Friday, 20 December 2019

Bookmaker's Odds Compiler Flaw that you can Exploit

I'm sure most gamblers can relate to this situation. 

And this is and isn't my pocket talking!

After the race, you realise you made a mistake. Now, you don't need to be Albert Einstein to appreciate the horse lost. I could draw a bell chart, add a little bit of algebra and a hypothesis if it makes me sound a tad more intelligent than the last tadpole I saw swimming about the pond. 

I'm sure I'm being unfair to the said tadpole who, at least, had the hope of turning into a frog and, even though remote odds, if you have read enough fairytales, a prince if a fair-haired maiden had a fetish for amphibians. 


How many times does it take to learn something? A lesson? Mistake? I mean, you would think it would be once, twice, three (no not hundred) times and all would be well on Planet Bet. A place where instead of tumbleweed you see big bundles of cash blowing uphill, down dale, even flying through the air like a bullet into bookmakers' satchels who appear just at the right time. Smile. Then run away into a cloud.

You have no problems applying for a visa on Planet Bet. As long as you have money you are a citizen for life. Well, if you keep losing money.  If you win on a regular basis, you will be shown the exit. 

It's a one-way street to a planet that looks pretty much the same as the United Kingdom.

If there has ever been a profession where you live and learn it is gambling. I have enough guidelines to fill an A - Z.

But I still make mistakes that drive me to distraction. 

However, with every minus, there is a potential positive (Visa-Versa). You may be wondering what I am going to tell you that's so important. A way to take advantage of those dreaded odds compilers who so often hammer the value out of your selection. This may sound pretty basic stuff. However, when you get to the basics of most things they are pretty simplistic. There aren't too many scientists in the world but plenty of people making lots of money. 

This one thing is worth noting because it is going to save you money and help you find value in a given race. 

Beware of horses that pull. Especially running over 7f+. You've all seen the race comments:

  • ''Keen''
  • ''Pulled''
  • ''Pulled hard''
  • ''F*** that pulled hard'' 
  • ''Don't bet on that horse ever again ''Hard''
  • Jockey dislocated both shoulders 
  • Horse beaten by a strange bundle of money in the shape of tumbleweed

How many times have you tried to forgive a keen horse? You know the beast has ability but ''It's a little bit keen'' (we tell ourselves those words as if it will be magically okay because we saw a rainbow on the way to the racecourse so that must cancel out the 1,000 magpies we saw pecking out the eyes of some old lady who picked blackberries from a hedge.) 

You know where the old lady lived? A couple of stops from Cloud Cuckoo Land. 

Take note of horses that pull because they are a pain in the arse. The crazy thing about these horses is that bookmakers never (ever) seem to factor this ''pulling like a train'' phenomenon into the odds. Perhaps it's a double bluff because they think punters are so forgiving.

''It pulled, but because I had a dream about a Leprechaun last night I think it will be calmer today...'') (This was me last night).  

The beast is priced 11/4 but pulls like a 10/1 shot. How the hell can it start at such short odds? 

The only way that highly-strung beast will calm down is if you throw a handful of sleeping tablets in its path and play a f****** harp.  

Unless you are convinced a keen horse is likely to settle let it go by fast, slow, upside down for all you care, but don't bet on the thing until... 

In truth, we should target these horses as weak links and look for other ''more sensible individuals...calm...placid...'' in opposition. 

If I bet on another ''frighteningly-keen horse, that saw the last poor soul enter an ambulance with dislocated shoulders'' you have permission to kick me up the arse.      

Related post: Do you need to give free racing tips (to give good advice?)

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Horse Betting Odds: A Story to be Told...

When thinking about a bet - assess the betting. 

Sure, I look at the horses and the betting. However, make no mistake, assessing the betting is very important for obvious reasons. To start, your potential profit comes from finding value. No value - forget about winning long term.

Understanding betting is one of the major criteria for gambling success.   

