GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

When Two Become One

Well, I'm sure I disappointed at least one of you out there when I disappeared and stopped posting. There were several reasons for my disappearance.

The first was just a general frustration with the way the Wolves season turned out. And as bad as last season went, the off season has been just as bad. The only good thing that's happened for the Wolves is that they managed to resign Madson (whoopie!). Other than that, they had a dreadful draft and may have lost Freddy Z forever. I was really depressed when I first found out about Freddy's heart condition. In addition to the fact that you never like to hear about something like this, I really thought that he was one of the best bargains the Wolves were getting for next year. Unlike a lot of players on the Timberwolves, Freddy was a solid role player who played very good defense and wouldn't complain if he didn't get the ball enough. In addition, he was a very cheap player for what he added to the team. I wish him a good recovery, and hope to see him out there again next year.

The other reason I've disappeared was a time issue. Part of this was because I became busy with school near the end of the year, but also, I've been dedicating a lot of time to my other passion--poker.

I've become truly obsessed with it in the past few months and have spent an enormous amount of time playing and studying it. Unlike most casual players, I learn all the numbers and do everything I can to get a long-term edge over my opponents. Of course, one of the things about playing poker is that it can start to tweak your world view after a while. In poker, the best player doesn't win all the time. In fact, it's possible for great players to go on losing streaks that are much longer than most people would imagine. This can be a bit maddening at times, because it's often hard to distinguish between the times when you are playing badly, and the times when you're just experiencing bad variance.

Being able to cope with this randomness is the hallmark of a good gambler. There have been many poker players who are very capable who go bust and quit because they don't fully understand the effects of randomness on the game they're playing. I feel like I'm finally beginning to comprehend these effects and am able to apply these principles to all areas of my life.

The good news for all of you who have enjoyed reading this blog from time to time, is that I have finally found a way to integrate my passion for sports and my passion for gambling into one. This idea, of course, is sports betting. I've started dabbling with this a bit recently. I started with baseball, but have also begun to work on some models for basketball betting, using the WNBA as a jumping off point. Now, I don't really watch Women's basketball very much, but the funny thing is, it doesn't really matter. The models I'm applying are purely mathematical. Of course, having a more intricate understanding of the game and the players would add a considerable edge.

But as I said, this is just a jumping off point. I'm testing my models and trying to find better models as well as trying to understand the weaknesses of the way I'm currently doing things. Once I do this, I can apply these things to get a good spread, total, and money line for any game. If I can find one that seems to be off from what the bookmakers are offering, I can use my knowledge of the teams and players to try and decide if there's a good bet to be made.

I'll be back in about a week or so with more detail about my methodology. I'll also hope that someone out there is interested in working with me on this and helping me out. In particular, I'm looking for websites that contain good and interesting data on previous NBA games.

Hopefully, this will keep me interesting in posting throughout the entire season, even if the Wolves fade into mediocrity again.