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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Can You Win Playing Roulette at the Casino?

The short answer is no. 

However, there is more to that answer than meets the eye because it doesn't guarantee you will be a loser if playing at a brick-and-mortar casino or going online. 

So how can there be a difference from having seemingly no chance of winning to some chance when we are still playing the same game of roulette? 

It has a lot to do with how long you play and how you bet.

Let's face it, the only way you can win playing roulette is to get lucky. Sometimes we all need a little bit of luck. In fact, some people have made a fortune by wishing on a shooting star. 

For example, wouldn't you rather have an ounce of luck when you have a bet to win one million than one pound?

Clearly, we can all appreciate that thought.

In ways, gambling at the casino and especially at roulette is the same. Believe it or not, I have won good money at the Grosvenor Casino in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. This listed building has a touch of class - then I turned up!   

I've won several hundred pounds betting no more than £20 - £50. And starting at small stakes is really one of the keys to winning because you set your limit and really have little to lose but something to gain. 

With a little bit of help from Lady Luck. 

So what's all this luck about?

As I said earlier, the only way you will win when playing fixed odds is via luck. You may imagine there is some skill involved but I don't think there is any evidence that you can manipulate the statistics to improve your chance of winning unless you cheat. I know a few of you will say you can use the martingale system and you're sure to win. The trouble is you may need a million pounds to win a tenner if black or red comes up umpteen times. And you will find that the limit of perhaps a couple of grand bet on a single number puts pay to you doubling up infinitely. 

Even if you could do it, I don't think it would be a good idea. Simply because black came up 20 times, it still levels you devils it will come up again. In fact, it is slightly less as you may have noticed zero is green!

However, I do consider betting on the single number is the key to you, potentially, winning money. 

To win you need a touch of luck and that can come up just as easily on a single number as it can black or red. The difference being one pays even money while the other thirty-five to one. 

Simply play your stake betting on the same single number and hope it is your lucky night. If it comes up once you are pretty much guaranteed not to lose and if it comes up twice you are flying high. 

It's as boring as watching paint dry, but, in my opinion, it is one of the few ways you spend a little with the chance of winning a lot. 

Good luck to all.  

Pixabay: Free for commercial use and no attribution 

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Do You Follow Trainers in Form?

I remember watching Racing UK, as it was known in the day and James Willoughby said there was literally no logic following a trainer in form. 

Now, I know James is an intellectual and he certainly knows a lot more about statistics than I do  (although I do have an understanding from my research within psychology, which is enough to bamboozle the life out of me). I enjoy his analysis although I do feel his rambles can go on a little too much at times and listeners lose the thread of the subject matter. That's talking about horse racing let alone statistics, which to most people in the human race equates to watching paint dry. I was going to say listening to paint dry but not sure if that makes much sense, but you get the idea. 

He is very much in the mould of John Berry who is another racing pundit (and talented horse trainer) but someone so stop-start in his dialectical materialism that I am kind of fascinated and losing the will to live at the same time. Please, if you are fans of either or both, these words are not meant as a criticism as I admire both and they have a lot more to offer than the generic racing pundit who would be at a loss without the classic cliches (which well and truly have me pressing the mute button). 

I do enjoy an original thought or piece of information (even a word) which tells me this person knows their stuff. That is a rarity if not difficult when talking in soundbites for a media that isn't really interested in going above and beyond the norm for the happy medium (which is a fair stat in itself).

But here's the question: Do You Follow a Trainer in Form?

Whether this has one ounce of logic or not, I do tend to follow horse trainers who are in form, and even more, try to avoid trainers who are missing the mark. 

Richard Fahey started this two-year-old season out of form. It's a surprise as he is normally a handler who literally hits the turf running. Fahey said after a number of two-year-old disappointments that his early string was simply not as good as they had hoped. Which must be a bitter pill for any trainer to swallow. These things have to be taken in the context of a whole season because Mews House, Musley Bank, Malton won't lack in classy two-year-old because based on a numbers game they must have 100+ in their ranks. 

However, the fact the stable has struggled to win with their two-year-olds this season does make me keep my money in my pocket until they start to find the winner's enclosure. 

Similarly, Brian Meehan has started this season with a bang and a purple patch with just five two-year-olds running so far and four winners, three on debut, two at double-figure odds. 

