Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Secret of Derren Brown's "The System" -- A Friendly Wager

I will give out free copies of Derren Brown's biography if I do not correctly predict the secret behind The System, Derren's new TV special. Read on to see how to qualify for the free book. But first, my prediction:

The Prediction

In my prior entry I made some predictions about what Derren Brown's upcoming special, "The System," might be about. In a comment to that entry, Zing kindly pointed me to a press release which reveals the following:

Derren Brown has a system for winning at the horses. In this one-hour special, the maestro of mind control anonymously tells a single mum from London which horse will win at the next day’s races – again and again – culminating in a final, massive bet…. As Derren reveals: “I took a random member of the public and I told her which horse would win in a certain race; when it did win she was intrigued and I did it again and again and she started to bet more and more money according to my system. She's scraped together every last penny she could find and she is risking it all on one final race. Is it really possible to predict every time which horse will win? Welcome to The System."

After reading this passage, I realized how Derren could accomplish the feat of correctly predicting horse races. I wrote up my prediction and posted it in a comment. Here is the essence of it:

The woman referenced above will receive predictions from Derren about which horse will win at the tracks. She will receive several consecutive predictions, and each prediction will be correct. She will therefore come to believe that the person giving her the predictions has a system for predicting future winners. She will then have to decide whether to stake her entire financial future on the outcome of his next prediction by betting her life savings on a race.

But Derren's accurate predictions will not be as miraculous as they seem. Say there are six horses in a typical race (I know nothing about horse-racing, so my choice of six is arbitrary). Derren Brown will send race "predictions" anonymously to a large number of people (thousands, probably). His predictions will be random, so that one-sixth of the recipients receive each of the predictions.

Consequently, one in six of the prediction recipients will find that the prediction was correct. Derren will then contact these "winners" with predictions for the next race. And he will repeat this process, contacting only the winners each time, until he gets down to a single person who has received numerous correct predictions in a row.

He will then give her a prediction on the next race. We all know that the final prediction will have only a one-in-six (or however many horses there are) chance of being correct, but after receiving several correct predictions she might trust DB's ability to pick winners. We will have to wait and see.

Obviously, other Derren Brown tricks will be featured in the program, but this will be the big one. I do not have any inside source of information. I have not received any tips or anything like that. But after reading the above press release, I am quite confident that I have figured out The System.

I am not going to simply wait to see if I'm right, though. I am willing to make a bet.

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Currently, I am in the process of writing an unauthorized biography of DB. This was not my intent when I began this blog, but as I researched his life, I became sufficiently interested to write a full-length biography.

If I am wrong about my prediction, I will give a free copy of the e-book version of this biography to the first 100 people who leave a comment on this blog entry. You do not have to leave an actual message – just your e-mail address. The comment must be left prior to the January 25, 2008 broadcast of The System. [broadcast date has changed to February 1, 2008]

I obviously cannot e-mail you the free e-book until it is released. I expect it to be completed (and available for purchase on this blog) no later than March 25, 2008, but I cannot guarantee that date.

This little wager hopefully will make the wait for Derren Brown's new special even more suspenseful.

[UPDATE: So obviously I won the bet. But I did eventually write an e-book about Derren Brown, which you can read about at my Mind Stunts blog entry.]


105 comments:

Claire said...

OK, I'll be the first!
Morrigan2711@gmail.com

Robinson said...

I like your thinking here, but I'll bet it's something else -- if only because I am intrigued by the possibility of winning your eBook. I've read about everything available on Derren and I'd be interested if you can come up with anything more specific about his childhood and current friends, early performances, how he developed an interest in taxidermy, art background, etc.

ArBaDaCarBa said...

Your ideo might work, but I'm not so sure of it. Well, we'll see.
Following your idea, for 3 races of 6 horses, there would be 216 members of the public to begin with, and 180 would lose in the first round. It may be a quite high number, but who knows...
BTW, even if I don't wish you to loose, I'd love your eBook ;)

Chrissyliz99 said...

I have two people (in case one forgets) ready to record this for me next week and send it on over to the US. Can't wait

chrissyliz99 at yahoo.com

Franz said...

ziegler74@gmx.de

Good luck with your bet ;-)

kata_atk said...

weyhey the perfect type of bet, 0% risk to myself....count me in

kata_atk@hotmail.com

Bingmagi said...

