Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Probability Card Trick From Scam School

Just for fun, from Scam School. A simple probability trick. Given 1 deck of 52 cards. There are
a) 12 face cards ( 4 suits of J, Q, K)
a) 40 non-face cards ( 4 suits of 1, 2, ... 9)

Shuffling and separating the deck into 3 pile of cards, what are the odds of getting any face card at the top of the 3 piles? Without thinking, most people believed the chances are lower than chances of all face cards since there are so few face cards. However, the calculation shows otherwise:

Chnaces of getting at least 1 face card in 3 piles
= 1 - Chances of getting all face card
= 1 - (40/52 * 39/51 * 38/50)
= 0.552941176

Therefore, it is slightly more likely to get at least 1 face card due to probability.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How is GIC faring?

Business Times News
Temasek Review Discussion
GIC Report 2010

Most Singaporeans probably don't care about how GIC is investing money since we cannot change anything. I wonder how do GIC decides if they are doing well or not besides the rate of return.

Of course, higher rate of returns is clearly better, but it is not fair to judge a poor performance in depressing global economy or applaud if it is doing well in a booming economy. For example, Temasek Review compared the 20-year rate of return with
the Down Jones or S&P 500 index in September:

GIC had released a report yesterday showing that its 20-year nominal annual rate of return in US dollar terms jumped from 5.7 percent to 7.1 percent for the last 12 months which is hardly impressive considering the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is now up 8.44 percent and the S&P 500 index has increased by 9.5 percent in the month of September alone.

There are no probably easy way to comment on the GIC performance since there isn't any benchmark displayed. A performance benchmark with perhaps a mixed of funds rather than a chart of rate of return might be more appropriate but it isn't easy to find a right benchmark since there aren't much fund with a similar size or objectives of the GIC. Warren Buffett, a well-known investor, used the S&P 500 with dividends as a comparsion although he has his own intrinsic value to measure the value of the business/companies he has a stake in. GIC does states its own performance criteria:

As an investment management company, we evaluate our performance in three ways:
whether we achieve a reasonable rate of return above global inflation for
the total portfolio;
how each investment professional or team performs against specific market benchmarks or absolute return targets;
and how our managers’ results compare with those of their peers in the industry.

We evaluate the performance of our investment professionals
against relevant market benchmarks such as the MSCI and
Barclays Capital Global Aggregate Bond indices.

They stated clearly they evaluate performance against relevant market benchmarks but I didn't see any performance comparison. It will be nice if could show the comparison instead of showing the 20-year rate of return chart and the portfolio allocation to let people who care see how well or poorly is our GIC faring.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cash Offer: Soilbuild (T94)

Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd is a Singapore-based investment holding company. The Company operates in four segments: property development, which involves development of residential/commercial properties for sale; property investment, which involves properties held for rental yields and/or capital appreciation; construction, which involves in integrated building construction to support the Company's property development businesses, and others, which involve investment holding, renovation contractors and property management services. In April 2010, the Company acquired 100% interest in SB (Northpoint) Investment Pte. Ltd. (SB Northpoint).
Stock Chart
Soilbuild stock chart
Offer Price

Reference: SGX Offer Document

Other Resources
Finanical Times Summary
Google Finance Overview
Reuters Finanical Summary and Ratio

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Don't be an idiot in Marina Bays Sands Casino

Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA)

Before playing in a casino, you must realized you cannot beat the casino in the long run. But, you can find which games can let you play longer for entertainment purposes. Therefore, I decided to look at their payout rates of their various games from the CRA website.

Money Wheel

SymbolCompartmentsPayoutWinning %Expected Payout
Lucky Charm1451.9%0.884615385
Gold Ingot1451.9%0.884615385

Seems like betting on any of the 3 most probable outcome will let you last the longest while betting on Chopsticks gives the worst returns. Approximately 14% differences between the 2 best and worst outcomes. Don't play this game as later games provide better outcome

Sic Bo
Sic Bo Odds Website I used to check some of my numbers.

