Horse racing betting: Terms, tips, and explanations

GTA Online Casino Inside Track Horse Racing glitch SOLO works for PC (maybe XBOX AND PS4 as well?)

  1. Go to Diamond Casino
  2. Walk up to the cashier and exchange for chips if you don't have any
  3. Go to Inside Track Horse Racing
  4. Click on Place Bet (Single Event)
  5. Check horse odds
  6. Disable internet connection
  7. Bet any amount on any horse and it will say unable to establish connection to rockstar servers
  8. Enable internet connection and bet max on your horse
  9. Repeat until you have enough money
This is reviving the reset horse odds glitch that used to exist before this was patched.
Picture guide here:
Instructions are pretty simple. Use any method to disable/enable your internet connection whether it is pulling the plug or using a 3rd party program it is up to you. Just repeat step 5/6/7 until you get your desired odds. Make sure to reenable your internet connection before betting when your horse is favorable.
Note: You need to disable your internet when you are about to refresh the race (horse list). Reenable your internet when you have the horse you want to bet on. DO NOT have your internet disconnected for too long or it will kick you from the game. It shouldn't take too long to cycle through the line ups. Just do it quick and use a macro or a script.
For example if you see double evens (which is considered the worst lineup) bet any amount on any horse (provided that you have already disabled your internet). Cycle through the list until you find a good lineup and before placing a bet, reenable your internet.
DISCLAIMER: I am only posting this as a guide and I bear no responsibility if you lose money betting. This glitch works as is and does not guarantee you a win in any way. You are just pushing the odds into your favor easier.
Use this link for how to disable/reenable your internet connection:
If you don't know which horse to bet use this guide:
EDIT: Easiest way to block connection is through Windows Defender Firewall. If you are not tech savvy enough I or someone can create a batch file to do this all at once or even an AHK file but here are the steps to do this.
  1. Open Windows Defender Firewall by pressing start menu and typing "Windows Defender Firewall" (without quotes) and it should be the first option.
  2. On the left side click Advanced Settings
  3. On the left side click Outbound Rules
  4. On the right side click New Rule...
  5. Select Program
  6. Select your GTA5.exe in Steam folder or Epic Games folder
  7. Select Block the Connection
  8. Profile can be all checked
  9. Type in the name such as GTA block
  10. On the right side Enable/Disable the rule to connect/disconnect
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The Spaaaaaaaaaa.......... v2.0

With the Saratoga season quickly approaching, I’ve had my arm twisted enough by the Discord team to revise my primer from last year. I live about 20-minutes east of Saratoga and it’s my home track; my first real memory of a horse race was betting on Forty Niner in the ’88 Travers……I was 6…… During the 40-day meet, I do most of my wagering for the year and consistently show a nice positive ROI.
What is Saratoga: The Saratoga Racecourse is the oldest continually operating sporting venue in the United States. The town of Saratoga was founded around dozens of natural mineral springs which were turned into bath houses at the end of the 19th Century. Those fighting conditions like Polio sought out the healing properties of the springs; FDR was a regular visitor. The town is about a 3-hour drive north of NYC, so it’s a major summer retreat for those looking to escape. During most of the year, Saratoga is a sleepy town of 25k; on a major race weekend that number will be 5x that.
Why is it Important: The 40-day long meet has 71 stakes with $14.45 million in purse, 39 of those being Graded. Most tracks best day of racing for the entire season is a regular Saratoga Thursday afternoon, the field size and quality here is just unmatched. The feature of the meet is the Travers stakes which this year is Derby Points earning but normally sees Triple Crown pointed horse gearing back up for a BC Campaign. Saratoga also sees a huge number of very talented maiden races where you will often see next year’s Triple Crown contenders get their start. Owners and Trainers want to show off their very best and a win at Saratoga means massive bragging rights for most. Due to its northern latitude and numerous training tracks, Saratoga is a massive training track that sees horse shippers from around the country even if they have no intent on running there. For the month of July and August, Saratoga really is the focus of all horse racing east of the Mississippi.
What you should know before going:
· With Covid, the track will NOT be accessible to spectators, even owners cannot get on the grounds. All vantage points have a police presence to keep away spectators. Your best option for viewing is sitting on your couch.
· Watch Talking Horses the morning of. Its on locally in Saratoga or you can watch on YouTube or with NYRA bets. While Andy Sterling can come off as a bit of a jerk (he is but I like him), he knows a lot about horses. However, he's always looking for a price and overemphasizes troubled trips, so keep that in mind. He does try to beat some really tough horses. Either way him and his associate will give you great background for all the races of the day with replays.
Angles to Consider:
· Having good friends is a massive benefit here. Fields are deep and competitive, so having a 2nd or 3rd set of eyes looking at PP’s is huge. A group of us Handicap a couple of days before each card, so hop on Discord and go through the races as a team, it will substantially boost your ROI.
· Saratoga is the land of Maidens, so Workout Reports are key. All the major east coast trainers will bring the best of their best 2yr old’s to Saratoga as winning a race there is massive. The only true way to gauge these horses is with workout reports. Always remember that PP’s are rearward biased; you care about the horse today, not when it last ran a month ago. Due to the time of the Saratoga meet, it’s very common to have improving 2 or 3yr old’s take a massive step up here.
· Best way to make money at Saratoga is to pay attention to track biases and to make out your own odds. Track tends to be very speed favoring one day and then it’s all closers the next; watch not just what horse is winning but how and adjust accordingly. Saratoga also sees a lot of "dead money", people with no clue who are betting names, colors, jockeys, trainers...etc. These people LOVE to chase favorites and they are very often overlay’s more here than any place else in the country. If you handicap with no ML and have a horse's fair value at 3-1 its often common to see it drift to 10-1 because a Pletcher firster is 1-9 when it should also be 3-1.... etc....
· Saratoga is also the land of crazy weather. It’s not abnormal to have half the card be 80 and Sunny then a pop-up Thunderstorm rolls through and you have mud with off-turf. The public has no ideas how to manage this and will still bet a turf horse who hates running on the dirt. This leads to some massive overlay’s if you’re prepared.
· Although the bias was much less pronounced last year than most, on all three tracks between 5 and 6.5f you want to fade the inside path. This is partially due to those distances seeing younger horses, but also due to the shape of the inner rail entering the far turn. Also watch for a dead rail that plagued the track for the first few weeks last year until it was re-graded which made it less pronounced.
· Fade horses in the 8 path and beyond in 2-turn routes, they have terrible statistics even when accounting for field size. The most problematic races are 1 mile on the Mellon turf where early positional speed is huge. 9 & 10f races on the main track also favor the inside as a shorter runup into the first turn can leave outside horses stranded.
· Jose Ortiz won the 2019 Jockey title, but it’s always super competitive. Saratoga has one of the best jockey colonies in the country but take note of big names taking choice. If you saw that JJ was on three horses last out but choose one of those this time over the others, it’s likely that horse is very live…. etc.
· Chad Brown also dominate the Trainer title in 2019, with it not even being a contest. His entire barn points for the meet so if it’s a CB horse, its live, just deal with it.
· With all the CB love at Saratoga, certain trainers also have TERRIBLE statistics and should be faded or avoided. Those trainers who have solid numbers of starters and do well at other tracks but suck at SAR are: Amoss, Arnold, Keneally, McPeek, Moquette, Rivelli, Romans, Stall, Stewart and Wilkes. You’ll notice a KY trend there; yes, it is real….
· Pay attention to “well meant shippers” meaning oddball ships and weird drops. Look for horses coming out of smaller tracks like a Penn, FL, GP West, OP... etc... who are trained by small time trainers who have limited starts. Betting public tends to feel a lot more comfortable backing a Pletcher horse than a guy who sees 25 starts a year from a 5-horse stable. You'll often see a horse who ran in a couple MSW races at a Penn for say 12k, took a two month break with little work pattern, then shows up at Saratoga in an MCL 32k and wins. Also, huge class drops are less of a concern at Saratoga as traineowner title are so important, hell just winning a race is huge so often people will be OK being claimed away to say, "My horse won at Saratoga". You also tend to see a lot of horses who have one or two not very impressive starts, go on the bench for a month or two and then appear at Saratoga and win from a no-name trainer and connections, things often don't pass the sniff test and are often live in doing so.
Some of the Reddit/Discord group will also be doing a daily Saratoga focused show with information on our impressions from the day along with what to look out for tomorrow which can be found here:
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Dragonstone - Chapter 27

Chapter 26
I arrive back at the camp before the coming dragons and the coming army. Knights and soldiers guard the skies, crossbows handed out to men that station themselves apart and watch the growing dots. Sergeants shout their orders and men race to weapons stations, fetching spears and shields. I land in time to see Mahz take off, Sergeant Dunstan with him, flying fast toward the dark column of men I saw marching to the camp.
We are met by Knight Atwater, a broad man with hair gone gray, dressed in the armor that makes him into a giant of a man and his hand on the hilt of his sword. Knight Gardiner dismounts, landing on his feet, and greets Knight Atwater, looking to the sky together.
“Troops coming?” Knight Gardiner asks.
“Black and yellows.” Knight Atwater says. That would be the column of men I saw approaching the camp, so it would seem they are our friends.
“She’s finally come.” Knight Gardiner says, still watching the skies.
“She has. We expecting dragons?” Knight Atwater looks at me. I look at him.
“I was not expecting dragons, Knight Atwater, yet here they are.”
Knight Atwater grunts. I look up and can see them clearer now, beginning to descend. Four Citrine and a lone Moonstone, there are so rarely a plurality of Moonstone. He is as large as an Onyx, covered in dark gray scales. I know those twisted horns that protrude back from his head, the ones that make him an imposing looking Moonstone.
I am not worried about this Moonstone, despite his formidable looks. I am worried about the smaller Citrine that travels with him, the one that seethes with rage. The air trembles with it. Chrysta is angry.
“Prasinius Feram!” She roars on her descent. “You collapsed my mountain!”
“That is not entirely true, Chrysta.” I say. She lands, quick on her feet and bouncing the distance to me, thrusting her chin up at me. It would be amusing if she was not so immensely, immeasurably, unfathomably furious.
“I let humans into my pass, I let you into my pass, I gift you that and you turn my mountain into dust?!”
“I did not do it but I was there.” I say. She does not back down, baring her teeth at me. Knight Atwater and Knight Gardiner both have hands on their swords, as do a score of men around the area while the other Citrine and the Moonstone land. There is a heavy silence that is suddenly broken by a deep, resonant laugh.
“Chrysta, you show your love in the strangest ways.” The Moonstone says, once he has finished laughing. “Strange little beast, you are, always barking and never biting. It is delightful to see you again, Prasinius. I have missed you.”
I laugh and tilt my neck to him, he returns it even more deeply, and the soldiers relax.
“I have missed you too, Baastien.” I say. “Knight Gardiner, Knight Atwater, legionnaires, this is Baastien de Viindt. We once called him the Gray Wind but he looks to have gotten slow and fat so that may not be an appropriate nickname.”
“I am not slow!” Bas says, then bows his head to the humans. “It is a pleasure to meet you without fire and blood, for once.”
Everyone stares at Bas. There are perhaps ten Moonstone on the Continent. They are a rarity of breeding, an oddity born from two unmatched dragons. Dragons rarely explore beyond their own and we have heard that the hatchlings of unmatched dragons more often do not survive. There is no proof of this, the Sapphire would have studied it but a vote by a council of Primes passed an immutable law that the intentional breeding of unmatched dragons would be punishable by death.
Bas is an outcast, the son of an Onyx and a Ruby. His parents live in exile, forced off the continent, Bas was not punished for their crime though. He remains and like all Moonstone he is unique.
His scales are heavy like an Onyx but longer and oval shaped like a Ruby. His body is covered with the multitude of short spikes that protect him in combat, like an Onyx but his whole body is sleek, compared to a bulkier Onyx, it gives him the gift of both power and speed.
“A gray.” A soldier whispers, eyes wide. “Never seen a gray.”
Bas turns on the soldier and lowers his head to the woman, eyes a slate gray that glint with amusement. He grins, much like Mahz, lips lower on teeth so they aren’t so terrifying.
“This gray has never seen so many humans that weren’t throwing spears, it is a day for firsts.” He lifts his head up and looks at Chrysta. “This one tells me she is going to kill you.”
Swords are drawn, crossbows raised, all in the blink of an eye. Bas grins and laughs. Chrysta bristles and snarls at the nearest crossbowman, the same soldier that spoke earlier. The woman does not flinch. For the first time in a long time, Chrysta looks at me and smiles, just a fleeting one.
“Look how they love you.” She says. “Perhaps they want the first dragon emperor?”
“He saved my life.” The soldier says, still unwavering. “Saved all our lives. Only fair to return the favor. Besides, we like him, we don’t know you.”
“Humans, so passionate. Chrysta is not going to kill Prae, or anyone, no matter how capable she is. We have many life debts among us, do we not?” Bas says. “Including one that is owed to me. I suggest that our little band, in honor of the time spent together those many years ago, begin anew. No debts, no grudges.”
“I can accept this.” I say.
“I will accept this.” Chrysta says, taking one long deep breath. “Prasinius, I won’t kill you. We will have words one day, and soon.”
“Wonderful!” Bas is always loud, that startles the soldiers, but they sheathe swords and lower crossbows. “Then, if you’ll have us, we have come to fight.”
“Can you fight?” That same soldier speaks up, Knight Atwater has not interrupted her, nor has Knight Gardiner. I do not know this woman. “Or have you gotten fat and slow like the Emerald says?”
“A dragon lives comfortably in hiding for five hundred years and when he returns they mock him.” Bas says, looking at her with with curiosity. “I am not slow.”
“Prove it.” The soldier lifts her crossbow and releases a bolt. I yelp, Chrysta jumps, every soldier makes a strangling noise including the knights. Bas’ head moves with lightning speed and snatches the bolt from the air before it passes over his head. There is a silence that lingers before Bas breaks it with laughter.
“He can stay.” The soldier says.
“Dani! Dani!” Someone shouts, a soldier that runs toward the gathering.
Bas looks at me and grins, mouth wide and showing all those formidable teeth.
“I like her.”
The one who is yelling is a man that rivals Knight Atwater’s size, even while the knight is in his armor. I remember him from the battle, one of Sergeant Allisten’s men, I do not recall his name.”
“She’s awake!” He shouts, skidding to a stop near this Dani. “Allie’s awake!”

