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Want to win $14,000 to $19,200 a year?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I know someone who would bet $300 to $400 every week on 4D and Toto. It is simply mind-boggling to me.

When I found out, I suggested that he should save the money every week instead.

To me, it is a no-brainer. 

I explained to him that, in a month, he would save $1,200 to $1,600 and in a year, he would save $14,400 to $19,200!

That is quite a lot of money.

His reply to me,

"Hey, what if I gave up and one of the 4D or Toto combinations I always buy appear as first prize har? You compensate me har?"

I was speechless! 

I mean if he had listened to me, I would have gone on to explain the next step of how he could invest that $14,400 to $19,200 a year for a dividend income of $720 to $960 a year which although not a lot is nice to have.

Then, imagine doing it year after year!

Gambling is like a drug.

This person is so hung up on the possibility of striking it rich and he has been doing this for so long that he is unable to quit for fear that all his previous "investment" would go to waste.

Chances of winning first prize in 4D is 1 in 10,000. 

Chances of winning first prize in Toto is 1 in 8,145,060!

How are the odds more attractive compared to a sure win of $14,000 to $19,200 per year?

Of course, let us not forget the possibility of a dividend income if the money was invested.

Well, he must think I am mental. Many patients in Buangkok Green share his view, I am sure.

"rationalizing foolish conduct, based on your subconscious tendency to serve yourself, is a terrible way to think." 
- Charlie Munger.

Update: 27 July 16
TOTO now got more numbers to choose from..
Click to enlarge and be stunned like vegetable!

Related post:
Investing in stocks makes you a gambler.


KC said...

The Sun said...

Unfortunately there are still people who cling on to the hope that they will strike it big one day....

Perhaps a more realistic and immediate solution for such people is to cut down on their betting amount and use these 'saved' monies for investment.

Rolf Suey said...

Hi AK,

My late father bought 4D for many decades and I cannot recall if he was even lucky once! Similarly I was never lucky in 4D and every dollars and cents I earned had to be hard earned ones! Guess 4D gives artificial hope to most people who are less financially educated! Probably some require the small "hope" in their not so "hopeful" life, but indulging in big betting amounts definitely kill all hopes!


AK71 said...

Hi Sun and Rolf,

Well, I am not against gambling per se. I am not averse to buying a few Big Sweep tickets every month myself. Yes, it is about hope. ;p

I said during my talk that there is nothing wrong with doing a bit of speculation as long as it is "a bit" and as long as people understand that what they are doing is speculation and not investment. ;p

B said...


I was once addicted sort to gambling. So let me try to put things from the gamblers perspectives.

Whenever they entered the spools, it can give them a sense of empowerment and victory even if we know that we are more likely to tear that piece of paper more than anything else. It gives an aura of hope in life a hope that he or she can look forward to the evening or weeeknds to look for a strike.

Once a person has start on 4d or toto its difficult to stop simply because of the reason which they give that what if they stop and the number they bought for years suddenly came up the following draw. The disappointment will be much painful than anything else. They will argue that but thats a big IF as we all know it.

Ray said...

I used to think not gambling is winning. until I saw how my father in law strike 4D like every other month, each time is usually like top prize or 3rd prize.

then i'm like... -_- ;;

blauereiter said...

Purely for academic purposes, the statistical chances of winning the top prize in TOTO is about 1 out of 13 million. The chance of winning any prize is about 1 out of 30000.

It has been calculated the odds of winning the top prize of any lottery is about as likely as a person walking on the streets one day and finding a TOTO ticket on the ground, and that ticket has the top prize number combination. How unlikely is that ?

Still, most people tend to be irrational when it comes to the chance of winning a huge amount of money. :P

Unknown said...

Hi AK, Everyone hopes to strike it rich someday but rarely achieve it.I was once too, took to buying 4 D but stopped when S'pore Pools introduced 4 D on every wed in addition to Sat and Sun. I did a calculation that I could save 2K in one year .With that amount I can go on a holiday with the saving. From that day onwards, I stopped.I am a much happier person since then.

AK71 said...

Hi B,

I know what you mean. It is an addiction. An addiction to gambling is also an addiction to hope. ;)

It is good to have hope in life but to be addicted to it is a bad idea. OK to hope for a better life but we have to be grounded enough to work towards it. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Ray,

Your dad has a personal God of Fortune working for him. LOL.

