Golf Editorial

20181109 Doubles Betting & Dumbo Accountants

This started out as a primer on doubles betting and somehow morphed into a rant about the sad accountant-induced state of the modern bookmaking industry!

Anyway, I think the influence of accountants and risk managers on modern bookmaking is sadly hilarious; read on and see whether you agree! But firstly here’s how I approach doubles betting.


I like to bet each-way doubles. Or Top5, Top10 or Top20 doubles.

Here is an overview of my process:

  1. Price-up a tournament field and compare with bookmaker prices;
  2. Reduce that field to only those players whose bookmaker prices are ‘overs’ (x% bigger than my prices);
  3. Delete those shorter than 50/1 (30/1 for Ladies & Seniors) and those longer than 200/1;
  4. For the remaining ‘target’ players, dig deeper into relevant data & form then select my most favoured 3-4 players;
  5. Repeat the process for every tournament on which bookmakers are betting, then;
  6. Box all my players in each way doubles with one another (so I have every golfer in an each way double with all my selections from the other tournaments).

Assuming one quarter the win odds is available as place odds, if the shortest win price I will bet is 50/1 (51.00) the smallest place price I’ll have will be 12.5/1 (13.50).

So, if two of my selections place Top5, the minimum place double will pay 13.50 x 13.50 = 182.25 units (if unaffected by ties).

It’ll pay 26.00 x 26.00 = 676.00 units if both players’ win prices are 100/1 (101.00). And so on….

These payouts arise from an outlay of 54 units if I double three players from each of three tournaments. That’s 27 win-win doubles & 27 place-place.

The, hopefully, regular payouts on the place-place doubles will keep my bank in existence, unless I go 3-4 weeks without a payout. Conversely, if I hit a win-win (which occurs twice per year on average) then the win double payout at, say, 75/1 (76.00) for each winner = 5,776 units.

Most importantly, my underlying principle is that if I can price golfers better than my golf bookmaker then I’m getting a discount – generating bigger payouts than I would receive if the bookmaker’s prices had been correct. The logic here is to eliminate the ‘house edge’ or even shift that edge to being in my favour – so the bookmaker is betting with me!

Further, had the bookmaker’s prices been shorter (smaller) then I likely wouldn’t have bet on those players in the first place. Don’t ever think that price or value don’t matter!

To avoid quickly coming to the attention of bookmaking companies which, these days, are super-quick to limit or ban winners, a lot of ‘smarts’ and ‘professionals’ bet in small stakes across several or many bookmakers and hiding their identities by using non-personal betting accounts (friends, syndicates, family members). It’s time-consuming, but what’s the alternative?

Bookmaking organisations have generated this undercover tactic, punters trying to stay under the radar, because they are now fundamentally incapable of accepting that winning gamblers should exist; so they seek to eliminate them from their companies.

I don’t blame the actual bookmakers themselves at all; this modern, grey, colourless, accountant-driven, approach to risk management is the causative factor of gambler chicanery and is, sadly, founded in a blissful ignorance of the art / science of bookmaking. Here’s why:

If I’m a smart golf bookmaker I know my clients; specifically I know those few who I respect. I permit those clients to bet, in their own names, with my company but, by mutual agreement, I limit them to win an acceptable amount per bet. Acceptable to both parties. I have a stop-loss and he knows he can get his weekly bets on; win-win. He’s not incentivised to bet with me anonymously and, anyway, I’ll soon notice if he does. It’s a professional and respectful business arrangement.

As a bookmaker, I can then use his expertise to help influence my pricing strategy. He’s put in a lot more tournament research than I have, he may even be better than me, and I am a recipient of his expertise in the form of bets.

For example, if two of my smart bettors are all-in on Brooks Koepka this week at my opening price, I might take their bets then reduce that price and go best price in the world on: Justin Thomas, Dustin johnson & Tiger Woods, enabling me to get a lot more stake money in from (the vast majority of) my other clients.

My turnover / action is significantly increased, I have a more vibrant book for my staff to manage and my top prices on some of the favourites might well attract new clients. I’m differentiating my prices and my company from the rest of the (uniform) golf betting marketplace. All good, right?

BUT the grey, colourless, accountants won’t allow any of this to occur because, as a golf bookmaker, if I have a losing week and my prices relating to those losses were out of line with the market, I can’t defend my actions to a grey, ignorant, drone who could get me fired and who is expert in reading profit & loss accounts but exits in a vacuum that does not include: the art of bookmaking, growing a client base or invigorating a business!

So, what we largely now observe is bookmakers who have to copy ‘the market’ in order to keep their jobs while engaged in a daily battle with smart gamblers betting incognito.

It’s hilarious!

I say hilarious because:

  • The successful gamblers are still winning money;
  • The powerless golf bookmakers copy market prices because they have to, guaranteeing they’ll receive ‘smart money’ on copied prices that are wrong;
  • The bookmaking companies often don’t know who is actually behind the winning bets and;
  • It’s all been orchestrated by those dreary accountants or risk managers who think they can engineer a betting business consisting only of losing punters. Dream on, dweebs!

Despite what the number-crunching suits might believe, all the: IP tracking, kyc (know-your-customer) measures, subsersive cookie-placement and so on will not address the ‘incognito gambler’ threat.

If we project this scenario into the future the grey suits will eventually decide they don’t need golf bookmakers; in fact, many have already. We know who you are.

They’ll believe they can just get some software written that routinely steals prices from somewhere; in fact, many have already. We know who you are.

This will lead to a reduction in both bookmaker employment and motivation and that’ll lead to more incorrect prices by bookmaking companies. And that’ll lead to reduced revenues for those grey colourless suits to contemplate!

As I said, hilarious!

Cheers and good luck with your golf betting!


© Copyright Mike J Miller: 9 November 2018