Sunday, 20 September 2020

Dave Nevison Professional Gambler Books – 'A Bloody Good Winner' & 'No Easy Money'

Dave Nevison Professional Gambler Books – 'A Bloody Good Winner' & 'No Easy Money'
Although, in recent years, he has backed away from putting his 'head on the block' in favour of less erratic employment, including as a horse racing presenter and pundit on Racing TV, Dave Nevison if a former full-time professional punter. Originally from Halifax, West Yorkshire, Nevison inherited his lifelong obsession with horse racing from his grandfather, but forsook a lowly-paid job in racing to become, as they used to say, 'something in the City'. However, in 1993, after a decade as foreign exchange trader, which he apparently loathed, Nevison was made redundant when his employer, Credit Lyonnais, closed its London operation.

Encouraged by his then wife, Lotte, Nevison left the City behind and, with his redundancy settlement, established a betting bank of £50,000. Initially, he adopted the 'traditional' approach of taking a view on which horse would win a race and attempted to identify one or two selections on the card. However, Nevison soon became disillusioned with travelling back and forth to racecourses as far afield as Sedgefield, County Durham from his home in Sevenoaks, Kent, for the sake of just a couple of bets, with no guarantee of success, and sought a more worthwhile modus operandi. 

Taking a leaf out of the book of his fellow professional punter, and mentor, Eddie 'The Shoe' Fremantle – erstwhile racing correspondent for 'The Observer' – Nevison started compiling his own odds representing the chance of each horse in each race or, in other words, his own 'betting tissue'. Thus, by comparing the available odds with his own calculation, he could identify horses that were overpriced by the bookmakers and back them accordingly. Of course, he did not know which horses he would back until he saw the odds available, but he could bet in most, if not all, races on the card, often with multiple selections in a single race.

Backing multiple selections – possibly up to four or five in a race, according to the market – inevitably led to a modest strike rate, but by focusing on value, rather than finding a winner per se, Nevison guaranteed decent long-term profits. He made mistakes, but within four years of embarking on his new career was earning £50,000 a year, tax free. His methodology was fundamentally sound, but resilience was, nevertheless, the key to his success. Typically betting around £2,000 race, he reportedly won £60,000 in six months during 2008 but, in the same period, lost £140,000 on Tote Jackpot and Scoop6 bets. 

In the early Noughties, Nevison owned a string of horses trained by local trainer John Best, to whom he was also form advisor, and was privy to 'inside' information. However, on the whole, he remains indifferent to racecourse 'whispers' or anything else that distracts him from the business at hand. 

In 2007, Nevison published his highly successful autobiography, entitled, 'A Bloody Good Winner: Life as a Professional Gambler'. Of his attitude to winning, Nevison once said, 'I’m not a bad loser but I’m a bloody good winner and if a big ship comes in I like people to know about it.' The book offers a frank, honest, often brutally honest, account of how Nevison has fared over the years. As might be expected, his story is often exhilarating, sometimes depressing, but makes for essential reading, not just by dyed-in-the-wool punters, but by anyone with a passing interest in horse racing. Nevison is particularly scathing in his appraisal of certain jockeys and trainers, some of whom are household names but, on the whole, 'A Bloody Good Winner' is a amusing, enlightening and entertaining read. 

In 2008, Nevison followed on with his second title, 'No Easy Money: A Gambler's Diary', which chronicles his quest to win £1 million between the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2008 and the St. Leger Festival at Doncaster the following September. Nevison provides a blow-by-blow commentary on his methodology, his bets and his results, good or bad. Inevitably, winning and losing creates emotional turmoil but, typical of an author who enjoys betting, especially winning, 'No Easy Money' is a good-natured, upbeat account of life on the road.

On Thursday, January 15, 2009, Nevison and his business partner, Mark Smith, came within a whisker, or twenty yards to be precise, of winning £360,000 at Taunton Racecourse. Having invested in 42 lines, at £2 per line, on the Tote Super7 bet, the pair selected the first six winners, including four 'bankers' and pinned their hopes on 9/2 chance Topless in the crucial seventh and final leg, the Carlsberg UK Handicap Chase. According to the 'Racing Post', Topless was 'well in command' on the run-in, but jinked right towards the finish and unseated jockey Jamies Davies with the race at her mercy, leaving Pangbourne, who had been matched at 999/1 in running on Betfair, to saunter home by thirty lengths. Reflecting on that fateful day, Nevison said: 'it put me off betting for quite a long time and made me question what I was doing.'

