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Study’s Surprising Results Indicate Overall Loss in Poker Wins

Dec 18, 2011
Online Poker Study

Cornell University Student, Kyle Siler, did a massive sociologic study based on 27 million hands of poker and the ratios of wins and losses which can also be attributed to everyday life. According to his results, the more poker wins a player has, the more he/she is likely to lose.

Time: How Winning Can Mean Losing — in Poker and in Life

One can learn a lot about gambling by analyzing 27 million hands of online poker. Cornell University’s Kyle Siler has done just that. His findings: the more hands you win, the more money you’re likely to lose — and this proves true well beyond a game of cards.

Siler wasn’t interested in just poker, but in the idea of how people handle risk, reward and payoffs. Gambling is perfect for studying these factors — and a rich pool of data can be found on the Internet, where millions can play at once and transactions are easy to observe and record.

To gather data, Siler used a software, PokerTracker, and made it collect and collate information on small- medium- and large-stakes games. While crunching the information, he found the strange, inverse relationship between the number of hands won and the amount of money lost. He also noticed that it was novice players who lost the most.

The reason: a majority of wins tallied were for small stakes. The longer new players played the more confident they got, and the likelier they were to lose one or a few big hands. “People overweigh their frequent small gains vis-à-vis occasional large losses,” Siler says.

Investing, driving, buying a house and merely crossing the street are all acts that involve discernible risks and uncertain rewards. The more small returns you get from small investments, the likelier you are to make, and lose, a big investment.

Walking away from a poker table can be easy, but walking away from life — and all the risks and rewards it presents you — isn’t an option. In both venues, the rule should be the same: gamble only what you can afford to lose — and know when you’re approaching those stakes.

USA Today: Poker wins often lead to bigger losses, study says

In a Journal of Gambling Studies report, Cornell University sociologist, Kyle Siler, observed 27 million online poker hands from the past 2 years, to find that winning lots of small stakes ends up losing to bigger losses. Siler analyzed data on 300,000 poker players playing styles to winnings, and found an, “increased proportion of aggressive players as one moves up stakes.”

Given the huge role of luck in delivering big payoffs and big losses, the best poker players must learn to keep winning or losing in stride. An amateur poker player, Siler says his study helped calm his play at the card table.

Science Daily: Online Poker Study: The More Hands You Win, the More Money You Lose

A new Cornell study of online poker seems counterintuitive: The more hands players win, the less money they’re likely to collect, especially when it comes to novice players. The likely reason, said Cornell sociology student Kyle Siler, is that multiple wins are likely for small stakes, but the more you play, the more likely you will eventually lose big losses.

Siler said, “people overweigh their frequent small gains vis-à-vis occasional large losses in everyday life.” In other words, players feel positively reinforced by their streak of wins but don’t understand how occasional large losses offset their gains.

The research not only examined poker, but also “speaks to how humans handle risk and uncertainty,” said Siler, whose look at online poker combines aspects of behavioral economics, economic sociology and social science theory. “Riskiness may be profitable, but also increases the variance and uncertainty of payoffs.

In online poker, a multibillion dollar industry, Siler concluded that the biggest opponent for many players may be themselves, “given the challenges of optimizing one’s mindset and strategies, both in the card game and the meta-games of psychology, rationality and socio-economic arbitrage which hover beneath it,” he said.

People must realize that their limits and understand that big losses offset multiple small gains when dealing with internet gambling and life in general.

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UEFA’s probe into match-fixing scandal reaches Hungary and Switzerland

May 25, 2010
Mad Michel

The bitter fruit of soccer governing body UEFA’s labor is blooming in a Europe-wide probe across 12 countries to determine to what extent matches are being fixed for gambling purposes. It appears impossible to say whether UEFA’s efforts will or even can succeed before the 2010 World Cup kicks off in South Africa on June 11.

Sydney Morning Herald: Nine Swiss footballers suspended

Switzerland’s national soccer association has suspended nine players, including five for an indefinite period, for match-fixing as part of the Europe-wide UEFA probe.

The national league board said in a statement that “The Swiss Football Association is, according to current information, the first and only federation which has treated in the consequent manner the suspects of match-fixing made public in autumn 2009.”

None of the nine players suspended were in the top division of Switzerland football. The four players given sentences were banned from Swiss soccer for between 12 and 36 months.

