The Cheltenham Festival 2018: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Cheltenham Festival 2018
Regulars of the Cheltenham Festival will have grown used to, perhaps even sick of, the debate that occurs every year as to whether the festival represents too much of a good thing. In the last few years, the festival has expanded, going from a three-day event to a four day one. Some punters think that, in adding this extra day, organisers have had to fill the extra time with sub-par races.

The debate took a new turn this year when none other than James Knight, who occupies a senior position at the bookmakers Ladbrokes Coral, took to Twitter to vent his frustration. Knight referred to some of the festival's races as being “ridiculously hyped” and “done-to-death”. His remarks have divided punters and observers, but it seems that even those who might be inclined to agree with him won’t be put off from attending the festival.


Too Much of a Good Thing?

One of the most common arguments made in defence of the festival is that it draws in attendees who would not normally concern themselves with racing meets, thus helping to broaden the appeal of the sport. There is also a concern in some quarters that, were organisers to reverse the recent changes, the appeal of the festival would be limited and the corresponding drop in attendance could have significant ramifications for its future.
There is also the concern that if Cheltenham shrinks in size then many of the competing jump horses will be fielded at other events earlier in the year. Jump horses, like all animals, have a finite lifespan and the more they compete, the more chances there are for them to become injured, potentially ruling them out of appearing at Cheltenham when the time comes.


Other Races

From the beginning of November, the jump racing calendar enters its golden months. Every week, racing fans are treated to high-quality events. For example, there is the ever-popular Betfair Chase, the Tingle Creek, and the December Gold Cup, to name but a few.All of these events have proven to be popular and for many, they provide a useful indication of who to watch out for at Cheltenham.

As far as British flat racing goes, there is simply no equivalent to Cheltenham, as much as we wish there was, despite massive investment from the industry in trying to make this happen.


Bets and Tips

Of course, one of the main attractions of Cheltenham will always be the betting. The excitement of seeking out the best tips and the thrill when they pay off is an integral part of the experience. In amongst the punters who have devised their own proprietary system, there are also a number of keen observers, armed with an arsenal of statistics and observations from other race meets. And, of course, now that technology is playing an important role in the world of sports, and gambling, there are a number of websites who claim to offer the best bets and betting tips for Cheltenham Festival 2018.


The Cheltenham Festival remains one of the most popular events on the British jump race calendar. Its sustained popularity, as well as the inability of other sectors of the industry to replicate its success, suggests that it is an event that we should cherish while it is around.

The Concept of Value Betting

It is one of the oldest arguments in betting: are you better off looking for value or looking for winners?

To me, it is a no-brainer. Value is king. I am amazed anyone considers it a matter of debate, yet many do. Their thinking goes like this: what is the point of backing something because you think it is a big price if it has little or no chance of winning?

They will hold up as an example a football team that is playing away to the opposition that is generally accepted to be superior. Fulham against Manchester United at Old Trafford, for example. Fulham may be 12-1 but if you dare suggest that is too big a price, you are liable to be shot down in flames by those who believe that because the Cottagers are such big outsiders there is no point even contemplating whether or not they actually represent a value wager.

There is no point backing a string of big-value losers, they will reason. Refrain from getting embroiled in a debate with people who think this way. They are irrational and cannot possibly be winning punters in the long run. In betting, and in football, in particular, the value lies more often than not in the bigger-priced contenders. This is largely because of the average punter's fixation with the very shortest prices on the weekend football coupon.

Bookmakers can usually tell whether they will have a winning weekend simply by looking at the results of the top teams in the English Premiership and Scottish Premier League.

In the autumn of 2003, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Celtic and Rangers all won on the same weekend eight times out of 11.

This caused a drop in bookmakers' profits as punters landed some significant accumulators. By the start of December, a blind £10 weekly five-timer on the quintet was showing a profit of £310. With their profits being dented, the layers reacted by strangling the match odds of the five teams that were hurting them.

Predictably, it did not prevent punters steaming into the so-called Big Five, even when they stopped winning so regularly. And with the hotpots shortening, their opponents were offered at even longer odds, leading to some decent paydays for those punters who took the rational view that the value lay with the long-shots.

The bottom line is that everything becomes good value if the price is right. You may head out of the house one day armed with £20,000 with the intention of buying a Mercedes. On the way to the showroom, you pass the Toyota dealership where the comparable car in their range is on offer at £14,000.