She lays on a wooden framed bed, a cot they call them, outside the tent and under a canopy. Her face is pale and sunken, it’s been a long fight for her. Despite all that, she sits up when we gather around. It takes substantial and obvious effort.
“I didn’t expect an audience.” She says. “More dragons than I remember.”
“We only arrived just now.” Bas says.
“I feel entirely caught up.” Sergeant Allisten says, wincing as she moves. Girl sits beside her, staring at the ground. She might be asleep. Boy is near as well, arms folded and leaning against a wooden pole. He watches Girl, concerned. I understand that he attempted to pull her away from the healing several times. I am told she threatened to break his arm and in return he threatened to sneeze on her and that would knock her right into the ground.
They compromised on a few hours sleep every day, enforced by Boy and without any broken bones.
“I feel like crap.” Sergeant Allisten says.
“You died, a few times.” Girl mumbles, rubbing her eyes. So she isn’t asleep. On the edge of it though. “You shouldn’t be sitting up, or talking, you probably shouldn’t be alive. Feeling like crap is the least of your problems.”
Sergeant Allisten nods with that.
“Do you remember what happened?” Boy asks.
“I remember enough.” Sergeant Allisten says. “I remember walking with Reeve. Something caught my eye, couple shadows. I thought they were just celebrating and needed to find a more private spot but, it was Ege.”
“Who, or what, is Ege?” Knight Gardiner asks.
“I’ve served for a long time.” Sergeant Allisten says. “Back when I was a fresh recruit, one of the guys in the training cohort was Ege. Good kid. He was fast for a legionnaire but he wasn’t as strong as most. He could hold his own in a shieldwall, sure, just not as long as you might need him to.”
“Couple weeks after we finish training, we’re off with a legion to take care of some bandit problem. Don’t use many shieldwalls for them, just cohorts that go hunting. Well, we stumble into their camp and Ege cuts through a dozen of them. Quick, that boy, like a knife. We’re all hammers and anvils around here.”
She points to herself and the knights. I do not know which is which.
“Ege, he wasn’t that. One day they come for him. Every legionnaire has a story about them. Dark cloaks, leather armor, they walk into a legion camp and the Commander breaks out the best food, the private store of wine or beer, starts kissing boots so much that they end up with black lips.”
“Imperial Security.” Knight Atwater says, voice edged with disdain. That sentiment seems unanimous among the gathered. Except among the dragons.
“Spies.” Sergeant Allisten says, looking at us. “Like Citrine, but more hated.”
“As if that is possible.” Bas says, earning a swift kick from Chrysta. Sergeant Allisten shakes her head and goes on.
“Never saw Ege again, that was years ago. Until that night. He was in the shadows with someone else, all conspiratorial. Like spies are. He killed Reeve, stabbed me. Well, you all saw. Whatever he came to do, he did and he walked out of here just like that.”
“What did he want? Who was he with?” Knight Gardiner asks. I am also curious about that.
“For them?” I say. Boy and Girl look at me. I cannot protect them from shadows and spies, that is not my skill. I am suddenly glad to have Chrysta with us, even if she is lying about the fresh start.
“I don’t know why he was here.” Sergeant Allisten says. “But I do know who he was with. He’s older but I recognize the face. Some time after the trouble with the bandits, we were stationed back near Creia. Every so often the Emperor, your father, liked to show his face to the troops. Inspire them, I’m sure. It was more a pain in the ass. We spent weeks practicing marching, polishing weapons and armor until you could count your damn teeth in them.”
“No inspection ready legion ever passed combat.” Knight Atwater says, and there are rough chuckles and nods from the soldiers, apparently this is a common joke among them.
“Right. Well, we get ready, stand out under the sun all drenched in sweat, pretending like we can hear his big speech from the back ranks. Then he does the walk through with all his attendants and guards. They’ve got fancy armor, fancy clothes, everything that we legionnaires aren’t. Had two kids with him, too.”
She looks at Boy and Girl.
“You’re older now. You must have been what, ten, eleven? You were seven or eight?”
Boy nods. He remembers. Girl doesn’t. I have begun to suspect that Girl does not remember much before coming to the forest. My only concern is the intentionality of that. I do not know if she wants to remember.
“Only a few days before you disappeared. They had us tearing the city apart for weeks, searching sewers and cellars and attics and everything in between. Anyway, Emperor does his walk through. He stops here and there, general courtesy. What’s your name? You like being in the legion? What does he expect us to say? No? Shit life, shit pay? Emperor asks if you like it, you give him a ‘yes, your majesty’ or a ‘no life better, your majesty’. He stops and talks to the guy next to me. So I’m staring at this knight, looks almost as bored as I do. Crooked nose, like it was flattened once. He leans over and says ‘wiggle your toes, keeps you from breaking your nose, take it from someone who knows’ and winks at me.”
Knight Gardiner deflates. I can feel it, the dread. He knows who it is. Sergeant Allisten looks at him.
“You saw Knight Milos. He’s the only man I know that said that, all the time, thought it was clever. You saw him again that night.”
“Only found out who he was later. Some legendary swordsman, cut his way through the palace and spirited away those two kids. These two kids.”
“He can’t still be in the camp, someone would recognize him.” Knight Atwater says, very nearly growling the words.
“There are rumors.” Chrysta speaks. Alcina has joined us, threading through the gathering. We take up a great deal of space, us dragons.
“Rumors?” Knight Atwater asks.
“Among the Citrine. We have worked with your spies, from time to time. There are rumors that some can change their faces. Infiltrators of the highest order.”
“It is possible.” Alcina says. “We have not seen what the humans can do with magic, not entirely.”
“So it is possible that no one is who they say they are? Can we trust anyone?” Boy asks, looking at the soldiers and knights.
“They are only rumors, it may not be possible.” Chrysta says. “Do not turn on anyone yet.”
She looks at me when she says that, right at me.
“None of this is good.” Sergeant Allisten says. “Spies and plots, nighttime stabbing, I’m just a Sergeant.”
Somewhere else in the camp a horn is blown, a rich tone that lingers. It is followed by cheering and the scent of horses, lots of horses. Mahz is overhead, gracefully circling what I imagine is the approaching column of ‘black and yellows’.
They take only a few moments to appear, horses with armored men riding them. A column of them, led by a woman holding a black and yellow banner in one hand, sitting tall in her saddle. She reins her horse in front of the gathering and dismounts in one fluid motion, still holding the banner. In the center of the banner is a gray fortress.
“Governor.” Knight’s Gardiner and Atwater both dip their heads. The soldiers remain silent, Sergeant Allisten attempts to stand but the woman waves her down. She hands the banner off to another and removes her helmet, steel that has been darkened to a matte black. Her dark hair is pulled back, her face is narrow and her eyes are dark and intense.
She looks familiar, somehow. I look from her to Girl, and back again.
“You are related.” I say, tilting my head. This Governor looks at me with those hard eyes and the corner of her mouth pulls up into a small smile. She looks at Girl and then to Boy.
“You would not remember me, I think, I had not seen either of you for four or five years before your abduction. Your father was my brother, and I loved him, faults and all. I am Governor Mehira Rin and the Western Provinces answer your call.”
“Thank you, Governor.” Girl says, bowing. Governor Rin snorts and in the blink of an eye she has Girl wrapped in her arms, lifting her off the ground with a startled noise. I hear Girl’s breath forced out in a vice grip and I am amused. Boy is next, as surprised even though he could have expected it.
“I never liked saying ‘your majesty’ so if you’ll allow me to avoid that, you can simply call me Mehira or Aunt. None of this ‘governor’ nonsense.”
“I bet she won’t let us get away with not saying it.” One of her riders says, and the rest laugh. Governor Rin is obviously liked by her soldiers.
“And you, dragon.” She says, looking to me, eyes narrowed as she takes me in. I feel vulnerable under those eyes, something that is rare. “You are the one that has evened the odds, no?”
“I am, Governor.”
“You are the one that protected my niece and nephew when the rest of us thought they were dead?”
“I am, Governor.”
“Then you, of all living things on this continent, do not have to call me Governor. Mehira will do for you.”
“If that’s a mouthful just call him Prae.” Bas cuts in, chuckling. Governor Rin looks the gray up and down and seems entirely unsurprised. She claps her hands together and looks to Sergeant Allisten.
“I’m told you told that murderous, scum sucking, horrid little beast of a man to ride away on a lance?”
“Yes, Governor. I’d stand but…”
“Nonsense!” Governor Rin stands before Sergeant Allisten and looks her over. “I hear you’re capable, that the Lieutenants you have left voted for you and another Sergeant, a Sergeant Odom, to speak on the behalf of this legion?”
“Yes, Governor.”
“Excellent. Then they’ll accept that I’m giving you a field commission as a Captain, the two of you. You need a command structure and I have no officers to spare, not with where we’re going.”
It feels good to have someone else take command, I must admit. I can feel the same relief from Knight Gardiner, his task has been completed, as has mine. Boy and Girl are safe, they are surrounded by allies, now victory will be achieved through skill of command.
“Where are we going, Governor?” Knight Atwater asks. Sergeant Allisten, Captain Allisten, still has her mouth open in shock and hasn’t spoken. Governor Rin speaks for her.
“Why, we have a siege to break, do we not? Captain Allisten, if you would make your legion ready to march. We have sat behind our walls long enough.”
“Oh I like her.” Chrysta says, with a vicious grin.
That does not surprise me. Not in the least.
Chapter 28
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Meet The Freak 10