SectionPayoutWin %Expected Payout
Small / Big148.6%0.972222222
Odd / Even148.6%0.972222222
Specific Triples 1800.5%0.837962963
Specific Doubles 117.4%0.888888889
Any Triple 312.8%0.888888889
Three Dice TotalPayoutWin %Expected Payout
4 or 17 621.4%0.875
5 or 16 312.8%0.888888889
6 or 15 184.2%0.791666667
7 or 14 124.6%0.601851852
8 or 13 89.7%0.875
9 or 12 711.6%0.925925926
10 or 11 612.5%0.875
Two Dice ComboPayoutWin %Expected Payout
1 and 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 613.9%0.972222222
2 and 3, 4, 5 or 6 613.9%0.972222222
3 and 4, 5 or 6 613.9%0.972222222
4 and 5 or 6 613.9%0.972222222
5 and 6 613.9%0.972222222
Three Single Die ComboPayoutWin %Expected Payout
126-135-234-256-346 302.8%0.861111111
123-136-145-235-356 302.8%0.861111111
124-146-236-245-456 302.8%0.861111111
125-134-156-246-345 302.8%0.861111111
Double Numbers With Single Die ComboPayoutWin %Expected Payout
112-113-114-115-116 501.4%0.708333333
221-223-224-225-226 501.4%0.708333333
331-332-334-335-336 501.4%0.708333333
441-442-443-445-446 501.4%0.708333333
551-552-553-554-556 501.4%0.708333333
661-662-663-664-665 501.4%0.708333333
Single Die Wager: PayoutWin %Expected Payout
Number on one Die/two Dice/three Dice1,2,1234.7%,6.9%,0.5%0.962962963
Three dice from four possible combinations:PayoutWin %Expected Payout
1-2-3-4 711.1%0.888888889
2-3-4-5 711.1%0.888888889
2-3-5-6 711.1%0.888888889
3-4-5-6 711.1%0.888888889

Betting on big/small and various other bet yield the result of 0.9722 meaning you lose around $0.0278 per $1 bet. Definitely better than the Money Wheel but careful not to bet on some of the bets that result in terrible losses per bet.


Number/SectionPayoutWinning %Expected Payout
One number (Straight Up)352.7%0.972972973
Two numbers (Split)175.4%0.972972973
Three numbers (Street)118.1%0.972972973
Four numbers (Corner)810.8%0.972972973
6 numbers (Six Line)516.2%0.972972973
Column (12)232.4%0.972972973
Dozen (12)232.4%0.972972973
Low (1-18)148.6%0.972972973
High (19-36)148.6%0.972972973
Even / Odd148.6%0.972972973
Red / Black148.6%0.972972973

Interesting to note that the expected payout are exactly the same for all kinds for bets. The payout are also better than the money wheel game so it don't make sense to play the money wheel game.

I took a look at complete bet and still isn't 100% sure so I decides not to comment. However, Albert Einstein is reputed to have stated, "You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it." But, most who steals or cheats are probably caught by Singapore strict watchers as seen in news.

I didn't examine most of the other games because they had certain variability like jackpot bonus, card games where card dealt can affect the current/next game.

Update: 24 Sep
I read about the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) specification for casino games equipment and found an interesting note.

3.3.2 A game shall have at least one configuration setting that yields a minimum
theoretical statistical expectation that the minimum return-to-player
(RTP) of the game will be greater than or equal to 90.0% during
the expected lifetime of the game.

Just found it nice that casino gaming machines are not allowed to have a huge edge over the player but after some calculation I realized that 90% is just too huge an edge.

With an 90% RTP/Expected Returns, the following can be expected in 10 bets with an $1,000.

Bet #Amt Left from $1000

Playing in a game with 97.2% RTP

Therefore, you will have less than half your money if you used all your money in only 6 bets in an 90% RTP. However if you played in games with an 97.2% (Roulette), it became better.

