About the author
Dirk Paulsen, born in Berlin in 1959, has fulfilled a childhood dream. It is not his particular childhood dream but rather the childhood dream par excellence: to make playing a profession. In this book, he describes his remarkable “career”, which allowed him to learn various games to the point of mastery, in a way that is as empathetic as it is soberly convincing.
Already as a child fascinated by mathematics and enthusiastic about football, he tried very early and in all possible variations to simulate the Bundesliga in a game. Whether by Tipp-Kick, Subbuteo, 11-out cards, with dice or later the pocket calculator: results and tables are generated and compared with reality It has to be “realistic”, is his magic word.
In 1973, at the age of 14, he discovers chess. He quickly makes it to Berlin Youth Champion in 1977, plays in the national chess league for many years and even makes it to the national team in 1981. However, he soon breaks off his short career as a “chess professional” – with the reason that “there is too little money in chess. The lack of luck factor prevents higher money stakes for those who have the lower playing ability, given their quickly obvious inferiority.”
It is quite different in the dice game of backgammon, which he learns in 1983. The game, which is succinctly classified as “gambling” by the state, offers even the underdog a reasonable chance of winning. As a result, there are much higher entry fees and “moneygame” for large sums. It seems tailor-made for him. He moves from musty chess halls with stove heating to the world of the rich and beautiful, to the luxury hotels of San Remo, Gstaad, St. Moritz, Pörtschach, Monte Carlo, Cannes. This can only be financed through lavish prize money, which he earns through luck and skill.
With the entry into the pure world of gambling, the study of mathematics becomes a secondary matter. However, parallel to backgammon, he learns the casino game Black Jack, including the card-counting strategy necessary to win, calculates many things himself and develops a computer programme that confirms the correctness of the calculations by simulation.
For such games, however, the rule is: high costs, low profit expectation. The backgammon opponents are getting stronger and stronger, there are no more easy “victims” and if there are, the winnings have to be shared with other professional players. The casinos make winning at blackjack more difficult with rule modifications or bans on playing.
Parallel to a short excursion into the world of work (1987-1990; software), he continues to develop and perfect his football programme. The peculiarities of the game already observed in childhood can be provided with parameters and transformed into a prognosis programme by skilful linking. After the 1990 World Cup, at which he has finished the first usable version and which also earns him a tidy profit, the time has come: he quits his job and continues his playing career. This time, however, it was as a professional sports bettor, specialising in football betting. Later, he includes ice hockey, tennis and basketball in his “programme” in a similar way.
Prognostics, as he always emphasises, is a science “to which not too much attention is paid”. To then add: “Every prognosis of an event in the form of a probability greater than 0 and less than 1 admits both the occurrence and the non-occurrence of the event. Accordingly, what one does with a probability prediction is not much more than: The event occurs or it does not occur.” And anyone can do that.
That it is much more than that, he knows how to convey in this book in a convincing way. “There is a difference between 50% and 60%, between 10% and 13%. Finding this out and then using it successfully on the betting market” could be described as his secret to success. You simply have to believe him, at the latest after reading it. Dirk Paulsen leaves it open whether you should suppress or give in to the temptation to try it yourself. In any case, he gives the reader plenty of instructions on how to play well.