I would find it difficult to assess a horse race without betting odds. I have followed the two-year-old horse racing niche for many years. Along that journey, I have gathered knowledge that far exceeds your average punter. I don't say that trying to big myself up because it doesn't make sod all difference. However, I have an understanding of betting which goes beyond basic odds. 

Here's the point. 

Betting tells a story. It details a narrative that relates to the horse's chance of winning or losing. 

Perhaps many gamblers don't really consider what the betting means for the horse they are interested in. Let's say, you see your horse is priced 33/1. Just imagine, you bet £33 to win a grand (almost). But what does the price say? Clearly, it is saying it has, supposedly, a much less chance of winning than the favourite. This is a matter for debate because I'm sure there has been many a race where a longshot has thrashed the favourite and connections were pretty confident. On average we all know the rag has less chance of winning than the jolly. 

Here's an interesting point. The price of the given horse's chance of winning is very much dependent on the trainer. 

From my vast research into the two-year-old racing niche, I could tell you a number of stats that would surprise you. How certain high-profile horse trainers have more chance of winning at longer odds than shorter. How many trainers have little to no chance of winning on debut even with horses priced at short odds. How certain horse trainers can be backed with a high level of confidence if you know what you are looking for. 

As you can imagine, I'm not going to detail specifics because each and every word of wisdom is hard-fought. But I will tell you, with a little bit of hard work, the information is out there waiting to be found and asking questions that reveal data akin to finding a seam of gold. 

So when you bet on a given horse what is the betting saying. If you could put those odds into words what would you hear the trainer, owner, jockey or professional gambler say? 

From studying hundreds of two-year-old horse trainers I can appreciate more than most what chance a horse has from simply reviewing the betting. My analysis is often particularly strong on the horse's first and second start. Beyond those initial runs, the form can be assessed which helps where basic data cannot be found. 

If you bet on a horse priced 10/1 I would have an opinion. My opinion would vary from one trainer to the next. Quite often I would view the bet as good, bad or just plain ugly. 

The information I have gathered has to a great extent transformed my understanding. It has helped me assess races to a high level of accuracy and detail those horses with a live chance to those with little hope at all. 

There will always be exceptions to the rule. It is interesting when a two-year-old horse defies the odds that they often turn out to be very talented horses. 

The next time you look at the betting stop for a moment and consider what are the odds saying. It goes beyond the basics of fractions. It tells a story that you need to learn and understand. 

What is the influence of horse racing betting? 

It is more than pounds, shillings and pence. It is a variable which details, to a large extent, the truth of horse winning a given race. 

If you don't know what the odds mean for the horse you are about to bet then you need to be fearful of the layer who is about to accept your wager. 


Because there is a very good chance they know something that you don't.   

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Betting Strategies: Do You Want to Give Your Secrets Away?

I quite like writing an article about betting strategies.

Although, here is the problem. Do I really want to give all my good stuff away? By ''stuff'' I mean data that has taken a lot of work to find. We're not talking ten minutes on the Racing Post. 

It's a pretty average day this time of year for me to work 8 hours sifting through data. Basically, it's like a full-working day to find a scrap of info which may lead to a seam of gold. It is the equivalent to panning for gold. Most of the time you find rocks, sand, the odd fish and struggle with vertigo (that swirling pan). 

Basically, this information is for myself and my brother and related to two-year-old horse racing. The data I have found helps to narrow down the field and pinpointing winners. It is part of the jigsaw puzzle.

I can hear you saying: ''Well, this is all good ''stuff' but when are you going to tell me about these ''winning angles'' so I can put on a few quid and collect a wedge from the bookies?''

One of my friends shared an article I wrote on Reddit which hinted at an idea to make money gambling. It was more to get readers thinking about an interesting point. Someone replied saying they thought the article lacked any value. (Thanks). I guess they were the font of all wisdom (not).

I replied saying why on earth would I want to work 8 hours to give top information away for nothing in return? For all the world I would love to do just that (if you lived in a vacuum). But as soon as the info gets out of the bag, it is three-quarters worthless. 