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The pain in my shoulder kept rousing me from sleep, and damn did I ever need the rest. I'd get an hour or so of sleep, and then something would happen to tweak my shoulder. I'd roll over, or move reflexively to brush away an itch, and I'd be brought reluctantly to wakefulness.
It's not that I was uncomfortable. In fact, this 'hotel' as Wallace called it, might be one of the most luxurious buildings I'd ever set foot in. The furniture down in the restaurant, for example. The quality there, in just one of the pieces, was astounding. It was difficult to get fabric to take dye consistently, to achieve a uniform colour. As such, it was often the upholstery that was of particular prestige, making quality pieces often the centre of a noble's living room. Not only was every piece of furniture in that restaurant of such quality, everything matched. It was as if some sort of perfect automaton had fabricated each piece. And that was to say nothing of the carpentry and metalwork involved, which were similarly astounding.
Then there were the sheets I'd wrapped myself in. It wasn't quite the same as silk, silk had a more sultry quality, and this felt somehow more wholesome. It was more like a warm hug than a- well, than any of the sorts of things I usually got up to when tangled in silk sheets. And with Wallace sleeping nearby, his long steady breaths providing a comforting rhythm, and his scent lingering on the air, I found that I felt safer than I had in a very long while. Not safe, there was a reason I still kept a pistol nearby, there remained a long way to go for true safety, but I was safer.
I only wished I could enjoy it, to bask in the warmth from the pile of blankets, and luxuriate in the feeling that I didn't have an immediate looming threat breathing down my neck. The problem was, my gods damned shoulder would not stop hurting. I tried to find a position that wouldn't aggravate my injury, but despite my best efforts, still couldn't stay asleep for more than an hour at a time.
Finally, angry, bored, and still very tired, I kicked off the blankets in a fit of pique. Of course, that only hurt my shoulder more, and I grit my teeth to keep from waking Wallace with a pained gasp.
I frowned, the steady rhythm was gone.
I snatched a sheet and held it to my chest. With some difficulty, I sat up and peered over the edge of the bed. Wallace had left. Which meant he'd woken up. Which meant he'd noticed me sleeping on the floor next to him.
I sighed. I had been hoping to be gone before he woke, though I wasn't sure what I was trying to hide. That I trusted him? He probably figured that out about when I was huddled naked in the bath.
I wish he'd woken me, we could share breakfast, and I'd follow his explorations, but damn I was tired.
I slithered into the bed, still warm from his presence. I curled up in the middle of the bed where the warmth was the greatest and settled in among the blankets and piled pillows. By some magic, the mattress shaped itself to fit my body, and I quickly found a position that didn't set my shoulder aflame. The heat made me drowsy, and in renewed comfort, saw little reason to fight it.
I had little idea of the time that had passed when I finally woke once more. I only knew that the hollow and tired feeling had abated, and the sun still had not yet risen.
I considered laying there for a while longer. Perhaps I'd doze off again, but thought better of it. I was curious about what Wallace had been doing, had he returned to the room, only to leave me to sleep in peace? Perhaps, but it was a large building. Likely he wasn't finished exploring.
I pushed myself up, found my torch and pistol, and wrapped myself in one of the sheets. So covered, I slipped back across to my room and dressed in the sleeveless shirt and legless trousers I'd worn to dinner. I'd worn the ensemble to dinner out of exhaustion, after all, getting into the flight suit was a bit of a bother at the best of times, and I didn't feel like attempting it with one arm. I'd expected Wallace to make some remark, maybe blush a little. I'd even had a biting retort ready for the occasion, but he didn't protest my lascivious dinner wear. It seemed not to register to him.
I found I quite liked Wallace, which was quite the novel experience. I'd always seen company as something to be avoided unless I'd paid for their time. How strange it was then, that I hoped Wallace would stay once I'd finished teaching him what magic I knew.
With him possibly anywhere in the massive building, I intended to track him by scent. Sleeping several hours in his bed had made that tricky, however, and I had difficulty separating the scents present in the environment from those clinging to me. I could get an idea of where he'd been, but was unable to tell how long ago it was. As it seemed he'd spend the hours I was asleep searching the entire building, I found myself doing the same. I struggled to find a single room that did not have at least a trace of his scent within.
It made me regret leaving my necklace behind, but it wouldn't be safe with my shoulder still healing. That said, I'd only checked the first floor, and I could already feel myself growing faint as I gazed at the door to the stairs.
I am going to make that man carry me back down here.
Just pushing open the heavy metal door- the humans take security seriously it seems -made me feel dizzy. I put my hands on my knees and took a few deep breaths to steady myself before continuing.
I woke to the taste of blood in my mouth, a brutal headache, and the reek of fear. I shifted a little and blinked my eyes open, and I heard a sigh of relief.
"Oh thank god, please, just don't move."
I came to realize that Wallace was holding me in his arms, a little too tightly, as he was making it difficult to move my head.
"Wallace," I grumbled drowsily, "Let me go."
"Valentine, just- please, for fuck's sake."
I met his gaze, and my anger softened as I saw the concern in his eyes. He looked like he'd just seen me die.
"Okay, okay," I soothed.
Wallace calmed a little as the sickly scent of fear was gradually replaced by the musky scent of my pheromones. With so much skin uncovered, the effects should have taken hold much more quickly than they did, but at the very least it didn't appear as if his heart were about to stop.
Wallace took a deep breath, "In first aid- for humans -the number one thing, the most important thing unless someone is gushing blood, are head and neck injuries. "
I placed my palm gently against his chest, "It's okay," I finally understood what had him so shaken, "Fey are different, we're not so vulnerable to getting bumped on the head."
"You're-" he began, but I put a finger to his lips before he could interrupt.
"I know a thing or two about treating injuries, Wallace," I insisted, "I learned all sorts of things about head injuries, but us fey are not like anyone else. If we were, every noble house would have a pile of dead servants who fainted trying to carry the lady's tea up the stairs."
Wallace gently took my hand away from his lips. He held gently onto my hand, our hands clasped loosely across my chest.
"I thought you were dead," he said flatly, "I pushed open the door, and here you were on the landing, limp as a corpse and white as a sheet."
"This isn't the first time I've fainted trying to climb the stairs," I sighed, "I just need a little air."
I gave a little yelp as Wallace gathered me up and rose to his feet, and quickly threw an arm around his neck to steady myself. I squirmed around until I was in a more or less sitting position. The motion made my head throb, and I rested my head against Wallace's chest while I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain.
I'd made it almost to the roof, following Wallace's scent, but that was damning with faint praise. It had been easy to figure out where he'd gone off to once I was in the stairwell, as his scent was present throughout, but the climb had been brutal. To any other fey, my ascent through the building would seem supernal. But to the humans who'd constructed the building, doubtless to Wallace as well, I must have seemed pitiful.
Wallace elbowed the bar across the door, which shifted slightly, and he ducked out onto the roof. I shivered as the cold air brushed across my exposed skin, and tried to press closer to Wallace. It got awfully chilly during The Long Night, and I was a little underdressed.
The roof was altogether more pleasant than that of the 'gas station', as Wallace had called it. There were several cushioned benches scattered about, some small trees here and there, and a few flower beds set against the low wall that ringed the rooftop. Someone, indeed, likely several someones, had gone to some effort to make the space as pleasant as possible.
"What happened to your jewellery?" Wallace asked, his voice low, though I could feel the bassy reverberations in his chest.
"It's not safe to use while I'm healing," I shivered, "So I'm useless until my shoulder is mended."
"You're plenty useful," Wallace insisted, "You teach me magic, and I'll carry you around wherever you want to go," he promised.
He carried me over to one of the benches and took a seat. He let go of me, but I didn't take the opportunity to slide off his lap. Instead, I snatched a nearby blanket and pressed it into his hands. He took it, an amused expression on his face, and helped me settle it around myself. With it trapping the heat, it felt like I was sitting with my cheek resting against a furnace. Between his natural scent and the all-encompassing warmth, I felt myself growing drowsy once again.
I pulled the blankets tight around myself and peered up at him, "Maybe I'll ride you around like a horse," I giggled, "Did Temerity get to ride you around too?"
He immediately turned red, his lips set in a thin line as he tried not to break out into a guilty smile.
"Oh, she did, she did!" I hooted, "Were you face up or face down? The girls at The Blushing Maiden have given it to me both ways, so I can see the appeal in either case," Wallace turned, if it were even possible, a yet darker shade of red, "Now that I think about it, Temerity does seem the sort to take the initiative. Face down then."
Wallace's guilty smile turned to a grimace, but there was grudging mirth in his eyes and the twist of his lips.
I prodded him in the ribs, "You're not even the tiniest bit angry," I asked incredulously, though it was more of a statement.
I pressed my nose against his chest and inhaled deeply, "I can't smell a whiff of anger. If I were a servant, anyone else would be having me flogged right about now to correct my mark against their honour. Or as a noblewoman, they'd be looking for a father, brother, or husband to duel."
He sighed, a wry, grudging smile on his face, "Humans used to be like that," he admitted.
I frowned in thought, "Now that I think about it, I don't believe Simon has ever challenged anyone to a duel. And gods know people have tried to goad him into it."
"Why, to try to get rid of him?" Wallace guessed, "Seems like a losing proposition if it's fey versus human, even if he doesn't go all Super Saiyan on them."
"Super Saiyan?" I inquired.
Wallace covered his face with his hand, "The body magic thing he does."
"Oh, well, you're right. Magic isn't allowed, though that can be hard to enforce. But it's the privilege of the challenged party to opt for a champion to take their place. Usually a sprite, or now that there are other races in the city, a goblin or elf. But it matters little," I explained, "Simon seems genuinely ambivalent to even the most grievous insult made against him. At first, it led to him losing a great deal of respect within the city, but once it was clear he didn't care about that either, I think he was able to turn it into a strength. That said, it's not as if he doesn't get even with those that oppose him. Typically when a nobleman of the city goes after Simon, he'll find that a wife or daughter will have mysteriously fallen for the human interloper," I thumped Wallace on the chest, "Simon's playroom isn't quite as well soundproofed as Temerity's though, I understand that most of the manor, along with anyone out on the street, can hear when Simon is taking the initiative with a new paramour," I put a hand to my chin, as if in thought, "Now that I think about it, that must be some serious soundproofing in Temerity's place, I mean, you must be awfully lou-"