Throughout the season we will see a number of peaks and troughs with trainers and they will (hopefully) come out the other side with a few, if not, many winners. Sadly, a few well-known horse trainers struggle when the winners dry up, being funded by a few rich owners who rightfully want to see success. 

I remember Olly Steven was one such trainer who made it public that he had a couple of years to prove his worth or his hopes and dreams would fall by the way. He started his career with a number of two-year-old talents and things looked prosperous but the second season didn't see such rich pickings and he fell by the way. 

Just think of the number of talented horse trainers who have come and gone. In this economic climate, I am sure many others will be fearing what the future holds. 

I felt sad for Mark Brisbourne who had a small string but a very talented trainer and very much a family concern. However, after a 30-year career and sending out 560 winners his business was literally culled when the Earl of Bradford sold the land to build five homes and he was left with no option but relinquish his trainer's licence. 

His fateful words: ''I'm being forced to quit.''

Racing is all about the horse's finishing position but also the story behind trainers big and small. 

Sometimes those very statistics hide a bucket full of tears. 

Photo: Mark Brisbourne 

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

There's Nowt So Queer as Folk

Even though I come from the Fens I like this Yorkshire saying: ''There's nowt so queer as folk.'' 

I like to think I'm a good, kind, decent, and generous person. 

Words are always open to interpretation and I'm sure a few people have read my blog posts with varied thoughts. It depends on the quality of the post and the topic. 

At times, I have been a bit annoyed by something and I'm sure people have considered I'm a half-mad grumpy old man, and a bit full-on in my belief I know more about two-year-old horse racing than just about anyone on planet Earth. 

If you worked to understand your niche for over 30-years I'd be disappointed if you didn't think the same. I'd question what you'd been doing to learn so little over the duration. 

I hate to say it, but I believe in the quote: ''No good deed goes unpunished.'' 

You do someone a favour and by the time it comes to bringing the lawnmower back they've convinced themselves it really belongs to them and it's a pain in the arse bring it back. Or the other scenario when they bring it back and you find when you try to use it again - it's broken. 

''It was perfectly fine the last time I used it,'' says the borrower. 

(Yes, of course, it was!).

As The Doors classic 1967 song goes: ''People are strange when you're a stranger.''

Anyway, I have a mailing list in which horse racing fans can subscribe. It doesn't cost them anything. Readers receive 10 Dark Horses, which, basically, detailed a denary of unraced or lightly-raced two-year-old horses. Not just any old horses but exceptional talents. 

Being a generous soul, I thought I would add some more quality info for readers. And I mean quality. 

Here is a rundown of the new info that will be mailed about once a week. 

Now, by joining, readers will receive:

  • 10 Dark Horse Mailing
  • Secret Gambler Diary
  • Top Trainer Secrets
  • Group Horse Daily 
  • Pro Tips 
  • Speculative Tips 
  • Quality Articles
  • Psychological Edge

To be fair, the tips will be few and far between. Probably just 10 or so a year. But everything is top quality. And I mean above and beyond the norm. You know, all this stuff takes time. I think a lot of people imagine they are doing me a favour by joining the ''bloody'' list. If anyone really thinks that well they can go and jump off a cliff. They will probably be following a favourite horse.

You know what happened?

I had four people unsubscribe. 

I truly couldn't care if everyone unsubscribed because it makes sod all difference to me. In fact, I would have more time to please my self.  

So, strangely, you give more value and some people are seemingly offended or turned off by the addition. 

Mailchimp forwards the new subscribers and those who unsubscribe. I could, in theory, contact the unsubscribers and ask why they jumped out of the plane. I won't because I respect people's opinions but, similarly, don't want to be bogged down, depressed, or on the cliff edge with them by reading some bizarre logic. I'm sure a word or two on the infamous mailing may have irritated the few. 

I did mention that we have a maximum of 2,000 subscribers so make sure you read each and every email else the account may (I may have said will) be deleted. 

I said I may sell online courses in the future. That I will guarantee will make people money (more than the cost of the course, that's for sure).

That may have irritated someone who has short arms and deep pockets. 

Who knows...

I'm not going to ask them to find out. I know I should for the sake of market research but I cannot be around negative people. They are the equivalent of a bloodsucker who enjoys sapping your hard-earned energy and unlikely to give you anything back. 

