Category Archives: Borrowing

Food on Friday # 51

Brussels Sprouts are one of those vegetables which should be much better liked than it is ~ it’s a superfood packed with nutrients and health-giving trace elements. In England we typically only serve brussels sprouts at Christmas, but I guess that in the USA they are a popular side dish at Thanksgiving.

Other than the slightly bitter and boring taste, there is one very good reason the polite English don’t eat brussels sprouts very often ~ wind.  Brussels sprouts really stink up the house.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas you need all the oven space you can get, so first up this week we have a crockpot dish.  From Chungah at Damn Delicious we have slow cooker balsamic brussels sprouts, and while this may take 4 hours to cook, it only takes 10 minutes to prepare.


Slow Cooker Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Next from the lovely Southern California girl Averie, at Averie Cooks, we have another slant on balsamic brussels sprouts ~ roasted this time.  This is a 35 minute dish, so it will cook while the turkey is resting.


Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Here’s something fun and very different from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; nutty wild rice & shredded brussels sprouts stuffed mini pumkins.  This dish may persuade even the hardest die hard brussels sprouts hater to try the damn things.


Nutty Wild Rice and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Another roasted brussels sprouts recipe, this time from Andrea at Cooking With A Wallflower; teriyaki glazed roasted brussels sprouts.  Andrea says this is only a 15 minute dish, so it’s great if you’re pressed for time.


Teriyaki Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Another interest in recipe, from Cooking Up The Pantry, brussels sprouts with chorizo and red onion.  Add some garlic and you have a really powerful dish.


Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and Red Onion

Or, you could just boil your brussels sprouts and add a little butter.  This is a very simple recipe from Epicurious.


Buttered Brussels Sprouts

Finally for this week, from Cooking at the New York times we have their 17 best brussels sprouts recipes for Thanksgiving, including this 45 minute dish of roasted brussels sprouts with garlic by Mark Bittman.  One thing’s for certain, this dish is going to make you stink a little bit.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

dscf0002A very big thank you

to all the great cooks

featured in this week’s

Food on Friday

Money ~ Currency Exchange Rates

flagThere has been much talk about the fall in the value of the Pound Sterling against the United States Dollar and the bastard Euro since Britain voted to leave the European Union.  Without getting into the politics of it, what’s all this about, and what does it all mean?

To start with; the exchange rate, or foreign currency exchange rate, or Forex rate, measures the value of a base currency, (your own currency usually), against a foreign currency.  Thus the $ / £ rate is currently about 1.22, which means one pound sterling gets you one dollar and twenty-two cents.  The exchange rate is the price of one currency against another.  Some people also use movements in exchange rates to measure the strength of a currency’s underlying economy.  This is like measuring global warming by looking out of window at today’s weather.  It’s a piss very poor gauge.

However, long-term trends do tell you something ~ like the recent fall in the value of the pound could have been predicted years ago because of the amount of UK debt sloshing around.  The fall in the value of the pound has very little to do with Brexit, and a lot to do with the UK government printing too much money for years, and years, and years…

A weak economy is the sign of a weak economy, and a weak economy is the sign of a weak nation.  ~  Ross Perot

Ross Perot doesn’t know much about Forex either.

What does this mean to you and me?  Well, for a start, the exchange rate tells you very little about how much your savings / salary / holiday money is worth in your preferred destination.  For that you need to know about purchasing power parity.  What this theory says is that my money still goes a hell of a long way in Orange County, California, USA.  As an example, car rental and the price of petrol / gasoline, is still cheaper for me in the USA than it is in England.  So is the cost  hotels, eating out, and etc.  I have suffered a potential windfall loss in the change in the price of the USD against GBP, but on the scale of things does that worry me? Nope.

Worrying about movements in currency exchange rates is a lot like worrying about what the weather is going to be like next week.  It’s interesting, but pointless.

Forex rates do have an effect on people, but not in the way you’d think.  Forex rates, interest rates, purchasing power, inflation, government fiscal policy, all these factors kind of mush together to create an amorphous mess that hardly anybody understands.  So let me break it down for you.

