You Won't Win

I know it's not horse racing but this article on blackjack, written by Arnold Snyder, is fascinating simply for his frankness in explaining his thoughts about the chances of winning in a game he has dedicated his life. If you are interested in blackjack, card counting or strategies, it makes sobering reading. Not sure if it has relevance to horse racing betting or trading but it makes a point or two that we may all relate.

[Written from the depths of a once-in-a-lifetime magnitude losing streak...]

I am now in the process of editing a new book which, by the time you read this article in Casino Player, will already be published. Blackjack Wisdom is a compilation of some seventy-five magazine articles I have written over the past fifteen years or so, many of which initially appeared in Casino Player.

As I wrap up this project, I must confess that an entire chapter has been excised from this book—and the single longest chapter at that. “Bucks in Flux” was, for many months, the working title of Chapter One. This chapter was composed of more than a dozen articles I had written over the years for various periodicals, all with a common theme—negative fluctuations.

Among these articles were such gems as:

“Is It all Just Luck?” from Card Player,

“Speaking of Streaking,” from Casino Player,

“Those *!%]#* Fluctuations,” from Poker World,

“Good Guys Lose and Bad Guys Win,” from Blackjack Forum, and many other fine essays which, I must admit, bore some of my favorite titles. Perhaps I will include this chapter, or portions of it, in Blackjack Wisdom II. Perhaps I will simply let these writings die, uncollected in any anthology. But I have trashed the entire chapter at this late hour, with a decision instead to end the book with this article you are reading right now. So, you—my Casino Player faithful—do not have to buy the book, since you already know how it ends!

Essentially, each and every one of the “Bucks in Flux” articles delivers the same depressing message, a message I have espoused in every one of my books, a message which can be edited down to three words:

You won’t win.

Do I really need fifteen articles to say those three words? I don’t think so. Though it occurs to me that all blackjack books should have at least one chapter titled: “You Won’t Win.”

The message delivered by most blackjack books and systems has always been the same baloney. Stanley Roberts’ Winning Blackjack was once advertised with the slogan: “Make every casino in the world your personal bank account!” Ken Uston’s Million Dollar Blackjack was promoted with: “Make $500 per day any time you want!” And these aren’t phony systems; these books contain legitimate card counting strategies.

You can’t always tell the real systems from the phonies by looking at the advertising. Promotion is a promotion. Authors of blackjack books, like authors of all “self-help” books—from weight-loss systems to multi-level marketing programs—are reluctant to deliver the message:

You won’t win.

Nobody wants to hear it.

When I self-published my first book, The Blackjack Formula, in 1980, and advertised it in Gambling Times magazine with the catchy, upbeat slogan: “Card Counters Beware,” stating in the ad that most of the blackjack games available in the casinos of the world were unbeatable with any card counting system, the publisher of Gambling Times, Stan Sludikoff, told me bluntly that I would never make any great amount of money trying to sell books with that type of pessimistic advertising.

Stan was write. Seventeen years later, I’m still just scraping by, still delivering that vastly unpopular message:

You won’t win.

Of course, there are a few players who do win. Professional card counters exist; they’re not entirely mythical. It’s just that I know that these professional players are so exceptional, so obsessed, so dedicated, such gluttons for punishment, so terror-stricken by the concept of working a nine-to-five job, so few and far between in every sense of few and far between, that, honestly, you are highly unlikely to be one of these human anomalies. And the most honest thing I can say to you, if you tell me that you really want to become a professional blackjack player, is:

You won’t win.

And the reason is fluctuations.

If you are anything like the masses of humanity, if you like to be rewarded for your efforts within some reasonable time frame, you won’t be able to take the fluctuations. Those negative downswings will be bigger, and harder, and longer lasting, and more upsetting, and more unbelievable, than your level of toleration. Your losses will tear at your heart, and fill you with emptiness, and leave you in a state of quiet desperation. I hear this from players over and over again. I hear this from players who claim to have studied diligently and practiced for hours on end, for weeks and months with a singular dream—to beat the casinos.

And they don’t win.

And they ask me why.

And I say, “Oh, it’s just a normal standard deviation. A negative fluctuation. It could happen to anyone.”

But it happened to you.

Your money.

Your hours.

Your months of dreaming.

And you didn’t win.

So, over and over again, in my books, and my columns, and my magazine articles, I feel compelled to deliver the message I have been delivering since my very first book in 1980:

You won’t win.

Some card counters will win, but not you. Some card counters will actually experience inordinate positive fluctuations! Wow!

But not you.

You won’t win.

Other card counters will be having champagne parties in their hotel rooms, celebrating that marvelous life of freedom and money and adventure that just seems to come naturally with the lifestyle of a professional gambler. But not for you. You will be among the unfortunate few who, statistically speaking, will be located in the far left tail of the Gaussian curve. Someone has to be there. It will be you.

I have been in that tail; it is a cold and lonely place. I suspect many of those who write about this game have been there, and they know what a cold and lonely place it is. Every professional card counter I know has been there. And if they have played blackjack professionally for many years, they have been there many times. These players have hearts stronger than mine, and I suspect, stronger than yours.

This much I know: it is easier to make a living writing about this game than it is playing it.

In any case, instead of filling an entire chapter of this book with some fifteen articles, written over a period of seventeen years, every one of which simply says, you won’t win, I’ve tossed the whole chapter out in favor of leaving you with just those three words of blackjack wisdom:


By Arnold Snyder
(From Casino Player, November 1997)
© Arnold Snyder 1997

The Gambler's Gambler...