The thing that gets me is that I am a giving person. I am always trying for others, helping and going the extra mile. Have you watched Judge Judy on TV? One of her favourite sayings: ''No good deed goes unpunished.''

Sadly, those words are true. 

My good friend Eric Winner says there are too many takers. How right he is. I've had people win £2,000 on an each-way treble I gave. I received thanks and interest for more of the same. (I don't need anyone's money) but they didn't even have the heart (certainly no soul) to buy me a drink. So have I got 8 hours to give away to someone who couldn't give a simple thank you? (These people are rare.)

It's a sad fact of life and the reason why we need to keep the good of life and get rid of the bad. I don't think it even registers with people but perhaps, again, that is the thoughts of a caring perspective.

It is, perhaps, too easy to see someone else's time as free and easy. I work on the information especially for my brother who is a plasterer. But would he plaster a couple of rooms for me in a trade for my equivalent time? I wouldn't like to ask. Luckily I do it for myself first and to others who I want to help. 

So the next time someone criticises that you just don't quite give enough remind them that they need to bring something to the table. And not a manky old slice of bread not good enough for ducks.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Do You Need Free Horse Racing Tips (To Give Good Advice)?

They say writers writer, gamblers gamble and cooks drink!

I remember a few years back, I used to write an article or two for this new online platform. The name has been long forgotten. It was run by a lovely lady and I wanted to help support her by writing decent content. It was a mutual thing as I would get a link back to my website which was all fine and dandy. Very few writers are going to spend hours writing decent content for nothing in return. 

There wasn't a problem. It worked. She was happy with the content on what turned out to be a sinking ship simply because so few people contributed. 

I used to write professional gambler articles about Alex Bird, Jack Ramsden, Phil Bull, general thought-provoking articles about gambling theory and a few race reports about two-year-old horse racing which I specialise. 

Quite often I would write a post while thinking aloud and then conclude my thoughts with either a free racing tip or my obligatory '' I'll be taking a watching brief.'' 

It was simply the format I wrote because writers write, gamblers gamble and Delia Smith likes a glass of wine while sunning herself on the Norfolk Broads.

Anyway, after one such post about a race, I noticed a rare comment from a reader or another contributor. 

It read along the lines: ''You clearly have a great understanding of your horse racing niche but are you intentionally trying to confuse people?''

This was greeted by me with a mixture of emotions: humour, as in ways it made me laugh, and irritation because I thought it was a particularly stupid question. My post had taken at least an hour to write - their comment 9.58 seconds. Strangely, exactly the same time it took Usain Bolt to run a 100m World Record in 2009. 

(From a psychological point of view, I was intrigued that the person thought as fast as Bolt ran.)


Why on earth would I be trying to confuse people? It was as if I had some hidden agenda. Perhaps (in their mind) I was being paid £1,000 by William Hill to confuse people so much they bet £2,000 on a loser and we had a business to take advantage of those who read random horse racing threads.

Perhaps they couldn't get beyond the comment ''watching brief''. 

I can tell you now, that comment was made to save people money rather than confuse them into such a state of bewilderment they phoned Tommo's Horse Racing Tips Hotline. 

The would-be annoyance received a polite, intelligent and reasoned if not slightly prickly reply because they had put me into a state of near anaphylactic shock. It was like I was writing from inside a wasp's nest.

I was left questioning myself with the words: ''Why do I bother!''

It reminds me of Billy Wilder's quote: ''No good deed goes unpunished.''

How true.

The crazy point about the race analysis (although no tip was given) was that the whole post was crammed full of information that I had researched from my own data which had taken unending hours and embued with 30-years experience. This wasn't the last three races of magnolia form found on the pages of the Racing Post. If my words had been a painting it would have been a George Stubbs Whistlejacket (1762) not a slab of square beige in a frame from Ikea.

Although the analysis didn't give a full-blown racing tip if the reader had dissected those rich, objective prose each horse mentioned could be appreciated quite easily. In fact, for the majority of runners, it detailed those with little chance to the major contenders. Even though the post said ''watching brief'' in so many words it gave a couple of each-way chances (including the winner). 