As my good friend Eric Winner says: ''There are too many takers.''

Sadly, there are too many takers. I don't bump into many, as I don't give too much away these days because I have learned a few lessons along the way. 

It really is something and nothing. 

And I am sure I am a fully-fledged member of the Grumpy Old Man Club. 

I guess it is simply the fact of giving more and somehow someone is offended. 

''How dare he give me more...''

''The front of that bloke to give added value...''

''The beast...''

''I'm going to unsubscribe.''

Here's my response.

Good. Thanks for departing the little world I live in. I have created it to please me. And that's the way it is going to continue. 

That's to the four bloodsuckers who turned left at the sign detailing 1 mile to the town There's Nowt So Queer As Folk. 

I'm awaiting more unsubscribers with this sitting on the horizon.

Monday, 23 August 2021

Professional Gamblers: The Secret Guide to Phil Bull's Betting Success

Background

Ironically, for a devout, lifelong atheist, Phil Bull (not pictured) once said, ‘I was bred to be a saint, you know’. Born on April 9, 1910, in the small town of Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, Bull was the son of William Osborne Bull, who began his career in the Salvation Army, but later worked as a coal miner and as a sanitation engineer, and Lizzie Jessop Watson, who was a Sunday school teacher. He was educated at Hemsworth Grammar School and at Leeds University, graduating with a modest degree in mathematics in 1931. Bull subsequently taught mathematics in London and did not abandon the teaching profession, at least, not entirely, when he embarked on a career as a professional gambler, which would make him a familiar figure on British racecourses for decades afterward.

Interest in Gambling

Later in life, Phil Bull recounted almost certainly apocryphal stories of how he was taught the rudiments of odds and betting parlance by his mother in early childhood. Nevertheless, Bull started betting, to small stakes, as a schoolboy and, during his studies at Leeds University, his mathematical and research skills, coupled with his abiding interest in horse racing, naturally led to the statistical analysis of race times. Following graduation, Bull continued to develop a unique technique for evaluating horse racing form, based not only on relative finishing positions, as was commonplace, but also on race times. Bull bet on the conclusions of what became ‘Temple Racetime Analysis’ with no little success and, in 1938, starting selling information, by mail order, to the general public. Initially, his teaching job precluded using his own name, so the ‘Temple Time Test’, as the service known, was sold under the pseudonym ‘William K. Temple’. The Temple Time Test proved highly successful, so successful, in fact, that Bull gave up his teaching job to concentrate on gambling for a living.

Golden Rules

In 1970, Phil Bull published his ‘Ten Commandments’, which, paraphrased in less ‘Biblical’ language, read more or less as follows: 

1. The selection source is unimportant, but bet only on selections you consider value-for-money; avoid the temptation to bet in every race. (As a side-note, on the subject of value-for-money, Bull was not afraid to bet odds-on).

2. Luck, the law of averages and staking plans are delusional, so place no faith in any of them.

3. Bet according to your means and adjust your stake according to the chance of your selection, as you see it; a selection with a greater chance deserves a higher stake.

4. Do not bet each-way in large fields, unless you are satisfied that the place portion of the bet represents value-for-money.

5. Shop around with bookmakers and the Tote to find the best prices, according to your judgment.

6. Do not bet ante-post unless you know your selection is a definite runner.

7. Do not buy systems; if you come across a profitable system, keep it to yourself.

8. Bet in doubles and trebles if you want to, but not on objections.

9. Make wise, attentive betting decisions and adopt a patient, cautious approach to betting, but do not be afraid to be bold if circumstances dictate.

10. Bet only what you can afford to lose; increasing stakes beyond your means, even in the short-term, can lead to catastrophic losses.

