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Re(4): Typo in Dania results for Sat mat 9-22 g 12

Very interesting post - sorry about the 9 day lag factor.

First the 'primarily a horseplayer' thing. Parimutuel-wise, I have never followed anything but jai-alai, but I do like to occasionally read what horse and dog experts have to say about their crafts. So, yes I own "Picking Winners" and libraried Beyer's 'Trip Handicapping'. Despite that, I am sure that I have the highest lifetime horse ROI of anyone here, and possibly the whole state of Florida.


Because in 2009, some of the Chalkies here were touting "Mine That Bird" as a great longshot. When I noticed that Link2Bet was covering the Derby that year I wagering a whopping $2 just for fun. $103.20's worth, it turned out. Thanks, Chalkies. But that's my one and only horse bet, honest. As Tom Berenger said in the movie 'Sniper', "One shot, one kill".

Anyway, realistically, I'm sure that if I had been exposed to horse racing early on, I would have been drawn in easily. But Ann Arbor doesn't have any tracks right near by, and besides, I was totally obsessed with chess back then.

My jai-alai intro is similar to yours. A first time trip to Florida with a friend took me the the Lauderdale area. I noticed the 'Hollywood Sportatorium' had a tennis tournament going on featuring Swedish tennis god Bjorn Borg. "No way" said my friend, so I had to pay for both tickets in order to watch Borg lose effortlessly (2-6, 4-6) to comparative nobody Tom Gullikson. Amazing no excitement whatsoever experience, but it influenced my future thinking on "Quantum Handicapping" - the idea that players can be in one of several different 'states'. As opposed to the implied 'constant skill level' ratings underlying many other 'models' of jai-alai.

The day after being zapped by the Borg, it was time to investigate Dania, with jai-alai being something completely unknown. Honestly, just those cryptic green FDOT guide signs with the player / cesta silhouettes and the directional arrow indicators would have been enough to draw me in. But the game itself was great. Winning a 25 Q right away didn't hurt either.

After that, visiting family in CT led me straight to Bridgeport. One of the first things I noticed was some young guy who stated he was an amateur, and that post 2 was the best. Accordingly, he bet $20 to place every game until he won enough or went bust. That seemed really lame to me for many reasons. Even as a noob, I could see that he was crushing his own payoffs, and that walking over to the Q-odds display and apportioning his $20 on the 2-combo's was the correct way to go.

Now, about the Sensei approach. Narrowing a game down to just 2 exacta picks means that you are losing 90% or so of the games you bet. Doesn't work for me. Unfortunately, based on my chess experience where I as a 'Top 10 in Michigan' player was mostly 'playing down', I was accustomed to just the reverse, ie, winning 90+% of the time. So my approach to jai-alai was to try to do the same thing. I achieved that by taking advantage of the odds displays - including the P + S pools - to bet small amounts on WPS on overlays. Combined with studying my ass off, including hand-drawn player performance graphs, watching the players like a hawk, and waiting til the last possible instant, it was very easy to win almost every time I went. But wait, there's a serious problem there. Even back then the WPS pools were so small that my betting method could not scale. You couldn't go beyond a $3 win ticket without flattening your price. So I was stuck in a $2 dollar ghetto with no way to move up. Which meant $30 - $60 for the night routinely, but that's it.

However, I did work out a way to make bigger bets that still had the comforting high frequency hit ratio that my admittedly wuss mentality required. And that method would be ... Q wheels. Back then, with handicapped post positions, the superior players were always in 5-6-7 with occasional 4 or 8. So finding an imbalance in the 1-2-3 region, among the lesser players, allowed me to bet 'modified Q-wheels' (balanced so as to equalize all payoffs - with the low numbers as key) as big as I wanted. At Milford, 2 of my favorite players were Uriguen and Urrutia, in reverse order. With those guys all I had to do was make sure they were currently in good form, had the right partner and low post position, and had at least one weakie in their 'hood'. They almost always came thru. And still got good prices.

