Sam Anschell

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How to apply for a PhD

Thank you for the thoughtful writeup! I knew very little about PhD programs before coming across this post - now I feel like I have the lay of the land :) 

It seems like the GRE isn't a dealbreaker for getting a PhD, but for anyone interested in 80/20'ing their GRE prep I'll shamelessly bump my GRE advice post (thanks to Robi Rahman for his help)!

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

To me it seems likely that the majority of good opportunities will still be around in June. If there is something like $7,500 promo EV up for grabs in NJ now, I would estimate with 70% certainty there will be more than $4,000 promo EV by June. 

One wrinkle I want to make sure you're aware of is that creating, funding, betting with, and withdrawing from ~ 17 accounts will take a significant amount of time and needs to happen over the span of at least 4 days (for your promo credit to post, and for any withdrawal follow-ups to register. I recommend staying for 5+ days and starting this process the day you arrive.) 

My best guess is that having never done this, you'll need to spend 15 hours to complete every worthwhile promo. If you've got a full schedule on your NYC trip (especially including time commuting to/from NJ), it may be best to schedule a separate trip. If you have some time but not the full 15 hours, maybe the best course of action is to do only the best offers and accept higher variance with a smaller sample size. 

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

Thank you Vivian, you're absolutely right. I'll update the "qualifiers to participate" section to make this much clearer, especially for participants living in states with a small number of legalized online sports books. 

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

Strange, I was able to withdraw to a debit card or through PlayPlus (which I can then transfer to a bank account). Your withdrawal options may vary depending on what method you use to deposit. 

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

I've discussed this idea with a few people. It's unclear whether it is legal to send someone money for making online sports bets per the Wire Act. To my knowledge, if this is illegal no one has been convicted (similar to how playing online poker in certain states is grey-area illegal but the law has never been enforced). 

I "may have" loaned two friends $15,000 to participate, but I'm not sure whether I'd be comfortable setting up an EA fund for this:

  1. Even if there is a way to learn that this is completely legal, the risk to Effective Atruism's image if just one participant became addicted to gambling through this funding may eliminate all expected gains.
  2. There is a ton of trust required, and involving a loaner/contract lawyer's time decreases $/hour of this project. 
  3. Someone strapped for cash seems less likely to itemize on their taxes (though I could certainly be wrong) and thus would make less from this. 

I like your thought to scale this; EAs can raise more money by funding people they know and trust, so long as they do it discreetly and understand that there is some chance they are breaking the law. 

I also think that by the standards of the best opportunities for direct work, $500/hour worth of impact is somewhat low. Per a call with Alex Holness-Tofts, community building at college campuses is conservatively estimated to create $80,000,000/year in impact, and phone banking during the 2020 election may have been worth as much as $9,000/hour. Right now, campaigning for Carrick Flynn likely does more good per hour than these sports bets. So I'm not sure how valuable it would be to have an EA institution push cash-strapped EAs to do this rather than something else.

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

When I bet with SI it was similar to DraftKings, but now they’ve changed the promo to be a bit worse for those taking the standard deduction. You have to place 30 $10 bets to unlock 30 $10 free bets that do not return they’re stake

Strategy should be short odds for the cash bets, long odds for the free bets. Still worth doing, just a bit cumbersome. Thanks for spotting that!

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

Napkin math says no if you’re taking standard deduction but yes if you’re itemizing. Promo EV is about $1600, and you have to place $6,000 worth of bets to unlock it, so if your bets outperform a ~27% loss rate, this is profitable.

Be sure that the cash bets you place are no shorter than -200 odds because -200 is the minimum odds to qualify towards to rollover requirement. Also, the bet you place with the site credit should be on long odds because the free bet does not return its stake.

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

These opportunities exist because each book sets its odds independently. Sports books respond to new information asynchronously and the books' different models can overweight the likelihood of certain outcomes and underweight the likelihood of others. From my experience, BetMGM and Fanduel often give favorable odds on favorites (short odds), and DraftKings, FoxBet, Barstool, and Twinspires give favorable odds on longshots. 

Another reason these arbitrage and +EV betting opportunities exist is that US sports books are new, and the operators are prioritizing growth/debugging/marketing above the accuracy of their betting lines. Offshore sports books' odds are far more similar to one another than US sports books'.  I would predict that by 2025, the opportunity to make >5% +EV bets on US sports books will be a shadow of what it currently is.

These opportunities aren't being taken advantage of for the same reason that blackjack players aren't all card counters: It's stressful to bet large amounts of money on high-variance events even when you know you're a mathematical favorite. And once a casino is sure you're a winning player, you're no longer welcome to play. 

For anyone with the stomach and the bankroll for making hundreds of these slightly profitable bets per week, the opportunity is incredible until you get limited. With 60% confidence, I would estimate that someone with a liquid bankroll of $100,000 could profit between $40,000 and $200,000 within four months of advantage sports betting (8-12 hours/week). All they would need to do is bet on all >2% +EV betting opportunities that OddsJam suggests (with a tight market width/confidence interval), and use OddsJam's Kelly Criterion calculator to responsibly size their bets. 

I would recommend that anyone considering this path be selective about suspicious-looking bets. Player props and alternate lines can be red flags for books to limit you quicker. If I lived in a state with legalized online sports betting I would 100% be pursuing this; I'm happy to answer more questions or set up a Zoom meeting via Calendly if anyone is interested!

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

Sites are more likely to restrict the amount you can bet if you're betting on an outcome the site has little confidence in (e.g., how likely is a certain rookie to collect over 2.5 rebounds). Sites do this to protect themselves from smart bettors who may know more than the site's model. My advice is to try to bet on "main lines", popular offerings that sites have high confidence in their odds of (e.g., how likely are the Rams to win this Sunday's SuperBowl). 

If a site restricts you from betting the promo max on any event, try calling customer support to figure out why you're being limited as a first-time bettor. Hopefully, they can un-limit you or allow you to make multiple bonus-eligible smaller bets to get the most out of the promo. Good luck!

david_reinstein's Shortform

Thanks so much for sharing these tips! With regards to the info on OddsJam:

  • I use the app "Todoreminder" to remind myself to cancel subscriptions like this.
  • You can always buy a $10 visa gift card online and register with that instead of your credit card if you're worried about forgetting to cancel your subscription.
  • If you're using OddsJam premium, I wouldn't worry about betting on specific sports. OddsJam will show you where the best bets are for the sports book you're betting with accounting for the vig. Generally speaking though, you're right that two-way markets (meaning only two outcomes can happen) take less vig than futures markets (e.g., the winner of this year's NBA championship) or three-way markets (like soccer where a game can end in a tie).
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