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Who is Stanford Wong?

Stanford Wong was one of the seven inaugural inductees to the Blackjack Hall of Fame, founded at the Barona Casino Resort in San Diego in 2002, at the behest of celebrated analyst and commentator Max Rubin, to honour the leading lights in the history of the game. However, revered though it may be, Standford Wong is not the name of a real person, but rather the nom de guerre, or assumed name, of Georgia-born author and professional player John Ferguson. 

Born on April 3, 1943, Ferguson was introduced to playing blackjack after learning the '10 Count' method of card counting from the book 'Beat The Dealer', written by Edward Thorp and first published in 1962. Still only twenty, and an undergraduate student at Oregon State University, he practised card counting in his spare time until he was of legal age to play blackjack in a casino. Shortly after his twenty-first birthday, Ferguson made the first of numerous, successful visits to the casinos of Reno and Lake Tahoe. His first experience of Las Vegas casinos, though, was a short, abortive affair, lasting only three days, because of the blatant dishonesty which appeared to be innate among blackjack dealers in 'Sin City'. 

It would not be until 1970 that Ferguson would return to Las Vegas but, when he did, was delighted by the new-found integrity of the dealing fraternity. By that stage, he had completed Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Oregon State, taught mathematics classes for two years and served in the United States Army for two years, including a twelve-moth tour of duty in Vietnam. Prior to being drafted, Ferguson has continued to play blackjack in Renoe and Lake Tahoe as often as his academic commitments allowed. Following demobilisation, he carried on in similar vein, pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Finance at Stanford University, playing blackjack occasionally and working on the material that would become his first book, 'Professional Blackjack'

The relative proximity of the Las Vegas Strip to Stanford University and San Francisco State University, where Ferguson began teaching finance classes, full-time, in 1974, proved an obvious attraction. In fact, by 1976, he was earning more money from playing blackjack than from his 'day job'. In a compromise with university authorities, Ferguson agreed to teach classes in the final term of what he later described as his 'last real job' for a nominal salary of $1, on the understanding that he did not have to attend faculty meetings. In so doing, he created free time to play blackjack in Las Vegas. 

By his own admission, Ferguson did not make a conscious decision to write 'Professional Blackjack', but rather realised that, between them, his paper calculations and instructional paper on blackjack – which, itself, evolved over time in response to questions from would-be card counters – were enough to constitute a book. Having verifed that the calculations presented in 'Beat The Dealer' were, in fact, correct, Ferguson prepared his own tables for scenarios, such as the dealer standing on 'soft' seventeen, which Edward Thorp did not cover. 

Indeed, it was the publication of 'Professional Blackjack', in 1975, which led Ferguson to decide that he needed a pseudonym to protect his real identity. At the age of thirty-two, he was playing blackjack under his real name in Nevada casinos and did not want to draw attention to himself. Seeking a complicated first name and simple last name, Ferguson liked the sound of 'Nevada Smith' – a fictional character from the movies 'The Carpetbaggers' and 'Nevada Smith' – but eventually settled on 'Stanford Wong' on the suggestion of fellow Ph.D student Denny Draper. Ferguson said of his sobriquet, 'I thought it was perfect. It had an academic ring to it and the mystique of the Orient.' 

Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong
Aside from 'Professional Blackjack', Ferguson also published several other celebrated blackjack titles, including 'Tournament Blackjack' in 1987, 'Basic Blackjack' in 1992 and 'Blackjack Secrets', which was originally part of 'Professional Blackjack', in 1993. In 1996, as soon as message board software became widely available, Ferguson founded the website 'BJ21.com', one of the principal aims of which was to allow like-minded blackjack players, intent on beating the game, to contact each other and exchange information. Ferguson sold 'BJ21.com' to LCB, an award-winning gambling information site, in March, 2016 and, interviewed in October that year, revealed that he had no plans for future involvement with the website, books or any other active engagement with the public. 