Some of us are luckier than others, really. :)

Like what SMOL has said before, rather be lucky than clever. Well, if only luck is dependable. Now, I am asking for too much. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi blauereiter,

The odds are even worse than chancing upon money lying on the streets then. LOL.

I have picked up an assortment of coins on the streets over the years. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Les,

Congratulations! :D

$2,000 is a lot of money for most average income earners. When we have spare cash, we have options. Always good to have options in life. :)

d:esmond; said...

I still remember the scene where the "Fortune Gods" are queuing up to buy 4D in Jack Neo's movie. As for myself I stopped buying lottery after a statistics/probability course. The expected return is always negative :(.
Now I rather bet on dividend paying/undervalued stocks.

AK71 said...

Hi Desmond,

All the world's a stage. :)

For sure, making sound decisions in income investing is always a more prudent use of money over gambling.

coconut said...

sad isn't it?

i cannot recall how many times i got into arguement with family and friends on this issue, especially my buddy who is a real 4D nuts. he will spend his last dollar on 4D rather than lunch!

many times i nearly got into fight with him.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

We have a hard making a horse drink if it doesn't want to but if the horse matters to us, we will keep leading it to water.

So, since this is your buddy, all you can do really is to keep talking to him but you probably have to become more creative in your approach.

If he is very rich anyway, then, maybe, he has money to burn. If he is not rich at all, then, he needs helps and fast.

coconut said...

no need to talk anymore la, he is hopeless already haha...

he is single, jobless (don't want to work) CPF almost zero, cashless most of the time.

lucky he clint on to me and i like him becos of honesty, i just treat him as my "personal assistant". he will be fine.

Cory said...

Gambling in ToTo I think is a sign of hopelessness for many of their future. I seldom home but when i return often i will spot the long queue to buy the tickets. Personally i think this "Phenomenon" is unhealthy and wrong. Something need to be done but i have no answer.

OT83 said...

Hi AK,

I feel so guilty myself.

I used to buy $1 every week on toto for few months. think I have donated around $XX to singapore pools.

I could have save that and then invest it!! erm..using scb perhaps on penny stock..

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

You are paying someone who doesn't want to work to be your personal assistant? -.-"

You have a kind heart. :)

AK71 said...

Hi OT,

You make a good role model. ;)

I used to buy 10 Big Sweep tickets every month. I should bang my head against a wall. Must find a soft gypsum board wall first. -.-"

coconut said...

AK, he is not someone, i've known him since childhood. infact he is closer to me than my brothers.

he once help me in my business without pay, i also help his mother in her stall before, we are close.

anyway, its not a lot, otherwise he will spend it on 4D/toto!

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Sounds like you are working as his financial guardian. :)

Whenever I hear of situations like this, I fear for the person being cared for. What would happen to him if his financial guardian should leave this world before him?

coconut said...

i not sure you are aware that we have many people who are like my buddy living in s'pore. i know many who are worst than that (and still own cars haha seriously).

my buddy has 3 member in their family who refuse to work, my buddy is better, he sometime work part time and drive taxi for a few months haha...

i can only care whats in front of me, whats behind me i couldn't care more.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

I know people like that. My uncles. How not to know? -.-"

My mom said before to ignore them once she is gone but that is easier said than done, I feel. Her bark is worse than her bite. :)

coconut said...

why should you ignore them? are they asking for money? i'm sure you are not the type.

i'm not much of a different from my buddy except i'm very good at speculations and made quite a bit of money. other than that, what good am i? i also will not work for others until my last penny runs out.

there is actually not much a different, character wise between me and my buddy!

Unknown said...

Although I am not a gambler and I feel the same way as you, I must say that there is a lot of "good" these gamblers are doing.
The one good thing is that they are contributing to the Singapore Totalisator Board. And it is one of the most generous donor in Singapore.
If everyone is rational, many needy people will require funding from other sources liao...

imaginator said...

Some comments from me regarding the statistic aspect of Toto:

1) Many people understand that Toto (and all other forms of gambling) has negative return, meaning that if played in the long run, we lose money.

2) However, we cannot only consider the expected return. The variance, or the swing, also matter. Toto is a game with very large swing (very high chance to lose $1, very low chance to win >$600k.

