It’s that time of year when the office sweepstake inevitably starts to take place. The sports trading network office effort was an amusing one, and I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the time. The STN draw has a number of participants who:
i) Only “play” anything when they have an edge/advantage
ii) Prefer to take money from bookies than each other
iii) Can’t stop themselves trying to shoot an angle
Combining those three qualities makes for an interesting event.
It also inspired me to write this article. My hope is to give you some insight into the depths of the mind of an advantage player/trader, and why you might want to be careful about who you are playing poker against as well (amongst other things). Here are a few angles that sprang to mind (for the record, I exploited none of them – everyone draws the line somewhere).
A) Wait to see the strength of the remaining pool. In this situation, you could buy one, two or three teams. It sounds obvious but waiting until a few teams have been drawn (if allowed) to make a decision will offer a better value bet (or may inform you to keep your money in your pocket)
B) Pick on the weakest link in the room, and see if after selection they will trade some picks. Especially handy if they have (say) a Belgium and you have an Italy – someone uninformed about football may well believe Italy is a better bet, and happily swap with you. This tactic is best performed one-on-one
C) Suggest modifications after the draw that will suit you. You need to be creative here. If the prize structure has already been determined, this will limit your options, but you still may be able to create something. Maybe a few quid back to all those who get eliminated in the group stage, because so many of the group teams will qualify in this instance?
D) Look to deal whenever the odds favour the other person. In the STN draw there is only a prize for first and second, so you may want to do some work at the semi final stage. Split the prize, if you are odds against to qualify? All puts extra EV on the table
E) Lay England – the oldest and goldest strategy at any football tournament. Seriously though, exploit the opportunity that the uninformed will overvalue England’s chances and swap them for a superior team. Appeal to their patriotic nature (assuming they are English!)
F) Look to create side pots, where there is less luck and more judgment. Something for the top scorer maybe? Group winners, most points, perhaps people pay more money to choose first? You will need to know your opposition well to get this to work
G) Claim a fix, use puppy dog eyes, throw the toys out of the pram – if you get a really bad draw – one of the opposition may take pity on you
Whilst the tongue is firmly in cheek in some of the above, there are some transferable tactics that you might use in a whole number of situations. Keep fighting, be better prepared than your opponents, and always know what you have up your sleeve. It will serve you well for the future!