Bet #Amt Left from $1000

Playing in a game with 97.2% RTP

You will have 75% of your money after 10 bets compared to 35% of your money after 10 bets in an 97.2% RTP. Nobody will gambled all-in in every bets so it isn't a realistic comparison but it shows the differences that 7.2% in odds can affect your money left. Nevertheless, people should not gamble thinking they will win the casino in the long run, especially in probability/luck based games.

Watch Man Utd vs Liverpool legally online with Youku

Man Utd vs Liverpool Live Streaming @ Youku
Youku EPL Homepage

While Singaporeans pays increased fee for the EPL, Youku had secured the EPL rights and shows them online free and legal. I don't watch much soccer matches nowaday and is surprised that EPL allowed Youku to stream the videos. Although there are probably lots of other illegal sources elsewhere, I wondered how much Youku paid just to get the rights to play the games live.

A quick peek at a live match of Man Utd vs Liverpool, it lags once a while but is still accepted. However, the crowd volume exceeds the English commentary. Perhaps they are targeting China watchers where most probably don't understand the English commentary.

I wondered if they can justified their cost of getting the licensing rights and streaming to so many viewers. They currently has only an advertising model and probably using it to hype their future IPO to get even more funds and gain market share.

Making 124% with Sports Betting Week #41

Final closing winning bet
$ 10.0 Fund Carryover
$1,356.8 Winning From MIDDLESBROUGH vs READING

$1,366.8 Final Fund (from $1,100 invested)

Stats Summary
Profit = $ 266.8 over $1,100 (24%)
Inactive weeks = 23 of 41 (56%)
Bets won = 12 of 48 (25%)

Looking at the chart, there was only 2 times over the 41 weeks where the returns is over investment. On paper, the 24% returns in less than a year (41 weeks) looks impressive but I rather call this a lucky sequence given the possible problems that goes wrong.

Big Problems with system
Assuming last bet of $640 lost
It will takes 13 months of $100 funding to allow for a next bet. An addicted gambler who can resist a 13 months of inactivity, should already quit. Assuming the next bet of $1,280 won, the ROI will be 7.9% for 93 weeks.

Chances of exponential bets
Given the bet won percentage of 25%, running a simulation test program of 10,000 runs, the maximum bet easily reached $17,179,869,183 which is a crazy amount. Even with a better win percentage of close to 50%, there is still a chance of getting a long stretch of losing streak.

This betting system is better left untouched.

Sports Bet History Table

Week #Week InvestmentWinningsBetsFund LeftBets MadeLast Bets WonTotal Investment MadeROIInactive?
Sum11003016.82750 4812  23

Saturday, September 18, 2010

MAS fined Malaysian fund manager $500,000 for market manipulation

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) fined a Malaysian fund management firm S$500,000 after being found guilty of market manipulation.

Pheim Asset Management and its founder Dr Tan Chong Koay were each ordered by the Singapore High Court to pay S$250,000, and legal costs, to the MAS, after being found to have committed market rigging offences.

According to the MAS, Pheim bought shares of United Envirotech within the final half an hour of trading on three consecutive days in 2004. These trades accounted for almost 90% of transactions for those shares over the period, causing their price to rise by 17%.

The High Court found that Dr Tan had bought the shares to inflate their price, enabling various Pheim funds to outperform their benchmarks.

Leo Mun Wai, assistant managing director in the capital markets group at the MAS said: “Fund managers should not engage in window dressing practices that would mislead investors as to the performance of securities and the funds under their management.

“As this case illustrates, MAS will not hesitate to pursue and take stern action against anyone who attempts to rig our capital markets, regardless of whether the perpetrator is in Singapore or overseas.”

About Pheim Fund Previous Accolades
-- Best of the Best 2008, CEO of the Year for Malaysia
-- Best Mixed Asset Balanced Islamic Fund for 5 years period, 2008
-- ASEAN Emerging Companies Growth Fund Ltd
-- Pheim Malaysia's Largest Account
-- Pheim Malaysia's Dana Makmur

Soccer betting with Martingale system #31-#40


$350 Fund Carryover
$300 Funding (Accelerates 3 months of $100 funding to end this test quicker)


$ 10 Fund Left (from $1,100 invested)


  1. Singapore Pools odds

Friday, September 17, 2010

CPF Withdrawal Reaching 55 and After 55

Online CPF withdrawal calculator
Discounted Singtel Share Checker
Note: Based on a person reaching 55 next year.