3) In such a game, there is really no "long term" to talk about. Consider that you punt $10 every week on Toto. That will be ~$500 per year and ~$20k for 40 years of punting. The cost to play in the "long run" is still far below the potential return.

4) A very smart investor may be able to turn that $20k into $600k (30 fold return), but many people will never be able to do it.

5) Seen from this angle, buying Toto may not be as illogical as it seems :)

AK63 said...

Hmm, the topic of gambling again.... Interesting....

Is gambling addiction or serial gambling really bad? It's a matter of individual preference, I think. If one gambles until a family breaks apart, loses everything or deep in debts, that's bad of course. On the other hand, if one can rationally set aside a budget for this addiction, gamble within one's means exercising self-control or is financially-independent, then it should be fine.

I don't agree on that statement that those who are addicted to gambling are not financially educated. On the contrary, all whom I know are gamblers are very well-versed in financial knowledge.

I have a friend who is a financial consultant in the banking industry who spends $400-$500 weekly on 4Ds, Totos or Big Sweeps without fail. He has not ever win once in twelve years. His losses did not affect his life, has no ill effects to his work and family. His gambling habits have not changed his personality, character or behaviour at all. It's his life and he's happy, so that's it.

I used to have a colleague who was the auditor in the hospitality industry. She loves 4Ds and Totos but she sets aside a weekly budget of $200. She has never spent more than this. She has lady luck on her side as she wins average $400 every month. We know when she wins because she would buy cakes and snacks for the whole office. She's happy and enjoying her life, so that's that too.

I also know an elderly lady in her 80s who loses $20-$30k every weekend in MBS since it opens. She wins back about $100-$150k every year. She is happily doing what she loves and within her own means, without being a burden to her family. She holds stock investments amounting to $12m which generate a substantial amount in dividends and capital returns. She owned three landed properties, living in one and renting out the rest. Her businessman husband gives her $200k monthly allowance. Wonderful life, that's it.

In conclusion, I believe that if one has control over what one does with one's money without affecting others in adverse way, then it's absolutely fine. :)

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Yup, they are always asking for money. They gamble even though they have no money.

I have never been close to them and there is no way I can accept their behaviour. My mom, however, has no choice but to help them. I like to think that I have a choice. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi Julian,

Doing good and getting a chance to strike it rich. Not bad, right? ;p

As long as not carried to the extreme, I guess it doesn't hurt. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi imaginator,

Haha.. Well, this is why it is called "gambling". ;p

It is a game of chance. Although the chances of winning are small, there is still a chance.

Bet small. Don't overdo it. Don't get addicted. :)

AK71 said...

Hi AK63,

Yes, this is why I also said to coconut that if his friend who is addicted to 4D/Toto is rich and has money to burn, then, there might not be an issue.

For people who are not rich and are dreaming of becoming rich through gambling, these are the ones who need to be shaken very firmly by the shoulders.

An essential habit to becoming richer. and it is not gambling. ;p

AK63 said...

唔買就冇希望 買就一定失望 - This is a very popular Cantonese phrase with those trying to dissuade people from throwing away their hard-earned money.... :)

Aiyoh, don't portray gambling is nothing but doom and gloom lah. Let's give some hope to those who can't quit gambling and are always looking for that pot of gold after that rainbow.

I mentioned that I don't gamble in 4Ds, Totos and all those things, but it does not mean I didn't gamble before. The first time I ever gambled in a casino was back in 1995 in Genting. I followed my gambling-addicted relatives once who gamble there every month. They gave me a chip worth RM1,000 and left me to try my beginner's luck. I was so overwhelmed by the sounds, noise and smoke that I wandered around the tables for four hours, don't know what to do. But I spent more than an hour watching the going-ons at the Big-Small table (still don't know what's the name of this game). I do not know what came over me that I placed that chip on the space showing the dice face of three threes. It opened three threes! The odds was 1-pay-150 and in just one hand, I won RM150,000!!! I collected my winnings in cash and left in shock, still not believing that I won, and in fear because I worry for my safety after hearing stories of gamblers being robbed and murdered for their winnings. That was the last time I gambled in a casino.

