Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty, Section 1
In the Province of Ontario there is a game called Point - Spread offered up by the folks at Ontario Lottery and Gaming. It is offered in baseball (MLB), hockey (NHL) and football; both NFL and CFL! The "authority" assigns a value or a handicap figure to the perceived favorite of a matchup and you the punter simply have to decide if the team in question can win by more than a half point, a full point, and so on, or not. You can select from two to twelve games. The prize for picking the spread right for twelve consecutive games is one thousand times the wager. In Ontario at the time of this writing you can wager from two to one hundred dollars on one ticket. Imagine! Turning a two-ney into two thousand dollars!
|Probability, even simple probability is very weird...|
And in Canada it gets even better, the winnings are tax free! Provided of course that you are not doing it as a business, but only as a hobby. (If you are employing fifteen "runners" to place your tickets, odds are that you will be declared a business, so one must be careful.)
The cold hard odds of picking the spread on twelve consecutive games is a mere 1 in 4096. Close inspection will reveal that that is one of the fairest props going. And it is fair. We are not talking soccer or cricket here. What keeps the Oracle of Ottawa up late in these summer nights is the certain knowledge that he has done far better at events with much, much higher odds. Take for example a twelve question test where there are four possible answers for each question. We now go from 1 in 4096 to 1 in 16,777,216! That is on a twelve question multiple choice quiz with four possible answers for each question, there are 16, 777, 216 ways to answer! And 531, 441 ways in which you can answer all twelve questions wrong!
The paradox to the Oracle of Ottawa is that he can remember far more than one instance in his long life where by he has aced a twelve question multiple choice test with four choices offered for each question...Yet for the sheer life of me at the time of this writing, the Oracle still has yet to cash out on a three gamer point spread ticket. Which has the hard odds of 1 in 8, and which pays five times money.
Friday last there were 13 MLB games on the list. The Oracle of Ottawa focused for one more try and doped up all the days games. Then in fear that he might be becoming a problem gambler at two dollars a throw per day, put away the list in revulsion. The plan was to play two twelve gamer tickets one starting from the top and the other from the bottom of the list. Yesterday the Oracle decided to teach himself a lesson once and for all and check the results. There is no way on Earth that anyone can pick the spread results for thirteen games! Well Dear Reader you are right, I only picked 11 out of the possible 13!! If the Oracle would have played the two long shot tickets, he would have had two tickets that had 10/12 correct results, which pays 10 times money! My high stakes of $4.00 would have become $40.00... The Oracle is sure there is a moral to this story, but he just can't put his finger on it....