Went to CPF with my parents to learn more about the CPF when she reached 55. CPF Website did include a table and calculator for more information regarding withdrawal but it is better to ask. Generally, there are only 2 cases based on the sum of all 3 accounts (ordinary, special and medisave).

  • Less than Minimum Sum + Medisave Required Amount => Withdrawal a percentage(see table) of your whole balance or at least $5,000(provided you had at least $5,000). The rest if any will be transferred to your new Retirement Account.
  • More than Minimum Sum + Medisave Required Amount => Withdrawal balance with the Minimum Sum transferred to your new Retirement Account.

The day You Turn 55Withdrawal percentage of cash balances at age 55
On or before 31 Dec 200850%
1 Jan – 31 Dec 200940%
1 Jan – 31 Dec 201030%
1 Jan – 31 Dec 201120%
1 Jan – 31 Dec 201210%

The percentage only affects you if you did not exceed your Minimum Sum + Medisave Required Amount. Initially I was confused and thought the percentage everyone.

If you had less than the Minimum Sum + Medisave Required Amount, I believe your property can be used as a pledge if approved. Since my parent exceed the amount, we didn't asked about it.

After 55
The retirement account with your Minimum Sum will continue to accrued interest till you reached 65. You can request to withdraw balances (if you are working and continue to receive contribution in your account) yearly at your birthday provided you have more than your Minimum Sum and Medisave Required Amount.

Still not 100% sure about the stockholding since my parent wasn't sure either of their investment. My parents had DBS fund with UOB Investment(but she bought at DBS) and some discounted Singtel shares. Regarding her DBS fund, an enquiry at POSB mentions that we need to approach them to sell the fund. Confusing for me since the CPF statement mentioned UOB as the investment bank. Furthermore, the charges and refund in the CPF statement is confusing too. There is a $2 bank charge quarterly but the more confusing amount is a $30 refund half-yearly from UOB.

For the discounted Singtel Share, I couldn't find the type A,B or C shares as my parent mentioned and only found an overall amount through the online discounted Singtel Share checker. (I cannot believed the security of allowing anyone to see others shareholding as long as they had their IC number. Furthermore, I founded out Mr Lee Kuan Yew had the same amount of discounted share as my mum and weirdly, Mr Lee Hsien Loong didn't had any.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Soccer betting with Martingale system #30


$ 30 Fund Carryover
$640 Winning from ZOBAHAN vs POHANG

$320, PSV vs SAMPDORIA, Home 2.0

$350 Fund Left (from $800 invested)


  1. Singapore Pools odds

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Soccer betting with Martingale system #29


$ 30 Fund Carryover
$320 Winning from HULL CITY vs DERBY

$320, ZOBAHAN vs POHANG, Home 2.0
$320, (not enough fund)

$ 30 Fund Left (from $800 invested)


  1. Singapore Pools odds

Monday, September 13, 2010

Soccer betting with Martingale system #28

Ignoring last match that was abandoned when in calculating in final result.

$ 30 Fund Carryover
$160 Refund from YOUNG LIONS vs GUOAN match abandoned due to brawl

$160, HULL CITY vs DERBY, Home 2.0
$320, (not enough fund)
$320, (not enough fund)

$ 30 Fund Left (from $800 invested)


  1. Singapore Pools odds

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekly soccer betting with Martingale system #26-#28

This week's bet

$ 90 Fund Carryover
$100 Monthly Funding

$160, YOUNG LIONS vs GUOAN, Home 2.05
$320, (not enough fund)
$320, (not enough fund)

$ 30 Fund Left (from $800 invested)


  1. Singapore Pools odds