Betting for beginners

No such thing as a banker

Some will know a banker bet as part of a larger system bet. The banker is a nominated bet that must win or the entire bet fails. But for most modern day bettors, the word banker is a term to describe a bet that one is pretty confident of.

Unfortunately, calling something a banker ('Barcelona to win at home is a real banker') suggests it's a certainty, and that just can't be the case. There is no such thing as an actual betting banker when betting and it's important to understand what the odds tell us about the probability of winning any bet.

The danger of the term "Banker"

The term 'banker' is used very liberally by modern day bettors. Those most guilty are bettors who regularly use and share their bets via social media platforms such as Twitter. Whilst for the most part it's understandable that you'd think Barcelona to win at home at best odds of 1/10 is a pretty certain outcome, it's not a betting banker. Below are a couple of dangers regarding the term banker.

The term banker can promote false confidence. New bettors in particular may be misled by what they perceive to be a tipster's level of confidence. Using the term banker or believing something is as likely to win as the term suggests can lead to unnecessarily bold financial risk.

Who uses the term "Banker", and why?

Some of the most prevalent use of the term banker can be found on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, specifically the former and commonly by free or premium tipsters. Some tipsters offer daily banker bets which could lead a member or follower to believe it's an extremely likely and safe bet. The danger with the word banker is three-fold.

Firstly, there is no such thing as a banker and we will explain how we can know that in just a moment. Secondly, there are so many tipsters online these days it's hard to know who to trust. The qualification needed to become a tipster these days is nothing more than a Twitter account, hence the importance of verified platforms like Tipstrr.

When your tipster has decided something is a banker you have no idea what level of research has gone into that. Their decision to label something a banker could be based purely on the fact that they are small odds, or just because a side has won their last five games. But either way, even looking for something to call a banker highlights an approach you might want to avoid. The very best bettors and tipsters focus on finding value in the best odds rather than how many bets they can win.

So a banker cannot exist?

The answer is simple yet foreign to many new bettors, and it's maths. Maths tells us that through statistical probability we can determine what is and isn't certain in sports. In sports, there is no certainty when odds are present.

A banker, which suggests something is a certain outcome, needs to have probability of 100%. Gravity makes you fall, we'll all die one day, the referee will blow their whistle at least once in a football match. All these things, we know, are 100% certain.

As an example, if you live in England then you'll have joked about the likelihood of rain in the winter (or any season, come to that!). Whilst it's very likely, we can't call it a certainty because it's not 100% certain to happen. There is no way of predicting that to a 100% degree of accuracy and sports is the same. If anything was certain, it would be reflected by betting odds of 1.00 and wouldn't even be a betting market. Therefore, a banker will never exist within the betting market, as the odds will always be at the very least 1.01.

Why do the odds matter?

Odds can come in the form of decimal, fractional, American odds, etc. You can convert one to another. Decimals and fractions can also be converted into a percentage, and that means betting odds can be also.

When we convert our betting odds to a percentage, we are left with what is known as implied probability. Implied probability is what your chances of winning a bet are based on the bookmakers odds and opinion. At best odds of 1.01, the implied probability of a win is 99%.

The middle ground when converting odds to a percentage is 2.00. 2.00 is expressed as 50%. Anything above 2.00 will represent an implied probability of 49% or less, whilst anything below 2.00 will represent an implied probability of 51% or more

Let's go back to the example where odds of 1.01 can be converted a 99% implied probability. (Ignore that those odds are useless to any bettor). If we know how to determine our chances of winning a bet, we can work out our chances of losing it. Any probability must amount to 100% so if you know your chances of winning, the following sum tells you your chances of losing.

100% - 99% (Implied probability) = 1% (Chance of losing)

So although you may expect to win roughly 99 times out of every 100 bet at these odds, there will still be one occasion where you lose. That's the law of probability. It's been proven by mathematics that a banker can not and does not exist and now there are two issues to consider for any bettor.

This is why thinking bankers exist is risky

Bookmakers do not offer odds that truly represent the likelihood of an event

If bookmakers gave what they believed were the exact correct odds (and thus their closest correct guess at probability) for every event, we'd be getting the best and fairest price possible. Why would a bookmaker do that? Well, they wouldn't. They add a margin that favours them and means their odds can never be trusted, and it can be anywhere from 2% to 25% depending on the betting market.

If you bet on odds of 1.01 and expect to win 99 times out of 100, you should actually be expecting to win just 97-98 times out of 100 because the bookmakers odds have that margin, which would generate a loss.

It causes bettors to take unnecessary risk with their stakes

The second big issue is the false confidence that a banker promotes. Now you understand the math and probability associated with odds, you can see why the risk is so great. If a tipster offers a banker tip at odds of 1.10, you might feel inclined to put a large amount of money on it.

Let's say you stake £100 at odds of 1.10. You will return +£110 (including your £100 stake) if successful, and lose that -£100 stake if unsuccessful. Even if implied probability is to be believed, you might expect to win 9 and lose 1 of every 10 bets. That would be a strike rate of 90%, which is outstanding.

But you'd make a loss. You'd win £10 nine times (+£90) and loss £100 once (-£100). You may also be unlucky enough that the losing bet is the first one you place, which can blow your betting funds and leave you penniless.

Am I wrong to use the word "Banker"?

There's nothing wrong with using terminology as a bettor or a tipster that reflects your level of confidence about a certain selection, but it is important to understand the connotations of those terms.

Quite often, new bettors may feel inclined to stake risky amounts and even amounts of money that they cannot afford to lose. 1.00 would be expressed as 100% as a percentage and in betting those odds do not exist. Even if they did, bookmakers odds are never truly representative, so there would still be a chance you could lose.

Terms like "sure bet", "nailed on", "a certainty", and "banker" are all misleading in that nothing is guaranteed in life or betting, but a new bettor is likely to be far too trusting of opinions they come across. The end result can be unproportional betting and large stakes on small odds.

Ready to learn more? Why not get to know the different betting terminology used by the sports betting community.

Your guide to betting terminology

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