Your heart was set on the Merc but here is a car every bit as good for £6,000 less. You don't know why it is being offered so cheaply, but it is. You buy it and, whether you bank the six grand or use it to take the family to the Caribbean, you have made a value investment. So it is with betting. You intended to back Manchester United, but when you saw the prices and realised Fulham were so big, you backed them.

Many punters would, quite rightly, not dream of having a bet without searching for the best possible value, yet there are plenty who have no grasp of the concept of price-sensitivity and just back their fancies with the same bookmaker, be it on the phone, the net, or, more commonly, in the shop (internet punters tend to be more sophisticated and more aware of the basic premise that if you take the trouble to root out the best possible price you have a far greater chance of being successful over a long period).

Casino Players: Devil Vs Angel

Devil vs Angel
If a gambler had two tattoos - one on each shoulder - the pessimist would probably suggest a devil while the optimist would have their sights on an angel, both whispering words of wisdom. ''Keep that ace up your sleeve''. 

There are so many forms of gambling: horseracing, the stock market, lottery, casino... 

You name it.  The big question for many is where to bet. That's where Codeta Casino come into play. 

Assessing whether gambling is a good idea relates to one major factor: whether you are a winner or a loser. That point varies from one person to the next. Because even though many puritans suggest that gambling is an offensive word, there are many punters who make their betting pay. 

The first time I went to a casino made of bricks and mortar was at the Grosvenor Casino Great Yarmouth. To be honest, it was a brilliant evening. I managed to win a few quid in the process. I would recommend the experience to anyone. As long as you bet what you can afford to lose you will leave with a smile on your face and not losing your shirt. Far too chilly over this winter period to be half naked on the Norfolk Broads. 

However, joking aside, it's an opportunity to celebrate a special occasion. If you turn up on your birthday month, you'll get a free drink, a handful of free chips to bet and even a birthday cake if you ask nicely. 

The razzamatazz of traditional casino is all good and well but sometimes you just want to bet from the comfort of your home. That's where online casinos come into play. 

Take a look at Codeta Casino because it is a touch different from the avergae online experience. I've just looked and surprised.  

Codeta Casino Review:

Dealers:

Male and female dealers: young, attractive, dressed smartly.

Quote: ''All the dealers at Codeta live casino are good looking young men and women who appear to be in their 20s. 3 of the dealers were Eastern European, while Jake – the dealer for the London Roulette game – was a young English guy who sounded like he was perhaps from Essex. The background for the London Roulette game was very much like an upmarket European casino – ie the sort of thing you might expect to find in the Ritz in London.


The dress code is standard real-world casino, with each dealer, dressed appropriately for if they were in an upmarket casino in a hotel or on a cruise ship. Hands are well-manicured and certainly, there were no physical blemishes on display that could distract you from the gameplay.''

Dealer's Interactivity:

You will find the dealers personable and friendly.

Quote: ''As with many other online live casinos, you can hear other table games being played in the background – especially during the card games. This doesn’t put you off, though, and actually adds to the feeling that you’re taking part in a real-life casino scenario.''

Codeta Casino Technology:

Decent quality and speed of games. 

Codeta Casino Games:

Roulette, blackjack, poker etc...

Bonus/Offer

10% Top-up/Cashback on losses



Red Rum: The Life of a Grand National Winner

Red Rum
It's a race that captures the attention of the world. 

The Grand National 2018 - April 14th, 2018, 5:15pm. The greatest National Hunt Steeplechase. 

Four and a half miles. Thirty jumps. Two circuits of blood, sweat, tears, sometimes sadness and joy. 

The history of this race details the ultimate three-time winner Red Rum who triumphed over adversity. His trainer, Ginger McCain, nurtured his favourite horse to prove that with love, care, hope and joy anything is possible. 

From galloping at Southport beach to winning the Grand National

Victorious in 1973, 1974 & 1977. 

Over the years, the Grand National has been a medium for many remarkable stories.

Here is a brief biography of the horse synonymous with the Grand National.

Red Rum

A champion thoroughbred steeplechaser. Grand National winner 1973, 1974 & 1977. Scottish Grand National victory in 1974. 

Like so many champions, Red Rum came from humble beginnings. 

This Irish-bred bay gelding was sired by Quorum out of a mare called Mared. Foaled 3rd May 1965 at Rosennara Stud in Kells, County Kilkenny. His breeder, Martyn McEnery, gave Red Rum his name (the last three letters of the mare and first three of the sire). 

A horse bred to win over one mile, few would have guessed in those early years, that he would be a champion over four and a half miles. 

Many readers may not realise that Red Rum started his racing career on the Flat. He dead-heated in his first race over 5f at Aintree, which then held Flat racing fixture whereas today it is National Hunt. 

