Dirk Paulsen was born in Berlin on 27 January 1959. Two of his great-grandfathers have achieved a certain fame. Berthold-Otto founded his own school, which still exists today in Lichterfelde, while great-grandfather Friedrich Paulsen gave his name to a street in Steglitz as well as to a school there.
Paulsen’s fascination with numbers began at a very early age. As a preschooler, he learned mental arithmetic up to the multiplication of two-digit numbers. Even later, he had to perform arithmetic tricks again and again. His passion for football appeared at the same time. This included playing actively in the club as well as visiting the stadium several times a week, even at regional or amateur matches, where his father took him. These two passions led him early on to the game of simulating Bundesliga football himself. At an early age, he had such a penchant for the realistic reproduction of football in his own game that he was already examining the parameters for his later career and incorporating them into the simulation game he had invented.
When he discovered chess at the age of 14, all other games were forgotten. Only chess counted. The rapid rise from learning the game in 1973 to becoming Berlin Youth Champion in 1977, the same year he made his debut in the national chess league, shows the passion — but perhaps also the talent — with which he pursued the game. Even after that, there were still several successes in chess, but the winnings were simply too small to earn a living. A problem of chess in general.
Funny, but unfortunately not truthful, would be to say: “He played mathematics and studied chess.” To make the character recognisable, it was more like this: he played both, altogether life, in all its variations.
In 1983, he discovered the game of backgammon. Not only was the character of the game very much in keeping with his aptitudes, but also, unlike chess, there were large sums to be won there. The game’s luck factor was sufficiently high to give even the weaker player a chance to win. There, too, he rose very quickly to the level of world elite and defeated numerous players from the world elite and won several tournaments, including the handsome sums.
Parallel to backgammon, however, he worked out a system with which the casino game Black Jack could be defeated. Certainly, there was already literature on the subject. But his own urge to research made him develop the method on his own.
For years, he then used his access authorisation to the large-scale computer system, with which many of the results could be checked or even specified, verified or improved. At the same time, he developed his first football simulation programme at the university, which was already able to make forecasts.
A short excursion into the world of work in the years 1987 – 1990, naturally as a software developer, could no longer really endanger his career. In nightly home work, the total knowledge of life was summarised and it culminated in the ultimate football programme, which is still in use today – of course in a version that has long since been considerably further developed.
The 1990 World Cup marked his entry into the world of sports betting, primarily football, and at the same time his exit from the world of work. Since then he has been a successful betting professional.
Dirk Paulsen can answer the perennial question about the “predictability of chance”, and especially about the predictability of football, with a clear “yes”. Even if he himself then likes to add: “Within the framework of how well you can predict anything at all.”
He introduces us to this world through his life biography. One always senses in the descriptions that, even if passionate and emotional, it was often he who kept a cooler head. Even if he cleverly packages this with a certain amount of humour and self-irony.
Along the way, he easily succeeds in making the reader shy away from mathematics. He takes him rather gently by the hand and initiates him into the small, but for the professional necessary way of thinking and the associated arithmetic operations. Even if, as he himself says, not every arithmetical operation has to be followed, one can easily continue reading on the basis of his vivid presentation and at the same time gain the impression that he “already knows what he is talking about.”