Successes 

Thankfully, from a historical perspective, Phil Bull kept meticulous accounts, just over three decades’ worth, of his ‘serious’ betting activity between 1943 and 1974. However, it is worth noting that, even before the start of that period, Bull had won enough money by backing Pont L’Eveque, winning of the so-called ‘New Derby’ – a wartime substitute for the Derby, run at Newmarket, rather than Epsom – in 1940 to buy a five-bedroom, detached house in Putney, South-West London. In 1944, the year in which he was bombed out of his London home, prompting a return to Yorkshire, Bull had a ‘serious bet’ on Dante, beaten favourite in the 2,000 Guineas and, always one to stand by his judgment invested heavily at 5/1 and again, at 10/1, on the same horse to win the New Derby. At Newmarket, Dante was sent off at 100/30 favourite and won by two lengths; Bull collected £22,000, or in excess of £958,000 in modern terms. In 1952, Bull enjoyed his most profitable season ever, collecting £10,500 for an investment of £1,700, in various bets, on 1,000 Guineas-winner Zabara and £8,000 on Middle Park Stakes-winner Nearula; all told, that season he collected nearly £38,000. Another notable success came in 1963, when, after a series of unfavourable results, Bull staked £1,000 at 20/1 on Ebor-winner Partholon, thereby recouping all his previous losses. According to his own accounts, between 1943 and 1974, Bull made a total profit of just under £296,000 which, even at the most a conservative estimate, is the equivalent of over £3 million in modern terms.

Publications

Aside from his early work under the pseudonym William K. Temple, in 1942, Bull published his treatise on betting, entitled ‘The Mathematics of Betting’, under his own name. The following year he published ‘Best Horses of 1942’, the first in a series of annual volumes that would ultimately evolve into the ‘Racehorses’ annual under the ‘Timeform’ banner. Indeed, the first Timeform annual ‘Racehorses of 1947’ followed in 1948, and included an essay and numerical rating for each horse that ran on the Flat in the 1947 season. Remarkably, the four highest-rated horses, according to Timeform, filled the first four places in 2,000 Guineas, in the correct order, and were led home by My Babu, whose entry read ‘should win 2,000 Guineas’. In 1975/76, Bull published the first edition of the Timeform ‘Chasers & Hurdlers’ annual, which extended coverage to the sphere of National Hunt racing.

Summary

In promotional material for ‘Bull: The Biography’, published in 1995, Phil Bull was billed, justifiably, as ‘racing’s most celebrated and successful punter’. Certainly, Bull was one of the most influential figures in the history of horse racing, developing an innovative technique for analysing form by awarding a performance figure to each individual performance by a horse. Nowadays, that practice is part of the official handicappers’ methodology for handicapping horses. However, although he won, and lost, thousands of pounds, Bull was by no means an inveterate gambler. In fact, he once said, ‘I’m not a gambler. Betting as such doesn’t interest me’, although he added, ‘Racing is different; it’s a continuing play with a fresh set of individual characters every year. Not a who-done-it, but a who’ll do it.’


Monday, 16 August 2021

Why Do Men Go to the Pub: To Talk Shit & Tell Lies

Unfortunately, we can't go to the pub with the lockdown but I'm sure we can all associate with this blog title. 

It was inspired by my actor friend, Simon Fowler, who does a daily live chat on Facebook. He talks about life and all the toils and tribulations. Also, all the love in the world which he says in his own kind of way. 

He talks about mental health and issues especially true to men who have often suffered from the British stiff upper lip. 

Simon quoted the comedians Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. When they used to sit across the table and chat about nothing (but at the same time everything). 

I used to drink like a fish when I played rugby union for March Bear, based in the Fenland town of March in Cambridgeshire. As I have said about my experiences of playing rugby it is a sport you learn a lot about yourself and others. One thing you can guarantee is that if you play rugby long enough, you will suffer an injury or two. I noticed with the forwards and lot of dislocated shoulders, the odd broken leg, nose, and even jaw. 

No wonder people used to like a good drink after the game - it was a pain killer. 

I must admit I've never been too much of a drinker at the races because the combination of alcohol and betting isn't a good mix. Not even Del Trotter would have a Creme De La Menthe at Kempton Park. To be fair, people have outlandish stories about gambling before they get stuck into the amber nectar. 

We'd go to Yarmouth races and then spend an evening at the Grosvenor casino. You don't need many pints an hour to slip under the table. 

In fact, the last time we went, just before lockdown, my cousin, who I won't name, returned from the casino at 6am. 

I concluded that he must have been winning at 4am because drink and tiredness must-have set in by stupid o'clock. I figured winning was the motivation to keep alert enough to play a few more hands of three-card poker (a game that really plays itself). I don't know what sort of conversation was going on but it was definitely pub talk. I'm sure there were a bit of swearing and pork pies too. 

