The expression “my system” is, of course, a great exaggeration. For it is certainly essentially the system with which every professional gambler has to work and it is at the same time the system with which, according to popular opinion, the providers “line their pockets”. The system is therefore basically based on placing one’s money on bets that ensure a long-term profit advantage. Short-term success depends on luck, on chance. If, for example, you want to place only one bet in your life on a very ordinary fifty-fifty chance, then success depends exclusively on luck. Even if the payout odds are only, as an example, 1.85. You can win or lose the bet. Fifty-fifty, that is. And if it remains the only one in your life and you even win it, then you can confidently say to every professional, every provider, every wannabe: “You do the maths. I’m ahead. And that’s not going to change.”

The satisfaction that one could achieve through such behaviour may be great, but it is then not suitable to build one’s life on it. To achieve that, you have to work for the long term. And place favourable, promising bets in the long term. I would just like to remind you once again that the poker player who calls an all-in is doing nothing more than placing a bet with his money. An amateur might say, “Well, let’s see what happens, maybe I’ll win the pot.” The professional, of course, has to weigh up the strength of his own hand, the long-term observed behaviour of the opponent, the hand conceded to the opponent based on this, and then the probability of actually winning the pot if he assesses the opponent correctly, and make his decision. And finally come to the conclusion: “According to everything I know, it’s a good bet. I’m calling.” Even if it then sometimes happens to him, as it inevitably does, that the opponent has two aces.

So all money wagered on seemingly random events, which in a favourable case can also lead to a payback, constitutes a bet. When I pay the entry fee for a chess or backgammon tournament, I have made a bet at the same time. Namely, that I am betting on myself. Occasionally, of course, one knows that it is a bad bet and makes it anyway, just for fun. But it remains a bet even when it’s fun. Betting/playing with an admitted disadvantage is also more than legitimate. Only it would be convenient to know it then and to guarantee oneself the repayment of the stake in the form of adequate entertainment. In case you don’t win something, which can occasionally happen even with disadvantageous bets and, above all, which is precisely what makes this form of gambling fun. The hope of winning something…

Well, after this long preamble, I must now of course go into detail at some point. The system I would like to examine or explain here is, of course, the one with which I have successfully made football bets for a very long time. The basic ideas that need to be discussed can of course be applied to many comparable things. And, sorry again to have to share this, it cannot be done entirely without a few mathematical considerations.

1) My system

As discussed in detail in the chapter “How a quota is created”, a quota reflects in some way the probability of occurrence of an event. If one has one’s own estimate of the probability of an event occurring, then the inverse of that probability is what I call the “fair quote”. If the price offered, the odds offered (price – odds synonymous), is above this fair odds, then in theory one has a profitable bet that is worth making. However, since we are talking about events whose probability of occurrence is unknown, the quality of the estimates is responsible for success in the long run. And the statement “quality of estimates” applies to both sides. You have one, the provider has another, now these are held against each other in the form of a bet with money stakes. The outcome of the individual event is still random. In the long run, however, mathematics promises that the better side will prevail in the form of overall profits.

As a small note, however, it should be mentioned here that although the outcome of the individual event remains random, a better assessment nevertheless promises more frequent success. Here is a concrete example:

We have the match Schalke – Dortmund, from 20.2. 2009 from the 1st Bundesliga. You have noted down your assessment. You claim that Schalke’s victory is 55%. The fair odds as a reciprocal result in fair odds of around 1.82. You look at a betting offer and read off that you get a 2.0. That would give you a 50% chance in the reciprocal. But this is the upper limit that the provider assumes here, because he himself also calculates his betting offers with a profit, i.e. he assumes an estimate of rather only 45%. The difference between the assessments is large enough with 45% against 55%, so that a seemingly profitable bet results here for both sides.

The “random outcome” of the game is of course somewhat less random if one assumes the “correct” assessment. It is just that in this case it is simply not known. And, I don’t know how good your connection to the very top is, but whether everything up there runs via probabilities or via assigned fates, whether it is even set as “calculable”, only not solved by man so far, will probably remain unresolved at least for a longer while. So personally, throughout my betting career (here I’m talking specifically about football betting again), I’ve been convinced that my assessment is “correct”, or at least closer to the truth than that of the other person. And here, success has proven me right so far.