Wallace, very gently, but very firmly, put his hand over my mouth.
I shrank inwards a little and nodded.
At first, I'd been needling him just to see what it would take to get him to strike me. Humans were still an enigma to me, and I found that people were generally easier to deal with if I knew where the limits were, but now I realized that the greater risk would be making the big mushy goliath feel hurt.
He took his hand away, and I pulled myself up to plant a kiss on his cheek, before sinking back down to nestle against his chest.
"You're an okay bodyguard Wally."
"Thanks, Vally," he replied wryly, "Have you got your daily allotment of teasing me in? Can we get to adult stuff?"
I rolled my eyes, "Val will be fine, and what is it?"
"Well," he began, pulling down the blanket a bit so I could see out into the night, "I picked this bench for a reason, are you able to make out that light in the distance?"
"No, can you-"
Wallace covered both the torches, and I waited as my eyes adjusted to the darkness.
"Maybe?" I said finally, "I might just be seeing what I want to see though. I take it you're more confident?"
He nodded, "It's a campfire. It's way the hell out there, but it's a fire."
"Probably surveyors from Caniforma," I guessed.
"Are they going to be a problem?"
"Perhaps," I admitted, "They might eventually find a route here, but surveyors tend to guard their discoveries jealously. Unless you know who to ask, it's not easy to even learn where to buy such information, and that's to speak nothing of the price. No, they're not likely to pose a threat. That said, if someone is truly determined to come after me, they likely could reach us."
"You mean someone might pull the same stunt we did," Wallace realized.
I pulled the blanket back up over my head and relaxed against the big man.
"Yes. And while we had to spend a day getting through the pass, the proximity of the mountains offers possibilities to the determined."
"You mean someone might try to make their own little rest stop by climbing up far enough? Would that even work with horses?"
"Doubtful," I replied, "But if it came to it, they could abandon the horses to the tide, and sleep out the night partway up some convenient cliff."
"Hmmm..." he rumbled quietly, "Just trying to think through the timeline here. So the horsemen, horsewomen, horsepeople?"
"They were riders, not centaurs," I huffed.
"Whichever, point is, they left late. After all, we left late, and they left even later after that. So we'll assume whoever comes after us has time to prepare, and are down the ramp from the city at first light."
"Not a simple task," I interjected, "There are special carriages that carry horses down, and even if they've planned to have those ready, the descent is yet slower than it was for us."
"Okay, fair," Wallace agreed, "But it does mean that, compared to the riders we ran into, they'll be further along at any given point in time."
"Fair," I agreed.
"Which pushes their point of no return forwards, I don't know, six hours?" he guessed, "That might be a bit generous, but we should prepare for a best-case attempt from them."
"They also won't have spent several hours searching an alien neighbourhood for us," I added.
Wallace nodded, "Which means they get even further. Now include the fact they've got a safe return that's a lot closer... yeah, I bet they could make it. Fuck they'd be tired though."
"I wouldn't worry about it for now, Wally," I assured him, "I have a hard time conceiving of a more defensible position than what we have now. We'll have time to ready ourselves. Besides, they know not what they face at the end of their journey. I don't expect to see them in the next Long Night, perhaps the one after next at the earliest," I peered up at him from beneath the blankets, "Plenty of time for you to learn some magic."
Wallace beamed and seemed to tremble at the mere word, and it gave me a little thrill to see him smile like that.
I thumped my hand against his chest again, "Carry me inside, feed me some breakfast, and we can get started."
Wallace pursed his lips, "What was that you said, something about protecting you but not taking care of you?"
I narrowed my eyes, "You're not taking care of me, you're pampering me.
"As you wish, your highness," Wallace replied wryly.
Still bundled up in the blanket, Wallace brought me back inside through a different staircase. Rather than functional metal railings and hard stone steps, this staircase was thickly carpeted, and the hardwood railings were stained a rich dark brown.
Wallace shouldered his way through the door at the bottom of the stairs, and I somehow found myself in a room that was even more luxurious than what I'd seen below.
Now that wasn't to say that every surface was engraved, gilded, and studded with gemstones as it might be in a royal's palace. The humans who'd built this structure seemed to have a preference for understatement, and instead of displaying wealth with precious metals and rare stones, it was with quality materials. Again, I was astounded by the uniformity with which the carpets and furniture upholstery were dyed. The elves could do work that was nearly this good, but it wouldn't be uniform over such a large area, and the reagents they used to fix the dyes had an unfortunate scent.
It looked to me that the top floor of the entire east wing was dedicated to this single set of chambers. Well, perhaps not 'chambers', as the designers seemed not to have believed in walls. Where they were needed, they were either glass, as the exterior walls were, or did not rise to reach the ceiling, and served simply to break up the sightlines and provide a little privacy.
Oddly enough, the kitchen seemed to be displayed proudly, rather than being out of sight, hidden back in some servant's area. I wasn't happy to see the harpsichord, in what would be the sitting room, had it been a separate room. There was also another of those black glass slabs that humans always arranged their furniture to face. There had even been several in the restaurant below, arranged so that no matter where one sat, a slab could be seen. This one was the largest I'd yet seen and was nearly as wide as I was tall.
The deference shown to the objects suggested some religious significance, and it occurred to me that there had been something similar in the house we'd looted before leaving the human neighbourhood. The materials hadn't been quite the same, and the glass slab at the front had bulged outwards rather than being perfectly flat, but there as well, the furniture had been arranged to face it.
"This is the penthouse," Wallace explained, "I wanted to wait until you were up to ask your thoughts, but I think we should start moving our stuff up here. The stairs are a problem-"
"It'll be fine once my shoulder is mended," I assured him.
Wallace shrugged, and set me down on one of the wide upholstered and high-backed benches in the sitting room, "There's also some conference rooms through there," he went on, nodding towards the central spine of the building, "so there's space for us to work if we need it."
I stretched out on my back while Wallace went over to the kitchen to root through the cabinets.
"Is that what's atop the other wing?" I yawned.
"No, the conference rooms are near the elevators, probably for fancy people to have fancy people meetings," he called back, "The other wing is a presidential suite, so I guess this is an American hotel."
"Uh, it's another country from Earth," he explained, "But the language is the same, and I'm familiar enough with the units they use to measure things that it's not a problem," I heard the cabinets shut. A moment later, Wallace was peering over the side of the couch, "I'm gonna go out on the balcony and cook, you stay out of trouble till I get back."
"I'll try, no promises."
With both of us properly fed, I had Wallace join me in the sitting room and drew him down next to me on what he called a 'couch'.
While he'd been busy cooking, I'd poked around the penthouse, looking for something to use for our first magic lesson. I'd found what I'd needed in the bathroom- a bathroom that was larger than some commoner's homes -a box of hairpins.
I took out just one of the pins and handed it over to him. It seemed comically small in his enormous hand, and he held it between forefinger and the odd not-quite-thumb, not-quite-finger that was his extra digit.
"I can do magic with just this?"
"Yes and no. The first thing to understand-" I began.
Wallace beamed, and threw his arms up in the air, "First law of magic!"
I sighed, but couldn't help but share his smile, "You're just a child on the inside, aren't you."
"We're all children on the inside," Wallace replied, "and we're all just pretending otherwise."
My smile turned to a smirk, as I considered what I might do if I wasn't trying to keep up appearances as a noblewoman. And the truth was, it wasn't as if I put much effort into such appearances.
"Are you going to let me teach you magic," I prodded, "or are you going to keep sharing your philosophy?"
"Alright, alright, what's the first law of magic?"
"From a single object, you can only get one type of mana," I recited, "There are exceptions, but for the time being, one object, one type of mana."
Wallace frowned and stared intently at the hairpin, "That doesn't exactly make sense."
"What about it troubles you?"
"The exceptions. Physical laws don't tend to have them."
"Wally, which one of us is teaching and which one is learning right now?"
"I know, I know, but I also spent two decades in one type of school or the other," he insisted, "Newton's laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, Euclid's postulates, they mostly don't have exceptions."
"Mostly?" I repeated, "So then they do have exceptions, why is it so strange then-"
"That's just it," he exclaimed, "Thermodynamics, that's sacrosanct. Pretty sure even magic doesn't violate that no matter how hard you try. But Euclid's postulates and Newton's laws of motion, those are different. Euclid had five postulates. The first four are simple. I mean simple enough that they're a single sentence that a kid could understand. I mean, the first one is that you can draw a straight line between any two points, really simple stuff. But Euclid was trying to explain the very fundamentals of geometry. His problem, and hell, mathematicians worked on it for hundreds of years after him, was his fifth postulate. He was trying to describe the fundamentals behind parallel and non-parallel lines, and it was kind of clumsy. He couldn't quite get the phrasing to be as neat and tidy as the other five postulates. And not just him, like I said, plenty of genuine geniuses worked on the same problem, and couldn't figure it out. See, the truth was, there was a deeper understanding that wasn't known," he paused, I think he'd noticed that my eyes were starting to glaze over, "Um, remind me to tell you about non-euclidean geometry some time. The point is, the way he was trying to describe how parallel lines worked, didn't always apply. But he couldn't even conceive of how it didn't apply. It was as if he was blind to it."
"And you think the same is true for magic?" I said slowly, as I digested his speech.
"Yeah, and you know what," Wallace said confidently, "This is exactly the sort of thing Simon would recognize as well."
I felt a sudden tightness in my chest, not fear, but excitement. Wallace had already been able to provide some hints, but now it felt as if I were finally starting to draw the curtain aside.
"This Newton, what was his mistake?"
"Well the thing to remember about Newton, is that he was a genuine genius. I mean, he couldn't figure out the equations necessary to track the motions of planets, so he invented a new type of mathematics. He was one of the first guys to lay out a set of laws that could begin to describe the way the physical world worked. It's more complicated than that, and others added to his theory to build Classical Mechanics, but there's a reason that Classical Mechanics is sometimes referred to as Newtonian Physics. The trouble was, there were areas where his theories broke down. But like Euclid, it broke down in ways he couldn't conceive of. It worked for apples falling from trees, and planets orbiting stars, but not, for example, black holes, nuclear weapons, and spaceships trying to travel faster than light."
"I feel as if I say this frequently in your company," I told him tiredly, "but pardon me?"
