Euro 2020 hedge fund manager

EURO 2020 – How I Acted As A “Hedge Fund Manager” For 7 Days

Disclaimer: Please do not gamble beyond your means. If you or your loved ones need help, you can visit the National Council On Problem Gambling here.

In 2018, my extended family and I decided to have some fun and to employ a strategy during the World Cup to bet on fixed total goals. However, our system wasn’t very consistent as we didn’t follow the rules and missed betting on some matches as my uncle couldn’t stay awake/wake up to place a bet.

For this EURO 2020 competition, matches will be played at 9 PM, 12 AM and 3 AM local time.

My uncles decided I will take over placing the bets this time around as I have the time and can wake up to place the bets. I created an online Singapore Pools Account just for this.

Why [Total One Goal]?

My uncle eyeballed the history of previous EURO competitions and the [Total One Goal] appears quite frequently and it has slightly better odds than [Total Two Goals]. A higher frequency allows our bets to hit more frequently to prevent a complete drawdown. Odds are also important as they will give us a better yield.

I looked back to the last two EURO competitions and here are the stats.

EURO 2012

Total Goals

Number Of Matches

0

2

1

7

2

9

3

6

4+

7

EURO 2016

Total Goals

Number Of Matches

0

4

1

13

2

17

3

12

4+

5

My 3 relatives placed S$700 each with me. The rules in the next section were decided by my relatives and I am tasked to just follow them. I didn’t put in money this time as I don’t have any income.

Rules For Our Strategy

  • Start with S$2,100
  • Place predetermined bets on [Total One Goal] or a combination of [1:0] and [0:1] on every match
  • Place an increasing bet the next match if the current match is not [Total One Goal]
    • As long as we do not have 8 consecutive matches of losses, the bets can go on.
  • Return to the first bet of S$50 for the next match if the current match hits [Total One Goal]

Increasing Bets

Examples

S$50

Match 1 – 2:0

We bet S$50 on [Total One Goal] but Match 1 is [Total Two Goals] so we move up to the next bet of S$80.

Match 2 – 1:0

We proceed to the next bet of S$80 on [Total One Goal] and Match 2 is [Total One Goal] so we move back to the first bet of S$50.

S$80

S$120

S$180

S$260

S$360

S$500

S$550

I had to wake up after every match to check the score and then place the bets accordingly.

This strategy is replicable at lower amounts at a minimum of S$42. The minimum bet on Singapore Pools online is S$1.

Things That Occurred During EURO 2020

It did not go as smoothly as I thought as we did not take into account some variables that I will talk about below.

Odds Inefficiencies

So when I thought it is a straightforward bet of [Total One Goal], my uncle did some calculations and there is some arbitrage that we can make use of by varying the bet amounts.

The scores that possible under [Total One Goal] are either [1:0] or [0:1].

Therefore, the expected value of betting on [Total One Goal] should be the same as the expected value of betting on the scores of [1:0] and [0:1].

But this is not the case for some matches and we should take advantage of them.

Before betting on every match, I will need to check if there is any difference in the odds that I need to take advantage of.

Example 1 – Turkey V Italy

Bet Type

Odds

Bet Amount

Payout

Remarks

Total One Goal

3.7

S$50

S$185

Bet S$50 with a potential payout of S$185

1:0

15

S$14

S$210

Total bet S$50 with a potential payout of S$210 or S$216

0:1

6

S$36

S$216

In this case, it would be better to bet on a combination of [1:0] and [0:1] rather than [Total One Goal] as they will have a higher payout despite the total bet amounts being the same.

Example 2 – Denmark V Finland

Bet Type

Odds

Bet Amount

Payout

Remarks

Total One Goal

4

S$50

S$200

Bet S$50 with a potential payout of S$185

1:0

4.1

S$42

S$172.20

Total bet S$50 with a potential payout of S172.20 or S$167

0:1

21

S$8

S$167

 

For this example, we will stick to betting on [Total One Goal] as there is no advantage in splitting the bets.

“Suspension” Of Denmark V Finland

This match was the third match of the competition. When I woke up to place the bet for the 3 AM match, I noticed that the match was suspended after a Danish player collapsed.

Denmark v Finland Suspended

Source: Google

I thought that my current bet of S$120 (the first 2 matches were 3 and 2 goals respectively) was going to be refunded due to the suspension. So I resumed betting S$120 on the next match.

However, the Denmark V Finland match restarted and it ended with a 0:1 score. This meant that I had to restart the bet to S$50 for the 3 AM match but I didn’t do so. The result is that I bet S$70 more than I was supposed to.