So, we are now at the point of “randomness of outcome”. And this is, depending on who was more right, not entirely coincidental after all. If your estimate of the 55% is correct, then the event is still random but has a slightly greater chance. You then have it right as often as you need it to be profitable. With odds of 2.0, it must occur at least 51 times in 100 attempts for it to be profitable. Unfortunately, the random experiment is not repeated in this case. But then there is the next game, in which the competition begins anew. And even if you then bet an underdog in the match for odds of 4.0, whose probability of victory according to your estimation is 27.5%, i.e. fair odds of 3.64, you can eventually gauge the success.

How complex the whole thing is can be seen from the fact that you may have been right in the first game, but the result goes against you, and in the second you are wrong, but it goes in your favour. As I said, mathematics promises you in the very long term that you will get into the order of magnitude of what you are entitled to. And the financial result is the surest, but above all the relevant, yardstick anyway.

So my system was that I simply used my computer to create estimates for all the leagues I covered and then compared them with the odds on offer. You can read how my computer did this in the chapter “My football programme”. It goes without saying that I continued to be influenced by intuition. This intuition flowed into the following variations:

If a game was (is) clearly indicated, I can of course look for reasons for it. It is guaranteed that it is not always a “mistake” made by the provider. The mistake can always be on my side as well. If many bookmakers agree on an assessment at the match, special caution is required. Then it is advisable to adjust your own estimate. Occasionally, you can simply skip this or that game altogether. You certainly haven’t lost anything from that. In the worst case, you have only given away a potential profit. But that alone does not “cost” money. But who says that one would have had an advantage?

Then, of course, there were leagues in which I “felt comfortable”. Somehow you notice that the assessments are right and everything works out. In other leagues, you tend to have worse results and prefer to leave the games out altogether. Of course, there were teams that you “liked”. Either you had good reason to believe that this or that team was underestimated or the team was often shown, you played them and they won. Then, of course, one had gradually developed more confidence in that team and preferred to play it. But if one day the computer indicated that one should bet against this team, one had a good reason not to follow this suggestion. “Nah, I’m not betting against them.”

Another control option at all times is, of course, the amount of the bets. If a game is very clearly indicated or one is very convinced of the assessment, then one can of course bet the game higher. Another, which seems less reliable to you, you can then, instead of leaving it out, simply play smaller.

But how did one play the games in the first place? I would like to explain that in the next section.

a. Advantage of combination betting

As mentioned earlier, many providers had combination bets anyway. That is, you had to combine several games if you wanted to place a bet at all. These providers did this, on the one hand, to protect themselves from errors in the odds, and on the other hand, to take advantage of a mathematical law. However, I doubt whether they did this consciously. The mathematical law they used (unknowingly) was that the combination of events increases the advantage for the one who has the advantage on his side. Since, of course, each operator was convinced that his odds were the right ones and that he had an advantage on practically every match that was bet on, it could be assumed that this advantage would increase when combined.

The one point now is to elucidate why this is so in the first place. As in other cases, this is best explained by example. In order to keep the example nice and clear, I will once again use the good old coin toss and also assume that the distribution of chances is actually 50-50 for heads or tails. If a provider were to offer odds of 1.90 on a coin toss, he would have a clear advantage. 2.0 would be the fair odds (1/0.5, the inverse, as usual). Instead of 2.0, however, he only pays 1.90. With 100 attempts with the distribution 50 times tails and 50 times heads, he would collect 100 * 100 euros for a stake of 100 euros, since the bettor would have to deposit the money. However, he would have to pay something back in 50 cases. The payout would be 100 * 1.90 for each of the 50 cases, i.e. 190 Euros per hit. The player hits 50 times, so he only gets back 9500 Euros for his 10000 Euros. This makes a loss of 500 Euros on a turnover of 100000, which is 5%.

But now let’s assume that you always bet a combination of 2 coin tosses in a row. As we have learned, not only does the probability of occurrence multiply (since the events are independent) but one may also multiply the odds together to calculate the payout. The provider has not changed his offer for the second roll of the dice either. One always gets 1.90. So the probability of occurrence would be quickly calculated as 0.5 * 0.5 = 0.25 or 25%. The wage that one receives when entering head – head consecutively would also be easy to calculate. One gets 1.90 * 1.90 = 3.61 as odds.

Now we do 100 times two coin tosses in a row. Ideally, the event “heads – heads” would occur 25 times. That means you would win 25 times and lose the other 75 times. With the 25 wins, one would again get back 100 euros * 3.61, i.e. 361 euros. This would be the case in 25 cases, so one would get back 25 * 361 = 9025 euros for the 10000 euros stake.