Ferguson, or rather Stanford Wong, was also responsible, albeit indirectly, for introducing the term 'Wong', used as a verb, to gambling parlance. Although he neither invented the technique, nor referred to it by the now commonly-used name in any of his books, Ferguson was an advocate and early practioner of back-counting. Back-counting essentially involves counting cards, as a spectator, until the count becomes strongly positive or, in other words, the deck is rich in aces and tens, to the advantage of the player. When it is, the card counter enters the game – provided, of course, mid-shoe entry is permitted – and places one or more bets at, or around, the table maximum. The term 'Wonging' was coined by blackjack players in Atlantic City in the late Seventies to describe this playing style.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Fond Memories of the Grand National back in the Day

One of the first horse races I can remember was the Grand National. 

Being a 70s child I grew up with the greatest steeplechase in the world on the TV. Every April, we were glued to the box, come rain or shine. 

In fact, it was one of the reasons I grew up to have an interest in horse racing although these days I am more of a flat racing man that the National Hunt, although I do appreciate both. 

I've been the Huntingdon and Fakenham racecourse for the National Hunt and enjoyed the meetings. I think 90% of the racegoers were local if not regulars. It was nice to see they allowed patrons to take their pet dogs as long as they were kept on a lead. I think I had as much fun watching a selection of pooches, some wearing little jackets to keep them warm, on what was a truly bitter-cold day. There is something about being on a racecourse in the middle of winter which gets to the bones of young and old alike. I guess I had got used to enjoying summer days at Great Yarmouth although I have been caught in a storm or two there. As they say in the UK, we have four seasons in a day and that is what makes it special in its own way.  

I enjoyed my day at Fakenham, which is located in the county of Norfolk, as it had a very traditional feel about it.

My Dad loved his racing. I'm not sure if his father enjoyed it or not. I know his brother, Keith, did as do many of my cousins and Uncle Fred was a keen racing man as they all enjoyed the Eastern Festival at Great Yarmouth, which takes place every September. 

Our summer holidays always coincided with the Eastern Festival and we loved our family holidays. The worst part was coming home because the school had started the week before and it was a nightmare trying to get a timetable or work out where to go. I remember this especially well when starting our secondary school. It was a return I would rather have forgotten.    

I think every race fan has fond memories betting on the Grand National. My brother followed a horse called Classified who never fell in his life but was tarnished with that tag when his jockey was unseated. I remember another fan writing to the Racing Post to display their utter disdain at this slight. 

We all have our favourite horses and that's what makes it special. You could pick a 100/1 shot and no one can say your horse is a loser until after the race - and even then, sometimes, you will be correct. 

Classified never won the Grand National but was remarkably consistent either placed or in the first five for a number of years. 

I was lucky enough to pick Aldaniti (pictured) who won the big race on the 4th of April 1981. It was a truly remarkable story for both horse and jockey. Many gave up hope on both steely characters who said: ''Just you wait and see.''

Bob Champion rode the race of his life and successfully battled against cancer and raised millions of pounds for charity in the process. 

The Grand National has always been a race where dreams are made, built on blood, sweat, and tears (and a glimmer of hope). 

For many, Red Rum is the greatest Grand National winner of them all. 

He won an unprecedented three times: 1973, 1974 & 1977. 

In truth, every winner of the Grand National tells a story few would ever believe. 

Whether, horse, trainer, owner, jockey, even commentator, or lucky punter down the road. Those who would never bet in all their life are ready to put the cash down and hope it is their lucky day.

We all remember the year we had a winner on the greatest race of them all. 

The Grand National. 

Friday, 31 July 2020

Which Racecourse is your Nemesis to Bet?

 I am coming out in a cold sweat just thinking about this question. 

Perhaps I should just run my fingernails up a rubber boot, or chalkboard or jump in a vat of fermenting horse shit.

In truth, I don't think I would take any of those options in favour of betting at my nemesis course. 

Although, give me a year or two and you may find me standing on the edge of a highrise car park in Milton Keynes. I'll be babbling on about Brighton and holding a tuft of luscious, green grass in one hand and a losing betting slip in the other as I take flight plummeting like a stone. 

I really do paint a rosy picture, hey. As dark as blood. 

So, on a lighter more jovial thought, which racecourse do you just dread to bet? 

Even if you have been following a horse, it's primed to win and even the trainer's wife gave you the wink as she breezed through the paddock in a flowing summer dress, you start to question the double gamble which you know is wrestling within the brain. Like a devil and angel on either shoulder, a tug-of-war where the rope enters your left ear and exits the right and the friction from all the pulling too and throw carves your grey matter like a pork cheese. 