"Newton's theories worked at the scales that most people can conceive of. From the very smallest bit of dust, all the way up to the most very massive stars. As for velocity, it covered the stationary, all the way up to objects travelling more than a hundred thousand times faster than a speeding bullet."
"What else is there?"
"Exactly!" he exclaimed, "It took another two hundred years for a guy named Einstein to come along and invent General and Special Relativity, which explained how things smaller than motes of dust, larger than the largest stars, and nearly as fast as light worked."
"I still don't think I understand quite what you're saying, but I take it, that it is enough to know that there was more to know than Euclid and Newton could fathom."
"Exactly," Wallace agreed, "So, what are these exceptions to the 'one object, one mana type' rule?"
"Gemstones, air, and liquids. Raw gemstones can be cut in such a way as to provide two of the available mana types at once. Garnets, for example, provide four mana types, Metal, Body, Strengthen, and Protect. When it is faceted, the jeweller selects any two of those, and from then on, those are the only two mana types that the garnet may provide. Indeed, the caster must use both types, for any spell that includes the garnet. As for air and liquids, neither can be said to be a single object. With liquids, typically one must use the entire container unless it's something like a spellcaster dipping their hand in a lake or river. That's typically only something experts can do though. Most spellcasters will simply scoop some up in their hand or the like. Air presents the same difficulty, experts can simply use it directly out of the space around them, but most Air magic users will carry glass bottles of various sizes."
"So say I wanted to use this bobby pin," Wallace suggested, "I'd need to use the whole thing, and only for one of its available mana types?" I nodded, and then Wallace bent the pin until it broke into two halves, "And now this is two objects, so I could use what was a single bobby pin, for both mana types in a spell?"
"Yes, that was the puzzle I'd intended you to solve," I admitted, "I sense you're unhappy with this answer?"
"I am," he agreed, "I don't know how the 'one object one mana type' rule is wrong, but it's wrong. What if I had two pins, or let's say I just use both these halves. These are metal, so they've got Metal mana? Okay, so could I use both halves for Metal mana, and then some third object for the other mana type I need?"
"Yes," I said slowly, "I suppose that's the second rule. Controlled magic always takes two types of mana, attempt it with a single type, and only the gods know what will happen."
"Alright, well I'm gonna think on rule one. It feels kind of like a 'blind men and the elephant' situation."
This time I just threw up my hands.
Wallace grinned sheepishly, "Sorry, have you ever seen an elephant?"
"Yes," I replied, more than a little exasperated.
"Coles notes-" he began, and I gave him a dangerous look, "Sorry, simple version is, one blind guy puts a hand on the leg and thinks an elephant is like a tree. Another feels the trunk and says it's like a big snake, so on and so on."
"You're clearly very intelligent, very learned. It's a shame you hide it behind a veneer of utter madness."
"We can argue about who's crazier later," he chuckled, "So we've got the first rule, 'one object, one mana type', and its exceptions, and the second rule, 'one or more verbs, and one or more nouns, or bad things happen'."
"Then there's the final rule, and it applies to the case you suggested, using both halves of the pin for Metal mana. Steel is a Greater source of Metal mana. It doesn't matter how much steel you have, it will only ever be a Greater source. The quantity of steel instead determines how long the Greater source persists."
"Is there a number for greater?" he asked, "What's the scale?"
"I've yet to hear anyone use numbers to try to describe the difference between various mana sources, or at least, try and succeed in coming up with anything that makes sense. No, the scale is Minimal, Lesser, Moderate, Greater, and Significant."
"Hold on. Actual metal is only the second-best source of Metal mana? How does that make sense?" Wallace demanded.
I shrugged, "Only gemstones are a Significant mana source, metals are typically Greater, not just of Metal mana itself, but of whatever other mana types that metal provides as well. Copper provides Greater Fire, for example."
"Hmm, seems kinda weird that it's the most powerful sources of mana that are best known," Wallace mused, "I would have thought it'd be the other way around."
"There are commonly known rumours about colours and herbs both supplying either lesser or minimal mana of a great many different types, but I've yet to hear any specifics."
"How are new types discovered then? Even if most people get the info second-hand, someone would have had to be the first."
"It's tricky," I warned, "And I don't even know if the method I know of is the safest way to do it, but typically one takes a material with a known mana type, and the material they want to understand and attempt to cast a spell. Either the caster can guess at what mana might be present in the unknown material, in which case things proceed as with any normal spell."
"And if they get it wrong?" Wallace grimaced.
"If they get it wrong," I continued, "Or simply try to cast a spell without trying to guess what mana types might be present, then nearly anything can happen. The proto-spell uses the selected mana from the known material and a random mana type from the unknown material, and chaos generally ensues."
"I'm guessing it's generally a good idea to use small quantities then?" Wallace offered.
I nodded, "Anything to limit the potential damage. Transformation magic and Body magic are the worst. Fire magic, to be sure, may cause severe burns if the caster is unlucky, but Healing magic can correct something as simple as an injury. But a body, malformed by magic, is nigh-impossible to correct."
I took his hand in both of mine. It was soft but strong, and large enough that my thumbs didn't quite meet in the middle.
"Promise me you'll listen, and promise me that you won't go experimenting on your own," I urged him, "This is dangerous, and there's only so much I can do. If I were any good with healing magic, I would have fixed my shoulder already. I understand your excitement, but before we continue, I need your word that you'll listen when I warn you something's dangerous."
"Alright, I promise," he assured me, "If I come up with anything crazy, I'll talk to you first."
"Thank you, the other thing I should warn you about is that this isn't going to be easy. I don't want you to feel discouraged if it doesn't work right away."
I didn't want to sabotage him by telling him just how hard it was to cast a spell for the first time, but I also didn't want him giving up. I'd seen both extremes in my time. Some would give up after trying and failing for weeks, while still others would hear such tales and internalize the assumption that they'd never be able to do it. I was by no means a magic tutor, but those I was familiar with had spoken of striking a balance. It was essential to warn would-be spellcasters of the difficulty, without making it seem insurmountable. Magic was a science of the mind after all, and if someone got the wrong idea in their head, it often made their magical journey a great deal longer, if it started at all.
"Everything is hard until you figure it out," he replied, "I'll be patient."
"First," I began, speaking softly, "Close your eyes, once you get more familiar with magic you won't need to, but for now it can help to focus the mind."
He did as I asked, and I let go of his hand to pick up the box of bobby pins.
"The spell you're going to cast will give you an invisible hand, that can pick up only metal. Steel contains Earth, Fire, Metal, Movement, and Protection mana. You're going to use the Metal mana from one half of the pin, and the Movement mana from the other to create this hand," I shook the box so he could hear the pins rattle, "Then you're going to use that hand to pick up some of these pins."
Wallace nodded, an oddly tranquil expression on his face.
"Now. Magic requires you to hold two different understandings of the world in your mind. First, there's the world as it is now, where you're holding two halves of a broken pin in one hand. Second, there's the world as you will it to be, where the halves of the pin are gone, and you have an intangible hand, capable of only manipulating metal. Now I understand that might not make much sense," I admitted, still speaking softly, "But think of it as there being two worlds. There's the mental world as it exists within your mind, and there's the physical world, as it appears to everyone else. Take your time," I said soothingly, "Don't rush yourself, the important thing is to-"
There was a metallic rattling, and then the pins were floating above the small box, as if cupped in an invisible hand.
I leapt to my feet, astounded at what I saw, "Wally, that's amazing!" I exclaimed.
Wallace was not so enthused. He had his eyes open now, but there was an unexpected sadness in them.
"Seems I'm uniquely suited to this," he muttered dourly.
"What's the matter?"
"Nothing, just the universe reminding me that I'm a freak."
"Who cares?" I demanded, "What you just did takes most people weeks or months, you're a freak? Wallace, I would cut off my arm to be a freak like you. You're an enormous slab of muscle with indestructible bones, a supernatural talent for magic, and this is just a guess, but someone your size is also probably hung like a horse."
He immediately turned red and brought a hand to his face, but I went on unabated, "Who cares, if I had a body like yours, I would revel in it. The strength, the power, I would need to run from nothing. And what you said about your body making muscle no matter how lazy you are? Gods, I would eat as much as I wanted, drink whatever I liked, and bed whoever I fancied," I shook my head slowly, "But you don't conduct yourself like that. I would have searched out some shapely elf noblewoman, one that was easier to handle than Temerity, to act as patron and paramour while I ate and drank and fucked the days away," I spread my arms, and gazed down at my scrawny frame, "But instead you're here with me, because I need you, and because you have a good heart."
"Well," he said slowly, "Thanks, I guess," he said with a bland shrug.
I growled and prodded him in the side. I wanted it to hurt, but I think my shoulder ended up worse off than his ribs. At the same time, I bore down on my pheromone glands, forcing out as much of the rage pheromone as I could muster.
"You don't think I know you get angry sometimes? Really really angry?" I demanded, "When we lost that pack, gods, I didn't think the scent of anger could be that thick. And then in the tunnel when you were trying to get through that metal cover, the smell was so strong I thought I was going to faint."
I wiped my brow with the back of my hand. It wasn't sweat. Instead, I was giving off so much of the pheromones that it was beading on my skin, and making my clothes and hair damp.
"But you didn't lash out at me, or anyone else. Who cares if you get angry? It happens, what matters is what you do with it. You're a good person, with a good heart," I informed him, "But time to time you need someone to slap you upside the head and get you on the right track, that's all."
He chuckled at that. There was enough rage pheromone in the air now that he should have long since bashed my head in, but instead, he was laughing.
He raised his hands, "Alright, alright, you've made your point. Now could you please tone it down? If I have to put up with this for much longer, I'm gonna burst a blood vessel."
I switched to the opposite pheromone, and couldn't get much out before my glands ran dry, but it was enough to neutralize the rage pheromone in the air.
I put my hands on my knees and took a deep breath, I don't think I'd ever pushed myself that hard, and I was surprised to find it left me so exhausted. My legs felt like jelly as I stumbled back over to join Wallace on the couch.
"If you're done feeling sorry for yourself," I huffed, "I can finish explaining magic," I offered.
"Go ahead, what's left?" he asked wryly.
Continued in comment
submitted by ThisHasNotGoneWell to HFY [link] [comments]