Sounds halfway plausible, but just in case...

Houdini1218@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, have to admit to being sceptical this would be the outline but happy to be proved wrong. captaingee@hotmail.co.uk

Mike Carroll said...

Let me know!

Tranceriver@gmail.com

Paddy said...

Sounds like a good deal to me.
ronron.revelation.joe@gmail.com

Paddy said...
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Paddy said...
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Paddy said...
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Matt said...

Put me down too.

mj030 AT students DOT stir DOT ac DOT uk

Sam H said...

As much as I think you've hit the nail on the head...

samhealr@googlemail.com

Anonymous said...

it sounds like you coulb be correct but here goes . safc2002@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

very interesting although i think you may have missed out a key element ... mjrap@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Very interesting... i think it works even if he doesn't do it on the show! but very likely.

miguel_santana_da_silva@hotmail.co.uk

Anonymous said...

I hope you are wrong cos i'm hoping its a genuine working system which i can use to win a fortune!!
johnnybgoode999@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

WILL WATCH WITH KEEN INTEREST

travess26@yahoo.co.uk

Anonymous said...

I look forward to the show

mn1mpm@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

stuples AT gmail DOT com

bezzer said...

i hope this isn't in the style of one of Derren's tricks....

soldier_bez@hotmail.com

David Moynihan said...

good luck! looking forward to winning a book!

John said...

I think it will be something different

johnwcameron@gmail.com

Irene said...

Very clever. You may well be correct in your prediction, but why assume that DVB will give the game away? Of course, should the papers catch hold of this idea, they shouldn't have too much troucle tracking down the 'losers' of this little game.

If I may also add - I remember that Lisa Simpson explained exactly the same system to Homer once when he received junk mail in the same vain. Not like I feel patronised, or anything.

justin.rocks said...

Darn, here was me thinking I was going to be able to give my day job and become a horse racing pundit.

justin.rocks@orange.net

iggy said...

me too, me too
briannolan@iname.com

Anonymous said...

I was actually interviewed for this series in London, although received an incorrect prediction for the first race. (They told us not to bet, but I stuck a tenner on it anyways!)

I had no idea it was Derren Brown, they told us it was a racing pundit who had discovered a way to predict winning horse races. After I lost, they sent me an email saying they were sorry but had to investigate why 'the system' hadn't worked.

I didn't hear back from them until today, when they sent me an email saying I was part of a Derren Brown documentary. Obviously worried about what really happened while I was being interviewed, I searched online and found this blog (much to my relief!)

Hopefully that is all that happened, but who knows - the man is a mystery and let's just hope that the premise outlined above is correct!

Desh Merlin said...

We'll see... :-)
But I'm think you're right.

deshmerlin@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

oj_rice@hotmail.com.... if there were a 'system', bookmakers would be out of business!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to finding out

rctneil said...

Sign me up for the bet too:

rctneil@aol.com

Anonymous said...

the system you predict is similar to a lot of horse tippig scams, as per your theory they simple play a numbers game, the problem with darren attempting something similar is the large volume of people with dud tips it would generate, wouldn't it make it difficult to keep the whole thing under wraps, I'll be interested in the type of race esp in terms of betting structure that he picks for his selections.

richarddawson99@hotmail.com :)

browsing through the other comments i see someone with a dud tip has turned up, looks like I won't be getting a book !

Anonymous said...

Consequently, one in six of the prediction recipients will find that the prediction was correct. Derren will then contact these "winners" with predictions for the next race. And he will repeat this process, contacting only the winners each time, until he gets down to a single person who has received numerous correct predictions in a row

obviously we don't know the amount of races yet, to be able to put an estimate on the number of initial recipitants of tips, to gauge feasability.

richard

Anonymous said...

I'm up for this - can't wait!

Richardbarnes1@aol.com

fuguez said...

This system works better for US sports where there is always a winner (draws don't happen) and there are only two teams. It is done by bulk email over thousands of people and tens of matches.

Anonymous said...

spent thousands over 40 years and lady luck rarely comes tried every trick at my disposal,is it just another scam like ant n decs phone ins?amazing what you can do with people 4 money they will agree 2 anything. epodking@hotmail.co.uk ps.is he getting tips off kieron fallon???????????