I felt like writing another comment to detail this fact but like the horse in another Stubbs'  painting Lion Attacking a Horse (1765), I was losing the will to live. I didn't want to get into a war of words because I can't stand politics. In the end, it's a futile conversation of two opinions the difference being that someone is trying to label you with their perception. To be fair, we can only take all these scenarios with a pinch of salt and be polite as one can be and move quickly on. It is either that or an ugly war of words on a subject which scales into insignificance when you see what is happening around the world. 

In truth, you don't need to give a free horse racing tip to give good advice. The sad fact for many tipsters out there is that their tips are not as good as someone who doesn't really give a tip.

Two, three, four tips detailing a horse, time, meeting and bet taking moments to write as boring as watching that magnolia patch of paint dry in its Ikea frame, which hangs on a beige wall of someone's random house. 

The no-tip analysis is akin to a hand-crafted tapestry worked with golden thread...

Make your mind up which you would rather read.

There's always a Mills & Boon for the romantic at heart.   

Friday, 22 November 2019

The Professional Gambler: Fame, Fortune and Failure

The Professional Gambler: Fame, Fortune and Failure
An interesting piece of research by David M. Hayano. (July 1984)

Hayano investigates the pursuit of the professional gambler with his insightful research. He is currently a professor of anthropology at California State University, Northridge.   


He investigated the history of gambling from amateurs to professional gamblers. Hayano describes how since the 1930s the social organisation of gambling has changed due to legalisation of casinos and cardrooms. This led to a completely new breed of professional gamblers. He describes four distinct subtypes: the worker-professional, the outside-supported professional, the subsistence professional and the career professional. The majority of professional gamblers eventually succumb to the pressures of gambling and encounter some degree of devastating social and financial failure. A small minority find relatively lasting fame and fortune. In this modern era, gambling is seen as a kind of leisure activity, aided by casino and betting promotions, often followed by by national media and publications. These conditions have helped professional gamblers pursue their specialised art with much more publicity, safety and potentially greater reward than ever before.

Professional gamblers have been hailed as free and independent spirits and also vilified as worthless scoundrels. Scholars have neglected the objective study of professional gamblers. 

However, Hayano's research offers an inside view of the professional gambler's life and play. This research used source material as well as over 10 years of research including participation and observation (mainly poker players in California and Nevada).

The concept of a ''professional gambler'' is vague, often abused by self-glorification and self-deception. The term full-time professional gambler should be used guardedly. It carries connotations of specialised training and education, membership in a guild or association, written rules of conduct, and additional formal traits. 

One of the earliest attempts to describe the professional gambler comes from Albert H. Morehead (1950). The May issue of The Annals, a publication devoted to gambling in which he discussed four subtypes of the professional gambler: the banker, the cheater, the compulsive gambler and the percentage gambler. 

Hayano detailed that Morehead's typology was much too broad with subtypes overlapping or not relevant at all. For example. the banker may be the owner of the casino or cardroom and, as such, a businessperson. Also, the cheater shouldn't be considered a gambler, much less a professional gambler. The compulsive gambler, a perpetual loser, should be placed in an entirely different category.   

Morehead's description of the percentage gambler as a skillful player with a feel for probabilities and odds seems to apply to some contemporary professional gamblers of an older generation. But this characterisation is misguided for many young professional gamblers of blackjack and poker have not acquired their skill through what Morehead termed their ''innate aptitude'' but memorizing and calculating specific mathematical formulae in their head (card counting).     

The professional gambler typologies vary with others such as the social, economic& compulsive gambler. It is established the professional gambler is skilled in one or more gambling games, reliant on skill, knowledge, and experience to win consistently. 

The basic definition of a professional gambler is someone who derives all or a significant part of their income from gambling activities. 

Hayano found four subtypes:

The Worker Professional:

This includes men and women who work on the side, but spend a large proportion of their time gambling. They are not gambling as a full-time career and seen more as a serious hobby than an occupation.  