Betting on the said horse is a gamble but the fact it is running at your nemesis course is the kiss of death. 

Now, for no particular reason, your despicable course may be different from mine. You may say Chester and I'm almost mocking you with the fact that I'm like a winning machine there.

Don't talk to me about Epsom Downs, I've never backed a loser. 

It's so easy. 

But Brighton...

I mean, I love the Royal Crescent. 

But ask me to bet at Brighton racecourse and I go quiet. You can see my brain working overtime trying to resolve some crazy equation that even Isaac Newton would run from. 

But you know what it's like...

I really fancy that horse today. 

Trying not to think about the last twenty-five bets that went south. Trying to convince myself that some old, ghostly witch that had been following me around the course for years had finally died or given up the ghost (so to speak).

Let's face it, even the bubonic plague died off in the end. 

So I chance my luck with a bet. I'm sure it will be ok. Just take a few deep breaths of the beautiful sea air and think pretty thoughts. 

As soon as the stalls open I realise the old witch has climbed on my back, whispering words of death and pointing me in the direction of Milton Keynes. 

I wonder, which course do you fear to bet?

Sunday, 5 July 2020

It's a Classic Tactical Affair

As a follower of two-year-old horse racing, I don't take much interest in the three-year-old Classics: 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Oaks & St Leger.  

Perhaps I should.

I was going to say it's a time thing, but thinking about it, that can't be the case as it doesn't take any longer than a few minutes. I guess I'm just not that interested which is a shame as these should be races to savour. 

I'm sure many race fans enjoyed the Oaks and the Epsom Derby. 

As it happened, I intended to watch the Derby but got carried away with work and then the next thing it had come and gone. 

I checked the result to see big-priced horses filled the frame. 

I still haven't watched the race. 

However, my good friend Eric Winner asked: ''Did you watch the Oaks?''

An hour or so later, I watched it. I knew what he was referring to because we had a conversation about pacemakers. 

I wonder what is your opinion about pacemakers in high-class races? I guess they are there for a reason. Strangely, trainers would, I imagine, say they have a pacemaker so it is a truly run race. Using tactics so it isn't a tactical affair. It doesn't sound very logical to me. 

The way the Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden horse stormed to the front, to me, made the race a ridiculous sight. It took away from the atmosphere and spectacle. Should these horses even be in the race? 

The pacemakers were ridden in splendid isolation. Then dropped back. The race was won easily by Love. 

A brilliant horse. 

I wondered what I was watching. The circus of the pacemakers. Any form of manipulation brings about problems if not ethical issues. Something very honest and true is tainted. 

To me, there's something wrong with this whole approach.

I guess pacemakers are needed?

A trainer, I guess, can instruct his rider to run any way they wish, as long as they are trying.

However, I wonder if these high-profile races are lessened by such tactics. If a horse is a champion then I'm sure it will win. To challenge adversity and win whether than is being held up or being brave enough to lead from the front.

That is a champion.

Isn't that the truth of the story and the one we want to watch and read about?

Whether a pacemaker or not any horse has the right under the present regulations to lead. So we may be questioning is a front runner simply a horse that leads or is it a pacemaker? 

But the whole premise of the argument is the intention. Clearly, the respective trainers made the decision to have pacemakers and I think it undermines everything good about horse racing. 

The Oaks wasn't the race it should have been. 

A superb winning performance was made to look poorer for the tactics employed by those so wanting to win.

No wonder I stick to my run-of-the-mill two-year-old racing. 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Andrew Balding's Derby Dream

Kameko Derby for Qatar Racing Limited, Andrew Balding and Betway
If there is one race any thoroughbred horse trainer would love to win it has to be the Epsom Derby.


It has to be the pinnacle of racing triumph for owner, trainer, jockey, and even bring a smile to the face of those lucky punters who won a few quid on the big race. That thought leads nicely to a story which connects a generation of horse trainers and the reason Andrew Balding has a dream of winning this historic race. 

On Saturday, July 4th at 4:55pm Park House Stables may well be having a double celebration if Kameko ran beat sixteen opponents and emulate the success of his father Ian who trained the Epsom Derby winner in 1971 when Mill Reef stormed clear of the field for Geoff Lewis and owner Paul Mellon. Mill Reef was an exceptionally talented thoroughbred who won 12 of his 14 races, finishing 2nd on two starts and crowned a champion horse in consecutive years and noted sire in Great Britain and Ireland. 

