Commenter Olorin has been using the term “dolt wrangling” to describe what appears to be one of the central methods of getting rich in the 21st Century: clever guys with spreadsheets offer attractive-seeming but implausible bets to less clever folks: subprime mortgages in the last decade, subprime car loans now, for-profit colleges financed by government loans, payday loans, casinos, and so forth. But there’s also a nonprofit side to dolt wrangling as well: refugee services and the like.
Another term for the the general approach might be the poker term “bum hunting.” From Urban Dictionary:
Bum Hunter: Professional online poker player who only plays against very weak opponents avoiding games with other regular players at all costs.
From the pre-online day of poke, there were the terms sharks and fishes or suckers. Matt Damon narrates in the 1998 poker movie Rounders:
Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.
In the NYT Magazine, Jay Caspian Kang writes about the growth of the Daily Fantasy Sports industry – in which bettors pick out lineups of professional athletes and then are rewarded based on how well they play in today’s game — out of the wreckage of the online poker industry:
… “Bumhunting” is a word that comes from the poker world. It means seeking out an inexperienced player and mercilessly exploiting him for all he’s worth. Bumhunters are pariahs because they turn what can be a cerebral, competitive game into its most cynical iteration, and, in the process, discourage that new player from ever coming back. But poker has built-in safeguards against rampant bumhunting — new players tend to play at lower limits, which make it harder for bumhunters to take in huge profits. The bumhunter’s dream is to play thousands of games of poker a day against a never-ending line of fresh, inexperienced newbies. He falls short of that lofty goal because he has to actually bet, raise or fold his hands – he can play multiple tables at once, but he cannot fully automate his bumhunting.
In the game lobbies of DraftKings and FanDuel, however, sharks are free to flood the marketplace with thousands of entries every day, luring inexperienced, bad players into games in which they are at a sizable disadvantage. … A recent McKinsey study showed that in the first half of the 2015 Major League Baseball season, 91 percent of the prize money was won by a mere 1.3 percent of the players.
In their escalating legal battles, DraftKings and FanDuel have used these statistics to bolster their argument that D.F.S. is a game of skill, not of chance: How could a contest in which the same people win nearly all the time not be the ultimate test of skill? DraftKings and FanDuel have each tried to prove that the act of projecting player performance and selecting a lineup takes more thought and expertise than, say, playing a poker hand. …
While it’s true that some of the skill required to win in DraftKings and FanDuel lies in statistical modeling, general sports knowledge and due diligence, it’s also true that it’s nearly impossible to make a net positive return on investment without bumhunting. You have to win roughly 53 percent of your bets to beat the “rake,” another poker term for the roughly 10 percent service fee DraftKings and FanDuel take out of each wager. The most efficient way to hit that number is to play as many bad opponents as possible.
Last March, when maxdalury, a player named Saahil Sud, used a script [computer program] that enabled him to adjust most of his 400 lineups in less than an hour, the community took notice. Sud was reacting to the breaking news that Channing Frye, usually a reserve forward for the Orlando Magic, would be starting in place of the injured Nikola Vucevic. Sud won first, third, fourth and seventh place in a big DraftKings competition that night and took home hundreds of thousands of dollars. The speed with which he made the adjustments caused many within the D.F.S. community to protest. How could they be reasonably expected to compete if one of the players was using a tool that allowed him to both blanket the field with entries and avoid the work and hassle of manually adjusting his lineups to reflect late-breaking news? What’s worse, these scripts were not supposed to be used under DraftKing’s terms of service.
In July, after months of review, instead of banning scripting, or at least forcefully regulating it, as the D.F.S. community would have liked, both DraftKings and FanDuel announced that they would change their policies to permit some scripting. …
“Your average Joe sees a commercial for daily fantasy sports, signs up, plays and loses,” Harber wrote. “He has no idea his games are being sniped by professional power users with access to automated processes and optimization software. He has no idea that the large-field tournament he’s playing in features power users with hundreds of unique lineups, all optimized using third-party software. In truth, D.F.S. is more like the stock market, with athletes instead of commodities. No new player attempting to trade stocks has any shot at success without a sizable amount of training.”
Harber continued: “I believe the major sites are fully aware of these competitive issues, yet they continue to do nothing about them because of the high amount of rake the power users are bringing in for them. As long as they can spend advertising money to bring fresh meat to the table, the power users will eat up the new players extremely fast by using their competitive advantages. No one is saying that better players should not win money off worse players, but it should not be at this rate and it should not be with misleading advertisements that prey on consumer confidence. Everyone does not have an equal chance, and everyone is not playing on the same field. …
Knowledge about sports will always be the main sorting mechanism for the types of dudes (FanDuel reports that 95 percent of its contestants are male) who play games like D.F.S., and there’s certainly nothing wrong — especially morally wrong — with putting some money on it, but there is a point where rampant bumhunting turns a gambling economy into a predatory market.
One of the reasons that promoting mass immigration is so respectable is because there’s a widespread assumption that The Economy needs more fresh meat. Sure, a lot of these refugees from cousin marriage cultures look like kind of inbred and mentally slow, but more dolts to wrangle is a goal.