So it would be a loss of 975 euros or almost 10%. And again, this is not witchcraft. It is the multiplication as an arithmetic operation that makes this happen. In both cases, in both events, you have a disadvantage with the bet. This disadvantage multiplies, as do the probability of occurrence and the odds. The disadvantage becomes greater because it multiplies.

But that is of course also a question of perspective. For it is still unclear who actually has the advantage. My programme showed me the games with an advantage. My programme was quite good so far that it could give me reasonably realistic figures. So I gratefully accepted the offer of having to combine. With providers who had no compulsion to combine, I was also happy to combine voluntarily. The providers thought they had an (even greater) advantage, and I was also convinced that I had an advantage. So the end result had to provide the answer. And this proved me right, at least to the extent that I could pay the rent permanently and regularly and fill the fridge. Oh, and it was also warm in my flat, even in winter.

b. The system bets

To win in the long run, however, apart from the good games, which were then determined by comparing the fair odds and the odds offered, one also needs the composition of the games and an appropriate turnover, which then (hopefully) brings the advantages one has to bear in a sufficient, preferably of course in an optimal, form.

The problem now is, on the one hand, the composition and, on the other hand, the amount of turnover. On top of that, you have to take into account that the provider will become aware of you and take protective measures.

There are at least three points to consider regarding the problem of composition. The first point is the advantage one assumes the selected game offers. The second point is the reliability of the forecast one has made oneself. I always had enough reason to at least check whether my computer was more likely to “go wrong” in this game and more likely to be right in that game. Thirdly, the amount of the odds is an influencing factor that is not insignificant.

For the various reasons, I prefer to bet almost always in system bets. Coincidence is here, in conceptual terms, that my system was the system bets. What advantages all this offers I would like to explain below, point by point.

i. The attention aspect

The system bets thus offered me the chance to “accommodate” all the selected games with each provider. Because often enough it was a high number. In fact, often enough it was almost the only way to get any money at all on all those games. If you imagine that with a betting offer of often well over 100 games on a weekend, I had already selected 20 or a number in the order of magnitude per provider, then the problem becomes obvious quite quickly. How should one get money on the game other than with a system bet?

Of course, the 20 games selected were not always different for each provider. That was also quite intentional on my part. A game could appear in my selection at several providers for several reasons: First, because I thought the game was good and simply liked to have more money on it. Then there was the consideration that providers are often tired of only being played on their weak points. This means that many (would-be) professionals only and exclusively play top rates. One bookmaker pays 1.80 on a game, the other 1.85 and the third 1.90. That is the maximum. Then the man inevitably gets a lot of turnover on the game. He gets annoyed by this at some point. He also despises the players who do it. “Yes, a great system you have. Always play maximum courses and trust that those will be mistakes. Anyone can do that.”

I too played these games then, it’s not like that. But: the same provider had odds of 2.10 on another game that was also interesting for me, for example. And on this game, he knew and I also knew, there was a 2.20 at another bookmaker. Then I played the 2.10 anyway. Then my bets didn’t “bother” him as much because I wasn’t classified as a pure “maximum player”. And that, of course, affected all providers. So I was quite happy to play other games, with any provider, on which the provider did not pay the maximum. An insidious deception. But effective. I got bans much less often.

In addition, the system bets are simply less conspicuous. A player who picks 20 or even more games looks more like an entertainment player. I never stopped dictating bets on the phone. How and why should I have any advantage? So the (perhaps naïve) thought goes.

Sure, you will object, you can remain inconspicuous for a few weeks or months. But you become conspicuous when you ask for payouts. And repeatedly. Because one has simply won. Of course, that was an aspect at some point. And that’s how gambling bans came about from time to time. Nevertheless, my way of playing was less conspicuous and many things were perhaps still attributed to my excessive luck. And who knows? Maybe it was true?

ii. The advantages in the games

Of course, there were always games that were displayed in my selection that offered a great advantage. And some of them were most definitely the “premium bets”, the preferred games. Games that simply “tasted” good to me, which I also then definitely wanted to play more expensively than others. Others offered smaller advantages, had higher odds or were simply not as interesting, appealed to me less. A lower turnover had to be played there. So, some games expensive, some small. That was the goal.