  1. The man in the street and small businesses.  Forex rates hardly affect you at all, in relative terms.  When it comes to the cost of your vacation abroad the movement in exchange rates is a tiny proportion of your overall spend.  Here in England stuff you buy at home may get slightly more expensive, but that’s really down to lying politicians and the bosses of big businesses using exchange rate movements as an excuse for price hikes.  If exchange rates had gone the other way do you think things at home would get cheaper?  Of course not.
  2. Businesses buying and selling overseas.  Here the sterling / dollar / euro / yuan exchange rates actually mean something.  It means stuff you sell in pounds sterling has become better value abroad, while product you buy abroad in foreign currency has become more expensive.  So what?  That’s what management is all about, and if you don’t understand Forex, why are you dealing in foreign currencies anyway?
  3. Multi-national companies.  Forex rates affect the big multinationals not at all, it’s merely another variable in their international treasury management operations.  When a multinational like Unilever says they have to increase their prices to UK supermarkets because of the fall in the value of the pound, they’re lying.

What really impacts on everyone is this purchasing power parity thing, and that’s a lot more complicated than just exchange rates.  For example, the national minimum wage and cost of health care has a lot to do with purchasing power parity.

As far as governments, central banks, and politicians are concerned, they could care less about Forex rates.  They may talk a good talk, and wring their hands from time to time, but they really, really don’t care.

What should you do about movements in foreign currency exchange rates?

  • Don’t worry about it, because it’s as pointless as worrying about the weather.
  • Don’t create translation exposure.  Pay for stuff in your own currency, and if you’re selling abroad, then sell in your own currency ~ (if you can, if not consider forward currency cover).  Don’t ever borrow money in a currency you don’t earn.   Also, don’t save in a currency you don’t want to spend.
  • Don’t buy complicated Forex products, (if you don’t understand it, don’t buy it), or pay for advice on exchange rates.  In fact never, ever, pay for financial advice of any kind.
  • Shop around.  Buying or selling foreign currency is the same as buying and selling anything else.  Spend a little while looking for the best deal.  But beware, there are more crooks in this market than there are in the used car business.
  • Forget exchange rates and look instead at purchasing power. If I can buy the exact same thing on in $ as I can on in £ which is going to be the better deal?  You know what?  99% of the time it depends on where I want it shipped to.

The true currency of life is time, not money, and we’ve all got a limited stock of that.  ~  Robert Harris

Mostly, movements in foreign currency exchange rates are simple ~ they will affect you in ways you cannot understand, cannot predict, and can do nothing about, so forget it.  For some people, foreign currency exchange rates are frighteningly complicated and dangerous animals, but given that these people usually work deep in the research engine rooms of the world’s biggest banks, it’s safe to let them get on with whatever it is they do, which is not a lot.


London 048jack collier


Money ~ Responsibility and Self-Reliance

A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted

?????????????????????In 2001, an ordinary man called Paul Walton had a small pension fund.  Paul listened to a financial adviser salesman from one of Britain’s top wealth management companies, St. James’s Place, and entrusted them with his money.  Lo and behold, 15 years later, when Paul checked on his pension it hadn’t grown into a nice nest egg ~ it had all vanished.  St James’s Place had taken so much in fees and charges that there was nothing at all left of Paul’s pension, in fact Paul owed £37.32 ($60) in unpaid fees.  George Bailey would be horrified.

People often ask me how to make the most of their money, thinking I’ll give them advice on savings accounts, or the stock market, or property investments…  Usually there isn’t much point in that.  What most people really need is sage advice on how to stop throwing their money down the drain.  Most people don’t need more money, what most people need to do is stop wasting the money they’ve got, each and every single day of the year.

No one’s ever achieved financial fitness with a January resolution that’s abandoned by February.  ~  Suze Orman

Paul threw his money away because he didn’t take responsibility for his own financial well-being.  Practically nobody I know is willing to really take full responsibility for their finances, or anything else in their lives if it comes right down to it.  And, it isn’t rocket science, your grandmother knew all the right stuff.

The more you are willing to depend on your own ability to think and act, the less you will rely on experts, consultants, doctors, contractors, and advisers salesmen.  These days everyone has a vast library of knowledge at their fingertips, it’s called the internet.

