Mar 07, 2014

    Hoping to strike jackpot? Hold your horses

    I REFER to the news article, "'I'd a dream' hawker turns god of fortune" (MyPaper, March 3).

    Readers/punters should be aware of how much capital they need to put up, as well as the odds that are stacked against them, before they rush to the nearest Singapore Pools outlet to participate in the next draw.

    To win $300,000, the lucky punter would have put up $100. And to realise that fabulous $5 million, he would have needed to "invest" more than $1,650 - not small beer, by any stretch.

    The "dreamer" is reported to have himself punted earlier, and lost $7,500 on that "dream number" which did not turn up for him.

    With the 4-D(igit), or "ban-ji" (10,000 characters) as it is popularly known in dialect, the notional pool of $10,000 at one dollar a throw is distributed (in one betting system) as $3,000, $2,000 and $800 respectively for the top three prizes. Singapore Pools lists the odds for all three as "one in 10,000".

    But the relevance of these daunting odds is mostly lost on the punting public, for whom the attraction is this: How else to get $3,000, $2,000 or even $800 for one measly dollar, the odds be hanged.

    For the punters, the mindset inevitably is this: Somebody must strike, why can it not be me?

    As that trite phrase goes, Hope springs eternal, while Dr Samuel Johnson famously described a second marriage as "the triumph of hope over experience".

    These quotes aptly sum up the mindsets of the average 4-D punter.