As the old TV advert used to say: ''It's good to talk.''

It is good that in recent years people have felt more open to express their concerns about mental health because we have all had our moments. Once upon a time, people were stigmatised by saying they were struggling. I'm not saying people are still not tarred with the same brush but I think the UK is more accepting (especially in times of lockdown) that people may be suffering. 

And, you know, I'm pretty sure that's why so many men love to go to the pub and talk shit and tell lies. 

If anyone is struggling with depression or mental health problems then it is good to talk. 

So often in life, all we need is someone to stop for a few minutes to listen. 

If I can help, I'm always here.

Do They Have Horse Racing in Russia?

With the Coronavirus taking in hold all over the globe, horse racing fans are scouring the back pages of newspapers for racecards of any regard. 

For instance, I have never really looked at horse racing at Thurles, Ireland. But it will be this Saturday (21/03/20) because apart from racing in the United States and Australia there isn't a lot of racing going on. 

I know some people like to bet on two flies crawling up a wall but I would rather stick with equine if that is possible.

Unless you know a fruit fly called Frankel. 

Just for the sake of it, I thought ''What about Russia!'' 

That's Russia horse racing. I can't say I have ever thought much about horseracing from every corner of the globe but in this time it makes me wonder if other countries are struggling in a similar way or the horses are racing whatever is thrown at them. 

I once wrote an article about horse racing in Antigua, for a good friend who has a tourism website. I must admit, the horseracing, although thoroughbreds, reminded me of something back in the day and it was simply a three-horse race. I was left with the impression that every thoroughbred horse race in Antigua was a three-cornered affair running round a course that looked like something homemade and a commentator who was found from the crowd. I don't want to knock it because it was still a race and I'm pretty sure they had betting. I mean, you don't have to dress up in top hat and tails to enjoy a day at the races or rub shoulders with her majesty the Queen. 

I think I'd rather enjoy a day in Antigua. 

Anyway, back to Russia. 

Did you know they have horse racing in Russia? 

I guess you imagine, like me, that does just because it makes sense. 

However, I have no idea how it works in a communist country. 

Anyway, from reading what information is on the internet, I see that horse racing in Russia takes place at two main venues and a 20th-century landmark.  

Central Moscow Hippodrome (pictured)

It was founded in 1834 and the largest horse racing track in Russia. It is the finest Stalinist architecture to be seen. It has been enjoyed by members of the Russian imperial family and Emperor Nicholas II. 

Taking a look at the website www.cmh.ru I can see what looks to be trotting horse racing. Even trying to translate the page to English doesn't help as I cannot make sense of the Russian language. I wish I could translate because I am sure it would be an interesting read. I've found another website which makes for easier reading. 

Moscovery

I will do my best to convey something about Russian horse racing. It seems that the horse racing covers both traditional racing and trotting. 

They have horse racing on Saturdays and Sundays at the Central Moscow Hippodrome. They have betting, which looks like it is done on a Tote basis. The season runs from May - September (trotting races take place all year round). The racecourse covers a circuit of 18000 metres long. 

Horses are trained and race at the venue. 

Interesting, the horses are taken to the ring at 5am and training sessions are over at 8am, to keep away from prying eyes, a tradition taken from English horse racing 

Tickets cost 150 rubles (£1.60). It sounds very good value. 

Covered stalls with a seating capacity of 3,500. Tours are available by appointment. 















Trotting race in the snow (troika races). 

One of the feature races is the President's Cup Horse Race every June since 2012. In wintertime, horses compete in the Russian Troika Championship. (This is over a long distance with a team of three horses.) It is said to be the perfect combination of speed, power, and endurance.

















President's Cup Horse Race

This prestigious race takes place in July of each year with attendance from presidents from Bolivia, Venezuela, and Iran. 

The race has a cash prize of 10 million rubles ($304,000). The Cup is presented by Vladimir Putin. In fact, six races take place on the day with a total prize fund of 28 million rubles ($867,000).   

Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov told journalists in Moscow that the race is not only "spectacular" but acts as a "strong incentive for the further development of our country’s thoroughbred horse breeding."

It is interesting to learn that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has sent horses to run at this meeting. 

Readers may remember Kadyrov wanted to run horses at the Australian Melbourne Cup, which caused outrage to human rights activists regarding gross human rights abuses in Chechnya. Kadyrov's' horses have been banned from racing in the United States. 

