Basic Betting: The Micro Bytes Back – 25 years on

Almost 25 years ago I wrote a self-published book that tested gambling systems using programs written in GW-BASIC. I recently came across the spiral bound book and the 3.5″ floppy disc. After struggling to borrow a 3.5″ floppy disc drive I eventually manged to get the programs copied onto my desktop computer. I had a copy of the book as a Word document.

The next issue I faced was finding a way to run the GW-BASIC programs. This turned out to be surprisingly easy to solve. There is an excellent emulator that you can download, for both Mac and PCs and the programs that had been developed almost 25 years ago ran straight away.

Now I had the Word version of the book and the programs, that I could run. I am thinking about doing some minimal updates and releasing the book on a Kindle platform.

I just wonder whether it would actually be of interest to anybody? Here are a few more details.

We describe why bookmakers and casinos always win, and why this is the case. Next we present some betting systems, focusing on roulette, horse racing and football. We provide computer programs so that you can run them for yourself. The systems/programs that we present are the same that were presented in the first edition.

The programs are written in GW-BASIC. This was the predominant language back in 1993 and it is still possible to run these programs today. Although GW-BASIC is not supplied as a matter of course now, there is an excellent emulator available and we have found that it runs the programs perfectly. How to download and use the emulator is detailed on the accompanying web site, describing the process for both PCs and Macs.

The book comprises 13 chapters, following the same structure as the first edition. The first two chapters explain why bookmakers (and casinos) win. Chapters 3 to 8 present roulette systems. Chapters 9 to 11 considers football (in the UK sense), presenting three systems that we could use to predict the outcome of matches. In chapters 12 and 13 we consider horse racing. Chapters 3-13 comes with a computer program that you can run to see how good (or bad) the system is.

Some of the systems that are presented benefit from having a computer program to test it. This is especially true of the roulette systems where it is useful having a computer program simulate a roulette wheel and make, perhaps, thousands of spins. Other systems demonstrate that technology has moved on a little. Chapters 9 and 10, for example, could easily be tested using the basic functionality that is now available on a spreadsheet and if I was to implement these systems today, I would certainly use that tool rather than developing a bespoke program.

The book also has a theme that runs through it that talks about the problems of data entry, data security and the problems we may have it trying to fit all of the data on a 3.5″ floppy disc drive. These issues are no longer of concern today. Any data you require can be downloaded, either freely or through a suitable subscription. The ability to store high volumes of data is unlikely to be a concern and how do you back it up is probably covered through automated backups and/or utilizing cloud technology. I have largely left these discussions in place just to show how technology has moved on and also to provide some historical perspective.

It should be noted that we are presenting the systems for testing. I am not suggesting that the systems will make you money. Indeed, some of them will definitely lose money, which we know before even running the system. If this were not the case then bookmakers and casinos would be out of business. Your task is to decide whether any of the systems have any potential and then, perhaps, develop the ideas further into something that you are happy to test out in the real world.

I would welcome any comments.


I also published this post on LinkedIn. You can see the post here.

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