Hi, poker blog readers! I was going to post this on my new nerd blog, and maybe I’ll do that as well. But, I figured that poker players might like this, even if it’s not strictly related to poker.

Basically, this is the simplest, most convincing +EV prop bet that I know of. In other words, it’s an awesome hustle. I’ve occasionally imagined walking into a poker room, finding the nearest guy with a visible newspaper or smart phone, and leaving with his money in my pocket, but unfortunately, nerds don’t make good hustlers.

Here’s how you do the Benford’s Law Hustle™:

- Walk into a casino and find one of a very large class of (pseudo)random number generators that roughly satisfy Benford’s law. (Don’t cheat and google that yet.) You can pick random numbers from newspaper articles (Turn to page A5 and find the first number in the first article) or something similar. Tons of things will work; just about the only things that won’t will be numbers from casino games. (E.g., dice and keno boards are no good.)
- Find someone who’s willing to bet on the first digit of the random number. (The first digit of 2,458,193 is two. Nothing fancier than that)
- Bet on one and two.
- Give your opponent both eight and nine.
- Lay two to one… (E.g., you pay him $200 if the number is 8,283 or 9,722, and he pays you $100 if the number is 10,136 or 2. If it’s 637, then no money changes hands.)
- Make an absurd profit.

Wait… what?