From what I can understand, Russia has five racecourses throughout the country. Akbuzat Hippodrome, Kazan Hippodrome, Krasnoyarsk Hippodrome, Moscow Hippodrome, Pskov Hippodrome

Horse Racing In Moscow (1958) Pathe






Sunday, 15 August 2021

Gambling at Great Yarmouth

It has been a busy time of late.

Although not in a bad way. A rollercoaster of travel which saw us leave West Palm Beach, Florida non-stop to Great Yarmouth. Yes, I'm sure many readers will be thinking that would be better in reverse. 

However, after spending a couple of months in West Palm Beach, it was good to return home to the UK with my beautiful Marlene. It's been one big adventure. Lots of fun and joy. 

Along with visiting Key Largo and Key West, a beautiful wedding of a friend and enjoying each and every moment, it was good to drive to Miami Airport ready to fly home. It is as boring as anything travelling alone so it was great to have Marlene by my side. I didn't enjoy the flight. I've got little legs, but there's never enough room. Although I think it is more trying to get settled sitting than anything else. 

So we travelled from Miami to Gatwick, dropped bags off home in March, Cambs, and got the train to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. 

It was a tiring day's travel, which meant we didn't get any sleep for well over 24-hours. 

I was pleased to get a taxi from the railway station (Albies Taxis) and get to Andover House Hotel, Camperdown, Great Yarmouth. We had the attic room, which was booked last year, so I got in early. Forty-two stairs up to the room. Thank the Lord, I'm not a heavy drinker. It was a lovely room and the staff are excellent. We arrived on the 18th September, ready for a day at Great Yarmouth's 3-day Eastern Festival on the 19th (also known as Ladies' Day). 

Previously, Marlene had got in the last 10 of the Best Dressed Ladies and low and behold she did it again. Derek Thompson announced the second and third price, which meant she had a one in eight chance of winning. It would have been lovely if she had - but it wasn't to be. However, the whole occasion was lovely, meeting lots of people along the way and just splendid from start to finish. I would recommend a day's racing to anyone, even if they don't like horse racing. 

That evening we went to Pamela's Resturant which is a real jewel in the crown of places to eat in the whole of Norfolk. 

So I had one day at the races to bet. What happened. Nothing much. I had a small each-way bet in a nursery race. Finished down the field. And an each-way double (two relatively short-priced horses) with the first winning, while the second runner finished third after putting up a bold show. So basically breaking even on the day. I went to the Grosvenor Casino on Wednesday night, to say hello to the family who was on holiday too. I was so tired, I wasn't there more than an hour. 

Cousins, Danny and Paul, were playing three card brag. Paul had won a good deal of money on the Monday evening so spirits were high. It was lovely to see everyone. 

Looking forward to getting back there soon. 

Monday, 9 August 2021

Do You Need to Smoke Cigars to be a Professional Gambler?

Both my parents smoked. 

One loved a pint and Castella while the other a vodka and cigarette. 

I told my mum many times that it just wasn't lady like to smoke a cigar. 

That's obviously a joke. 

However, I would love to meet a woman who could afford to pay £500 for a box of 20 cigars. For her personal use. A good, heavy smoker. 

I get the feeling she'd have a story to tell. 

I think they must be a rare breed.

My Dad loved a cigar. He always smoked Castellas. A box of five back in the day cost £5. So that's a quid a piece. I have no idea what they cost these days. If he was feeling flush he would upgrade to a King Edward. I wish I had bought Dad a box of Cuban cigars. It might have taken me a year to save the money to buy such exotic refinery. 

I know on the box of each cigar it says: ''Smoking kills'' but I know my father would have killed for a good cigar. 

I'm pretty sure smoking did him no favours and may have cut his life short. A sad loss at the age of 62. 

If anyone deserved a long life it was this good, kind man who did his best for all. 

It's a strange thing that all those years Dad smoked his cigars I couldn't smell that distinctive aroma. 

However, years later, if I got a waft of cigar smoke down the street or at the races it would catch my senses and memories of my Dad. 

To be fair, I don't think there are many people who can afford to smoke these days let alone a cigar with a touch of class. 

