Thursday, 7 January 2021
This can be specific to you, me, or the bustling crowd at the Cheltenham Festival.
I'm far from a natural gambler. In fact, I don't really like gambling. I don't bet for fun, the buzz, or all those things many gamblers do from day to day.
Each to their own.
If it makes you happy, doesn't lead to the wolf knocking on your door, or affects your life, family, or lead you to suicide you are onto a winner.
That probably sounds a bit flippant - but you know what I mean. You have to be responsible for your actions and if you can't you need to find an answer.
Anyway, you meet all sorts of people under the umbrella of the gambler. To be fair, you see some very sad sights, especially fixed to the betting terminals in the local bookmakers.
For many gamblers, betting gives a live hope of making a killing. That's winning cash not holding up a bookmaker's shop with a gun.
The good side of finding a winning betting angle is that you can easily outweigh the cost of living. You simply bet more money and win a grand a day! Well, you can if you know something the majority of the population doesn't.
Namely, you win money long term.
The holy grail is finding a system that gives a regular income. If you attach this to a bot that places your bets automatically, you have a passive income.
You could be sitting on the beach in the Bahamas, living the life most can only dream.
If you get to that level you are well and truly a winner. Because let's face it, very few people make their gambling pay. They simply don't know enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Is there a system, simple or complex, which guarantees you will make a profit? Better still, is there a system which shows hundreds if not thousands of points profit every season?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
I'm saying no names because these things are private but I've heard something incredible.
There could be a Millionaire Betting System out there. What I mean by this, is a system that can take let's say £100 and in a year, two, three or four and turn that small sum of money into one million pounds profit.
Many of you reading this will be thinking it's pie in the sky. It can't be possible. How can it be possible?
In fact, by the end of this Flat turf season, I will be in a position to detail whether or not this is fact or fiction.
Unfortunately for me, and you, I don't understand how this system works. But I imagine it won't be sold for any amount of money. (Even two million pounds!)
It's interesting to consider what goes on behind the scene of the betting exchanges. You see a bet and you have no idea who is behind that transaction. It could be a little old lady down the road placing her first bet. It could be a trader looking to make an easy £5 here and there. It could be a professional gambler with his finger on the pulse. It may even be Harry Findlay recouping his losses lumping on the next odds-on shot. The stories behind each and every bet and gambler are unknown.
But consider for a moment the next bet you place could well be a plus or minus for this new gambler on the block as he puts the Millionaire Betting System through its paces.
This time next year, he'll be a millionaire.
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
The Grand National has a long history.
In fact, the first winner of this race dates back to 1839 when Lottery won for jockey Jem Mason, trained by George Dockeray. Under the welterweight of 12 stone he made owner John Elmore's day winning at odds of 5/1.
Just for good measure Dockeray won the following year's Grand National 1840 with a horse named Jerry.
When you consider there has been 180 Grand National winners and counting, this is one race that doesn't lack stories to tell.
Probably the greatest being the three victories of the legendary Red Rum, trained by Ginger McCain, who won this historic race at Aintree, Liverpool in 1973, 1974 & 1977.
This is unprecedented.
Just to prove his astounding ability, Red Rum finished runner-up in 1975 & 1976.
Upon his death on the 18th October 1995, he was buried at the finishing post of this grueling steeplechase which covers a distance of four miles and two and a half furlongs and thirty jumps.
Most race fans will have a favourite winner whether it is Red Rum, Mon Mone, who won at odds of 100/1 in 2009, or Abd-El Kadar.
Unless you are a true aficionado of the greatest race in the world, it may be a name you have never heard. However, if you went back to 1850 Abd-El-Kadar would have been a name on every punter's lips, as this eight-year-old won for Irish raider Joseph Osborne. This 'pintsized' horse won at unquoted odds, and bookies only offered 20/1 in running as jockey Chris Green looked to hold some promise.
He went on to win by one length.
Owner Joseph Osborne was prudent enough to place a bet of £100 to win £4000. In today's money that would be worth the princely sum of £100,000.
There's one thing we can say about the difficult-to-pronounce Abd-El Kadar, (Little Ab) he wasn't considered by most a likely winner until after the race.
However, this wasn't the case the following year as this nine-year-old was noted as one of the major horses to beat at odds of 7/1. Everything was much the same bar a six-pound rise in the weights and ridden by Tom Abbot.
Abd-El Kadar won by the official distance of half a neck.
In many ways this horse was the original Red Rum, with high hopes of winning three Nationals in a row. When you consider the nature of this course and the fences back in the day this would have been deemed impossible.
Could Abd-El Kadar be the first horse to win the Grand National three times?
Sadly it wasn't be as the ten-year-old carrying a weight of eleven stone four pounds, ridden by Denny Wynne, and starting at odds of 9/1, was pulled-up at the seventeenth fence.
The race was won by Miss Mowbray at odds of 50/1 for George Dockeray in the ownership of T. F. Mason.
To his credit Abd-El Kadar ran in the 1853 race when finishing 5th at odds of 20/1. The winner of that race being Peter Simple, trained and ridden by Tom Oliver for owner Josey Little.
Unfortunately the lad had forgotten to put the nose band on Abd-El-Kadar and his trainer feared his chance would be gone. In fact, the owner/trainer rushed to the start and begged Lord Sefton to delay the race but he refused. His fears were realised as the horse pulled its way to the front on the first circuit, to the point he led by one hundred yards when coming back on the course but couldn't keep up the pace as he was challenged and passed by Peter Simple at the Canal Turn, his fate sealed.
The history books show that Abd-El Kadar never raced in the Grand National again, although there were rumours he did, but he is one of the few horses to not only win the Grand National twice but nearly make it three on the run.
Other horses to win the Grand National on consecutive years include:
The Colonel (1869, 1870)
Reynoldstown (1935, 1936)
Tiger Roll (2018, 2019)
With Tiger Roll disappointing on his return, it could well be the case this consecutive winner will be another Abd-El Kadar if he gets to the race at all.
Good luck to all runners in this year's Grand National.
Tuesday, 1 December 2020
Sunday, 22 November 2020
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.'
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.
Friday, 13 November 2020
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.
Saturday, 31 October 2020
They do as they do.
Although I am not in favour of punters betting for fun.
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.
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.
Saturday, 3 October 2020
Friday, 2 October 2020
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).
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.
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.
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.