Anonymous said...

just another scam 4 the public again heres a tip just dont watch it because he (derren brown) is probably in with major bookies 2 scam us,if curious watch with caution?or get ready 2 lose ££££££S or $$$$$$$$$$... epodking@hotmail.co.uk

Ellie said...

I agree that it will be something simple (it always is), but don't think they will use your idea. "Brute forcing" the predictions like this would leave too many people around to expose the method, and is so obvious that it would leave us viewers feeling cheated when we found out that there wasn't a system after all.

Also it would be far too complex to film - I'm assuming that Derren + cameras would be following the victims around during the process, and there aren't enough races and hours in the day to film a few hundred races in the hope that one of them would be "the one"

Can't wait to watch the show and find out though :)

MagicJase said...

I'm sure it will be fantastic whatever happens. The quality of the show is only partly depended on the trick I feel. Derren is one of the top showmen in the history of magic.
jasonsdavison@hotmail.com

Kevin said...

I like your idea, will watch the program to see how correct you may be. Good luck

dlr said...

I'm not a betting man but you're right.

Anonymous said...

i think this puts me in the top 100, i think your right, but if not, duckin147@hotmail.com

kkenplast said...

lets hope derren has found a way of fleecing the bookies instead of the other way round, p.s. i think youre right about the way he does it.

Anonymous said...

Bradockmia@hotmail.com I hope ur wrong only cos it b nice to think I cud get a few pound back of them bokies

Anonymous said...

What about the ones that get sent a winner then a loser, surely they will come out and say ?

Anyway, for the possible ebook if you are able to prove he did/didnt do that: stewartd14@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

It's pretty simple really how he has done this! He has used some sort of alias name like a tipster name and sent out thousands of different tips in one particular race of a smallish field to thousands of different people he has acquired a mailing list of. The contents of the mail has a contact number if he has been successful with the tip sent. He then repeats the process giving different tips to callers in one particualer race of a smallish field and so on and so forth until this single Mom was probably the only one left receiving the winning tips! He than discloses who he really is to the single Mom and gives her his final tip based on a race again with a smallish field and probablity that the horse is very short priced favourite which could only possibly get beaten if it broke a leg! I'm assuming also that this last tip is on the Flat racing and not over jumps as less possibility of mistakes and the horse falling over!
I will watch to see how right I am!

davey_1971uk@hotmail.com

Natalie said...

I wait with bated breath!

angel.clown@gmail.com

zeezi said...

well i guess well have to waiy and see

zeezi said...

by the way all ebooks to zeezi79@gmail.com

raider666 said...

Derrend Brown is fascinating and sometimes amazing. A ggod subject for a biog. The system prog will be interesting but the watching public are not stupid. The idea you propose of how its done has been around for years "tipsters" so surely he wont be regugitating that idea !

good luck

paul "boltonstars@yahoo.co"

Anonymous said...

Horse racing is too random for a system to work 100% but I like DB and he has some interesting ideas so this should be fun to watch, althought I cant see any bookies being put out of business !!
chicky365@hotmail.com

Alexsutton said...

alexsutton14@hotmail.com

Richard Washington said...

richard.washington@gmail.com

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Great Blog...(just found it).

While your reasoning is sound, the logistics of filming a project of that scope seem staggering.

I'll take that wager! ;-)

macleanmark AT hotmail.com

TJ Hooker said...

You might be right there

Have a look at the blog below.

http://scrummymamma.blogspot.com/

Phil P said...

I'm not convinced you've got it right. As has been mentioned before, there would be hundreds of people out there who have lost money, and I am sure that some tabloid journalist would be all over this to try to expose the "trick" prior to the program airing.

Good luck with the book, and I'll look forward to reading it :)

philpentland@hotmail.com

Robert Ruse said...

Not sure if you are correct, my thought is that the people that recieved wrong predictions were tested to see if they would wager, despite being told not to.

email: ruse at robertruse.com

jeff said...

j.hogg(at)2003.ljmu.ac.uk

I dont think you're prediction can be correct because how could they have filmed each participant in the hope that they would become the final person at the end betting their life savings?