The first time I bought 4Ds was in 2008 after buying a chinese zodiac ornament. The shop assistant keeps advising me to place it in a certain way in a certain position at a specified time in my flat. I never believed in fengshui but was curious, so I did as what she told and informed my relatives. They insisted I pick some numbers and they would all buy. So I gave them my car plate number and I also bought 1 Big 1 Small. It came out first prize on that Saturday draw and I won $5,000!!! Of course they all won a lot more cos they bought a lot. I had free expensive meals for the whole month from all my relatives who have won. That was also my last time with lottery.

Beginner's luck, maybe? But I believe in 见好就收 and don't be greedy. Most of my gambling relatives have lost huge amounts and winnings are few and far apart, but they eventually will lose all winnings cos they want to win more. To each their own. That's it. :)

Anonymous said...

There are two main reasons why people buy lottery.

First is the lack of education. Anyone who studied statistics and understand what is expected value will understand that lottery has a negative expected value. Every time you play, you are losing money.

The 2nd reason is that your job is boring and does not excite you. When you are in a job that bores you, buying 4D is like a "low cost" way of buying some excitement in your life.

AK71 said...

Hi AK63,

I believe in beginner's luck too and because I hardly gamble, I actually made more money from gambling than lost over the years. Strange but true. :)

Wealth that is from the side door is a strange thing. The harder we pine for it, the harder it is for it to appear. ;)

Wealth from the front door is always more dependable but we have to make sure we work hard to welcome it. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Kelvin,

Aiyoh, I buy Big Sweep tickets from time to time wor. I don't think I fall into either one of these categories. How?

You have to create a third reason liao: OTHERS. ;p

AK63 said...

I like to add on to AK71's last comment....

Wealth from the front door is always more dependable but we must not work hard to welcome it, we should make our money work hard and we work smart instead.... :)

AK71 said...

Hi AK63,

Haha... OK, work hard AND smart. Don't be so smart as to cut corners at work. ;p

Azrael said...

From what I heard, 4D and Toto is algorithmic (they change the balls to get the results, there's a correlation of the weight of the balls and the place where it exits -> Top, center, bottom), and the chance of winning is even lower than casino lol.

But because is so cheap, people just keep buying.

I did an experiment with my parents using risky HYIP programs vs their lottery tickets. I ended up with more money then them.

Currently, showing my gf that using futures trading, I can achieve more returns than lottery too :p

AK71 said...

Hi Azrael,

HYIPs are essentially Ponzi schemes. So, I wouldn't touch them with a 5 feet pole.

Anyone who made money in HYIPs essentially took money from latecomers to the programs.

I know people who took part in HYIPs who have done well but it is not money I would want to make. -.-"

Azrael said...

Well, I don't do it anymore for a long time. (Money yielded for time is poor, just because I don't believe in scamming my friends, but already much more than my parents winning the lottery in a year.)

It was just a proof of concept that almost any gambling/risky endeavor was statistically feasible with a much higher win rate than lottery here.

AK71 said...

Hi Azrael,

Oh, for sure. The odds are always in favour of the house in gambling. Gamblers who have made a lot of money will eventually lose it all and more, I believe.

Placing small bets periodically is probably harmless (with a bit of fun thrown in too) but relatively large and regular bets are likely to impoverish the average wage earner. -.-"

Azrael said...

Yup, that's why risk management is important. It can apply to even HYIP and sports betting (of course, investing and trading is better).

Aye, precisely why I avoid the lottery as it adds no value. Soccer arbitrage betting might be worth looking though.

GP Blogger said...

Hi AK,
Nice post and analysis.
However I will be digressing a bit here.
About the comment about patients in Buangkok Green, most of them will agree with you.( i.e not consider you mad). I am sure you made the remark in good humor and did not mean anything by it.
Gambling is a mental health issue, but most of the mental health patients are not addicts.

Many of the mental health issues are just like Diabetes & other chronic conditions. There are some factors which we can control but others are under God's control. Most of them are very intelligent who just want to live a happy and normal life but unfortunate in that they are not able to do so & face stigma in every day life. There may be lots of readers of this blog who may be struggling with these issues.
Being a Doctor who sometimes deals with these patients, I am aware of the stigma and the struggles they face everyday.
Just my attempt to make the life of these people a bit less stigmatising and doing my good deed of the day spreading awareness.
Hope you have a great year ahead.

AK71 said...

Hi GP,

Always good to hear what a professional has to say.

Thank you for weighing in on the matter.

Happy 2018! :)

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