Gamblers. A special breed. Those punters who went that step further to take on the bookmakers at their own game. Read this collection of articles which detail individuals which not only won big time but in the process made a name for themselves. Be inspired by these gamblers. Learn what made them tick, gave them an edge and become their specialty. It's intriguing to note how each favourite bets contrasted greatly so they all found their niche. Fascinating reading. 

John Aspinall   
Harry Findlay 
Dave Nevison 
Alan Woods 
Barney Curley
Freddie Williams 
J P McManus 
Paul Cooper 
Sydney Harris 
Phill Bull 
Jack Ramsden 
Alex Bird 
The Shadow
Clive Holt 
The Computer Group
The Art Of Manliness: I'm A Professional Gambler
The Hidden Cost Of Being A Pro Gambler  
Becoming A Professional Gambler
Kid Delicious: Pool Hustler
Random Pro Gambler: My Story  
A Tale Of A Pro Gambler 
Meet The 9 - 5 Gamblers  
The Opportunities Of A Professional Gambler: Eddie Murray  

Who is your favourite gambler of all time? Detail your thoughts by leaving a comment. 

8 Top Tips for Becoming a Professional Gambler by Keith Driscoll

Most folk are under the assumption that professional gamblers have one bet, play one game of poker, or most other form of betting, and then collect the winnings and go back to their castle in the country for a few months rest, before having another gamble!!

I wish it was like that, but in legitimate life it is vastly different. I personally work 10-12 hours a day, 360 days a year, and still do a bit on the days off, including Christmas day. When you see professional poker players they are spending 3-5 days at a table in a tournament every week, sometimes sitting for 12 hours, and when they are not doing that, they are at home playing poker on the computer.

So if you are looking for a relaxing life, do not take up gambling as a profession. Yes it can pay well, very well, but you need to put in a lot of work, and it can be 2-3 years before you are making any meaningful money. Anyone who tells you otherwise is in all likelihood lying just to receive your hard cash.

When you see tipping advertisers stating things like "We made $26,000 to $100 stakes in the last 12 months", it looks breathtaking. However, they need to receive your attention as a 1/8th ad in a paper costs around $500, and they need that funds back before turning a profit. And how many average gamblers have $100 to bet, especially when you need a betting bank, and with $100 stakes, the cash you need before you even place one bet is around $3,500, any less and you can easily blow it all. Then divide the $26,000 by the $100 to work out how countless points you make a year, and that is 260, then divide by 52 to see how numerous points profit a week, and that comes to 5pts a week. Wow!! If you are just starting off you are likely to only be using a realistic $5, so that is $25 a week average. That may not sound much but you have to learn to walk before you can run. If you cannot profit with 10c bets, how the hell will you profit with $100 bets?

Also think why various tipsters advertise every day. This is because they have such a large turnover; they need to keep renewing the customer base. This does not always mean the tipster is rubbish, in various cases they may be profitable long term, but the average Joe Punter always wants profit NOW and every day, and average Joe points more than 5 points per week, whereas a full time professional would be happy with that.

If you are going to gamble to profit, then for the initial few months this should be your basic training were you will be doing a lot of work for little return, but you will also learn how to handle losing runs, how to cope with mistakes, and if it does all go improper and you lose the betting bank, you should have learnt a lot from it for as little loss as possible, as you should only ever bet what you can afford to lose, especially while proving to yourself you can profit. You may have a spare $10,000 available, but prove you can profit with a $1000 bank maiden, and then add to the bank monthly.

So here are the 8 tips you need to learn, and stick to religiously if you want to stand a chance of ever profiting from betting.

1. Patience: If you want big profits now, try the lottery. Building up you betting banks takes time a lot of time.

2. Betting Banks: If you do not have a betting bank to inception with, and you are just betting from whatever is in your pocket, you will never make a profit. It is as simple as that. Most punters lie to themselves that they are breaking even. Do not do that, be truthful.

3. Staking: You see betting plans for sale on EBay, most of them may make you a few dollars quickly, but it is 100% guaranteed they will bust your bank as these are designed by amateurs who have no understanding of betting maths in the actual world. Always inception with levels, if you cannot make bankroll with that simple staking plan you will not make money with anything more complicated. Once you have proven over a few months you can turn a profit with level stakes, and then you can switch to each bet being between 1%-3% of the bank. Most professionals will emergence at 3%, but get it down to 1% as the bank grows.

4. Bank Management: Managing banks is not just staking, it also involves listing every bet on a spreadsheet so you can monitor things like average odds, strike rate, losing runs, etc. If you do not list every bet, you will have no idea where you stand, and no way of having data to look back and learn from.

5. Risk Management: Most people follow one tipster, or one system. This is usually suicide, you do not see the big boys in the city markets investing everything in one stock do you? No. They spread it around, and so should you. Use a number of systems, proven tipsters, method bets, etc. And ensure you have a separate betting bank for each (you can use the same betting account, as the spreadsheets you keep will explain you the amount which is in each bank).

6. Alcohol: NEVER drink while gambling, you will bet more than you should, you will bust banks, you will play bets you would never do when sober.

7. Forums: Join a forum where you can bite ideas, this can prove a huge facilitate, but make sure it is a good one, and not full of idiots just spouting off how good they are!

8. Fun Bets: You are often told not to do any 'fun bets' if you wish to turn professional, but this will not happen, as it is hard to break kind of habits at earliest. The best way to treat fun bets is to handle them as you would any pro bets. Separate betting bank, list all bets, and it will not be long before you lose the bank and realise how wonderful your own tipping is!

This advice goes for betting in any country, on horseracing, greyhounds, soccer, NFL, poker, etc.

