what you see depends on where you are standing

Most Punters


Bookmakers start with a significant competitive advantage. They know that most punters lose. That most punters are ill-informed, intrinsically lazy, psychologically flawed, impulsive, ill-disciplined, incapable of appreciating the importance of affect to the decision making process and prone to imitative and repetitive behaviour. They know that when punters lose they typically come back for more (repetition compulsion) and that when they win, they become overconfident and prone to risk-seeking. That most punters exist in a permanent state of self-denial, as regards their level of competency. That most punters misunderstand the structure and psychology of betting markets (and probabilities). That most punters look to others for signals, and ascribe to others powers that they simply do not have (information that is flawed and incomplete is embraced as being definitive). That most punters overinterpret betting market signals. That most punters prefer to see, interpret, have feelings about, and react to things from a shared viewpoint. Most punters hop on bandwagons. Most punters lazily embrace heuristics and suffer from every known behavioural bias in the book. That most punters get drawn in by herding and information cascades. That most punters confuse luck with skill. That most punters think that they are not like most other punters. That most punters have simply got no idea of the degree and extent to which they are being influenced by unconscious forces. Most punters willingly embrace the facile opinions and idle chatter of the so-called experts (authority bias/the illusion of validity). Most punters are unable to cast of prevailing interpretations and perspectives. Most punters extrapolate blindly and see meaning in the meaningless. This, sadly, more often than not leads to most punters converging fixedly on the same wrong action. You are most punters.

Blinkers Off



UK bookmakers are facing several challenges across different parts of their business at the same time, which create quite a bit of idiosyncratic risk, and many variables that are unknowable. The latest bad news concerns the announcement that the UK gambling watchdog has launched a consultation process that will cover the use of credit cards for online betting, as well as the imposition of further limits to gaming machines and free blocking software. Those that were foolish enough to buy shares in GVC holdings at the top of the market in 2018 are now nursing a staggering loss of 41%. The dark shadow of the US Department of Justice also lingers over these stocks: with protracted court cases regarding their participation in the US betting market set to be the order of the day. Companies, such as Paddy Power Betfair have sought to play down such residual uncertainty - proposing to change their name to a more US betting market friendly mantle - despite the fact the company can have no idea as to the outcome of the forthcoming regulatory debate.





Companies 2018 Year High Current Price Change (%)
GVC Holdings 1170 599 -49%
PP Betfair 9123 5510 -40%
William Hill 336 162 -49%


Betting markets have evolved significantly over the past twenty years, driven by new technologies, and the betting market itself has become more difficult to anticipate as traditional participants have been systematically replaced by punter-scalping algos, focused on betting that the market will continue moving in a prevailing direction. Accordingly, trying to arbitrarily predict the path of a betting market price over the short term is a mugs game and one that leads directly to the poor house. The secret centres around the ability to search and discover organised patterns of information through drawing inferences from combinations of data sets within, or against a wider theoretical paradigm. In other words outsmarting the algos. Few manage to do it, but those that do are richly rewarded.

Concern yourself with things before they come into existence. (Tao Te-Ching).


Source: N=All 25/05/2018. * = Stamina Dam Side