The suspensions were the result of 50 raids in November in Austria, Britain, Germany and Switzerland in the probe’s first big move. In these 50 actions, over €1 million was seized. UEFA official stated that “Without doubt this is the biggest scam there has ever been in European football.”

Sports Illustrated: UEFA quizzes players at Hungarian champion Debrecen over suspected match-fixing

UEFA officials recently questioned eight players of Hungarian league champion Debrecen, which lost all six of its Champions League matches to Fiorentina, Liverpool and Lyon in the 2009-10 season, for which the club earned €9.2 million.

Though UEFA offered no comment as to the extent or subject matter of the discussion, Debrecen official Csaba Bartha did not make much of it, writing on the official club website that “the degree of seriousness of the matter is reflected by the fact that they didn’t even [transcribe] the statements.”

Debrecen is the second Hungarian club to come into question in this particular investigation, after UEFA looked into a suspicious Honvéd loss in November. More than 200 games are being considered for the possibility of match fixing in the UEFA investigation.

USA Today: World Cup arrives amid global match-fixing probes

Referees in Bosnia and Ukraine have been banned for life as part of a UEFA probe in a season when fixing matches has “spread more widely through football than ever.” UEFA President Michel Platini described the situation as seriously enough to put the sport itself in “mortal danger.”

Another threat to the integrity of soccer has arisen aside from the existing match-fixing problems has appeared as well. English Football Association chairman David Triesman stated that Russian criminal elements would be attempting to bribe referees to favor Spain in exchange for Spain’s support of the Russian bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

To prevent scandal from tainting the 2010 World Cup, FIFA officials created the company Early Warning, which would monitor any suspicious activity online concerning match outcomes. The World Cup is expected to generate about $3.4 billion for FIFA.

China is also taking on corruption in soccer at home, arresting among others Chinese Football Federation head Nan York and former World Cup referee Lu Jun.

The UEFA probe first began last year, when a “nest of corruption” was revealed to have involved matches in four World Cup nations (Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Switzerland) and six others (Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary and Turkey).

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The Recession’s still going – US gambling revenues still down!

May 10, 2010
Gambling Tune

Just when we thought it was safe to get back in the water, research shows that the dreaded recession is still pressing down on Americans. Overall, national revenue through gambling dropped over 5%, but progress in some states even during the recession gives a nation hope.

USA Today: Casino gamblers tightened purse strings in recession

Americans have been rolling the dice less as the economy soured. According to the American Gaming Association, revenue from casino gambling fell 5.5% overall last year, with the take falling $1.8 billion from the $32.5 billion of revenue in 2008. Revenue fell in 8 of the 12 states that have casino gambling.

Interestingly, consumers spent more last year gambling at casinos than they did on candy or movie tickets. Spending on lotto tickets hasn’t dropped much. According to La Fleur’s 2010 World Lottery Almanac, states had lottery revenues of $53.1 billion in fiscal year 2009, compared with $53.4 billion in fiscal year 2008.

Six of 12 states with racetrack casinos reported revenue increases, and six reported decreases. Maine had the largest increase, 17.2%, and Iowa took the biggest hit, a 6.7% decline.

Colorado, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania were the only states that posted an increase in casino gambling revenue, according to the association. Pennsylvania saw revenue rise because two casinos opened last year. Kansas, brought in nearly $2 million after its first casino opened

New gaming laws increased some revenue. Colorado relaxed bet limits and increased hours and types of games. Missouri removed loss limits. Casinos in 13 states employed about 328,000 workers last year, compared with about 357,000 in 2008. Casinos contributed $5.6 billion in tax revenue to state and local governments last year, a 1.6% drop from 2008.

Stateline: Gambling slowdown reduces states’ take

The economic slowdown that’s battered the bottom line of states has also reduced their take of gambling taxes, according to a report released Thursday. The American Gaming Association said gaming revenues dropped 5.5 percent across the country last year. State revenues from taxes on gaming dropped 1.6 percent.

New Jersey took the biggest hit, as gaming tax revenues dropped 18.6% between 2008 and 2009. Nevada and Mississippi were also hard-hit, losing 10.4% and 9.4%, respectively.

Four of the 13 states that allow commercial casinos actually did better last year than in the previous year. The report credits voter initiatives in 2008 that legalized more gambling for boosting revenues in both Colorado and Missouri.