- Jeff

Xav said...

xavier-deparis@wanadoo.fr

Hello!
Your prediction looks like a good one to me, even though it leaves details unclear, like the filming of a high number of participants throughout the process, and also the end of the trick, which relies too heavily on chance (for DB..) in my opinion : if the final bet is a winner, DB miss his demonstration, and if the bet is a loser, it will be sad for the woman. I suppose the production will pay for her in this case...

Anyway, I am looking forward to watching a new fix of Derren (and reading your eBook, although I think you'll be right with your prediction...)

Xavier, from France

csantill said...

Interesting idea. Hope it is something more complex that.

csantill@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

the.white.stripes-@hotmail.com
Even though I think you've got it

Anonymous said...

Your theory sounds pretty sound, but I just really want Derren to have some kind of system! He says that anyone can do it but will probably be put off when they see how much work goes into it. Guess we'll have to see...

bhav.trivedi@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

cant be right, in an average meeting of 6 races I think he would have to begin with 1296people to guarantee to be left with 1 person at the end who had won all 5 races . How could it be possible to follow every person with a camera. In addition he would have over 200 people looking for him after they had lost money on the first race.

Anonymous said...

make that 1000 people looking for him

Danny said...

Well I'd love the E-book..I think you will be wrong..

chalk_my_cue@hotmail.com

ReM said...

good luck :)
disco_bizkit@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find he hypnotises all the horses and makes all but one of them run really badly ;-)
steve_gow@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I think you will be wrong.

Also I think people are stupid to display their email addresses in blogs then complain about spam.

el condor said...

Ah, there's still time:

whatwasion at gmail dot com

Sharada said...

I think you are mostly right but not completely. I was one of the people to be 'selected' but recevied an incorrect tip first time. To be honest, it's a bit of a downer to be told you have been chosen to take part in a tv program and possibly win loads of money when they knew all along I probably wouldn't be.
http://scrummymamma.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I think you may be wrong.. so..

ahwallis at hotmail dot co dot uk

Mattie said...

mtrs84 AT hotmail DOT com

Granamyr said...

daniel.bell@dur.ac.uk

Anonymous said...

Although I am in the first 100 people on your blog list I do not want a copy of your ebook.

If you are truly willing to put your money where your mouth is post 100 real books with an actual cover and pages.

Your claim to be generously giving away something is as preposterous as someone actually wanting to read it.

Derren Brown is a tosser and if this is someone youve chosen to write a biog about you are clearly from the same stock.

Get a system, sort your life out !!

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster. If you don't like DB why waste your time on this blog? Whats worse; somebody writing a book about someone they respect, or you spending energy following a man you have no respect for? Worry about your own stock! I'll worry about mine and Will Tapscott can worry about his!

William_Tapscott said...

To the anonymous poster 2 places above this comment --

Wow! We don't get hateful comments on this blog very often. I'm going to leave yours up just for fun.

Regarding the book giveaway -- Let me assure you that the hundreds of hours going into the writing of this book make it a valuable prize to the readers of this blog.

Currently there are no plans to publish it in paperback format. If there is sufficient interest in the ebook, maybe I will explore that option (I have published other books, including a biography, in print previously).

Regarding the need for me to "sort [my] life out." I am amazed that you can tell so much about my personal life from the fact that I write a Derren Brown blog. While I'm busy sorting out my life, maybe you could look into an anger management course?

Anonymous said...

I agree that is the most likely way it was done, or some variation of it... of course he may dress it up differently. muggins@mailcity.com

Anonymous said...

Tilley3001@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

there you go, you were right.

William_Tapscott said...

Thanks for the report (I was not able to watch the show live).

And thanks for everyone who participated in my wager!

BillyG said...

This sounds like fun...

email: bartsimpsonsunderpants@yahoo.com

Thanks

messy fecker said...

i think you have hit the nail on the head with your system. Process of elimination like almost all of his tricks.
paulstoner@gmail.com
and thanks.

marshall4rugby said...

I think that this system is amazing
Good luck !!!!!
jordjord94@hotmail.co.uk

marshall4rugby said...

I think this system is amazing

Good Luck !!!!!!

jordjord94@hotmail.co.uk

cheers

asd said...

kraanikauss@gmail.com

andre3i said...