DKNG - Fundamental DD Inside - DKNG

This is an example of fundamental DD that takes place at ‘smart’ money institutions based on my professional experience in IBD, Private Equity & most recently at a HF (mods can message me for proof). Not thoroughly fleshed out b/c you autists have limited attention spans, but a summary. Figured I’d take the time to give back to this community that has provided many lolz, & should be a good measuring stick when evaluating other forms of fundamental DD posted here.
DKNG - DraftKings, Inc.: vertically integrated US mobile betting operator that also provides retail sports betting & back-end betting solutions through SBTech. Think of SBTech as the tech ‘market-maker’ for traditional sports betting, they do all the funny math to set the betting odds & seem to be working on back-end solutions for DKNG Casino
The Big Picture
Only ~2% of the ~$90Bn gambling revenues were placed online which is the lowest in the world where betting online is legal. For example, in other countries online gaming activity represents ~6% - ~52% of total gambling revenues, with ~12% being the average.
Wall Street expects online gaming revenue to be $20Bn-$40Bn within the next 10 years. For this to be achieved, the online gambling market will have to achieve a ~30% penetration rate on total country gaming revenues. There is an expectation that this is could be easily achievable given penetration trends overseas - see page 11 of this:
Other catalysts include increasing adaptation of sports betting in more states. States that have both legal sports betting + online sports betting permitted: NV, NJ, WV, PA, IA. Sports betting permitted but no online: DE, MS, RI, MO, AR. Prior to COVID there was ongoing discussions across many States, especially ones with growing deficits to explore how permitting sports betting could create a fresh avenue of tax dollars. Post COVID there is an expectation that these discussions will be given extra focus as many States will be hungry for incremental tax dollars. Important to note that currently 43/50 States allow DFS, but given the small share DFS has on total Gaming Revenues, it increasingly looks like DKNG is banking on traditional sports betting for a variety of reasons, more later. There are entire articles on Google arguing this catalyst so I’ll end this here.
Digging Deeper
DKNG’s main offerings are Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) products & traditional sports book products to its clients. Long story short, a metric to look for in my opinion (that is curiously not reported by management or remarked on) is the hold % in traditional gaming sector parlance or the ‘rake’ & compare it to the ‘traditional’ gaming products like sports betting & Blackjack.
For DFS: DKNG takes ~15% of the prize pool (note: used to be ~6-11% [2]). Curiously, their main competitor FanDuel also has moved up to a ~15% rake recently. Google searches show the smaller competitors have a rake in the ~13% range.
This ‘rake’ has grown ~2x in 6 years, but it has been a delicate move on behalf of management. Why? B/c the more ‘sophisticated’ DFS players (equal to autistic day traders on Robinhood) have noted this increase & based on some Googling, some have moved down market to the smaller players. As a side note, many live casino games have their rules altered to grow the Hold %. For example, Blackjack games with 6:5 payouts on 21 have materially higher Hold % than the traditional BJ rules that pay out 3:2. Given the findings so far, DKNG may not have much room to materially increase its hold % in DFS games in the near-term from current of 15%. More on this later.
Now why the fuck is this important? This is important b/c the typical sports book (ex-Parlays) have a ~5% hold %/rake. Parlays have up to a ~30% hold (which is why it’s commonly known as the sucker’s bet), & just for reference, the average Blackjack table clocks in 14.5%. What this means: Every dollar put into these games, the “House” or DKNG, will take 15% of your money for DFS games, for sports bets they will be pocketing ~5%, up to ~30% if you’re into parlays, & we’ll just use the standard 14.5% BJ hold for the DraftKings Casino platform.
So why the acquisition of SBTech & a foray into the traditional sports gambling market? As you can see previously, the illegal sports betting market is >30x the size of the current daily fantasy sports market. So it’s clear that the DFS providers including DKNG are foraying into the space to capture this user base & hopefully convert them into games that have a higher hold %, such as DFS/DKNG Casino.
As of May 2020, DKNG has achieved a 30% penetration rate on its ~4mm ‘monetized’ DFS clientele to its Online Sports Book (OSB), from the OSB+DFS clientele, DKNG has converted 50% into its DraftKings Casino platform.
Including non-monetized users, user base totals at 12mm. Based on these unit economics: every 1mm of additional users -> 333k monetized users for DFS -> 100k users for OSB -> 50k users for DraftKings Casino.
Some Numbers – Italicized/Bolded the important
Numbers that represent Risks to Long Thesis
Things to look for when going Long
- Progress of additional States legalizing sports betting – specifically, States with DFS already legalized
- Cost structure evolving to a more fixed mix vs. the mostly variable mix currently as this will be the forward figure that determines profitability
- Increasing User Base (Curr.: 12mm) -> Monetized Base (Curr.: 4mm) -> MUP (1Q’20: 0.7mm)
Share Price Target
Given the cost structure of the company, I’m going to base the price targets around Enterprise Value / Revenues (driven by MUPs & ARPUs).
Bear Case MUP: 5mm -> $20.32 - $45.73
Base Case MUP: 5.5mm -> $22.27 - $50.10
Bull Case MUP: 6mm -> $24.21 - $54.47
These MUPs imply a monetized customer base of 28mm – 33mm. At the high-end, this implies that DKNG monetized customer base will equal MGM’s current total user base.
At yesterday’s close of $43.70, DKNG is trading at 3.5x – 4.5x forward Revenues on an expected >5,000 MUPs.
Share Price drivers / considerations:
- Continued multiple expansion
- MUP Growth exceeding beyond targets
Management Team
Jason Robins, 39 – Co-Founder & CEO. Duke BA, started DraftKings from day 1 in 2011. The 2 other buddies he started the Company with are still at DKNG. Dude navigated the Company through the scandal that rocked them in ’15 & ’16, and was the trailblazer in getting DFS labeled as a non-gambling product that enabled it to open in States without a gaming designation. This shit is the stuff that gets people in history books. His accomplishments make him seem like a very competent guy. Has 3 kids now, and only ~3% economic ownership in DKNG but has 90% of the voting power through his Class B share ownership. Also he actively participates in venture investments, sitting on 10 boards.
His comp plan performance bonus target is pretty murky, but main drivers are EPS growth, revenue growth, then a bunch of margin & return metrics, along with share price returns. Overall, very open-ended & it’s safe to say as long as shit doesn’t hit the fan, he will be eligible for his max payouts year over year. I’m assuming the lawyers tried to encompass everything possible for maximum flexibility to justify him earning his max comp as long as DKNG is still around.
Since he’s got voting control of 90%, I’ll end the specific-person overview here, but want to note that they have a very bloated C-suite. 12 folks at DKNG, 8 folks at SBTech, all with C-suite designations. Whereas their main competitor FanDuel, has 3 guys with a C-suite designations & 1 EVP, but is a sub under a larger ParentCo that has its own management team of ~5 guys.
Looking through glassdoor you can see the biggest complaint among employees giving bad reviews is based on management, all of the specific issues they point out IMO are a result of a top-heavy company. Seems like a good starting point to optimize their cost structure, but given Robins' history of sticking this entire thing through with his co-founders since '11 stuff like this doesn't seem to be a part of his playbook. They’re a public company now though, so it’s going to be interesting to see going forward.
If I were to initiate a position in DKNG, the stock would have to fall to the $35-$37 range for me to be a buyer of the stock, and based on this rough intro analysis I'll be considering Put options if it breaches $50. I would not touch Calls at this level.

[1] Susquehanna Research – U.S. Online Gambling 6/27/19
[4] Goldman Sachs Research – DKNG Initiation 5/19/20
submitted by IAMB4TMAN to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

[Alien Crash] Bk 01 V30 Ch 06 Problem Children and Consulates

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Chapter Six: Problem Children and Consulates

"It is, without a doubt, the greatest pleasure to discover another being who has the sensitivity to become a Scan."
— Xenor / Sensor-Tech / HAS Adjudicator

Briefing: First Hamathi Visit to ICZ HQ

General Jackson speaking.
"Okay, people, the Hamathi will be here in seven days.
"I remind you, if you have any issues with being near Hamathi, you will remain in quarters until they have left. Better that than an incident occurs. However, if you do have such issues, it would be best if we transferred you to another section where you will have either less or no contact with the Hamathi.
"This is NOT a mark against you. We are adopting some of the Hamathi principles for this project. Admitting that you have an issue is actually a bonus, because you are showing maturity to recognize you have the problem, and we can try to work through it with you. As the President said, this is our first contact, don't screw it up.
"Phase one, arrival via helicopter. Why helicopter? They're all curious as hell since only a few of them have ever ridden in one.
"We will be bringing them into the track facility since the primary reason for this is figuring out how fast they can run for the proposed safari. The track meet will continue for at least a day, probably longer, as we explain the various formats and have them run through them.
"Phase two, running concurrently with Phase one: Selected individuals will be withdrawn for discussions with specific members of our first contact team. This includes their Doctor, Bo'sun Gryul, Pilot, and their scan-tech. So far, "Pilot" is apparently both his position and his name. We're not sure why that is.
"Similarly, their scan-tech is known as "Scan", or "Scans". There have been hints that he is not Hamathi, and that has been confirmed. The Hamathi have already requested what amounts to a TEMPEST shielded blackout room, with so little light that anyone wishing to speak with him will have to wear NVG to have any chance of seeing anything. The Hamathi have okayed this, as long as we disable or remove all the illumination built into the NVG.
"Phase three, …"

Phase One: Track Meet

"Hey, Gilford!"
"Tyler? How'd you get back in? Word was that you were oh yew tee out. Uh, not that I'm not happy to see you, it's just a surprise. Connecting with you turned into the best thing that ever happened to me. So far."
"Heh… Apparently, because I risked my neck to save Pilot, I've got some sort of social bonus. Orites suggested that I contact their Bo'sun regarding another matter. Me, because I've got this bonus, and their Bo'sun because he's the most level headed of the bunch."
"Be careful, Tyler. There's some on the FCT that still have their knives out for you."
"Believe me, the General was very … informative on that issue. You've been doing the video for this? How's it going?"
"Pretty well, they're damn fast, the ones who like the short distances come in about a second faster than Usain Bolt, on average. There's a few that would blow past him like he was standing still, but they spend a lot of time huffing and puffing after that before they're good to go again.
The long-distance runners don't have as much advantage, but they're doing respectable Olympic times. The kicker is that these guys haven't been training for the Olympics, so who knows what they could really do. There's a few, like Gryul, who can't run worth a damn, but look like they could lift a horse.
Those kids who thought they looked like Elves were more right than they knew. The ones who love sprinting are the ones who look like High Elves, tall slender, and fast. The ones who like longer distances, or even lifting, look more like Wood Elves. Not so tall, and darker of skin.
Tell me, Tyler? How'd we learn what these guys looked like?"
"Gil, I have no idea. It does make you think, though…"
"Yeah, who you here for?"
"I'm looking for their Doctor. Not only to thank him for doing such a good job on me, but our Doctor wants to compare notes. Good thing they got their translator working better."
"Yeah… real good. Tyler? Did you ever find out what triggered the whole gunfight in the cargo bay?"
"No, I don't think I did. I was rather out of it right then, and no one was interested in telling me anything else. I only heard about the gunfight afterward from Jones."
"It was that blasted translator. First, it translated something that Pilot said into "station blood removal". Then, when Jones said that per your orders, we weren't to take any offensive action, what they got was "order attack offensive". Damn thing nearly got all of us killed."
"Hooo boy… I wonder what other landmines are waiting for us! I haven't had the chance to learn their language, so I'm not going to know when something comes across garbled."
"Best bet? See that bright young lady over there? Her name is Joanne Foxfire. She's probably the best at recognizing when you've stepped on a landmine, but before it goes off completely."
"Thanks, Gil! You really enjoying it here?"
"What's not to enjoy? My footage frequently goes out on the nightly news. I'm getting a rep for outstanding work. I'm getting a regular paycheck, and my room and board are covered outside of my paycheck. If there's anything wrong, it's that I've got no real chance of spending any of that money I'm earning. You can't get Amazon through the OCZ, much less into the ICZ. It's GFE or nothing."
"That doesn't look like your usual camera, but you aren't bitching; it must be good enough for you."
"Yeah, it is. It's heavier, though. I'm taking that trade-off because of the bennies that came with it. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to talk about them beyond that."
"Yeah… I just hope I get to finally talk with their scan-tech, that's what I'm really missing out on."
"Really? Oh! Right, you were radar, so you're hot to learn all their new stuff. Oops! Another race is getting started, talk with you later!"
"Later, Gil!"
Lost in his camera already. I might as well go introduce myself to Ms. Foxfire. Gil isn't going to be able to help me find the Doctor, and I'll need her for the discussion with Gryul.
"Hello? Ms. Foxfire?"
"I'm Chief Tyler, may I have a few minutes of your time?"
"Certainly! I'm delighted to make your acquaintance. The actual "first contact" team member to actually live up to the name."

Tyler & Pilot

Even before I find their Doctor, I find Pilot.
"Hello, Pilot!"
"TAYLOR!" Pounce! "How have you been? How goes the training? When can you come back to stay?"
"Woah! Easy there, Pilot! One question at a time, please?" With a big smile on my face and a laugh in my voice. "I've been fine. I'm sorry I could not thank you for pulling me into shelter and that I couldn't thank your Doctor for saving my life. I'd dearly love to work with your scans to learn more about them. But… I have to finish training, which is going well, and by then, who knows where the military will need my training? Which also answers when I can come back to stay… I don't know.
Now, how about you! How have you been? Are you training in anything? Do you think you will be able to come see me?"
"I am doing well enough, although the conditions here are becoming irksome. The milrats get worse every day, and there are issues with providing us with the food we would most prefer. Then there's the matter of a decent place to run! We grow fat, sloppy, and slow. Gryul is training me to be a better leader, it is also going well, but not as fast as I might like. Gryul tells me that I am doing well, but I am not so sure. Coming to see you? I would be pleased, but I think it will not happen. There are reasons it would not be good right now."
"Help me find your Doctor, and get him over to our medical facility. Our Doctor is eager to start comparing notes and treatments. Then we can settle in for a good long chat while they do their stuff."
"Let's go then! HEY DOC! OVER HERE!"

