeroconf (initial wager) of no less than 2 BTC.
  2. Sport bets will have to specifically mention the GMT time the game in question ends. Check if this time is accurate before you bet. BitBet will refund late bets as of that time, irrespective of any considerations, which includes the game being extended in any way for any reason.
  3. Sport bets will not be accepted more than two weeks before the event in question.
  4. Sport bets will not have an end weight inferior to 10k. If the bet is submitted with a lower end weight BitBet will just use 10k.
  5. Rules iii and iv are waived if you fully fund your bet (10 BTC upfront).

That'd be it. If you want to make a particular game you care about fun, put some BTC down. I know from experience absolutely any exoticism will be covered - I famously threw away 1 BTC on Halep to win the Roland Garros and got covered at what I consider reasonable odds. What we can't do however is have this buffet style where we play with pennies and just dump empty plastic cups and cheap paper shoes everywhere. It's not what BitBet is all about, anyway, and I daresay it's not what Bitcoin is all about, either. We're a lot more ecologic than that consumerist mess.

Thanks for playing.

  1. On irc, of course. []
  2. BitBet fronts 0.1 BTC on a new bet, and makes back 1% of the pool. So if a bet pool goes over 10 BTC, BitBet is in the green. If not, in the red. []
  3. He has a point, soccer is possibly the dumbest sport on TV. At least tennis has bouncy tits and those wet yelps, squalls and sighs. Soccer is not unlike watching golf. []
  4. We had to cancel it. Fucking fraudulent, scamming, despicable bastards. Anything for "exposure", right ? Fuck you. []
  5. The Last Psychiatrist. Here. []
  6. This is quite problematic in Bitcoin in the first place because of the nature of the blockchain, the possibility of double spends and so on. Bitcoin just isn't well adapted to rushed activity. []
  7. Yes, line betting is a scam. But you don't really care, do you. You don't bet to make money any more than you "invest" to make money, do you. You bet&invest (really, the same thing) to have fun. []
  8. I'm not much of a gambling man. I may throw money around with a shovel to prove a point, whatever that point may be - money is a tool after all, exactly like a well designed experiment is a tool. I'm not likely to actually care what the results come out as, certainly not in the deeply personal, emotional manner of the gambler. []
  9. They have fucking BitBet bets about this and whatnot. []
  10. Was a bet as to which side some coin toss will land, 100 btc each side. []
  11. Any way you look at it this isn't enough, so over the past year maintaining the delusion that BitBet lists sport bets has cost the S.BBET shareholders at least 2.7 BTC. []
  12. There, believe it or not, kako got the last word for once! []
  13. Add 9.63 in 5 bets that came in right after this was completed. []
  14. Girl refunded a bet that came in 7 minutes after the 90 minutes after the game start, not knowing that the game has a 15 minute break midway. []
Category: S.BBET
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17 Responses

  1. I'd like to see all bets have an initial wager of 2 BTC, sports bets included. Most of the bets on stocks, entertainment awards, etc. are a losing proposition for BitBet without these conditions. Only the Bitcoin network difficulty and price bets attract >10 BTC of wagers without such specifications.

    BitBet needn't choose between gettin' laid and gettin' paid. It can have both.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 26 June 2014


  3. kyuupichan`s avatar
    Tuesday, 1 July 2014

    You overstate the case here somewhat (deliberately I'm assuming).

    Of the initial wager of 0.1 BTC you pay more than half to yourself (though you have to bet it - so it depends on the skill of the mods) so the cost to BitBet is arguably overstated by more than a factor of two.

    Also I suspect BitBet got some valuable exposure and new bettors through those bets; I know I introduced someone through them.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 2 July 2014

    Statistically, if you bet exactly correctly (ie, the BitBet odds match exactly the "real" odds) then the model as is will result in exactly 50% return. However if you don't, you're probably going to get less than that. So no, at most BitBet could be clawing back half of the money in question through the skill of the mod making the odds. Nevertheless, you don't get to count BitBet's own intellectual contribution against it.

    So no, in no case is it "more than a factor of two". At most, as a mathematical hard limit, it would be a factor of two. In reality however it's going to be less than that, and so...

    Obviously BitBet may be gaining exposure. This is in principle possible for any action or activity, and consequently not a valid justification for any action or activity.

  5. What about increasing your takeout percentage? I work in the Sport betting industry - if we set our vig/juice at 1% we would have been out of business a long time ago. Also - on bets that you're funding, perhaps set a minimum pool amount. If, by the closing date, a certain amount has not been bet into the pool then all bets are refunded. I appreciate what you guys are doing - I hope the sports bets live on!

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 2 July 2014

    BitBet is more geared towards providing infrastructure upon which other people can do their own thing. Nothing's to keep you from keeping your own book/lines, on whatever field you know well.

  7. I still don't get why a bet should cost you 0.1 btc. If you would bet 0.05 on each side at least one side MUST win the 0.05 back plus a profit. So creating a bet should cost less than 0.05. ?!

  8. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 19 August 2014

    Hasn't changed from #4 above. Won't change on the next rehash either.

  9. Well your answer on #4 is just wrong:

    You say 50% is the upper bound. But it is the lower bond. Just place 0.05 / 0.05 on every bet regardless of the true odds. You return will be at least 50%...

  10. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 20 August 2014

    This is the theory behind MPIF fund #4. So far it is... losing money.

    More importantly : I am a guy that runs these things and you're a fuckwit from the internets. This means you are not in a position to tell me I'm wrong when you don't understand something.

  11. Just because I am from the internet that does not mean the math is different for me.
    All I am saying that you can reduce the investment in a bet too less then 0.05. If you always palace 0.05 on each side on side must win > 0.05 back. Thus your costs of one bet are not 0.1 but < 0.05. I can not understand how you can question that.

  12. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 20 August 2014

    Math is an abstraction. It doesn't serve you just because you say its name.

  13. it might be that you current strategy of trying to estimate the "real odds" and place initial bets accordingly has an return of 50% and in most cases it will attract people to place bets in the beginning on the more likely side.


  14. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 20 August 2014

    Maybe the "reasonable valuation" approach will be more easily digested here.

    You book costs at the time of expenditure. You do not book unrealised gains. Consequently, every new bet at the time it is accepted has a certain .1 outlay, which is booked, and an uncertain future result, which is not. That work for you ?

  15. That's why I don't see sport bets in BitBet. I think the rules are *too* aggressive. Also, this rules should stay on FAQ, shouldn't they?

    And, why not include a GMT time limit in all bets? It would be a nice feature. It makes sense to all kind of bets, not only sports.

  16. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 14 June 2015

    But they have to end sometime ?!

    And if bets can't attract BTC, a) they are not bets and b) BitBet is not interested.

  1. [...] the house seed I do prefer enforcing minimums for classes of historically underperforming bets. As detailed previously, sports bets are expected to receive a 2 BTC seed from the proponent, and will be rejected [...]

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