The Outside-supported professional: 

This gambler has a steady income from savings, investment, and retirement fund or other sources. This includes retirees, housewives, and students who are trying to eke out a small profit from week to week. For example, their commitment to playing poker as a total way of life is minimal. 

The Subsistence professional:

This gambler is a consistent winner (but small wins). Their goal is to win enough to pay the bills and yet have a bankroll to play the next day. There is little commitment to betting with higher stakes and from a poker perspective playing tougher competition.    

The career professional:

Has made a social and psychological commitment to gambling as an occupation (even if totally broke). Most will not seek work but borrow money in order to return to gambling. Many bet high stakes and enjoy the lavish attention that accompanies high rollers.

It's interesting the desire for upward mobility of this subtype is moderate to high (compared to the other groups which are moderate or non or little).

It is worth noting that the subtype of any gambler is rarely permanent. This may vary from game to game or year to year. This change may be behaviourally, psychologically, and financially (which make studying/research difficult). In fact, all subtypes can merge with the ebb and flow of success or failure to win. Thus professional gamblers and non-professionals weather many changes of mood and fortune. The image of the totally controlled, unemotional, economically motivated professional gambler who wins year after year is a serious distortion of the facts. 

Games And Background of the Professional Gambler:

The aim of the professional gambler is to win enough money to sustain himself or herself (possibly others). This relies on their chosen game/sport. They do not make a living from pure chance as their talent is skill-based. Games such as roulette, craps, lotteries, dice, dominos, slot machines are fixed odds so long term the gambler will lose (or virtually impossible to win). 

With regard to poker, it is based on skill and chance. This includes blackjack (with regard to card-counting). Other games may include strategic board games (chess, backgammon, etc), football, horse racing using skill to analyse past information to predict the future. However good the professional gambler, it is only a possibility they could win it isn't likely or easy. 

Unsurprisingly, people who said they would like to be professional gamblers like to take chances in general. Twice as many men as women chose this profession, a so-called masculine activity. In addition, there is a marked difference in games of chose with regard to sex.

Hayano's study of professional poker players revealed that many more men than females gamble as full-time work. The average poker player is male, white, aged 25 - 60, with some high-school education. Interestingly, it encompasses virtually every regional, religion, age, ethnic, and educational group.  Most poker players live in urban settings where casinos, card rooms, and associated gambling locations are found. The old days of professional gamblers travelling to find private games have turned into a sedentary lifestyle (especially these days of online gaming). This is beneficial to winning gamblers, as they are less likely to be robbed or highjacked.

The pursuit to be a professional gambler usually starts in adolescence, having some success gambling. The success may be so overwhelming that the individual never seeks non-gambling work (or something you do to get by if the gambling turns sour). Gambling can be seductive when viewed with job dissatisfaction, quick money, and ease in gambling opportunities. As Hayano says: ''Work and play, fun and games, merge''. These distinctions no longer exist. 

Professional gamblers tend to specialists rather than generalists. Some are only skilled in one game of poker or favour this compared with others. Or than horse racing gambler who specialises within a given age group of horse or race type. However, others may be more versatile perhaps playing poker and blackjack, while they gamble at golf while waiting for the football results.

Professional gamblers vary in how they bet. Some will bet their entire bankroll on a single game while others never risk more than a fraction of their wealth. In this sense, they can be fearless while others are very selective.  


In the old days, a professional gambler's reputation was based on word of mouth. This modern era sees winners reach newspapers, television and news outlets. Publications such as The Gambling Times have helped with promotion and the legitimisation of gambling. 

In fact, an industry has been built to help would-be gamblers learn such skills. These aspects have helped fuel fame and fortune of those at the top of their game. 

Las Vegas hotels and casinos often sponsor gambling tournaments, which has helped with promotion and social acceptance. These include the World Series of Poker (Binion's Horseshoe Hotel, downtown Las Vegas), which offer dozens of competitions which contestants can choose. By far the largest group of professional gamblers come from poker players and draws large congregations. Young and old players compete to win perhaps 50 times their bankroll. 

