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This is a question Biggest opportunity I've blown

Not Alan Partridge tells us: "I was once offered the chance to co-present a programme on national radio. Audience of millions, but blew up spectacularly, my entire contribution being the rustling of paper in the background. I was that bad, I have since burned my copy of the pilot show." Tell us about your big break, and how you messed it up.

(, Thu 3 Apr 2014, 14:22)
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Someone once asked if I'd like to accompany him to the bookies,
And I politely declined, thus blowing my opportunity to be one of those sad fucks that gambles, and who then wonders bitterly why people they know are millionaires when their own life has turned to shit.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 11:18, 21 replies)
I'm not a gambler myself
but I was once given a tip that I sometimes wish I'd taken - back in 2001 my boss told me to place a bet that his son would become a Formula 1 racing driver in 2007.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 11:46, closed)
There was a cartoon that summed up the life of the dreary betting shop gambler.
It said, "I hope I break even today, I need the money."
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 12:39, closed)
I'm just confused by the degenerate types in here who appear to think that having not placed a bet that would have happened to win counts as a missed opportunity.

Well, I've never bought a lottery ticket, ever, but I'm annoyed because every single draw that has ever happened I WOULD have bought the winning ticket. So fuck y'all - I miss out on millions every week.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 12:45, closed)
Many years ago watching the racing with some hardcore gambling friends
When i say hardcore i just meant they put horse racing accumulators on every weekend and i didnt.

A horse with my nickname called "Spanishfly" was racing, they told me it was fate and to put as much as i could on it. i was stoned and did it. £20.

It fell at the first fence and then was shot dead.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 13:05, closed)
I bet it was Jeremy in disguise.

(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 13:28, closed)
This to win.

(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 18:56, closed)
It really is an addiction, isn't it?
I came across some poor kid who had snapped the chain on his ratty looking motorbike a while back. He said he was going to go and get another one from a dealer right the other side of London, but as it was after 5pm, they might be closed before he got there.

I was passing there on my way home, said I'd give him a lift on my motorbike (saving him a torturous hour plus journey on the tube), and he declined, saying he had to get to the bookies to make a bet before they closed.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 13:38, closed)
Yer - a mate of mine got to the point where he reckoned it cost him about £30 for a pint, as he'd spend the time on the fruities.
I don't really get it - it seems like a waste of money to me.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 13:53, closed)
It is profoundly depressing
I had a mate staying on my sofa who had basically burned every other bridge and resource left to him as he'd lost his job, he was selling coke down the pub and he'd ripped everyone there off by taking their money one night and not turning up with the goods.

One night we went down another pub and he had about a tenner to his name. He bought a pint and then put the other £6 into the fruit machine. Amazingly, he hit the jackpot and collected about £30 from it. Then I watched him feed all £30 back into the machine and he left the pub with nothing.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 13:57, closed)
I was in a pub once with a couple of mates and one of them spotted a man in a camel-hair jacket, whom it turned out he knew vaguely; I think they'd been colleagues at a previous job or something. This guy just stood in front of the fruit machine feeding in pound coins with a movement every bit as robotic as the machine in front of him, without any sign of emotion, for the entire time we were in there. He apparently did the same thing every weekend, and spent an average of £80 an evening purely on the fruit machine.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 14:55, closed)
I shall be giving my yearly £5 donation to a bookies tomorrow.
I have won once, and the year I didn't make it to the bookies I had picked 1,2 & 3rd place.

I don't really care about winning or loosing it just makes watching horses fling themselves over dangerously high fences till they die a lot more fun
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 15:35, closed)
I'm OK with a fiver on the grand national
it's these addicts that are so sleazy.

As above, fruit machines are the same. When I first started working we used to hang out in the pub. I can remember one of the guys coming in on payday, and blowing pretty much his entire weeks wages in one.