For example;

  • Formulate your own ideas for a sound retirement plan before speaking to a financial consultant, and do not take their word as Holy Writ ~ they may will have more of an eye on their own commission, fees, and bonuses than they do on your financial future.
  • If you have a really bad headache, make a list of the possible and probable causes of your headaches, and then visit your doctor.
  • Workp1020966 out exactly how much the used car you’re thinking of buying is actually worth, what’s likely to be wrong with it, how much that will cost to repair, and how much it’s going to cost to run ~ and only then visit the lot and speak to a used car salesman.  Some all car salesmen will not tell you anything like the whole truth, and they will rip you off, especially if you are a woman.
  • If you’re thinking of moving home, fully research the market, property values, taxes, location, crime rates, amenities, how long it will take you to get to work, & etc., before ever speaking to an estate agent / realtor.  Realtors are mostly interested in selling property, not whether the home they’re talking up is a good place for you to live.
  • If you have to employ a contractor, never leave them alone in your home, or you may come back and find it’s flooded.  Never employ a contractor without getting, at least, a couple of quotes and personal references.
  • When you need a loan, thoroughly prepare before you talk with your bank.  Work out exactly how much you really need, what a reasonable rate of interest would be, how much you can afford to repay each month, (and if you can save that amount for a few months before you ask for the loan, so much the better).

Practically everyone, (including me in the past), throws thousands of $ £ € away every year just because they are irresponsible, lazy, intimidated by ‘professionals’, trusting, naive, weak, and overly dependent on others.  Too many people take the first offer instead of looking the gift horse in the mouth.  Too many people think the answer is in programmes, courses, workshops, seminars, and motivational speakers/ authors.  It isn’t.

Workshops and seminars are basically financial speed dating for clueless people.  ~  Douglas Coupland

If you want to have more money for the good things in life, do yourself a favour, and do the hard work up front, during, and after you make a deal.  Whatever happens, it’s always your responsibility.

Financial freedom is available to those who learn about it and then work for it.  ~  Robert Kiyosaki

Don’t trust anyone because everybody lies, and never, ever, pay anyone for advice, financial or otherwise.  If you want to have more ready cash, take responsibility and stop throwing good money after bad.


Wall Streetthese views are mine and mine alone.



Money ~ Trust Nobody


Even Banks and Credit Card Companies are Dishonest

There is a truism ~ everybody lies.  These days, even the people you should be able to trust to help you look after your money will lie to you.  Just three recent examples in the news;

  1. Thousands of staff at Wells Fargo Bank routinely created false customer accounts based on real customers’ email addresses.  All told about 2 million fake accounts were created.  These fake accounts were allegedly used by staff to meet their sales targets ~ and some 5,300 Well Fargo staff have been fired.  Would that it were all ~ trust me, there is more nasty news to come on this one concerning customer charges and wrong-doings higher up in the bank.
  2. The great credit card scandal continues.  Credit cards are a rip-off for everyone except the banks.  Despite official interest rates being at an historic low, the interest charged on credit card balances continues to rise to usury levels.  And, in Britain Mastercard is accused of setting punitive charges on retailers, resulting in an estimated overcharging of £14 billion between 1992 and 2008.  Guess who ends up paying for all this ~ you do.  Mastercard are being taken to court in a class action.
  3. Four ex-employees of Barclays Bank are facing long jail terms for manipulating LIBOR.  You may think LIBOR, (London Inter Bank Offered Rate), has got nothing to do with you.  As a matter of fact the interest costs of everything you have ever borrowed is based on Libor.  If you can’t trust the financial markets, then who can you trust?

Not one of the companies and people you trust to manage your money are completely honest with you.  When it comes to your money, trust nobody.

Complete honesty is much more than not cheating, stealing, and lying ~ although banks, insurance companies, pension providers, credit card companies, financial advisers, et al, do more than enough outright cheating, stealing, and lying.  Complete honesty means not lying by omission, being straightforward, being open, telling you what you need to know, avoiding obfuscation…  None of the financial companies and people you deal with abide by that definition of honesty.