I've never smoked but for some reason I have this feeling if not need to buy a sample of pricey cigars and smoke them while attending Great Yarmouth racecourse. This seaside racecourse fills my heart with joy with the fondest memories and feeling of family, hope and love which I never really thought much about until the passing of my Dad. 

I actually bought a couple of cigars which are still awaiting the day and this has been several years. I'm sure they must have dried to a crisp and if lit would burn like a fuse rather than a pleasant smoke. 

There has always been an association with professional gamblers and smoking cigars. I guess because you need a fair wedge to even buy a cigar. Something tells me that someone who buys a cigar that costs £25 a time isn't going to Honest Joe Turf Accountant and bet five pound each-way on number ten. 

Dad would be at the races, smoking his cigar, and betting. To be fair he was betting ten, twenty or a little more cash if he was on a winning day.   

I'm going on our merry pilgrimage to the Eastern Festival this September at Great Yarmouth races. We go as a family to remember those who are sadly no longer here. I really need to buy my box of Cuban cigars and walk around the racecourse and light a cigar and say: ''Thank you, Dad.'' 

For all those good times I took for granted. 

I just wish we could go to the races once more and I say: ''I've got you a little present.'' 

And offer him the best Cuban cigar that money can buy. 

For all those people who saw my Dad smoking his cigars at the racecourse he wasn't a professional gambler but the kindest most decent man you ever could meet who loved a cigar. 

God bless.

Photo: Pixabay free for commercial use and no attribution but given 

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Terry Ramsden - The True Story of a Man Who Broke his Bond

In his heyday, in the Eighties, Terry Ramsden was the quintessential self-made Essex man of the Thatcherite era. A diminutive 5'4" tall and sporting the mullet hairstyle that was ubiquitous at the time, Ramsden once declared, in distinctive cockney tone: 'I'm a stockbroker from Enfield. I've got long hair and I like a bet.' 

Born in Enfield, North London on January 19, 1952, Terry Ramsden proved financially astute, at least in his early years. By trading bonds on the Japanese stock market and gambling on horse racing, by 1984, he had raised sufficient capital to purchase the Edinburgh-based Glen International Financial Services Company. By 1987, he had increased the turnover of the company to £3.5 billion and his own net worth to £150 million. 

By that stage, his royal blue and white hooped colours had become a familiar sight on British racecourses – at one point, he had 76 horses in training – and he had won, and lost, some eye-watering sums of money. 

In May, 1984, for example, just days before the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Ramsden bought the filly Katies, unseen, for £500,000, but reputedly profited to the tune of £2.5 million when she won the Irish 1000 Guineas at odds of 20/1. 

In 1986, on the Wednesday of the Cheltenham Festival he reputedly won in the region of £1 million when Motivator landed what is now the Pertemps Final and would have won a further £6 million if another of his horses, Brunico – an "immensely strong finisher" according to commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan – had managed to overhaul Solar Cloud in the Triumph Hurdle the following day. 

Ramsden had apparently been backing Brunico in doubles with Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Dawn Run for some time beforehand. 

Shortly afterwards, Ramsden acquired Mr. Snugfit, who had finished second in the 1985 Grand National, and bet £50,000 each-way at 8/1 on his purchase for the 1986 renewal. Almost single-handedly, he ensured Mr. Snugfit was sent off 13/2 clear favourite for the National; the nine-year-old could manage no better than a distant fourth place, but Ramsden still collected £150,000 on the place portion of his bet. 

Many years later, Ramsden claimed: 'The truth is I had half a million quid each way, quote, unquote. Anything else you hear is bullshit.' 

Further high-profile successes followed, including Not So Silly in the Ayr Gold Cup in 1987, but his 'biggest single losing bet' – £1 million on another of his horses, Below Zero – and the sudden expected stock market crash, a.k.a. 'Black Monday', in October that year, effectively sounded the death knell for the Ramsden fortunes. Glen International collapsed and, in 1988, indebted to Ladbrokes to the tune of £2 million, Ramsden was 'warned off' by the Jockey Club for non-payment of the debt, thereby ending his interest in racehorse ownership. 

