Over the next several weeks and months, you’ll see the LVH SuperContest’s leaderboard and “consensus” plays get released again and again, and heck, we might even post them ourselves.
But you need to keep in mind that a) randomness alone will ensure that at least some people will perform out-of-this-world good and that b) people picking at a high level might not even be any good.
The SuperContest’s entry fee is $1,500, an expensive price, but it’s not large enough to deter recreational gamblers with big wallets from participating. The fact is, there’s plenty of “dead money”—or money believed to be dead—and in a fairly small sample of games, anyone is capable of climbing to the top of the standings.
John Candido, a sports analytics guru, put together a classic example of how easily we can become fooled by randomness. Last year, during the LVH’s NFL SuperContest, Sans Souci started an “incredible” 16-3-1 through four weeks.
“Man, that’s 80 percent!” was the common reaction.
But given the number of contest entries—517, to be exact—the feat shouldn’t have been considered all that surprising. In fact, the bigger surprise was that only one entrant had started that hot. From Candido:
I couldn’t help but be curious about the overwhelming narrative surrounding the 16 win entry. What is more interesting is how no one is concentrating on the real narrative here, which is the below average nature of participants bets in the contest so far. If, based on the math, 5 people should randomly be tied at 16 wins at this point, then why is it that only 1 person has this record?
Candido performed a Monte Carlo simulation and determined that at least one out of 517 people in the contest should have had at least 17 wins by “pure luck.” Not one person covering or following the contest had previously pointed that out.