You can also find various free horse racing systems, staking systems, poker systems, on the web, ignore them, they are only free for a reason, as they lose hard cash.

These days it is possible to get horseracing software, poker software, etc that can benefit you, they will only make you hard cash if you are already doing so, they just enhance your skills, not make them. Search the internet for reviews on every product before parting with any bankroll; ask people on forums which software is the best.

Keith Driscoll has been a professional gambler since the late nineties, and now runs many sites, forums and blogs as Managing Director of Win2Win Limited. You can visit my site at Free Horse Racing Tips

Horse Racing Systems and Handicapping Basics

If you've been handicapping horse races and trying to make a profit for a while, you realize just how difficult that might be.

You also have probably figured out that you need a method or system that works and that you can repeat. When you're betting on horses and don't have any regular steps that lead to good winners, every bet is a shot in the dark.

Like any other endeavor in life, winning at the horses requires certain basic steps and you can never get away from them. It doesn't matter what system you use, it has to start with being able to accurately estimate the frequency or probability of a horse winning the race. Unless you know how often a horse with certain qualifications would win, how do you know what it is worth?

Some people think the key is to compare the odds of each horse to the field. For instance, they look at a horse that is fourth in the betting order and at 6-1 and think that its a good bet because the other three horses that are lower in odds aren't that much better than that one. They think that it has a chance to win and at 6-1 they think it is a good value.

The problem is, their thinking is murky at best because those terms are all subjective. For instance, what is a good chance? Does that mean one in five? Does it mean one out of three? We're dealing with finite numbers so thinking in terms of good and bad, maybe and might are not going to be good enough to make a profit in the long run. That is the difference between a pro and a part time or recreational horse player.

The irony of it is that it is not an advanced concept that you would think only a pro would know or use. It is a very basic factor of finding profitable bets or investments in life. The whole equation comes down to this. Risk < reward = profit. In plain English, when the risk is less than the reward profitable situations occur. Those profitable situations, however, can be accurately identified if you use math and not words like might probably and maybe.

Therefore, one of the very basics of horse racing handicapping is to think in mathematical terms. You don't count your winnings with words, you use numbers to quantify your results. In order to have positive results to quantify you need to start thinking in mathematical terms. It may sound incredibly simple but it is one key to successful horse racing handicapping you can't overlook.

Author: Bill Peterson

Article Source:
About the Author

If you want to learn how a horse owner and insider handicaps just go to and get the truth. Bill Peterson is a former horse race owner and professional handicapper. To see all Bill's horse racing material go to Horse Racing Handicapping, Bill's handicapping store.

Weird and Amazing Facts about Horse Racing

Horse racing is a thrilling and fantastic game for many people. But as there is money involved, it becomes a great sport for the betting enthusiasts. Getting to know the amazing facts about horse racing can make you peep into all new world of stallions.

How it started and a few records?

For the successful horses, the owners would pledge their lives. Yes, they can earn more on stud than on the racecourse, and $100 million is involved in horse racing every year. It all started with the chariot races of Rome, and they are the organized form of horse races, from where today’s horse races are derived. These races trace back to 4500 BC in Central Asia.
  • Till date, there is no record that a horse more than 18 years of age has won the race.
  • A racehorse on an average weighs 1000 pounds, and the recorded that is lowest for a jockey is 49 pounds.
  • The highest aged jockey was Levi Barlingume, who raced till 80 years of age, which was till 1932.
  • Humorist was the winner of the Epsom Derby in 1921 that ran with only one lung.
Big hearted horses have more chance to win

You will also be excited to know about the organs of the racing horses. Yes, only the horses with the large hearts have a great chance to win, compared with the rest those who have smaller or average-sized hearts.

If you are one of the group who think that horse racing is not very animal friendly , and they have stopped putting money in it. You have options to participate in other sports or you can play casino games at Betfair to get the same thrilling experience.

Slow or fast?

If you are looking for something funny then here is some amusing fact for you. Time is significant when it comes to winning a race. In 1945, the recorded time for winning that is the slowest of all time was set. Never Mind II, the horse refused to move from a fence, and the jockey had no other go, but to abandon the horse. But, to his joy, all the runners of the race had either been disqualified or fallen. So, he rushed back to complete the 2-mile race in 11 minutes and 28 seconds. This means he would have been at leisure.

Facts about different breeds

Most of the times, you will find that the thoroughbred horses are chosen for their speed, agility, and determination. They had Arabian ancestors and were produced in England. The Arabian racehorses that raced more than 1000 years age are of just ½ the size of the thoroughbred horses. Compared with these, the quarterbred horses that are specially bred for quarter mile races are smaller and less muscular. For harness racing, the standardbred horses are used. They are best suited for trot than gallop racing.

Dangers associated with horse racing

While it can be seen a great sport, no one can deny that many a times horse racing involves the fatal end of the horses on the race course, with broken spines. Horses are also killed because of the use of drugs that are meant for improving speed but are illegal and restricted. Thousands of former racehorses end up at slaughter beds. Even younger horses, say of age 3 and 4 are made to risk their lives on tracks. 

2:00 Pontefract Racing Tips (3rd Oct) RACINGUK.COM/BRITISH STALLION STUDS EBF MAIDEN STAKES (Plus 10 Race) (CLASS 4) (2yo)

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 1m 2f 6y on good to soft going. 

Nine two-year-old runners. Seven with race experience. Not the most inspiring of a contest in some respects but I have my eye on one of the debutantes. Physicist is trained by Paul Cole and owned and bred by Mrs. Fitri Hay. This bay colt is a son of Galileo is out of a poor race mare, placed but never winning. The betting is the guide for this juvenile and the reason for making a wager. If 8/1 & SP has fair each-way claims but if weak in the betting best watched. 