Three years later, in 1991, Ramsden was arrested in Los Angeles at the behest of the Serious Fraud Office and imprisoned for six months, pending extradition back to Britain. On his return to home soil in 1992, he was declared bankrupt with debts of £100 million. The following year he escaped with a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to recklessly inducing fresh investment in Glen International but, in 1997, was prosecuted again, at the Old Bailey, for failing to disclose assets worth £300,000; he was sentenced to 21 months' imprisonment, of which he served ten. 

Following his release from prison in 1999, Ramsden went back to working in the financial industry, but could not return to racehorse ownership until 2003, when cleared to do so by the Jockey Club. His first winner as an owner since the halcyon days of the Eighties was the two-year-old Jake The Snake, bought for a modest 17,000 guineas, who landed a gamble when winning a maiden stakes race at Lingfield in November, 2003.

Monday, 21 June 2021

Popular Times at the Grosvenor Casino Great Yarmouth on a Friday Night (21st June)

Don't you love a chart?

They make a fun way to understand something: facts, figures any number of things. 

I particularly like a pie chart as it reminds me of how many apple pies can be safely consumed in a year without the onset of diabetes. 

Joking. 

This chart shows the popular times at the Grosvenor Casino Great Yarmouth on a Friday night. 

Now, I don't know if you have ever frequented this place which sits on the coast of Norfolk but, if not, you're missing out. To be fair, many a gambler may not be too much bothered about the location or the building as long as it has plenty of slots, roulette tables, poker, blackjack and all the familiar games you would expect of any discerning casino. 

You may be thinking: ''What's so interesting about the Grosvenor at Great Yarmouth? 

It's a lovely listed building with a touch of glamour and glitz. Remember, all this sparkle doesn't cost you a penny more. It just adds to the occasion and makes a gamble, in my opinion, all the more interesting. There's something about a brick-and-mortar casino on the coast. Perhaps it's those high ceilings and bar that looks something out of a Ian Fleming book. If you aren't up to scratch on your authors, that's the man who wrote all the James Bond novels (yes, they were written as books before being made into films!). Who doesn't like a touch of the Casino Royales? 

This was his first book about James Bond published in 1953. 

You won't find baccarat played in Norfolk country. Well, not as far as I know at the casino in Great Yarmouth. Although if you are looking for the royal link, Edward VII, future king of England, stayed at Shadingfield Lodge in the 1870s when it was a private house in the ownership of James Cuddon, a barrister of Middle Temple. It was opened as a pub and hotel in 1953 and later the Grosvenor Casino. 

I've been to the Grosvenor Casino at Great Yarmouth at least 15 times over the years. And it's always an enjoyable night out whether win, lose or draw. Thankfully I have never lost my shirt. 

Looking at the chart for the most popular times on a Friday night, we can see that around 8 pm is the busiest. It's about the time myself and family turn up. I'm usually ready to go home about 12 although I have stayed until 1 am or so a few times. 

Have you ever watched the episode of Only Fools And Horses when Del Boy leaves the casino (I think it is the One-Eleven Club). Pretty sure the episode was titled: Fatal Extraction. Del Boy is having marriage problems and makes a date with a dental assistant when struggling with a bad tooth and thinks the lady is an escapee from the psychiatric hospital. He'd got his wires crossed. 

Anyway, one of the scenes showed Del Boy leaving the casino unaware that it was the next morning. 

Surprised to see it was daylight. 

This actually happened to my cousin when having a very long night at the Grosvenor Casino at Great Yarmouth. 

He was basically told to go home at 6 am when it closed for a couple of hours. There was us having breakfast at the Embassy Hotel, just a stone's throw from the casino, at Camperdown. I was tucking into my full English breakfast when a worse-for-ware sight appeared opposite me and small breakfast was eaten by the said cousin as he felt a bit queasy after a barrel-load of drink. 

I didn't ask if he had won or lost. However, I concluded the only reason someone would be gambling at 5 am was because they were winning and the next hour could be good or bad news. The alternative is that it was a terrible night from start to finish and they were chasing their losses. 

I thought it was best not to ask. 

As we can see by the graph, it looks like a handful of lost souls and staff are hanging about the casino at 4 am. 

I would hate to know the story of those who were literally kicked out at 6 am. 

If you want the place to yourself, to see what gambling looks like at the rock face, I suggest you turn up, sober, at 5:10 am, don't gamble, but sit at the bar and watch the scene before you. 

You'll be a wiser gambler for the experience. 

Good luck.