We discussed in the morning how to proceed and decided that we will reset to S$50 from the next match onwards.

Shifting Of Goal Posts

On 15 June, we were down to our last 3 bets. If the next three matches did not hit the [Total  One Goal] bet, it will be game over. So we decided to adjust our bets temporarily to make sure we had an additional chance of survival.

Previously, we could only miss 7 bets, but now with the adjustment, we could afford to miss 8 bets.

On 16 June, the France v Germany match hit the [Total One Goal] bet so we would have been safe anyway. The adjustment of the bet made us lose out on S$540 of profits. However, if we didn’t adjust the bet and the France v Germany match wasn’t one goal, we had to hit the [Total One Goal] bet at the next match or else all funds will be gone within a week of the competition.

Nth Bet

Old System

Temp System

New System

6

S$360

S$300

S$360

7

S$500

S$380

S$500

8

S$550

S$450

S$550

9

S$570

S$630

After we hit the bet during the France v Germany match, we shifted back to the old betting amounts with an additional bet. We can do this as our funds have increased from the original S$2,100 to S$2,734.

Concurrent Matches

From 21 June onwards, there will be concurrent matches so we will not be able to place bets after knowing the results. This brings us to the next point.

Premature Funds Withdrawal

Our strategy did not account for concurrent matches. The entire EURO 2020 competition consists of 53 matches but we stopped after 20. Since we already made some profit, my relatives decided to cash out after one week. I had a solution for the concurrent matches but they were the “clients” and I’m the “fund manager” so they got the final say.

When your client wants to cash out, you got to cash out unless you are Michael Burry during The Big Short.

I also wasn’t that keen on waking up at ungodly hours.

EURO 2020 Fund Overall Results

Starting Funds

S$2,100

Number Of Matches

20

Number Of Bets Placed

26

Winning Bets

5

Losing Bets

21

Maximum Consecutive Misses

6 Matches

Maximum Drawdown

41.7%

Total Bet Amounts

S$2,940

Total Winnings

S$3,951

Net Winnings

S$1,011

Ending Balance

S$3,111

Overall Yield

34.3%

Commission

S$171

If you are interested in the full breakdown of all the bets, you can take a look at the Google Sheets here.

How Would I Optimize The Strategy Next Time?

Our strategy works but it is not complete. So here are some ideas on how I would optimize it next time.

Account For Concurrent Matches

We didn’t account for concurrent matches in our strategy and this is a problem. What I will do is to split the original bet into two, classify the concurrent matches into A and B and proceed accordingly. A reminder that the bets are S$50, S$80, S$120, S$180. An example can be seen below.

Day Match A (1 Goal?) Match B (1 Goal?)
Day 1 S$25 (N) S$25 (Y)
Day 2 S$40 (N) S$25 (N)
Day 3 S$60 (Y) S$40 (N)
Day 4 S$25 (N) S$60 (Y)
Day 5 S$40 (N) S$25 (N)

Have A Clearly Defined Exit Strategy

Our betting rules were clear but we did not have a clear exit strategy. We could do one of the following.

  • Stop when hit a certain amount e.g. S$4,200
  • Stop betting when there are less than the safety net of matches left.
    • This is to make sure we have enough matches to ride out the losses

Increase Safety Net

If we got to do this again, I think we will increase the safety net by one match by lowering all the bets in the first place.

Bet On [Total Two Goals] Instead

If it is up to me, I will choose [Total Two Goals] over [Total One Goal] due to its frequency. Hitting more matches is safer although we will potentially make slightly less.

TL, DR

We used a strategy betting on  [Total One Goal] with an increasing bet during this EURO 2020 competition. We managed to make a 34% yield with a scary maximum drawdown of 42% in one week. There were also incidents that occurred that we didn’t expect like the concurrent matches and the match suspension during the Finland v Denmark match. We also did not have an exit strategy. There are certain aspects of the strategy that I would optimize and account for if we are going to do this again.

By the time this gets posted, if we had continued, we would probably get “bankrupted” if the next match isn’t [Total One Goal] as there are already eight consecutive losses. So it is probably a good call that my relatives decided to take profit early. This also highlights that nothing is confirmed in gambling, even if you have a “well thought out” strategy.

This little gambling experiment is just for fun. If you gamble over a long period of time, you will eventually lose out as the house always wins.

If you really have to gamble, make sure to set limits and only play with money you are willing to lose.

Please do not gamble beyond your means. If you or your loved ones need help, you can visit the National Council On Problem Gambling here.

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