2:50 Windsor - 

Sir Michael Stoute has been firing in a few winners and Adamant looks to hold every chance of winning this maiden after making his debut as the second string when finishing a fourth of ten behind stablemate Elucidation. To be fair, this grey colt didn't inspire confidence on that first start and backers today will be fixing their hopes on the reasoning this son of Dalakhani was in need of the race. This breeze up purchase cost 130,000E and races in the silks of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing. 

I would take a watching brief.  

Kid Delicious: Pool Hustler

When cleaning a pool table, you have to go with the grain - follow the weave of the felt so it doesn't disturb the natural pattern in the swath. Lightly brush across the surface, do not put too much pressure or you'll rip the felt. Hustling pool is pretty much the same process - go with the flow, follow a pattern, inconspicuously sweep the room, don't force it, let the mark come to you and don't get ripped off. It's hard to be a modern day pool hustler, what with movies, books and the Internet always leaking tricks of the trade. It takes a creative hustler to make a living at it anymore.

That is exactly what Danny Basavich was - a creative hustler who used improvisation and quick thinking to hustle. Basavich is a legend known in billiards circuits as Kid Delicious - a man who traveled the U.S. and parts of Canada, sharking the local talent - including an alleged $5,000 take right here in Myrtle Beach - for a half a million dollars in a little more than 5 years.

Free Horse Racing Tips, Click Here!
On Saturday, Kid Delicious was scheduled to display his table talents at new pool hall Shore Thing Billiards on Lake Arrowhead Road, but the event was postponed in light of the threat of Hurricane Irene. He was scheduled to give individual lessons, do a demonstration of his billiards prowess, followed by challenge games with attendees - if there were to be any takers after his demo. But organizers have tentatively rescheduled the event for Oct. 8 at Shore Thing.

So Myrtle Beach wannabe pool sharks and would-be hustlers will have to wait if they want to take on the Kid.

Pool hustling is the art of a pool player hiding his true skill while gambling in order to lull the opponent into a false confidence until the stakes are raised and the pool player reveals his true ability to easily win games. The best hustlers often appear to just be lucky and use persuasion to encourage their opponents to keep gambling by continually offering chances to win their money back. It's not illegal, as long as the bets are between individuals and not part of an organized gambling system. Morality is another matter because deception is a key factor - it's really hard to play people for money if they know you're a famous hustler.

All this hullabaloo for an appearance must take some getting used to for Kid Delicious, a man who used to make his living in anonymity. This article in itself could be career death to a hustler - but it's not the first to chronicle his adventures. Instead, it may be one of many signal horns announcing the rebirth of a talented pool player.

What's In a Name?

Daniel Basavich was a chronically depressed, overweight kid from suburban New Jersey. A kid with a raspy voice that sounds like Marlon Brando with a Jersey accent, who dropped out of high school but managed to acutely develop two subjects at an early age - Geometry and English. Only in Basavich's world, English is the angle at which you hit a cue ball to modify its roll and Geometry covers the angles of a billiard table, the straight lines and vectors associated with a bank shot or an ideal leave. At 15, Basavich started spending a lot of time in a pool hall close to his house. He polished his game, learned the terms that are intrinsic to the craft.

At 17, he ventured to New York and attempted to hustle a local pool player with the moniker Kid Vicious. While destroying Vicious' reputation, someone yelled out, "Vicious just got beat by Delicious." With his weight at almost 300 pounds and his jovial playing style - the name stuck.

Allen Salyer, a local amateur pool player, first-time promoter and the guy responsible for bringing Kid Delicious to the beach, described Basavich's affable nature, "He is an atypical pool professional, kind of an underdog...eager and generous." That seems to be the consensus throughout Kid's career - a heart as big as his gut. "He's not a strikingly athletic human," said Mitch Laurance, play-by-play billiards commentator for ESPN and husband to billiards legend and Grand Strand resident, Ewa Laurance. "Danny definitely has that every-man appeal."

That is probably why he fit in so well when he moved to West Haven, Conn. and literally lived in a pool hall called Chicago Billiards Hall. The owner, Ralph Procopio, was the patron saint of hustlers and funded Kid's tutelage. It was here he learned to be a true hustler. When asked about the Chicago Billiards Hall, Basavich says, "I miss it like crazy. When I travel to Connecticut, I go and visit Ralph P. at his bread factory." It's at Ralph P's place that Kid meets his partner in crime, Bristol Bob.

The High Run with Bristol Bob, 007 and a Broomstick

Bristol Bob or Bob Begey was a funhouse mirror reflection of Kid - attractive, in shape, short temper. In 1997, the odd couple climbed into Kid's 1982 Cadillac and hit the road becoming traveling hustlers. They moved quick - from town to town - making big scores.

Kid explained his best run, "Two days in Oklahoma City I won 10 games of 9-Ball for $5,000 a game for a total of $50,000. Then continued for the next 3 weeks and won another $50,000 still in Oklahoma. Another time I won $30,000 in Philadelphia and the pool player gamblers lost another $30,000 on side bets."

It is even cited in the Sports Illustrated article, "The Amazing Adventures of Kid Delicious and Bristol Bob" by L. Jon Wertheim that he hustled "$5,000 in Myrtle Beach" during that period. Female billiards champ Ewa Laurance, aka "The Striking Viking," spent a fair amount of time with Kid when he was on the pro tours. When we asked her about Kid pilfering this bounty from the beach, she said, "You can't be sure if that's a story or a true story." But their exploits are as close to facts as you can get with hustlers as sources.

