Value is in the Eye of the Beholder

Making good decisions, particularly when gambling, is about balancing risk and reward. Finding that right balance is difficult but essential and depends on your personal situation, objectives, and appetite for risk. Value for a professional is not the same as value for a casual recreational player so a good bet for one might actually be a bad bet for the other and vice versa. It also means that you can actually make a “bad” winning bet and a “good” losing bet. The following is an attempt to explain why this is the case and to hopefully provide some insight into how you might find your personal sweet spot with regards to risk and reward and thus make better decisions that result in better outcomes.

Key points:

  • Successful wagering is about finding the right balance between risk and reward
  • Value is more than just Expected Value (EV)
  • The Kelly Criterion is a useful way to think about value
  • Abstract version of Kelly: Value = Reward/Risk
  • Simplified betting version of Kelly: Value = Edge/Odds
  • Value is not “one size fits all”
  • Value is personal and represents a way to help you make optimal decisions to achieve your objectives given your appetite for risk.

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