The major professional poker gamblers rely on these games to accommodate such rich play which is unlikely outside major tournaments.

Many poker players refer to themselves as superstars or world-class players. This positive change in self-identity is a far cry from the days or ill repute and social negatives.

However, while many poker players enjoy fame others shun the limelight. This is certainly true of blackjack players whose major advantage is card counting. These players may be individuals or part of a collusive team.  Perhaps the most notorious of these was organised by Ken Uston, a former vice-president of the Pacific Stock Market, who in the 1970s turned to blackjack as a business and with a team won $1 Million from casinos around the world. Take a look at this publication The Big Player (1977).    


Here's a question, how much money does a professional gambler make a year? It's a difficult question to quantify. Gambling winnings and losing aren't regularly or evenly.  Many high-profile poker and blackjack players have won and lost millions in a year. For many professional gamblers, the only relevant figure is their bankroll at any given moment (how much is owed or loaned). 


Permanent or cyclical loss is an occupational hazard for professional gamblers. Career gamblers must be able to cope with severe losses of both money and self-confidence after a fall. A major loss may see the need for a new bankroll this usually comes from close friends and peers. This is possible until the gambler has a reputation as a poor or erratic player or unlikely to be able to pay off debts. These transactions are often free of interest, often over the table, while the game is in play. 

This interaction raises the interesting question of how friends play against each other. This is borne out by the fact that high-stake game rarely sees a stranger come to the table. In fact, strangers are often treated with suspicion and judged by the way they handle their cards, chips and play specific hands. This is a vital skill of the professional gambler and one they are usually astute. They may be a good player, poor and even a potential cheat. 

Professional poker players would state they play hard against even opponents they have lent money. However, professional gamblers play in many different ways. 

Repeat losers face tough decisions regarding debts and failure. It may be time to stop gambling, play with smaller stakes, in different clubs, even another city or non-gambling employment. Often career professional gamblers can find the money to continue as they are more accustomed to highs and lows. In their eyes failure is temporary. They must find strength in the belief that their skill, perseverance, and new stake they will win. 

It is often the case, for years the same players will be seen sitting at the same gambling tables. Lending and borrowing may see friendships change. Gambling is the classic zero-sum game: winners win because others lose. Consistent winners move upwards to the tip of the competitive pyramid. This money comes from the middle and lower level players, from amateurs, hopeless losers, and former winners. 

Professional gamblers thrive on failure. 

It should be remembered in this new era of gambling has changed radically. Gambling has become more popular and more available. Professional gamblers are vastly more skillful, strategically sophisticated and sedentary than their historic counterparts. With greater wealth and leisure time, many individuals pursue gambling as a serious hobby on a daily basis. These two subtypes of worker-professional and outside-supported professional are appearing in greater numbers. This has made gambling more difficult for the full-time subsistent and career professional gamblers. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

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


Ironically, for a devout, lifelong atheist, Phil Bull 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.


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.

The Mathematics of Betting by Phil Bull pro gambler

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.


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.’

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Do You Have A Favourite Horse Trainer to Bet?

Horse trainers. 

Big, small, plenty in the middle. 

Why would you want to follow a horse trainer in favour of others? It's the same old story, you will have a better understanding of what they are all about. You will be in tune with the highs and lows but mostly you the opportunities which it brings. 

Know your niche. 

I follow lots of horse trainers. Studying two-year-old horse racing is very much about understanding strength and weakness especially how the trainer works. Because each has its own approach. If you don't appreciate this information you will be at a loss on all fronts. 

One of my favourite horse trainers is Karl burke. I always say if you can't make money following Spigot Lodge. I'm not going into how I make money from this outfit although it isn't particularly difficult to learn about the money trail. 

Which horse trainer is your favourite and how much success have you had?

Good luck to all. 

Monday, 11 November 2019

It Takes Research to be a Successful Gambler?

It's an interesting question. 

Are you the 1% of the horse racing population who does your own research? 

To be fair, I have no idea of the percentage of punters who do their own, independent research or study.