Tyler's View: Doctor's Conference

Eventually, I did get their Doctor to go with me to see ours, taking the time to thank him for saving my life. He was delighted that I remembered and took the time to thank him for his efforts.
While Pilot and I chatted in the background, we were both watching the two doctors trading notes. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. Our opinions on doctors are pretty similar. Thanks for being there, but I hope I never need you.
The same values and techniques seem to hold. Right off, they got to quizzing each other on what I finally figured out was the "Hippocratic Oath". Lots of agreement right there and everything smoothed out nicely.
Our Doctor is still drooling over their tools and equipment.
Their Doctor is drooling over all the data we have about our species.
In between the drooling, they're still managing to trade emergency procedures in the absence of the correct equipment, and their Doctor got an introduction to the manuals we use to train our medics, as well as the materials we use. He really seemed to like the 'Xstat' idea, which injects a bunch of sponges into a wound to stop bleeding. Apparently, their technique, while more flexible and precise, is also way more expensive.
I had no idea they'd sunk that kind of money into me. It makes me feel a bit guilty.
Okay, take their Doctor back over to the track meet, along with Pilot. Time for that conversation with Gryul. I've made arrangements to have Ms. Foxfire included.

Tyler & Gryul

"Hello, Gryul. I'm Chief Tyler, and this is Ms. Foxfire."
"Ah! Tyler! Orites told me you would be here soon, and that you had questions regarding our treatment of the dead."
If you can imagine a muscular Wood Elf who still looks good, you've probably got him.
"So I was informed, and Gilford suggested that I have Ms. Foxfire along, just in case there were any … issues with translation. Some things are cultural that the translator just doesn't get.
"I was also warned that there are significant differences between Hamathi and Human practices. Differences that pushed him into fight-or-flight. It is good that you trained him so well, he was able to withstand that stress."
"Fight or flight … Ah, the body prepares, and thought becomes difficult. Was it severe?"
"From my view, he was very close to attacking to kill. Ms. Foxfire froze in place, which may be the reason that he was able to resist. At the time, he was in a place where flight was not possible, and fight was not acceptable."
"And it was about death rites. I think I see where this is going. There are very few things that would provoke such a reaction, and it is good that you lead up to it so carefully. I think it would be good to not speak of this with anyone else. They are all young, even Pilot, and would have difficulty in restraining themselves. We will need to find a place where we can discuss this, and they will not be able to overhear.
"If you have a record of Orites' discussion with Ms. Foxfire, I should see that as well. Orites may have earned a citation for proper behavior under stress. Such lead to rapid promotion."
Ms. Foxfire picks up the conversation. "Hello Gryul, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. There is a place nearby where we can safely discuss this matter. My encounter with Orites was recorded and is available there.
"All through his time with us, he has been a delight to work with. Understanding, caring, and willing to learn anything. While I was momentarily frightened, he did not injure me in the slightest. I value his friendship and that he trusts me to bring up sensitive topics."
"He has said much the same of you. You are both to be commended for your behavior, certain others have not behaved as they ought."
"Gryul? If there are problems with our people, General Jackson should be told."
"There have been, I would classify them as (untranslatable), but they are far too old for that."
"Tyler? Can you arrange for the General to join us?"
"If he's available, but I'm still just a Chief. Yet, he's made it pretty clear that he follows the President's lead "don't screw it up", so if someone's causing trouble, he isn't going to be happy. Let's get over to the FCT building — I've reserved Conference Room #3 — and I'll put in a call for him. This might be something he doesn't want spread around until he's ready."

FCT Building

"Ms. Foxfire? Gryul? Please go on ahead, I'll catch up."
"Sergeant? Would you be so kind as to call General Jackson and inform him that Bo'sun Gryul has certain issues that he wishes to bring up with the General?"
"Yes, Chief Tyler. No guarantees that he'll be able to come, but either way, I'll let you know what he says. Which room will you be in?"
"Conference Room #3."
"Thanks, Chief, I'll get right on it."

Conference Room #3

"Yes, Ms. Foxfire?"
"By the sound of it, someone is already using this conference room."
"I see, and hear. Such language! I did sign it out this morning, and no one else should be in there. It might be an impromptu meeting, let me see if they're done."
knock knock "Hello folks, we have this conference room reserved at this time; are you going to be much longer?"
"And just who are you to reserve our facilities?"
"I'm Chief Tyler, who was instructed to reserve this space for a sensitive discussion with Bo'sun Gryul. And you are?"
"Doctor Thistlewaite and you are no longer on the FCT, so you have no right to reserve any of our spaces for any reason."
"Doctor, I strongly suggest that you not carry on in that line. The General has little tolerance…"
"The General has let you people run roughshod over every policy that governs this place; I'm not going to put up with it any longer! Now get out!"
AHEM! "Doctor Thistlewaite, would you care to repeat that to my face? … No? … Then you may vacate this room immediately since it was not signed out to your group in the first place. That is the only policy that matters, and you are in violation of it."
As the three Doctors file out, with Thistlewaite in the lead, Doctor Reyes catches the General's eyes, looks at Thistlewaite's back, and makes a sign with his free hand. Foxfire catches the sign and grabs the General's arm before he can ask anything. When he looks at her, she shakes her head no, very slightly. His eyes narrow, and he nods to Reyes.
"Now, since the conference room is available, let's get to it."
… …
"Ms. Foxfire? Would you please explain what just happened?" Gryul and I are unaware of the exchange between them and Reyes, but Foxfire explains.
"Dr. Reyes made the sign of the horns while looking at Dr. Thistlewaite's back. He did so in the fashion of the malocchio, an Italian gesture warding off bad luck. In some places, the extended fingers can also signify warding off of a demon or the devil. In this instance, with the knowledge of the coarse language we heard from outside… I'd say that Reyes is telling you that Thistlewaite is a problem and that Reyes doesn't feel he has the authority to stop Thistlewaite."
Gryul looks at the General, "This is one of the reasons I asked you to be here. We have issues with some of the people on the first contact team. I would have described them as (untranslatable), but now I'd have to call them (untranslatable)."
It takes some exchanges with Foxfire before she and Gryul come to an agreement. "General, the first phrase would appear to be close to spoiled brats. The second term has the same connotation but includes the concept that these people are far too old to be demonstrating such behavior. It is quite derogatory when applied to someone who supposedly has advanced education. The phrase could be translated as problem children."
We dealt with the "problem children" — I kid you not; that's how Gryul put it after Ms. Foxfire worked it through with him. — and the General looked grimly pleased as he left the room.
We did a review of Orites discussions with Ms. Foxfire, and yeah, he did look about ready to pounce and shred. Gryul was impassive. We didn't know how he felt about it until after the review.
"I am most happy with Orites' response. He faced a situation that not one in ten would be able to deal with rationally and did so. Which would certainly have sent him at your throat, Ms. Foxfire had he failed. Was there a guard present?"
"Yes, there was. He drew his weapon when he saw Orites initial reaction, but withheld his fire. I do not think that Orites saw him. I believe the General has already written up a commendation for the guard. Good judgment to prepare, better judgment to withhold."
"Precisely. I will be writing a similar commendation for Orites. He has a bright future in front of him. One so young who can restrain himself like that is a rare treasure."
The subsequent discussion with Gryul was mostly between him and Ms. Foxfire. She had the cultural references to hand, so they could figure out how to adapt the ceremony to both Hamathi and Human. It would be acceptable to the Hamathi, and it would emphasize the similarities with Human culture. That would make it more understandable to those who weren't already poisoned by hate.
There still remained the quantity of wood needed to carry out the cremation, and the various local, state, and federal regulations covering cremation. It's going to happen, though, no matter what anyone else has to say.

Tyler and Scans

When Scans arrived, he was in a totally blacked out metal box. Even then, you could hear labored breathing, and what might have been sounds of pain. I felt for the guy. It didn't seem fair or right. We could have gone to see him on board the ship, but this is what he wanted.
The Hamathi with him hurried everyone along to the building that was prepared for him. No windows, ventilation through angled tubes that prevented light from getting through. Everything with metal mesh tied into the whole structure.
Jones looked at it and whistled, I asked why he commented that it had been shielded to better than NATO SDIP-27 Level A standards. That's the sort of shielding you use when the enemy may be as close as one meter and have any kind of equipment they like.
His entry was at the back. The entire box was slid in, then the big door was lowered and bolted into place. They laid heavy rubber gaskets on the outside, sealed them in with duck tape, and slapped a large steel panel over the entire wall. I swear, I heard the guy sigh with relief! Ridiculous with that much metal and shielding in the way.
The human-sized door on the other side had been rebuilt in several ways.
A cylinder entryway that you couldn't have both sides open at the same time because the 'door' was an opening cut in the side of the cylinder. Rotate the cylinder, so the opening is towards the outside. Step inside, rotate the cylinder, so the opening is on the inside, and step through.
That leads to multiple light traps, each of which was tied into the mesh core of the walls, the last one of which had a shielded box that Scans would tell you what you needed to put in. I didn't understand at first why the shield box was at the last light trap. It would have made more sense, I thought, to put it at the first light trap.
Big sign out front of all the things you shouldn't ever bring in, like any light sources at all, and an even longer list of electronics you had to leave outside, like cellphones. With all the shielding, that made a lot of sense.
He seems comfortable and has his own rations, quite different from milrats. It doesn't squeak or squirm; it crunches loudly. Certain members of the FCT were seriously put out because Scans wouldn't talk with them. First with Tyler, then with other specific individuals that he chose. None of which included the most insistent of FCT members.
When it was my turn, Jones checked me for any of the listed contraband and provide a modified set of NVG.
"Okay, Tyler. You're clear, according to the sign. You'll need these." Jones is holding out a set of night vision goggles, with the illuminators disabled and covered with dense layers of duck tape too. "Ms. Foxfire says there will be plenty of illumination for you."
"Thanks, Jones. God, I hope I don't screw this up."
"Hey, Tyler, you didn't screw up the last one. You just got caught in the grinder when some stuck up old farts got their shorts knotted over you being the first one to see the Hamathi up close and personal. I wouldn't worry about it too much. The General has got a gleam in his eye, and a shark's grin. Someone is in for a bunch of trouble, and it isn't you."
"You mean?"
"Like he said, don't get your hopes up. But me? I think he's pulling for you; hard."
"Thanks, Jones."
They shake hands, and Tyler enters the dark-lock.