I cant wait to learn more about DB, hes my favourite illusionist

andddrrrew@yahoo.com

nollaigmac said...

If there are any books still going I'll take one (even though you've actually won the bet! I was enthralled by the show but noted that when Naunton Brook won at 18/1 in Carlisle beating Three Miles West there were actually 16 runners - how does that figure?

Decatur Movie Cars said...

Looks like I'll be #91.

Great blog!!

please e-mail to

willillinois@live.com


Thanks

pwsanders2006 said...

Many many years ago there was a programme on the BBC wireless where this exact scam and method were described.

ell said...

make me #92 please

thecanaries@hotmail.com

Jon said...

any books left? i only saw the show tonight and stumbled across this thread

jrb1512@yahoo.co.uk

Dean_K said...

Congratulations in predicting your theory of Derren Borwn's "The System".

However, allow me to argue the point that you did not actually solve "The System", yet instead you merely pointed out how it works. As i have only just seen the show tonigh, 9th June 2008, I myself have began to try and solve the mystery of "The System".

Brown tells us on how to use the system, not how to break it AND use it. I have narrowed my own version of "The System", identical to Derren's, down to the last race, race 6 in this case, and have been unable to determine the last race' results. This may possibly be because I cannot think due to tiredness, however, I cannot calculate the last winner of race 6. As there is a one in six chance of the "subject" winning, I cannot calculate how the "subject" wins the last race.

It would be most appreciated if you can share your comment with me. My personal email address is: dean-16@hotmail.com

Please e-mail me with your help on this matter.

Much regards, Dean K.

Dean_K said...

Congratulations in predicting your theory of Derren Borwn's "The System".

However, allow me to argue the point that you did not actually solve "The System", yet instead you merely pointed out how it works. As i have only just seen the show tonigh, 9th June 2008, I myself have began to try and solve the mystery of "The System".

Brown tells us on how to use the system, not how to break it AND use it. I have narrowed my own version of "The System", identical to Derren's, down to the last race, race 6 in this case, and have been unable to determine the last race' results. This may possibly be because I cannot think due to tiredness, however, I cannot calculate the last winner of race 6. As there is a one in six chance of the "subject" winning, I cannot calculate how the "subject" wins the last race.

It would be most appreciated if you can share your comment with me. My personal email address is: dean-16@hotmail.com

Please e-mail me with your help on this matter.

Much regards, Dean K.

gedi said...

Easy..on the 6th race he bets on the big favourite. On last nights show he bet on a 3-1 favourite with £4000 and recieved his £13000 winnings.

To cover himself he tells her another horses name (good chance this is tha second favourite ;-)

If the second favourite wins all is good for TV appearances he just pays her from his piggybank, if not he shows the broken contestant the real bet!

not very complicated, but still slightly risky. 3-1 is a very big favourite however. Money no real object from Derren.

climberguy587 said...

wow only 97 comments! i feel lucky!

mslagte1@binghamton.edu

Your idea is def good, but if you are wrong im very interested in reading the biography. Thank you!

Robinson said...

salmanasar1@gmail.com

Hi

Nicholas said...

No, No, No to solve the last race is easy he just used the same system.

WHich is he put £4000 on each horse which ever horse came in he did a switchy rooo with the ticket on whatever the odds are I'm sure they all would be great and also he maybe did a mind trick at the beginning for her to believe it was the moon horse!

I think Derren Brown is great, would like to be him but I think it would take to much work.

What ever the case it was a good show and the creator of the blog well done for your predictions you must of been the other ones that lost out earlier in the show- sorry.

I don't know how I just saw it on 22 Nov 2008 I'm a bit late.

But it's only a tv show so it doesn't matter if the actual system loses money it will make money from advertising and the ratings.

Adrian said...

dadge at hotmail dot come

Well done. It made for an entertaining TV show anyway. And, as with most of DB's explanation's of his tricks, I think he still pulled the wool over our eyes a bit. I don't think he did it exactly how he describes. For example, he probably used a bit of maths to cut down on the amount of resources he had to expend.

Therfield said...

nice way to promote your e-book!

rinku said...

a2bullet@aol.com

Iam 100% behind you...u are correct!

mad dog said...

Anybody still here?

Taghioff said...

No ebooks then...

Peter Evans said...

"Simpsons did it."