March 31, 2021

April 1, 2021

Zzzabuu is his name. He arrived earlier in 2003 from the planet Zzokki in a faraway galaxy, having been dispatched to Earth on a fact-finding trip involving politicians. Zzzabuu had been selected once again by The Superiors in 2021 because of his great intellect, analytical mind, and his love of gambling.

On reaching Earth, Zzzabuu set out immediately to accomplish his specific assignment: to determine details (both pros and cons) of gambling investment opportunities on Plant Earth. As per instructions from the Superiors, Zzzabuu met with an outspoken chemical engineering professor (who shall remain nameless); he had earlier published a book titled, “Probability and Statistics for Environmental Engineers and Scientists”. Part of the material in the well-received text addressed games of chance, including dice, cards, football pools, Lotto, etc. The professor proved an invaluable source of information despite being dubbed “The Chemist” by his friends and colleagues because of an uncanny ability to turn their money entrusted to him into horse manure.

Several weeks of intensive study followed. After obtaining all the facts, Zzzabuu prepared his report in a manner that any Zzokkian could relate to and understand. The executive summary in his z-mail to The Superiors follows.

“The financial alternatives of any game of chance can often be measured by the cost of the game / investment. This cost effectively represents what the gambling industry charges the investor for the opportunity to gamble. For example, a 5% cost figure could represent the “takeout”, that is, a measure of what percentage – on average – of the investment that the gambler automatically pays for this opportunity. Alternatively, it could represent what percent – on average – one would expect to lose with a particular game of chance. This information follows for a host of gambling options.

            Lotto                           50%

            Pari-mutuel Racing* 16%

            Real Estate Industry* 5%

            Sports Wagering*       5%

            Roulette                      3.5%

            Slots                            1-5%

            Dice                            0.5%

            Blackjack (“21”)*      0.1%

            Securities Industry*   0%

Each Zzokkian should note that the five activities with asterisks are not truly games of chance since each individual can control his / her own destiny, i.e., chance of winning, by intelligent gaming decisions. For example, with thoroughbred pari-mutuel wagering, the ability to select winning horses could negate the 16% takeout and result in a profit. The same applies with investing in securities via the Internet where the only cost could be as low as $6 for a multi-million dollar investment.

Most of the inhabitants on Planet Earth, including the nefarious professor, delve into most – if not all – of the above games of chance. Obviously, Lotto is a game for those individuals whose IQ is in the 2-digit range and in need of a grade school refresher course in arithmetic. The game of blackjack offers some interesting possibilities since one may employ a “counting” technique that actually could convert the odds to slightly favor the gambler. Finally, the real estate and securities industries have a track record that, on average, have produced significant profitable returns over the years to investors.

The Superiors need to realize that the aforementioned term probability must be an integral part of any gambling study or analysis. Webster defines probability as ‘the number of times something will probably occur over the range of possible occurrences, expressed as a ratio.’ For me, probability can be interpreted subjectively as a measure of degree of belief, on a fractional scale from 0 to 1 or 0 to 100 on a percent basis, that an “event” occurs. This interpretation is frequently used in ordinary conversation. For example, if someone says, “The probability that I will go to the movies tonight is 90%”, then 90% is a measure of the person’s belief that he or she will get to the movies. This interpretation is also used when, in the absence of concrete data needed to estimate an unknown probability on a basis of observed concrete data, information and / or facts, the personal opinion of an expert is sought. For example, an expert might be asked to estimate the probability that a stock will double in the next six months; the estimate would be based on the expert’s familiarity with the stock market.

The Superiors and / or Earthlings may obtain additional details on all of the above games of chance at no charge by calling (516) 742-8939.”

In order to accommodate some of my readers, future articles – Zzzabuu V, VI, VII, and VIII – addressing pari-mutuel wagering, stock market investing, casino gambling, and sport book betting, respectively – will provide specific details on each of these four topics. I will provide not only pertinent odds but also helpful hints in these write-ups. And yes, I am significantly involved in all four pursuits.

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MAY 1:           On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season / EWSD Budget Vote

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats VI

JULY 1:          On Technical Writing

AUGUST 1:    Zzzabuu V


Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. If trailing with more than a minute to go, attempt (perhaps via a timeout) to prevent any delays in inbounding the ball by your opponents.
  2. Practice various defenses when your opponents are in-bounding the ball from various locations on the court.
  3. Finally, never forget that defense is 50% of the game. Coaches, are you reading this? Players, are you reading this? DEFENSE IS AS IMPORTANT AS OFFENSE. You can never lose a game if your five starters have the capabilities of shutting down their opponent. However, you can lose a game even if your 5 starters have the capability of scoring at will.