If they wanted to be really honest, then they wouldn’t have you sign  a legal agreement which included pages and pages of small print.

What should you do;

  1. Check your bank and credit card statements for unexpected items, especially unexpected charges.
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  3. If it looks to good to be true it is.
  4. If you don’t understand something, have it clearly explained until you do understand.
  5. Never pay for financial advice, never pay an up-front or annual fee for a credit card or bank account.

In high finance there is a concept called ‘counter-party risk’ ~ one of the assumptions in that concept is ‘buyer beware’, never assume that the person or company you are dealing with is telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

George Bailey would be horrified.



Money ~ making it work

CamperIt’s one o’clock in the morning, summer in England, night in Palm Springs, and wherever it’s getting light already, and the rain is probably hammering down.  Not when you’d want to think about money, unless you are flat broke.  However, if you are lucky and sensible you have a little money put aside for a rainy day.

What should we do if we have some spare cash?  Given that we are not going to rush out and buy a Porsche.  But why not buy a sports car?  Why put your money in the bank at all?

Take it from a man who has worked in banking and finance since God was a boy, the last thing you should do with your hard-earned is give it to a bank to look after.  Basically banks, financial advisors, and money managers are parasites, living off the cash you have legitimately earned and offering fuck all not very much in return.

Right now any money sitting in a bank account is just wasting away.  The $1,000 you put in a bank today will, in real terms, be worth a lot less than $700 when you come to take it out again in ten years time  It’s all down to inflation, which is the biggest confidence trick Governments and the Finance Industry have up their incestuous sleeves.

There are a few things we can do to make our money work for us.

  1. Pay off every single debt you have.
  2. Add to your pension fund.
  3. Property / real estate.
  4. The stock market.
  5. Start a business.
  6. Have fun.

I have no ambition to be the richest corpse in the cemetery, which means I ignore rules 1 and 2 above, (sort of, but then I know what I’m doing).  However, making your money really work for you means that you have to take over responsibility from the blood-sucking banks and financial advisors.

So, do not sit with debts to your name, work at a company with a good pension plan, do not rent where your live, buy your own home.  Over time, done wisely, buying your home is the best investment you can make.  However, realtors, estate agents, property firms are another bunch of useless parasites, but I’ll go into that in a week or so.

Never, ever, pay anyone for doing something you can do for yourself.  And do you know what?  Over the years I have discovered that most folks can do anything they put their minds to, including financial management.

Buying into the stock market is a big issue.  And I will cover that next week.  In the mean time, you worked damn hard to earn your money, don’t neglect it now.



Money Advice


Money ~ we all have the same problems.  How to get money, how to get more money, and what do we do with it when we’ve got some money?  Trust me on this one ~ MONEY IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT.

My best guess is that most of the people who read my blog don’t have 30 years in the money trade, or have a Masters in Finance, and another in Banking, along with a shed-load of other qualifications, so we’ll start working on 1.01 Money.  (If you are a money expert, please feel free to comment, and disagree with whatever I say, but you better be damn right or I will make you look stupid.)

Money by itself is worthless.  Money only has value by the nature of the things you can do with it.  And mostly you can do 3 things with money.

  1. Money as a medium of exchange.  Money is an intermediate in the exchange of goods or services.  You go to work for money, and then you swap the money for the stuff you actually want and need.  You don’t want the money, you want what the money can get for you.
  2. Money as a measure of value.  The amount of money you have determines what you can get for your money.  If you have a lot of $ or £ or whatever, you can get a lot of stuff.  We know how much stuff we can get because everything is conveniently priced in money.  The value of your time is also measured in money.  (there is a price for everthing, up to and including sex)
  3. Money as a store of value.  Instead of buying more and more stuff you don’t need right now, you just keep money in expectation that you can buy the stuff you need at sometime in the in future.

Money is a piss poor very bad store of value, especially right now.  Just how bad depends on how you warehouse your money.  The worst store of value is lending money to a friend, at 0% interest, on the expectation that you will get it back.  Next worst is actual cash, then various types of bank accounts, and then managed funds and so forth…

ALL Money Loses Value Over Time.  Thinking that your money will be worth just as much, or more, in the future is the biggest confidence trick that Governments and the Finance Industry have ever pulled.  However you keep your money, from cash to in your pension fund / 401(k), the amount of stuff you could have bought with the money you have put in, over time, will be a hell of a lot more than the stuff you can actually buy when you eventually come to take it out.