Nevertheless, Basavich's and Bristol's run is the stuff of legend. They did bar tricks, trick shots, used Sneaky Petes - which are professional-level cue sticks that have been disguised to look like house cues. Kid hustled college kids at pool halls near universities. He acted like a pudgy, clueless freshman with money to burn - the more games he dropped, the more college kids he drew, soon he had a line of kids with fat pockets to pluck at his leisure. Kid even used a broomstick a couple of times to run the table. Kid and Bristol Bob divided the winnings 50-50 but Kid says Bristol Bob was more than a business partner. "He was my very good friend."

They worked the rooms as a team and when we asked Basavich how he knew which guy to hustle, he said, "First sign of a mark is not knowing what a handicap is. Or what ball in hand is. Who to hustle is, a wise guy with money. When I was young, I would play long games for big money, like races to 10 ahead for 12 hours. People always thought I would wear out because I was overweight." Kid's game tightened on the road and he became a 9-Ball artist. "I love 9-Ball, the style is cautious and smart like a chess game. And you must be aggressive at the right time," he says.

Bristol Bob and Kid Delicious relied on one another. Bristol Bob encouraged Kid to lose weight and reminded him to take Paxil for his depression. Kid tried to show Bristol Bob how to tame his anger. They added a third partner, a silent one, known as 007. His real name is Greg Smith. More than a hustler, 007 was a billiards spy. He knew covert information on when to hit different pool halls and who to hit. Kid and Bristol Bob always sent 007 a percentage of their winnings and their union proved to be very fruitful.

Kid also sent money home to his family to save for a rainy day but hustlers live a lifestyle of constant celebration - enjoying the temptations of the road. "Basically he spent all the profits, wasting a great deal of money celebrating after a big score. Poor money management seems to be a characteristic of road players," says Salyer.

But there were more bumps in the road than celebratory hangovers. Between Bristol Bob's anger and Kid's depression it wasn't always easy. "I never got angry when playing so I didn't get in any fights. If I felt there was trouble brewing I would lose to break even. A few times I had to defuse some trouble when Bob's temper took over."

Kid is known for his lively crowd interaction. "For someone to be hustled, they have to allow themselves to be hustled. The best hustlers make you want to just be around them. Danny definitely does that, he makes you feel warm and fuzzy," says Ewa Laurence. But Kid's depression was always a heavy obstruction, "I am always second guessing myself emotionally, I put on a happy face but inwardly I want to cry."

Even with a spy directing their route, the hustling duo still walked into uncertainty, every time they swung open a pool hall door. "The toughest place was Jack and Jill's in Baltimore, Md., in back of a shopping center...lots of drugs and shootings. Also in Dallas, a Latin place, everyone had guns. The hardest place to make money was in Tulsa, Okla. because there were so many unknown but great pool players," says Basavich.

In 2002, Begey decided to call it quits. Kid kept on traveling, picking up games. But the outlaw life of pool hustling was dwindling as the attention of gamblers diverted to a surge in poker. Kid says he and Bristol Bob still stay in touch. "We speak on the phone every few months but we have separate lives now. Bob still plays pool and also paints pictures of pool players."

The Push-Out

Basavich stuck his toe in the pro pool circuit as early as 2000 but it didn't fit and he stayed on the road hustling. Then, technology struck, in the form of the Internet. Ewa Laurance elaborates: "The Internet makes hustling impossible, you hustle one day and the next, everyone knows who you are."

How could he hide? He tried disguises, colored his hair - but a 300-pound, goateed pool hustler stuck out like a shark in a swimming pool. "At the end of hustling days I traveled for a week and everywhere I went people know who I was and wouldn't play me any more. When I was around 17 to 19, I traveled to Buffalo and Montreal and could always find games. But by the age of 23, I was known in almost all 48 (mainland) states."

So in 2004, he went full-time pro - becoming rookie of the year. The previously cited Sports Illustrated article ran during Super Bowl week of 2005. He wasn't earning the money he did as a hustler, but he climbed the ranks in the pros. He played some exciting matches, beat some of the best in the UPA (United Professional Pool Players Association) and won a few titles in 2004 and 2005. "I enjoyed the good quality of the pro tour tables. When I was on the road I had to play on many strange and old tables that didn't react properly and made the game more difficult," he says. And Kid made a big impression on Mitch Laurance during his days in the pros. "His style of play is, at least in a competitive situation, also totally unique, a combination of twitches and wear-it-on-your-sleeve emotions during a match, wrapped around an obvious talent for shot making.," says Mitch Laurence. "Compelling and intriguing, you were never really sure of what was coming next."

Kid laid out the secrets behind his "compelling and intriguing" skills in two instructional videos, "The Kid Delicious Advanced Clock System and Banking Secrets" in 2006 and "Big Time Delicious Racking Secrets and Ultimate Pro Shot making" in 2007. Also in 2007, "Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler", the book adapted by L. Jon Wertheim from his S.I. article was released. The book was a hit and word spread fast about it being optioned into a movie. But the talks stalled and stayed stalled.

Years passed, Basavich spent time with his supportive family, Mom and Dad Delicious - his father has become one of his son's biggest fans and took on a moniker of his own...Daddy D. Kid settled down, having a son of his own. But his career as a pool player seems to have stalled as well. Salyer comments on Kid's hard times since being the last great hustler, "Kid had lost his job selling cars because he couldn't take the hard sell and questionable tactics they use...surviving by selling sports cards and giving lessons."

That's what makes Kid distinctive, a walking contradiction - a hustler who can't deliver the hard sell or deal in "questionable tactics."