Of course today, with the stars all getting a turn at the good posts, pounding posts 1 + 2 is now routine. Even so, I can almost guarantee you that if Tiger were to dredge up old Chalkie selections from all of his contests, and select for heavy consensus wrt to posts 1-2-3, he would find that the Chalkies had a winning Q% to the point of beating the takeout handily.

Incidentally, I was able to scale that method as high as $300+ per game at the NAJF tournaments with packed houses. Extending it with Ex wheels front and back, and tri's. Mostly with under-rated Dania players like Celaya, Arregui, even Alberdi, who came through in posts 1-2-3 like champs.

The reason I mention this is that the way you described your beginning with horses sounded somewhat place-centric. Maybe your current approach as well. And this balanced Q-wheel thing is just a big place bet in another form. So, very similar.

However, my methods have evolved over the years, of course. In 'Picking Winners", Beyer talks about Mr. D, the conspiracy guy who insisted on horses with a 'clean record'. Many of my own selection methods work out the same way and put me onto teams or players that can make a nice profit with bets that structure them in first position, but actually LOSE with the aforementioned Q-wheel. So there is lot of complexity.

This Benny Bueno seems to be as sharp as a tack in more ways than one.

You don't know the half of it.

Big Dave Lemmon and Benny had a weekly (I believe) cable show, 'Miami Jai-Lites'. I was able to watch just a few when they also streamed the shows before their perfs. In one show, Benny pointed out that for some players, they treat their first game as a warm-up, basically easing into it.

Warm-ups. Isn't that an amazing idea? You think about the bullpen in baseball - do they require any warm-up? Or go to a live NFL game - do they stay in the locker room playing video games until 5 minutes before game time? So we would have to suspect that the ideal warm-up time for jai-alai would be seen at the partidos in Basque-land, where the stakes for an individual contest are much higher. I wonder what that is?

Along these lines, Dania announcer Dale Martinek had 'Pauly' as a once-a-week cohost for a while. This allowed Dale to give his thoughts and analysis beyond the usual level. I noticed that he seems to have trained himself to be automatically aware of which players are coming in cold for their first game of the night, and regards that a significant factor in his handicapping selections.

And of course, in all of the interfronton tournaments, don't we always see a designated warm-up game?

So here are some rhetorical questions:

Does Skiena in 'Calculated Bets' consider warm-ups in his system?

Does Sensei? (Actually, he did the opposite, because gave an example of how he judged players for their subsequent games based heavily on their first one)

How about anybody with a calculator or spreadsheet routinely working out their percentages?

Conclusion then is that if Benny and Dale are right, that SOME players are routinely not ready for action, then any system or philosophy of jai-alai that doesn't address this will not be as powerful as it could be.

One more comment about that Miami Jai-Lites show. Just after the warm-up discussion, Big Dave blew my mind by asking Benny (high level Miami front) something like, "Well, what about the Championship Singles? If you are in contention for the wins title, what does that say about your focus on the doubles game leading into it?" And Benny conceded that there could be a negative impact. The reason I found Big Dave's question so stunning is that the official 'company line' - to the extent that there is one - is that every player is playing every point of every game to the absolute max. Even my all-time favorite, Bolivar - despite his blindingly obvious tendency for a matinee sag - endorsed that position in a Palm Beach Post article. So for Big Dave to candidly go down a road that suggests that there are psychological and physical limits to what a player can do, that it isn't ALWAYS pedal to the metal, was just amazing. I wish I could have seen more of their shows.

Finally, my souvenir booklet purchased at that first Dania visit spoke of the duties of the players' manager. That a player who has not been winning lately may be given more favorable posts temporarily to help get his confidence back. Therefore, we must conclude that if "winning builds confidence, and losing undermines it" applies to actual reality, then once again, any system this doesn't address that will under-perform to some degree. In contrast, a savvy observer might thrive on this kind of ebb and flow.

Well, many other points not addressed, but best not to get the Tolstoy estate on my case over style infringement, so that's it for my response. Later.


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