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Bet Your Friends to Be More Right

A while back I had a friend named Andrew. The tie that bound us was our love for gambling, not as a thrill-seeking diversion, but as a practical application of statistics. We made money gambling together, exploiting any edge we could find, but we also gambled between the two of us.

I forget how it started, but eventually we got to the point where no assertion could be made without stakes being attached to it. Any sentence beginning with "I bet you anything..." was taken literally and was likely to result in a wager of some sort.

For example, if we were talking about going to a restaurant, and I said that it was probably closed, and he thought that it was open, he might ask me what odds I'd give him that it was open. If I was really sure, because I'd been there at that time the day before, I might offer him 3:1. If I was barely sure at all, I might offer him 1:1. Confidence in estimations determined the amount bet.

The interesting thing about this practice was that it made us both think very carefully about the accuracy of all of our statements. The most embarrassing thing ever was to say, "I bet you anything that I'll be on time..." and then be unwilling to back up the assertion with a bet. Failing to bet was an admission that you'd just said something that you had no real confidence in.

Seneca Casino in Niagara Falls

On Why Buffalo?

We’re supposed to talk about moving today, but instead I’m going to share a little slice of the Buffalo life instead, mostly because the experience is fresh in my head, and because my rambling isn’t as interesting as showing you what you can do in this awesome city!

Niagara Falls is a quick 15 minute drive from Buffalo, right up the 190 North highway. It costs a dollar US (5% discount with Canadian funds!) to get over the bridge onto Grand Island, but you can avoid the bridge and the island by taking the scenic route north on River Road.

The Seneca is on the US side, on Indian Reservation land. One of the valid forms of identification is a Tribal ID, which, I have to admit, I didn’t even know existed! (Chalk me up as another ignorant American).

So, here’s the Seneca:

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