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What is the Green Lumber Fallacy?

A lot of newbie sports gamblers get into betting because they know a lot about sports.  They reason that this gives them a great platform off of which to launch a betting career.  It is not an entirely unreasonable proposition.  They do have a great bedrock of starting knowledge.  But it is not enough.

To look at why, we can talk about the Green Lumber Fallacy.


The “Green Lumber Fallacy” is a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and refers to an amusing anecdote from the world of commodities trading.  One of the top traders in the world of “green lumber” was a man named Joe Siegel.  “Green lumber” refers to freshly cut trees.  Siegel didn’t actually know that however.  As it turned out, he actually believed that “green lumber” was simply wood painted green!

As a second example of the same fallacy, Taleb described a Swiss Franc trader who was very successful, but couldn’t find Switzerland on a map.

Basically, these two people were experts at trading - but they were not experts in what they were trading.


None of this is to say that you are likely to excel at sports betting if you do not build up expert knowledge of the sport or sports you are wagering on.  I believe it is very important that you do exactly that.  But it does illustrate that there is a difference between being an expert in a sport and an expert on betting on sports.


In commodities trading, one could be an expert on green lumber, but trade it very poorly if there was no trading knowledge to go with it.  Likewise, you may be able to point at Switzerland on a map and explain everything about the history and customs of the country, but that will not make you a successful trader in the Swiss Franc.


You can be an expert in football and be a terrible punter.  You can be an expert on horse racing and pick losing horses. 


This is because expert knowledge of the sports you are betting on is only one aspect of betting.  You also need to have a comprehensive understanding of betting systems and statistics and a solid handle on money management.  You need to be familiar with different types of bets, with money line movements, and with the impact of the press.  You also need to have a grip on your emotions.  Only when you can fit all of these pieces together can you become a successful sports bettor. 


So if you are an expert in a sport - that is fantastic.  That is exactly the sport you should focus your betting efforts on.  But that is just the beginning of your journey as a sports punter!  You still have a lot to learn about betting and money management.  Once you become an expert in sports betting and not just sports, you will be able to make money reliably and consistently.


You can also read about other factors that can affect your judgment when betting on British betting sites:


Horse Racing Betting

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New to sports betting?

If you are new to online sports betting you might want to read through the basic steps for sports betting and start your experience with confidence.

Bookies with Live Streaming

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Gambling on the Internet

A few things to consider when gambling online:

  • Take advantage of first deposit bonuses
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