When asked about his future Basavich says, "I plan on making more videos and hope a life story movie is in the works again. I also have a production company trying to make a reality TV show about pool. I don't go on the road much now because I love my family and staying with them. My son is getting bigger and when he's older I will have more time to play pool."

The Leave

The name of the game in hustling pool is staying off the radar. When a hustler's identity is revealed - he loses the power of the sneak attack. He can no longer draw in the enemy by feigning weakness - no more skillful ambushes of the mark. It is the rare hustler who makes his name a household one, after the hustling days are over. The pool halls are filled with guys who are self-appointed kings of the hustle. When Ewa Laurence was asked if she ever hustled she laughed a little and said, "I have a few notches in my cue, mostly putting male egos in their place." That is what most wannabe hustlers are... easily dismissed braggadocio players.

Not so, with Basavich. His reputation has been largely verified by his playing. And after all those years of hustling, he doesn't come out looking like a thief or a bad guy. The pool hall crowds, the fans of his pro career, his peers, even the guys he beat out of money seem to be cheering for him. All accounts paint a young man who simply did what he was good at and made some money along the way.

Where does Kid Delicious belong in the known canon of hustling legends? What place in the hall of pool giants does he have? Can he stand up next to the likes of Titanic Thompson or Cornbread Red?

"Danny is a throwback to the old hustlers," says Ewa Laurence. "Danny had a short flash but his antics make for a very enjoyable evening."

He's still young, in his early 30s, and a legend needs time to simmer - time to lay low before a furious return. That fury may be a movie about his life or a TV show or it may be traveling, building his name again on the circuit. "Danny could make a comeback but the question is...Does he still have the desire?," asks Ewa Laurence. "Does he want to win? You have to be dedicated."

The future is determined by what is done in the present. So what about Kid's here and now? Why Myrtle Beach? Is he trying to find ways to generate a buzz about his name, Kid Delicious? Or is he content with his past laurels and simply biding time until Hollywood comes calling?

"I see a lot of similarities between Kid and myself," says Salyer. "I was riding my lawnmower one Sunday, and I was thinking about how...he is struggling, like I am, and he is so very talented...I am racking my brains trying to figure out a way to help him get back into the mainstream of pool...He is hard to get a hold of. He doesn't do e-mail or Internet. His dad does that for him. I pitched it to Daddy D on Facebook...Then one day my phone rang and it was Kid Delicious."

Even if Kid never has a movie made about his life. Even if he's never a reality TV star. Even if he doesn't make another run professionally or if he never sells another instructional video, Basavich's legend will be secured - secure in the fact that a 32- year-old man is rich with a lifetime of autobiographical tall-tales - secure that, ranked or not, he's still one of most incomparable pool players in the land - secure that though he's lived the life of a hustler, he's regained his honesty and integrity - secure with the story about an overweight, depressed kid from New Jersey who became something inspiring...the story of an underdog prevailing.


He's Backed Every Favourite Since 1974

When you make a decision it seems natural to think you have weighed up all the factors. Let's say you considered a bet. You think the horse has winning form. It likes the ground. Good jockey. The price is better than you thought and looks value. Job done. Well, that's the logic, hey. However, research suggests there may be a problem. Our decision making is mostly unconscious. Now you may consider that is a load of old rubbish. ''I know what I think!'' But  consider how these aspects may influence your ''decisions''. 

Are you influenced by what others say? The paper favourite? What does that bloke from the Racing Post have to say? You maverick doing your own thing. In an instant you can appreciate how social validation plays its part.  The difficultly is that so much of our ''decision making'' is ingrained, habitual, implicit that even trying to make it conscious is no easy task. As Sigmund Freud would say: ''We are trying to make the unconscious conscious.''

Your past behaviour will affect how you behave in the future? It most likely will unless you can appreciate why you behave in such a way. Have you noticed the bloke in the bookies who only bets on the favourite? Every time it's a favourite. He may try and mix it up a little with a cross the card double (but it's still two favourites). But why? We like to stay true to ourselves and so we follow a personal commitment to do just that. Take a read of our post: I followed That Horse Off A Cliff

Boy, you will be waiting a long time for Uncle Harold to take out his mat and do some break dancing.

Back an outsider? Fu*k Off!!!!!

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But what else? Do you follow a tipster even though he has been in terrible form of late because he had a good winner last year. I owe him. Or your mate took your advice last week and he's really keen on this horse  and would you believe it's in the same race as mine. That reciprocity can turn your mind. But so too can your ''decision'' never to trust anyone's advice but your own (talking to myself here).

However, this doesn't mean your thinking is faulty, irrational or bad. It's simply that our conscious mind cannot cope with all the data it tries to process. Our unconscious mind has evolved to do the job. For the most part it does it well. It's not a tyrant trying to teach us a lesson for being a naughty child. It trusts it makes a decision in our interests. That's the ''gut feeling''. 

Probably the best way to appreciating how we make decisions is to keep a diary. Not so much about our selection or bets but how we got to that point. This is much more difficult than it sounds but it can be revealing especially if you notice a pattern of behaviour keeps cropping up. 

What do you think, Sigmund?

How Gambling Killed Kenny

Ken Uston, blackjack,
Ken Uston was a professional gambler with a love of blackjack. Born in New York in 1935, his mother a native of Austria and his father a Japanese migrant businessman.

Uston went to Yale University at the age of 16, then studies an MBA at Harvard. He had varied jobs including Senior Vice President at the Pacific Stock Exchange. 

He enjoyed playing blackjack at weekends and read Thorp's Beat the Dealer becoming a genius card-counter. 