I make my half-blind way, despite the NVG, to the inner light trap and stopped there to announce myself.
"Hello? I'm Tyler. May I enter?"
Scans' voice answers from the other side of the last curtain.
"Please check your person. Anything that emits light must be left in the box to your left as you stand at the curtain. Check carefully, my eyes are extremely sensitive to what you would call visible light, and far into both ends of the spectrum. This includes radio waves. This entire building has been shielded for my comfort, so your devices would not work in any case. Even from here, I can tell you have several emitting radiation. Something at hip level, and something that seems to be attached to your arm."
"Are the night vision goggles going to cause you any difficulty? I will forgo them if they will."
"They have been tested. A pleasing warmth is all."
Warmth, from NVG. Better empty out my pockets and strip everything that doesn't absolutely have to come in with me. The hip item was an electronic car key. I made a note to add that to the sign outside. There's no way you would need them in here. The wrist one was a puzzler until I remembered my watch was a quartz mechanism that had a battery.
"Thank you for being thorough. When you have everything in the box, please close the lid. … Ah, much better. It was almost like staring at the dawn sun on a clear day would be for you. Move slowly as you enter. There is a chair immediately in front of you. There is just enough illumination in this room, in the far-infrared, that your NVG has been modified to work with. I have taken position behind another curtain while you enter. Let me know when you have ensured that the last curtain is fully closed, and you have taken your seat. I will turn off the interior illumination at that time. You will still be able to see me from my body heat."
Jeebus! I wonder if I can learn anything most of his skill seems to be built into his body!
"The curtain appears well sealed. … And I'm finally sitting down."
"Thank you. For your comfort, please understand that I am … in your terms … an herbivore. Also, that my appearance bears a striking resemblance to a figure from your fantasy horror by Lovecraft."
"Indeed, your representations, aside from the imputed size, are quite close."
"I have been duly warned. If you don't mind, I'll start out by staring at the floor, and slowly raise my eyes to see you."
"A wise plan."
rustle "I have moved the inner curtain aside. You are much as I remember, although you look more … confident?"
"I do? So far, I feel like I've been floundering in stupidity."
"It is from mistakes that we learn the most."
"Then, I must be the most learned being in the world."
An odd slithery sound, Laughter?
"Aren't we all. Are you at your ease?"
"Yes, it's exciting, but not frightening."
I slowly raise my eyes. The image that appears before me is as horrifying as the illustrations. Which is to say, not at all to anyone who isn't being ridiculous.
"Yes, you do bear a striking resemblance, but not horrifying to me. I think it is only the people who allow their imaginations to run away with them who would have trouble."
"Then, you do not have imagination?"
"I have plenty of imagination, but I control it."
"Then, you have the basic requirement to become a scan-tech."
"Really? I'd thought with your exceptional senses, that I would never become a scan-tech at your level."
"My senses are as often a hindrance as a help. If I do not constantly adjust my instrument's gain, I can be easily blinded. I will admit that you are unlikely to surpass me at the weakest signals, but those are seldom at issue. Star travelers, as a class, seem to be quite loud, even obnoxiously loud."
"Are you actually speaking our language? I'd thought everyone was using the translator."
"The translator can be a danger in itself, as your companions found out. I have had little to do, so I have spent much time absorbing your broadcasts. There is one final piece that I simply do not understand. The constant interruptions with completely unrelated pieces that last no more than moments, and come several at a time."
"Unrelated… oh my. This is going to be interesting to explain."
"Before you begin, please remove the goggles, there is a test I would perform at some point while you explain. You may keep them with you, but please do turn them off before you remove them."
Tyler has to explain the concept of commercials, which brings in a ton of other ideas, some of which just have to be hand-waved off. If for no other reason than time.
"Can people not go do other things while the commercials are on?"
"Of course, but many will stay and at least peripherally watch the commercials. Others are amused by them or derive some pleasure by ridiculing them. In any case, the mere viewing of the commercial has value to the advertisers. The very best commercials are saved for a sports event called the Super Bowl. It is a national competition that is widely viewed, and the advertisers know they must present their very best to get people to watch them."
A barely perceptible glow appears.
"What is that?"
"My test. And my theory is confirmed. Under the right circumstances, your perception of radiant energy is far better than your fellows. The illumination will continue to rise. Please tell me when you can identify the image."
"Go ahead."
It's … not hard … but I'm having trouble processing the image…
"And what do you see?"
"Your eye."
"How do you come by that conclusion?"
"I do not know, but that's what it is."
"Most excellent. Your ability to resolve detail is also better. This, combined with your greater sensitivity and imagination, is why you can discern more information from your primitive radar than your fellows. The finest detail that escapes them is easily seen by yourself. I believe humans have a concept called intuition?"
"Yes, we do."
"I suspect that intuition is prevalent throughout your species, but is stronger in some than in others. Yours is particularly tuned to visual information. We can test for other sensitivities later.
I will speak with your General, please inform him that I am available at his discretion.
Oh yes, suggest to him that he come in what I believe are called "sweats" and that he brings nothing metal with him other than the NVG. That will be easier than divesting himself of all the usual attachments.
I will withdraw behind the inner curtain, and then you may choose to don the NVG, or perform one more test for yourself."
"Find your way out, without using any further illumination. Including picking up everything you left in the box."
"Certainly, and thank you for seeing me."
"Do not thank me. You may yet come to regret being a sensor tech. It is not the easiest task in the fleet. One becomes aware of all the threats and is unable to do anything about them, except point them out to others. Missing one may cost you your life. It will certainly cost your crewmates lives."
"Are you the sole sensor tech on the ship?"
"Ever has it been so."
"Has no one attempted to spread the duty among many?"
"Many times, always with a catastrophic blind spot that isn't noticed until it's too late."
"Scans? Humans have two blind spots, one in each eye."
That certainly sends a shock through him. I guess the idea that someone with two blind spots can be so good at sensors is unheard of; something else to keep in mind.
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submitted by spindizzy_wizard to HFY [link] [comments]

Why Wakita Kanenori has to be RUM

Disclaimer: The evidence presented in this post was taken from this video (in Chinese). I found them interesting and quite convincing, and decided to translate and share them.

To start, one of the key reasons Wakita Kanenori has to be RUM is that during the episode which he was introduced, he was able to guess exactly which horse Kogoro bet on and won. To give a bit of context, for Japanese horse racing, there are 12 races arranged throughout the day, 7 races in the morning and 5 races in the afternoon. The races that Kogoro bet on was race #11 and #12, which was indicated on the tickets that he purchased. However, the ticket that won him a million yen was from race #7, which means that when Kogoro found this ticket, the race had ended a long time ago. In other words, whoever bought this ticket would know way beforehand that he/she had won a million yen before Kogoro picked them up. First of all, what kind of person would be careless enough to keep such ticket in a place where it could easily fell out? The woman who lost her tickets has shown that people who bet on horse races would keep a very close eye/ear on the result of the race, and when the woman lost her ticket, she immediately headed back to the sushi restaurant to find it. Second of all, there are numerous types of ticket with different odds and many combinations to win a million yen, but how does Wakita know exactly what types of ticket Kogoro had and exactly which horse Kogoro bet on? Everything is pointing to the fact that Wakita already knew how Kogoro was gonna win. And if Wakita is RUM, he has the perfect reason to give Kogoro that ticket, so that he can get close to Kogoro, whom the BO has been keeping an eye on, as well as investigate Bourbon to see if he is a spy. Another point to mention is that spending a couple million yen to buy every ticket for the morning races a very fast way but also very costly way to approach Kogoro. Doing something like from the perspective of RUM is makes even more sense because he is impatient.

Second reason is that Wakita is referred as Edokko, shown in the title of the chapter 975, which reflects his personality and speech. Edokko is regarded as contentious and impatient, which fits Amuro's description of RUM. Wakita also grabs the salaryman's phone right after the call connected, showing his impatient personality. Furthermore, the sushi restaurant that Wakita works at is a Edomae sushi restaurant. Edomae sushi was popularized during the Edo period, to serve the impatient Edo commoners (read the link for more information if interested), matching the "impatience" theme.

He fits all characteristics of RUM, being a strongly built old man, having a damaged eye, and shows feminine characteristics. I think some people might argue about his feminine characteristics; he sure doesn't look feminine but if you look closely to his body movements and gestures, they looks feminine sometimes. For example, how he point at himself, how he patted Amuro's back, how he crossed his arm, etc.

Last but also, in my opinion, the most convincing reason is that Wakita being RUM matches how Aoyama has been introducing BO characters in the past: the person who ended up being the actual enemy is the person who has the least information about Conan. When Jodie, Akai and Araide were introduced, both Jodie and Akai had shown genuine interest in Conan and his deducing ability, but Araide ended up being Vermouth. When Sera, Subaru and Amuro were introduced, Sera and Subaru both showed genuine interest in Conan from the very start, but Amuro was interested in Kogoro first and then gradually discovered Conan's deducing ability. Now, when we go back to Kuroda, Wakasa and Wakita, Kuroda seemed to have realized that Conan and his deducing ability is behind the sleeping Kogoro, Wakasa came to Conan from the very start and has been observing him, but only Wakita approached Kogoro first. To elaborate further, we can safely say that RUM is definitely not a spy, so the information he has is equivalent to the information BO has. Gin has repeatedly expressed his concern about Kogoro, especially when he knows how Kogoro has been trying to investigate Haneda Kohji's case, which means that BO is only concerning about Kogoro and does not have any intel on Conan, so it's more reasonable for RUM to approach Kogoro but not Conan. With this logic, there is a very high chance that Wakita is RUM. To put this in another way, if RUM knows about Conan and the truth behind the sleeping Kogoro, why does he/she not take any action against Conan?

I hope my explanation makes sense :P
submitted by Rizin_Sun_ to OneTruthPrevails [link] [comments]

Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

This is not mine, the creator of this is u/enderpiet

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.
Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up $1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.
Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.
Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.
Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.
Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.
6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.
5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.
4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.
3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules:
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.
Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.
2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.
But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1
Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.
The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.
But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here:
1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around $100,000 in value.
So don't forget your daily spin, it's definitely worth your time.
2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.
And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.
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Do You Need Horse Racing Knowledge to Win? My Story of Winning Consistently The Math Behind How Betting Odds Are Set  Mach  NBC News False Favorites Review  DOES IT REALLY WORK? How to Bet Horses - Win, Place, Show Basics How does HORSE RACING actually work??

To work out your winnings from decimal odds, simply multiply the odds by your stake. The resulting number reflects both your winnings and your stake. For example: If you bet £10 on odds of 3.75, you would return £37.50 – this means you’ll have won £27.50 (£37.50 – your £10 stake). How do fractional odds work in betting? Fractional odds are used to bet on sporting events and tell us two things: The price – allowing you to calculate exactly how much money you will win if your bet wins. Probability – the likelihood of your chosen bet actually winning. ‘Odds against’ prices. Calculating horse racing odds is rather simple. An example can be shown by a five-horse race on which a track has taken a total of $1,000 US Dollars (USD) in bets to win — $300 USD on one horse, $250 USD on another, $200 USD on the third, $150 USD on the fourth and $100 USD on the last.If the track's take is 15%, all of the bettors are competing for the remaining $850 USD. Horse racing, more than any other sport, lends itself to many people trying to sell a potpourri of information to players. Tip sheets, data programs, betting strategies, pedigree analysis, and on The Daily Racing Form (DRF): It provides the past performances of all the horses running on the day’s program and includes informative horse racing articles and handicapping by DRF staff.Cost is $4. Public handicapper selections: If your racetrack or OTB (off-track betting) is covered by the local newspaper, they may pay a handicapper to make daily horse selections.

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Do You Need Horse Racing Knowledge to Win? My Story of Winning Consistently

Horse racing is super exciting, but can also be super confusing! From the kickoff at The Kentucky Derby, the party at The Preakness and the final race at The Belmont, there’s a lot that goes ... Learn how to bet on horses. Our video explains win, place and show bets. Combine these bets into one "Across the Board" or "Win Place Show" wager. Discover the trifecta, superfecta, exacta and ... This video explains the basics of the Win, Place and Show bets in horse racing. Check out to learn more about how to bet on horses, and get our Kentucky Derby Picks! The Math Behind How Betting Odds Are Set Mach NBC News. Loading... Autoplay When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next. Up next Horse racing knowledge and form is one of the most subjective topics in betting. Subjectivity won't help you win though. In this Q & A Caan answers a popular question from a recent viewer.