Thursday, July 27, 2006

I've been a little distracted this week.

Every once in a while I get some stupid idea that I can make money with some ridiculous scheme. In the past I have seriously considered the following:

  • Counting cards and playing blackjack for big bucks (apparently I must move my lips when I count, because I've been tagged as a Counter more than once)
  • Writing a book (Obviously I have a lot of important things to say. Have I told you about my daughter's Tamagotchi?)
  • Becoming a professional poker player (because my quasi-autistic people-reading skills are worth gambling my livelihood on)
  • Going into sports photography (Because I what I lack in artistry, I more than make up for in sportiness)

All of these ideas went where they belong: nowhere. But, now I have another idea. I've decided that I can make money making bets on baseball.

Nevermind that I don't live anywhere near a sportsbook. Nevermind that online casinos aren't legally allowed to do business in the United States. Ne-vuh-mind.

In the past I've been somewhat successful making baseball bets when I happened to be in a casino. I usually just eyeballed that day's matchups and picked the ones that seemed like good bets. My choices were mostly based on statistics, and partially on gut feel.

That worked ok (with my limited number of data points), but what if I could remove the "gut feel" part of the process, refining my technique so that it was 100% based on statistics and algorithms? What if I could write a computer program to tell me when the odds were in favor of me making a bet? I'd have to be some sort of computer programmer who was comfortably familiar with baseball statistics.

Hey, that's me! I'm a computer programmer who's comfortably familiar with baseball statistics! Me, Mike!

So, I tinkered with the idea in my head for a couple of days. I considered the fact that I could write the program using technology I was familiar with (Java), OR I could use this effort as an excuse to learn new technology (Ruby and MySQL) . It would make the writing of the computer program take a lot longer, but I'd have new technical skills under my belt by the end.

So, now I have this ENORMOUS project to do. It involves a computer language I know nothing about, requires statistical analysis skills far beyond what I possess, and the logistics of legally making money at this are sketchy at best.

This can't possibly go wrong.


Will said...

Hey, at worst you can sell it in Japan... they like baseball and Ruby too (I heard).

Mike said...

Will, hopefully they like American baseball and English because my program isn't going to handle anything other than that. No one is willing to give me datafiles of baseball info, so I'm forced to scrape HTML for my basic data.

HTML scraping sucks ass.