Kameko has raced just five times in his two and three-year-old career but already marked a potential superstar of racing after making his return to racing in June and winning the 2000 Guineas. 

Even after almost 50-years, the thought of living up to his father's success is ambition, Andrew Balding is looking forward to realising a dream of trainer and horse across the decades and generations. 

Kameko, a strapping son of Kitten's Joy out of a three-time winning mare could herald a magical moment in the career of this young trainer and connections Qatar Racing Limited.

Good luck to connections and those who are betting on Kameko to triumph in this fascinating race and story.  

Thursday, 25 June 2020

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 

Monday, 22 June 2020

Do You Need to Bet Thousands to be a Professional Gambler?

Lots of people like a bet. 

They do as they do. 

Although I am not in favour of punters betting for fun. 

Why? 

Simply because too many gamblers are naive to what they are doing and the potential implications of that first, small, bet. 

Sure it makes the football match more fun. 

But tell that to the compulsive gambler or addict who started the same way. I know you will say: ''Well, that won't happen to me!''

And you know what, I agree with you. On a statistical basis, you are, thankfully, unlikely to become a problem gambler or struggle with psychopathology. 

But here's the thing you need to consider. If you bet for fun, and you lack experience, knowledge, understanding then don't consider yourself the same as the few gamblers who make their betting pay. 

I'm not trying to be funny, but you are a million miles away from them. 

''Well, how are they so good?''

They have worked for years to hone their skills. You see to be a professional gambler isn't about betting thousands of pounds. You may have seen a few wealthy (naive) punters betting thousands like you bet £25. 

Trust me, that doesn't make them a professional gambler. They may be a professional idiot with a bundle of cash to burn but it's like saying the person who shouts an answer to a question is the most intelligent person in the room (just because they have similar DNA to a foghorn). 

You notice a lot of these professional gambler/pundits on TV. Most of them made their name by betting big money. That doesn't mean they know more than the person who bets quietly £100, £200 or £500 a time. However, everyone wants to know about extremes. TV shows are built on stories based on conflict. That's why Emmerdale Farm went from talking about cows in the field to a plane crash where half the cast was killed (partly, I guess, because their acting skills weren't much better than Ermintrude from the Magic Roundabout). In this day of political correctness, we cannot say she was a pink cow just in case there is some confusion about sexual orientation or prejudice.

In ten years' time, Emmerdale will see an alien invasion where the actors are replaced by robots.    

It's the same as all forms of media. 

That's why the Daily Sport wrote a story about the Men of March Public House in our little town saying it had so many windows so the girls in the ''brothel'' could easily see the police coming (no pun intended). 

It was all lies but it sold a few papers. 

A professional gambler, in my opinion, doesn't need to be a big bettor. 

They simply follow their undoubted passion in a very professional way. They didn't wake up one morning and consider they are a professional gambler just because they bet their gran's inheritance. 

Just as a plumber, an electrician or plasterer didn't wake up one day and decide they would be a tradesman (or woman).

You may think betting is betting but it's not. It's no different to someone trying to change an engine on a Porsche 911 but they have no idea the engine is in the back. In fact, you don't even have any tools. 

This is why to be a gambler with any hope of winning money comes down to a game of knowledge and principles. You can be exceptionally good at picking winners but still make little money because you lack the many and varied principles to be efficient in all you do. 

This aspect of gambling is even more important than the exceptional knowledge you may have at hand. 

In truth, the best gamblers are the ones who don't really enjoy gambling at all. They do so because they are convinced they have the odds in their favour. Anything can happen short term. You could have 20 losers in a row. To others, it may look like you have no idea what you are doing. However, long term the truth will show. 

TV adverts detail gambling as fun. The buzz. If you bet for the buzz then start beekeeping, at least you get a jar of honey. 

Betting is a serious business. 

When you calculate how much a gambler can lose over a lifetime betting a tenner here and there it's a scary thought. If you smoke, drink, and gamble (to excess or badly) your health and finances are going to look like you - a shadow of your former self. 

The best gamblers in the world aren't the people with books and notoriety they are the clever people who keep their mouth shut and get on with business in a professional manner and love their sport with a passion. 

They don't need anyone to pat them on the back to say well done. 

They couldn't give a toss.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

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.  

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

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.