The Best Gamblers are Invisible but Not Transparent

CDC’s look at H.G. Wells through a betting window

Is transparent the same as invisible? You look through a window. You see something on the other side. The window is practically invisible, but it speaks nevertheless. What is it telling you? It is relaying information from the other side.

Almost all the information, almost. It may introduce its own little bias, but only a little. Perhaps a very slight greenish cast. Perhaps an imperfection or two. Refraction introduces more. Metaphors to real life begin to suggest themselves when you realize that where you are standing – your ‘angle’ as it were – has the most to do with the refractive distortion you see. If your position is to the extreme left or right it is difficult to see much of anything clearly. Not much one can add to that sentence is there?

Spot the ball

Let’s go to a football game. Admission is only half price. Why? Is it because one of the teams is invisible? Like Griffin, narrator of H.G. Wells’ 1897 science fiction classic, ‘The Invisible Man‘. Yes, one of the teams is invisible. Eleven Griffins… The invisible team is on the attack.

H.G. Wells had a feel for the future

Here is my imagery: Long ball? Short ball? Play it into the box? Chip it in? Uggh! Can’t see where they are coming from! This is impossible! The invisible team has a super advantage on defence, granted they run into each other a lot, (they can’t see their teammates either!) but they get the job done far more easily than their opaque opponent.

Uh Oh! Man down (rolling around on the floor like the finest players do)… and from the instant of recovering the ball, now the invisible team is on the offense… transparent… light as air… air without light.

The ball sort of moves around like magic, sometimes floating in the air like a cumbersome balloon. At least that is what the defence sees. The defence though has something visible to target. Even deception with the ball for the attacking team is more difficult. It’s hard to deceive with the ball if everyone can see it. As well, “Who do I pass to? I can’t see them. I can’t even see me!”

Knockout punch

In a sport such as boxing it’s not a contest at all. The punch (it won’t take but one or two) comes seemingly out of thin air. Who needs to “float like a butterfly”? He literally won’t see what hit him!

All this fun to illustrate the importance of a few timeless points. Why – and really why – do those who want to win at gambling want to be visible? It’s bad news (a good gambler yielding to the sins of pride) or worse news (not a successful punter at all, just another promoter).

Winning bets and lots of screen shots

The recent Cheltenham Festival will be memorable for lots of things, and one of those is the screen-shots of winning bets and unlucky near misses which people posted on Instagram and Twitter. Yes, a few were impressive with six-figure paydays. Many were from promoters eager to showcase their ‘cash-out’ features. But the bulk, driven by the egos of wannabe professionals.

Minella Indo landed the final leg of this acca at odds of 9/1


Vanity is a sin

Again, behavioural economics instructs us. As title character in the film “The Devil’s Advocate”, Al Pacino observes with a toothy satisfied grin, “Vanity is my favourite sin”.

Imagine you possessed knowledge with enduring earning power – a Golden Goose as it were – something no one else but you possessed. Who would you tell? Would you tell? If as well you owned the title contraption from another of H.G. Wells’ timeless blockbusters, 1895’s “The Time Machine”? If you could endlessly fetch tomorrow’s newspaper featuring today’s results? Would you say a word? Perhaps so, perhaps not, but it seems unlikely you would be flogging your secrets at seminars, on pay-per-view Zoom meetings or posting your ever-increasing balance on Twitter.

The best gamblers are invisible but not transparent.

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