And you could also achieve that optimally with the system bets. I could play 4 or 5 system bets. And in each of them there were two or three games that I had identified as particularly good. In addition, of course, there was even the possibility of playing these games with other providers (even if not for the highest price!) in further system bets. It was unobtrusive and effective. More turnover on some games, less on others. I will explain how to calculate all this later.

iii. The turnovers

Turnover, which you have to make at least to be able to feed on it, is of course required to be of a certain magnitude. Since I never got more than 5% profit from the turnover, even with the system bets, a turnover of 50,000 DM had to be achieved per weekend. That was quite a normal figure. But since I played with several different providers, even changing them from time to time, even that was not so noticeable. At one 3000, at the other 5000, still within reason.

Of course, you knew a lot of people personally and had a relaxed relationship. So the motto was: “How much can I play on this bet?” “Yes, well, 3 out of 6 á 100 DM, that’s fine.” “All right, thank you. But of course you don’t have to accept anything if you don’t like it.” So it became a personal but fair duel. Both sides had the opportunity to learn. What’s more, my argument was always: “Even if you have a minus so far and maybe there were a few quota mistakes. Who knows if this weekend the odds aren’t all just right and the advantage is on your side?” And it’s hard to give in to that. Especially since the providers are usually vain and believe in their assessments. And among the vain ones, I am the king….

iv. High quotas

There has always been the problem of how to accommodate very high odds. The one problem here is that you would like to play them if displayed and selected. The only way to do that was still system betting. Either because it was compulsory anyway, or because you played everything else in systems anyway. Then there was always a maximum payout per bet. And because of the high odds, there was the problem that the maximum payout could easily be exceeded. Especially if there were more than one high odds among them. My computer, stupid as it is, naturally made no distinction. The odds of 12.0 were too high for it, it simply showed it to me, as the fair odds were 9.76. I often had the following solution for this.

I then often had the following solution to this problem: For example, I played a 3 out of 10 with certain 10 games, but not too high. And then I made another 3 out of 11 with the same 10 games. The eleventh game was then the game with the high odds. If there were more than one, I would play several 3 out of 11 and change the last game, leaving the others the same. So I had a “normal” and desirable turnover on the other 10 games and a smaller turnover on the high odds, which was appropriate for these games. And the maximum payout (per bet) was not in danger.

v. Tension

Now two points why I would recommend playing in system bets to anyone anyway. First of all, of course, understanding it and the tools to be able to work it out on your own. Both the stake, i.e. the number of rows in a 3 out of 11 (well how many are there?) And then of course the calculation of the payout in case of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or even more(?) hits.

After that, one can only devote oneself to the advantages. And the one, huge advantage, is definitely the excitement. It can be very exciting to combine games with the same kick-off times (in the system). You might see that two or three games develop unfavourably. But maybe six will go well? On top of that, one of the three unfavourable ones turns. Each number of hits results in a different payout (if we disregard the “Mad-Max” king). That’s just exciting, isn’t it?

But if you play games with different kick-off times, it can also be very tingling. You might already have 4 out of 5 games right on Saturday. There is already money back. But there is still Sunday with 4 more games. You look forward to Sunday, don’t you? You’re excited and waiting in anticipation for the games. And let’s be honest, even going to church in the morning, which has been postponed for so long, would come to mind, seem tasty and be easy?

vi. Long-term assessment of betting quality

Another aspect is the assessment of betting quality. If you always play full combos, there may be a hit that distorts the statistics because it occurs by chance. If it is even a second one in a short time, you can be completely misled. In the same way, a long dry spell can make you despair, even though you are actually a good bettor (“Only one game wrong again. Such bad luck, always the same.”).

If you make system bets, you can still control the amount you bet quite well. You don’t have to become a professional and bet thousands, but you can check the quality of your own tips with small bets. You have regular payouts. And that provides a fairly reliable method of checking the quality. And if it is still negative after a few months, you can either blame it on bad luck or simply try to bet better and use your experience. It is far from being proven that you have a disadvantage or that you simply can’t do it. Keep going, keep at it and be ready to learn. The “willing to learn” applies to me too, of course. You always have to reckon with or accept the fact that people either have a better assessment or a better method.

In principle, however, the situation is like this: all bets in which you actually have an advantage are recommended to bet money on. Theoretically, of course, the more the better, but there are also questions of money management that would advise you what percentage of capital you should/could/must bet on which advantage. Contrary to other recommendations, it does not depend on the odds whether you make a single, combination or system bet with a game. There is an advantage everywhere, if well chosen. Then it is only a question of how much turnover you want on it and how you place the money. To understand this a little better, I have another real “treat” for you, namely….

vii. A bit of mathematics to go with it

c. Examples

d. Statistics

i. Hits expected/arrived

ii. Winning expectation