Why Store Value In Money?  So, why bother with a pension / 401(k) / managed fund?  Why not just buy stuff right now, and keep it for when you need it?  There are a couple of reasons:

  • Security.  Unless your money is in a very dodgy bank, the chances are it will still be there when you need it to exchange for stuff.  You can’t really say the same for anything much else, including the value of your home.  (Insurance is another topic, for a future date.)
  • Liquidity.  You need some money that’s easily got at.  So, what if everything you own, every last penny save for the few dollars in your purse, is invested in your home?  The snag is, what if you need money next Monday?  Money is very liquid, while all other assets have lower degrees of liquidity.  In general terms, the less liquid your assets, the more likely they are to increase in value over time.

So what does that mean to the poor working stiff?

  1. Don’t have a lot of cash on hand, or a lot of money in the bank.
  2. Have some cash, some assets you can confidently sell in a few days ~ without having to have a fire sale.  Also have some long-term secure assets, and here, property has traditionally been the best long-term way to hold your wealth.
  3. Do not ever pay for financial advice.  (up to and including from me.)

Please also read my post Money.  Feel free to comment or ask questions.

Next Monday’s post will be about some ways the average working stiff can make their money really work for them ~ instead of the other way around.


Cincinnati Kidjack collier




Monday morning and the poor working stiffs are getting out of bed to earn an honest crust, as best they can.


I spent long enough doing some of that.  But now it’s your lucky day, because I’ve decided that Mondays I’m going to give you some money advice, whether you want it or not.  Look at it this way, back in the day I used to get paid $500 an hour for doing this, so listen up.  I’d tell you my qualifications, but unless you’re the type who is having a heart attack and asks the heart surgeon where he interned, there’s not much point.  (If you are the type who asks a heart surgeon where he interned, then just fuck off and don’t read my blog again.)

So, the most important thing right now is to ask yourself is; are you broke, or do you have any money in the bank and / or cash under the mattress?

Interest rates are an historic low.  If you have more than $1,000 in spare cash you are a fool.  Money is worthless, (that’s complicated, but trust me), if your cash isn’t doing anything you may as well stay in bed on Monday morning.

So, what would financially intelligent people do right now?

  1. Pay off your debts, until you only have the magic $1,000 left in your pocket-book or bank account.
  2. Pay off those debts in order of the highest interest rate first.  Unless you are an utter wassock this will mean #1 credit card balances, #2 store credit, #3 personal loans from a reputable provider such as your bank, #4 your mortgage.
  3. Get rid of any and all bank accounts, credit cards, store cards that charge a fee.  This is a sick practice, and I should know, I practically reinvented the idea of ripping-off bank customers.
  4. Start putting any cash, bank balances, and  ‘credit monies‘ you have left to work for you.
  5. Do not fall for get rich quick schemes.  If it sounds too good to be true, then it is.  An honest annual rate of return right now is 6%.

Wall StreetOK, number 4 above is difficult.  But this starts with the fact that the stock market as a whole usually shows an annual rise of 3% to 6%, plus you get dividends.  Google this if you don’t believe me.  Rule #1, don’t buy a managed portfolio / product.  The people advising you about / selling financial investments are jerks and crooks.  Don’t trust them.  If you have a little spare cash buy a couple or four blue chip stocks or a tracker investment.

Never, ever, trust a financial advisor / banker / friend when it comes to financial investments.  (And, you are a fool, and or a woman, if you lend money to a friend or member of your family.)

If you’re a guy with a lot of spare cash, at least spend it on your girl, or any woman, rather than being that utterly boring and useless fart, the  contemptible Scrooge who thinks he’s watching his money grow.  Your money isn’t growing, it’s dwindling away.  Idle money loses value over time, always.