It may be more or less. I guess the first person to ask is you.

I have had this conversation with my good friend Eric Winner. And I know we have all done it, but, hopefully, we have all learned a lesson or two from our gambling pursuits over the days, months and years. 

These words paint a familiar picture. We go to the bookies. Look at the Racing Post on the wall. Read the last three pieces of form. Make a bet. And another loser. 

(It may have won!). 

Let's face it, it's not the best approach to finding winners. 

I wonder what percentage of the population does this day in day out. It may have been going on for years. Perhaps a whole lifetime of betting! The plus side, we simply need the memory of a goldfish (to appreciate the last three races). 

Swim around the tank. What was I thinking? I remember... I bet three starfish to one. Turn left, via the seaweed, under the ornamental bridge, have a quick bite of fish flakes and wait for the race to begin. 

I think it's the Derby. 

A competitive field of three guppies (2/1), angelfish (4/6f), and the outsider one of those suction fish who just sticks to the side of the tank (50/1). 

For God's sake be a piranha!

Everyone has their own way of doing things. Who am I to say what is right from wrong? As I have said umpteen times. The answer to the question is whether you make money or not. If you are winning, then keep doing what you are doing. If you are losing, then you need some aspect of assessment and re-evaluation. 

What troubles me about most people who bet is that many never learn from the day they placed that first bet. 

I don't know about you, but there is something very sad about that mentality. Would you go to college for years and come out knowing the same ''very little'' you went in? 

A little bit more education, certificate even if it isn't a Ph.D.  

But for many, the three-race analysis is the norm. You see it in bookmakers up and down the country. I have nothing against such use as a recap or just to familiarise your mind. But if that is the start and finish of your reasoning then it's a worry. 

You may think: ''So what!''

You're welcome to your thoughts. 

However, if you are expecting to make your betting pay by doing the same as Tom, Dick or Harry then you will probably suffer a similar failure. 

That's why doing your own research is worthwhile. I'm not talking rocket science. I don't expect you to turn a piece of lead into a gold bar. However, with your own research, you may find a seam of gold. Something lying in the pan other than shit. 

To achieve some level of understanding doesn't take much time or effort. 

What do you need?

All you need is an inquisitive mind and the ability to ask yourself a question. 

It might be something as simple as knowing a little more than most about a given horse trainer. You decide - you are going to be the font of all knowledge when it comes to a horse trainer. 

It could be anyone. 

John Gosden to John Ryan. It's your choice. Here's the key to understanding. What do you think 90% of the population of gamblers, race fans, journalists and pundits know about this trainer? 

Find a few questions about the 10% of the knowledge no one is talking about, bothers with or tries to understand. 

That knowledge may give you a chance of appreciating something that most do not. 

Trust me, you are getting nearer the gold.

I love doing my own research. Why do I bother? Well, with a little bit of work I know something which most doesn't. I can clearly see that the information yields a profit or, at least, steers me away from an opinion that guarantees I lose. 

The other day I detailed a thought. 

David Simcock. 

A decent trainer of two-year-olds. He has a fair number of winners. His juveniles often go well on their second start. But here's the question? What can you tell me about his two-year-olds on their second start? 

It's not a trick question. It is just me detailing what knowing or not knowing can reveal. 

It's like one of those questions on Who Want's to be a Millionaire. It may well be the million-dollar question (or at least £500). 

As I write this sentence I'm thinking: ''I know something you don't.''

Should that worry you? You may not give a rat's arse. Good for you. It makes no difference to me. I'm happy to live in my bubble of knowledge. It's a tranquil place, a cozy club chair, TV, laptop, and a bed with a mattress cushioned with a wad of cash.

We live in a world where knowledge is power. 

Did you know that for over 300 horses David Simcock has never had a winning two-year-old on its second start at odds bigger than 5/1?

It didn't take me that much time to find that answer. 

It didn't come from looking at the last three races published in the Racing Post, stuck on a wall in the local bookmakers. 

Funny how we are limited by a lack of questions and understanding. 

It's self-imposed.