You could see how sick he felt, but he couldn't stop himself doing it.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 15:41, closed)
Its a real shame... but gamblers are basically doubly-fucked by their own brain chemistry:
The entire addiction is rooted in dopamine reward pathways... and the trouble degenerate gamblers have is that they get TWO rewards for gambling;

They get a dopamine hit to reward them when their gamble pays off, but before that they will actually be rewarded for simply making the bet in the first place. So, regardless of the outcome of the gamble they get high, and the behaviour reinforces itself.

Of course, if a gambler gets some early wins in their "career", then the whole process of addiction is accelerated.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 15:52, closed)

In a way I see your point, and from having seen the addiction from the other side of the counter I agree. I've had people beg for a bet and want to fight me when I refused them. I've had grown adults being escorted by their partners (both sexes are as bad imho) banning them from betting, and then travelling 30 miles to another shop to bet.

But I do feel there is a genuine type of gambler that can turn a profit. I know quite a few, but they see this is a business and have the one thing that most gamblers don't have; the ability to realise when you have lost and accept this. The worst gamblers are the "chasers". They think their next bet will cover the previous loss. The business gambler uses their knowledge to find a bet they think is worthwhile, realises the risk, accepts once the bet is on the money is lost, and any return is a good thing.

Along these lines - I feel as you do that fruit machines / gaming machines are shockingly addictive an should be banned. But if you have a sport you know inside out, and you can gamble with your knowledge and be professional about it, you can turn a good profit on it.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 16:36, closed)
There is some logic to it though. Doubling up is a perfectly
legitimate strategy, but only in the right conditions.

If I lose a bet for £5, if I then double up and bet a tenner and win, I'm ahead.

But, there are requirements for it to be a perfect strategy.

1. The odds have to be 1:1 at least.
2. The outcomes can only be binary.

Let's assume those are near enough attainable - you only take very low priced bets, on simple games.

3. This is the one that fucks them up - you have to have enough money to carry on doubling up till you win.

The stakes increase exponentially. You lose the tenner, the next one is 20. Then 40, then 80.

Good example of this - Nick Leeson.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 17:12, closed)
but as you say, the result has to be a even chance win or lose type bet. if it isn't win/lose 50/50, the game theory drops.

This almost exists in the casino world; red/black & High/Low on Roulette (if we ignore the 0/00) but they do not exist in the bookie world, due to the minimum 5% margin the bookie makes on the book. Normally the margin is more like 9% on a football match, 20% on a horse race.

So, as long as you have the money, you will always make a profit of the original stake. This is very unlikely in a betting shop, as there are almost no even chance, 2 result games.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 17:41, closed)
If you have infinite credit this sort of strategy always wins.
Unfortunately, the kind of people who might be prepared to give you infinite credit, tend to live in bins underneath rail bridges.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 17:49, closed)

Roulette is pretty close to 50-50, but the combination of floor limits and bad runs turning up kills that idea. It's almost as if they've been in business for centuries and have the whole thing nailed down tight!
(, Sat 5 Apr 2014, 13:52, closed)
It's Called the Martingale Strategy
And there's always some fuckwit who thinks they're the first person to think of it. You need infinite time and funds for it to pay off. And when it does, you have only won your smallest amount and risked huge amounts.
(, Sun 6 Apr 2014, 23:38, closed)
I played a fruit machine once
I put £3 in pressed the button a few times, nothing at all happened apart from things spinning around and some bloop bloop noises

I had a mate at Uni who said he knew the cycles of payouts of a particular machine in the student union. He was a maths student so I guess it's possible. When ever we went to the uni bar he'd sit facing it and even though he joined in with everyone he kept an eye on the cycle or whatever the fuck he was doing. If someone left the machine and he thought there was a payout due he's get on it. Win some money even the jackpot once, and leave the machine for someone to loose on.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2014, 16:22, closed)
Was your mate 'Rainman'?

(, Sat 5 Apr 2014, 9:40, closed)

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