More insults advice for the financially naive next Monday.


chanel red lipstick and




Alternative Living # 5 ~ Money

Money makes the world go around…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.  ~  Mr. Micawber

I was a broken man when I eventually moved into the waterside apartment I call the garret.  Broken in body, mind, and spirit.  I was also flat broke.  Which is likely to happen when your business partner is stealing you blind.  (Given how much money she took from me she was probably the most expensive sex I have ever had.)

shoesI was used to having more money than a money-pit, trophy-wife could spend on clothes, jewelry, shoes…, so being penniless came as something of a shock.  I had two choices, make some more money, or spend less.  Given that there was no way I was going to take a regular job I had only 1 choice…

I had to learn how to live on less.  Thanks to synchronicity, my time as a Banker had tought me how to manage money.  Here are some guidelines I followed / still follow:

  1. Pay my debts.  Debt is an insidious trap.  Debts incur interest, and if you don’t pay the debt and interest in good time, you risk serious consequences.  The debts I had were a small mortgage on the garret, and some credit card balances.  Of the two, it was most important that I cleared the debt on my plastic ~ credit cards carry a ruinous rate of interest.  Even if I had to live on white-label canned goods for the rest of my life, the first thing I did, (and still do), with any money I had coming in was reduce my debts.
  2. Pay the local taxes and utilities bills.  I had tried living without water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet, a roof over my head, (maybe you should read Alternative Living # 3), and believe you me, it’s no picnic.  In fact, living without modern conveniences is a short way to illness and death for the modern man.
  3. Learn how to say No.  I stopped accepting invitations to go out to bars / restaurants / coffee shops / cinemas.  I stopped giving to charities.  I would not lend or give any cash to anyone.  Salespeople still get very short shrift from me, as in; ‘what part of fuck-off no don’t you understand?’
  4. I stay away from shopping malls, and I don’t buy things from the internet’s virtual mall.  As it goes, that isn’t strictly true.  If it’s raining I take my daily walk in the local shopping mall.
  5. Write lists.  I am terrible for going into a supermarket and coming out with stuff I did not really want or need.  Supermarkets are very good at getting us to buy stuff…  So, work out what I need, write a list, and buy what’s on the list, and don’t buy anything else.
  6. Shop differently.  Use discount stores and thrift shops, look in the bargains sections, look for and use coupons, and never go shopping when you are hungry, thirsty, angry, depressed, drunk…
  7. Sell the stuff I no longer want or need.  When I lived in a 5 bedroom home, I had a huge study, full of books, music, and man-junk.  I am still using Amazon to sell vinyl, cd’s and books.  Yet the garret still has heaps stuff stored in all kinds of unlikely places…
  8. Rethink what I want and need.  I don’t need the latest and most expensive car, newest television, most expensive cable service, most up to fate cellphone, tablet, the latest fashions…
  9. Stay away from booze.  Given the amount I could drink, if once I started drinking, I could spend a hell of a lot of money on booze.  Added to that I do stupid and expensive things when I have been drinking.
  10. Keep away from other vices.  I am very lucky, the only addictive weaknesses I have ever suffered from are women and booze.  I have never smoked or taken street drugs ~ the people who do those things disgust me.  If you read my Alternative Living # 4 you will know how I came to cope with the whole women / relationships / sex thing.

One of the things I discovered about alternative living is that it can be spiritual, and frugal / low cost, and at one and the same time, have a beneficial / green impact on the whole environment.


Riding Your Luck



girl-japanese-sexy-softballThe people in white coats have been at it again.  Juemin Xu and Nigel Harvey from University College, London, claim that in some areas of gambling lucky streaks exist.  They also claim that losing streaks are irrecoverable ~ that if a losing gambler continues to bet he cannot expect to even recover his losses, let alone come out ahead.  The ‘research’ is based on real-time on-line sports betting and has detailed results which may be of interest to statisticians, behavioural scientists, and bookmakers.  For the average gambler the results will come as no surprise at all.  If your luck is in, then you seem to be able to do nothing wrong.  If Lady Luck is against you, then whatever you do you will just go on losing.