In 1983 Blackjack Forum interviewed Uston. He said he became fascinated by blackjack and its strategies after meeting professional gambler Al Francesco in a poker game. Francesco had launched the first ''big player'' type of blackjack card counting team and recruited Uston to be his main team player. A team of card counters would wait until a table became extremely positive and the ''big player'' would place big bets. Uston was promoted as the ''big player''. He later co-authored a book called The Big Player which effectively barred Fracesco's team from playing in Las Vegas. 

In 1978, Uston started his own profitable blackjack team. He was soon barred from casinos in Atlantic City. In 1979 he filed a lawsuit claiming casinos did not have the right to bar skilled players.

''In Uston v. Resorts International Hotel Inc., 445 A.2d 370 (N.J. 1982), the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Atlantic City casinos did not have the authority to decide whether card counters could be barred absent a valid New Jersey Casino Commission regulation excluding card counters. To date, New Jersey casinos—by statute—are not allowed to bar them. In response to Uston's legal victory, Atlantic City casinos began adding decks, moving up shuffle points, and taking other measures to decrease a skilled player's potential advantage. ''      

Uston adopted a number of disguises to continue playing blackjack. He had an aggressive, flamboyant playing style. 

In an article in Blackjack ForumArnold Snyder describes playing with Ken Uston at Circus Circus Las Vegas near the end of Uston's life. He states that Uston was disguised as a worker from Hoover Dam and got away with spreading his bets from table minimum to table maximum on a single-deck game. Since this took place at a time when card counting was well understood by casino executives and managers, and since the primary clue by which casinos detect card counting is a card counter's "bet spread" pattern, most card counters would also consider Uston a genius of disguise, and/or "card counting camouflage".

Uston went on to write Million Dollar Blackjack detailing his winning techniques.

He was the subject of a 1981 segment on 60 Minutes, and in 2005, he was the subject of the History Channel documentary, "The Blackjack Man"

On the morning of September 19, 1987, Ken Uston, age 52, was found dead in his rented apartment in Paris. The cause of death was listed as heart failure.

Professional Gamblers: John Aspinall

Aspinall's whole life was dangerous and controversial, and in the popular press there was much speculation that he had aided the disappearance of his gambling crony Lord Lucan. But by far the most important part of his career was his work with animals. He insisted on treating them not as beasts to be exhibited, but as friends to be pampered. He ensured that they should have adequate space to live in the same kind of groupings as in the wild, and took the greatest trouble to reproduce the variety of their natural diet. 

His gorillas, for example, were given all kinds of berries, and treats such as roast meat on Sundays and chocolate bars.

"Aspers" himself, determined to annihilate the gulf between the species, delighted to romp with tigers and gorillas. His keepers, usually chosen without reference to qualifications, were encouraged to behave in a similar manner. In his book The Best of Friends (1976), Aspinall insisted on the individuality of animals: "There are bold tigers and timid ones, honest tigers and treacherous ones, predictable and unpredictable, noisy and silent, hot-tempered and good-natured."

He himself was an excellent judge of his charges. A Passion to Protect, a film about his work, showed him having his eyelids delicately picked by the gorilla Djoun; receiving newly-born tiger cubs dumped in his lap by the mother; and being surrounded by an affectionate wolf pack. Of his 30 best friends, he once remarked, more than half were animals. In 1993 he was perfectly happy that his grand-daughter should play with gorillas; indeed, he remarked, "I'd rather leave them with gorillas than with a social worker."

While experts were initially sceptical of his approach, they were eventually obliged to admire his remarkable run of breeding successes. Until 1956, no gorilla had ever been born in captivity, and not many more were added in ensuing years. Yet after 1975, gorilla births were common events at Howletts, and eventually passed the half-century mark.

Aspinall also bred hundreds of tigers, including the first Siberian tiger born in Britain. More than 50 other species profited, including the first snow leopard born in captivity; the first honey badger to be bred in a zoo; the first fishing cats in Britain; the first Przwalski's horses for 30 years.

But these triumphs were overshadowed by the deaths of five keepers: two killed by the same tigress in 1980; one crushed by an elephant in 1984; another savaged by a tiger in 1994; and the last trampled by an elephant earlier this year. There were also occasional maulings: of the 12-year-old Robin Birley in 1970; of the model Merilyn Lamb in 1969; of a volunteer at Port Lympne in 1994.

Though Aspinall succeeded in warding off attempts by the Canterbury Council to enforce more orthodox methods of husbandry at Howletts, these accidents evoked criticism which portrayed him as a playboy living out his fantasies. Such attacks were the more virulent because of the provocative manner in which Apsinall set forth his own views. In his mind there had once been a golden age in which animals and humans had been equal. Mankind, though, had launched a vicious campaign against the beasts and Aspinall saw it as a duty to fight for the victims.

He castigated the human race as a species of vermin, and positively welcomed natural disasters as a means of reducing the plague of homo sapiens. He would gladly end his own life, he declared, if he could take another 250 million with him. There was something to be said, he felt, for Hitler's ideas about eugenics. "Broadly speaking," he said, "the high income groups tend to have a better genetic inheritance."

Aspinall's special antipathy was clever women of Left-wing views; they made him fume. His quasi-fascist views earned him obloquy, and tended to obscure the extraordinary nature of his achievement. By 1996 his two zoos contained 1,100 animals, and cost £4 million a year to keep, of which the public contributed a mere £330,000. The task of providing the remaining funds left Aspinall quite undaunted. His panache and self-belief always allowed him to live entirely on his own terms.