Colorado raised its bet limit from $5 to $100; and state gaming taxes increased by 2.6%. Missouri did away with a rule that limited gamblers’ losses to $500 in a two-hour period; its taxes went up 5.9 percent. By far the biggest revenue winner, though, was Pennsylvania, which opened two new casinos in 2009. Its gaming revenues jumped by 21.6%.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: State’s casino numbers buck national trend

Pennsylvania, where new casinos are still opening and legalized slot play is still a novelty, added more than 3,200 gambling-related jobs and yielded big revenue increases in 2009, a year in which casino revenues declined nationally by more than 5%.

Statistics were presented in the American Gaming Association’s annual industry report, which was released Thursday. Pennsylvania’s revenues increased by almost 22%, aided by the 2009 opening of Rivers Casino on the North Shore and the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem.

Nationally, casinos took in $30.74 billion in 2009, down nearly $1.8 billion from 2008. It’s the 2nd year of declining casino revenues nationally, and as a result, the number of people employed in the industry dropped by almost 30,000, or 8.1%.

Nevada’s casinos saw 2009 revenues decline by 10.4% from 2008 numbers, while Pennsylvania’s neighbors in Atlantic City, N.J., performed even worse, with a 13.3% decline. Western Pennsylvania is still in the running for 2 more casinos – one, a proposed racetrack casino in Lawrence County; the other, a smaller “resort” casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.

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PETA Wants Anti-Gambling Investigation for Mike Tyson Pigeon Racing Show

Mar 22, 2010
Mike Tyson pigeon race

Animal rights group PETA has its feathers fluffed about an upcoming Animal Planet TV show about pigeon racing. The show is to be hosted by boxing champ Mike Tyson, and will follow him as he pits his pet pigeons against professional racing birds. PETA says the show is cruel to animals, and is worried that it will promote illegal gambling.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney): PETA alleges illegal gambling on Mike Tyson’s pigeon racing TV reality show

Mike Tyson has a new “pigeon racing” reality TV show in the works, but before the show has even gone on the air, it is already under investigation over accusations of illegal gambling.

The retired champion boxer is a life-long pigeon lover. His new show, called Take on Tyson, is scheduled to air on Animal Planet. It is a show about bird racing, and it pits Tyson and his trained birds against the best racing pigeons in New York.

The animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is displeased. They are accusing the show of violating New York gambling laws, because the show stands to profit from animal racing.

The District Attorney in Brooklyn (where the show is filmed) is investigating PETA’s claims. Animal Planet has claimed that there would be no gambling on the show, but a representative for PETA retorted by pointing out that making any money (including Tyson’s salary) off animal racing is clearly illegal.

USA Today: PETA feathers ruffled by Mike Tyson NY pigeon show

An animal welfare group is asking New York City prosecutors to investigate boxing star Mike Tyson’s upcoming reality tv show about pigeon racing.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) argues that the show, which has yet to air, is cruel to animals. They also argue that races are likely to involve or promote illegal gambling.

The new show, which is expected to air next year on Animal Planet, will follow Tyson as he competes in pigeon races across New York. The former world heavyweight champion has raised pigeons all his life, but is not experienced racing them.

PETA sent a letter on March 18 to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office requesting that an investigation be opened. Jonah Bruno, district attorney spokesman, says they are looking into the matter.

NY Daily News: PETA fights to put a stop on Mike Tyson’s new Animal Planet reality show featuring pigeon racing

Animal rights activists are upset about boxing champ Mike Tyson’s plans to host a reality TV show about “the intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing.”

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wants New York prosecutors to shut down the new Animal Planet show, “Taking on Tyson,” which will show Tyson racing his birds against other New York pigeons. PETA says the show exploits pigeons and glorifies an abusive sport.

The show might also run into trouble with New York’s anti-gambling laws.

“Pigeon racing as an industry involves gambling. That’s why people do it, to make money,” said PETA general counsel Jeffrey Kerr.

PETA thinks it is likely that wagers would be made over the outcome of races featured on the show.

He insisted District Attorney Charles Hynes should probe the Brooklyn-based show and “make sure the production is not allowed to go forward if illegal activity is going to take place.”

Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s offer, said that they received PETA’s complaint and are looking into the matter.

Tyson claims to have raised pigeons all his life, but he never raced them competitively before.

“We love these birds,” Tyson said. “It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me.”

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