Our research scientists say that lucky and losing streaks are the result of a gambler’s behaviour, rather than anything to do with statistical abberations in the results themselves.  If a gambler is winning then he / she becomes more cautious and makes safer and better thought out wagers ~ the kind of bet that really should win more often.  Conversely, losing gamblers tend to make impulsive, illogical, larger, riskier bets in a vain attempt to recover their losses.  Well, who knew?

football_3As a matter of fact, I’m not certain that sports betting is the best area in which to study winning and losing streaks.  Strict probability theory deals with random variables, stochastic processes, (random processes), and non-deterministic events.  Sports betting deals with non-random variables, in that a brilliant team will beat a rubbish team more often than not.  What makes sports betting exciting for real gamblers is that every now and again the rank outsider will win at long odds.

City-of-LondonGames of chance which have more quantifiable, yet more complex, random variables than sports betting include the financial markets.  Around the world, in global cities, the financial markets are also huge games of chance.  These days the successful players are most likely computer models, with the human element doing little or nothing to influence the bets one way or another.  To avoid the fatal error of reinforcing failure, there are supposed to be end-of-day controls placed on dealers ~ these don’t always work.  If you are wise, you will not play the financial markets.

Even more random games of chance than sports betting and financial markets have calculable odds, which is why good card players beat poor card players, more often than not.  However, the odds do not always work in favour of the actual result.  Every now and again some idiot will fill an inside straight-flush and coup a huge pot.

F1 Grand Prix Of IndiaThe fact that a rank outsider will win big is factored into probability theory.  In essence, probability theory says that every possible result will happen, sooner or later.  Just because the odds are a hundred, million, million, to one against doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to happen the first time the game is played, or the second time, or even the first, second, and third times in a row.  Trust me on this, probability theory only really works when you factor-in infinity.  However, some gamblers are ‘odds players’ and they know to a hair the chances of any given result happening.  Sadly for odds players, knowing the odds does not allow them to see into the future, because they cannot factor-in infinity.

albert-einsteinBecause that’s what gamblers are attempting to do.  Gamblers are attempting to predict the future, and as any competent quantum physicist will tell you, all possible futures will happen, sooner or later, or in an infinite time.  Predicting the future is more difficult than your basic quantum physics, and even Einstein couldn’t make that work properly.

The best advice is ~ don’t ever gamble if you can avoid it.  Sooner or later you will lose.

If you want to win at gambling, then there are some basic rules you should think about;

  1. Learn the game.  Stick to one area of expertise and get good at it.
  2. If you can’t get good at one type of gambling, then quit gambling, for good.
  3. The House / Bookmaker always wins in the long run ~ even if the game is straight.
  4. The game isn’t always straight.
  5. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  6. Never bet with borrowed money.
  7. If you cheat you will be found out and there will be serious consequences.
  8. No matter how good you are, the laws of physics are not on your side.
  9. Nobody can accurately predict the future.  How many weather forecasts are wrong?
  10. There is such a thing as dumb luck.

Back in the day, when I was a practicing card mechanic, (I could cheat if I wanted to), I came across a guy I just couldn’t beat.  This young guy was as dumb as a doornail, but no matter what I did, he could always beat me at some well known card games.  Even if I fixed the deck, this young guy would always take serious money off me.  Eventually I gave up trying to work out how he did it.  I couldn’t, because just there and then this guy was lucky.  I haven’t gambled since then.

alcoholic-latina-womanWhat Juemin Xu and Nigel Harvey of University College, London, have come across is that the biggest non-variable in gambling is the gambler.  Gamblers are predictable.  Experts can tell what kind of a gambler they have in front of them well before the first play is made.  Sadly, most serious gamblers are also problem gamblers.  Very, very few people can consistently win at their chosen game, and that includes traders on the financial markets.  Even Gordon Gekko was brought low ~ he had to cheat to win.  Most gamblers consistently lose, and those who lose more than they can really afford are the problem gamblers.

Problem gamblers usually have a range of other problems, most often alcoholism.

Cincinnati KidThe hard truth is; Even if the game is straight, every gambler eventually loses big.  When on a losing streak, gamblers will reinforce their mistakes in a vain attempt to recoup their losses ~ this tactic never, ever works.  Have a flutter by all means, but if you become a serious gambler, you will lose big, eventually.  You cannot change the laws of physics.

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