John Victor Aspinall was born in Delhi on June 11 1926. His father, supposedly, was Robert Aspinall, a surgeon; his mother, née Mary Grace Horn, was sprung from a family resident in India for four generations. John was the second, and very much the favourite son. Later he gave out that, at 26, he had discovered his true father was a soldier called George Bruce, and that he had been conceived under a tamarisk tree after a regimental ball.

John was largely brought up by an ayah, and in early years was more fluent in Hindustani than in English. At six, he was sent back to prep school near Eastbourne. In 1938, Aspinall's mother, now divorced, married George Osborne (later Sir George, 16th Bt), who paid for John to go to Rugby. There he made the rugger XV, but his boisterous bolshiness caused the school to suggest in 1943 that he might not want to return for the next term. The most influential event of this period was his reading of Rider Haggard's Nada the Lily, which sparked a lifelong obsession with the Zulus and tribalism.

After Rugby, he spent three years in the ranks of the Marines. Afterwards he went up to Jesus College, Oxford, where he soon discovered that he had a talent for gambling. He risked his entire term's grant (£70) on a horse called Palestine in the 2,000 Guineas; it won, albeit at very short odds.

At Oxford he made friends who would prove vital to his later life, notably the Goldsmith brothers, Jimmy and Teddy, and a fellow gambler, Ian Maxwell-Scott. When his final exams beckoned, Aspinall preferred to attend the Gold Cup at Ascot.

At that time it was not permitted to hold games of chance regularly at the same place. Aspinall therefore began to set up games of chemin-de-fer at a variety of addresses. His charm, admitted even by his enemies, attracted such players as the Duke of Devonshire and the Earl of Derby, while his entertaining was conducted in the most lavish style. With his percentage of the stakes guaranteed, he was soon becoming rich.

He married in 1956, and went to live in a flat in Eaton Place, in which, quite suddenly, he began to instal various animals. There was a Capuchin monkey, then a nine-week-old tigress called Tara, who slept in his bed for 18 months, and two Himalayan bears. Inevitably, the neighbours were disturbed. Seeking for alternative accommodation, he put down a deposit of £600 on Howletts, a neo-Palladian house with 38 acres. A successful bet on the Cesarewitch enabled him to pay off the remaining £5,400.

At the end of 1957 the police raided a gambling party he had organised. The subsequent dismissal of the charges was a virtual admission that private gambling would be sanctioned, and indeed the Gaming Act of 1960 opened the door to casinos. In 1962, Aspinall opened the Clermont Club at 44 Berkeley Square. Though he was in a parlous financial state at the time - and thus allowed Mark Birley to establish the nightclub Annabel's in the basement - he raised £200,000 in loan stock. Membership, limited to 600, included five dukes, five marquesses and 20 earls.

The success of the Clermont Club, and investment advice from Jimmy Goldsmith, enabled him to finance Howletts, and to see off the complaints of angry neighbours. "You are slipshod and impatient," Lord Zuckerman, the doyen of zoologists, told him. But Aspinall was also irrepressible.

In 1972 he sold the Clermont Club to Victor Lownes for £500,000 in order to devote himself to Howletts. By now he was employing six gardeners and 12 keepers; the weekly bill for food amounted to £3,000. The stockmarket crash of 1973 left Aspinall more or less bust, forced to sell pictures and jewellery so that his animals could eat. Yet he still managed to pay out £360,000 for Port Lympne and its 275 acres, neglected since the death of Sir Philip Sassoon in 1939.

These were turbulent times for Aspinall. On November 8 1974, the day after Lord Lucan's disappearance, Aspinall's friends - but not, to Private Eye's cost, Jimmy Goldsmith - gathered for lunch at his house in Lyall Street to discuss what should be done. The tabloids suggested, without a shred of evidence, that they were all privy to dark secrets, and that Lucan might have turned up at Howletts and implored Aspinall to feed him to his tigers.

Aspinall declared on television that if Lucan showed up he would embrace him, but this was no more than the tribal loyalty which he demanded from his friends. Those, like Dominic Elwes, who were thought to have broken the code, were ostracised. Elwes made the mistake of selling a sketch of the interior of the Clermont to the Sunday Times, and when he found himself cut off from the company that he adored, committed suicide. At his funeral Aspinall, while praising Elwes's gifts, referred to "a genetic flaw" - and found himself punched on the jaw after the service.

Free Horse Racing Tips, Click Here!In 1978 the need for cash forced Aspinall to return to gambling. Within four years the casino he set up in Hans Place was making £8 million a year. He decided to move to larger premises in Curzon Street, and to offer 20 per cent of the shares on the stockmarket. In 1983, he netted £20 million from their sale.

Aspinall and Goldsmith still owned the remaining 76 per cent of the company, though Aspinall's share was made over for the upkeep of his zoos. When the company was sold in 1987, he realised £23 million. But by 1992 he was in financial difficulties again, having lost large sums in Goldsmith's failed attempt to take over Rank Hovis McDougall. In consequence he opened another new casino in Curzon Street in 1992. Within a year it was flourishing.

In recent years he was dogged by cancer. His courage, doubted by none, was exemplified last year by the manner in which he shrugged off a vicious mugging near his home in Belgravia. John Aspinall married first, in 1956 (dissolved 1966), Jane Hastings, a Scottish model; they had a son and a daughter. He married secondly, in 1966 (dissolved 1972), Belinda "Min" Musker, a grand-daughter of the 2nd Viscount Daventry; they had a daughter who died in infancy. He married thirdly, in 1972, Lady Sarah ("Sally") Courage, widow of the racing driver Piers Courage and daughter of the 5th Earl Howe; they had a son.