He ran eight times at two. A juvenile winner over 7f at Warwick alongside his victory at Aintree, and Doncaster at three in one of two races that season. 

Did you know? He was twice ridden by Lester Piggott and his stable lad was none other than comedian Lee Mack!

However, for all his early achievements, the best was yet to come when purchased by Ginger McCain for his new owner Noel le Mare for 6000 guineas. Two days later Red Rum was found to be lame. However, this didn't cut short the determination of man nor horse. McCain remembered seeing how sea-water helped rejuvenate old carthorses. This daily gallop helped Red Rum to be fit and ready for the greatest test of his life: The Grand National. 

In many ways, the rest is history. 

In 1973 he made his debut in the National beating the outstanding Australian chaser, Crisp who carried 23 pounds more. In truth, Crisp was one of the most astounding chasers in history. After being 30 lengths clear at the last fence, he tired and Red Rum won in a remarkable race. 

Red Rum retained his title in 1974. A year which saw him win the Scottish Grand National. The only horse to win both National in the same year!

1975 & 1976 saw him finish runner-up.  


The following year, Red Rum, now twelve, won for a remarkable third time. A historic moment never matched. 

While being prepared for his sixth National, he suffered a hairline fracture the day before the big day and retired. 

This equine celebrity didn't let the grass grow under his feet annually leading the Grand National parade. He opened supermarkets, adorned all manner of merchandising. 

Red Rum passed away on 18th October 1995 aged 30. His death made headline news across the world. 

Red Rum was buried at the finishing post of his beloved Aintree. The place of his first and last win. 

A three-time Champion of the Grand National. 

Pro Gambler Favourite Bets


There is one thing all pro gamblers have in common: they want to win money from bookmakers. However, from there many have conflicting ideas of what makes a good bet. See what these three yesteryear to modern-day professional gamblers had to say on this fascinating subject. What bet made them tick? Learn the secrets from the likes of Jack Ramsden, Alex Bird & Harry Findlay.    


MULTIPLE BETS
Jack Ramsden quit his job as a stockbroker in 1980 and made a name for himself as professional punter. His successful punting like so many other professionals was based around speed figures and race times.

Ramsden's advice on each way bets is to ditch them. He states: I analysed my betting a couple of years ago and found that if I had doubled my win stakes instead of having each way bets, I would have been much better off. I think all punters would benefit by cutting out all each-way bets and sticking to singles.

He was unusual in that he used his own bookmaker, Colin Webster. There relationship was indeed unique, Colin paid Ramsden £5,000 a year for his advice and also had the job of getting his bets on with other bookmakers. Another unusual trait of Jack Ramsden wass his liking for the multiple bet. His reasoning was that they are an extension of his policy to go for large prices and he reckoned that on 4 occasions he won over £200,000 on multiple bets.

PHOTOGRAPGH
Alex Bird was the original professional gambler who made a fortune after the war at Britain's racecourses. He learned his trade working for his father who was a bookmaker but soon decided that it would be more profitable to be on the other side. He had many different ways of beating the bookmaker, but probably his most famous was his success on betting on the result of photo finishes. Unlike today photo finishes would take about 5 minutes to develop so there was always an active betting market on the outcome. Bird very early on noticed that when horses crossed the line together an optical illusion meant that the horse on the far side invariably looked like he had won. He also discovered a simple technique which meant the illusion didn't occur. He stood at an elevated vantage point as near to the winning post as possible, he would keep very still, close his left eye and create an imaginary line across the track at the finishing line. He used this simple system for the next 20 years to make himself a fortune. With a reported 500 consecutive successful bets.

Another favoured method he used to make money was to use his influence in the ring to create a false favourite. He often placed huge bets often as much as £50K at a time however he couldn't get these sort of bets laid in the betting ring so he would employ an army of helpers around the country placing bets in off-course bookmakers. If Bird fancied a horse but felt the odds were to short he would place a bet of up to £10K on another horse in the race. He would then ensure that it was "leaked" that he had placed the bet. Prices would then dramatically alter as the "mug" money poured onto his horse. This meant that the price of the horse that he wanted to back heavily and clandestinely off the course would drift out in the market. His army of helpers would then back the horse off course all over the country.

These are Alex Birds Golden Betting Rules:

1. Never bet when there is a change in the going. There is nothing to upset form quite as much as a change in the going.

2. Be aware of the overrounds being offered by bookmakers and don't bet when they are unfair. At some smaller meetings bookmakers will sometimes create a book 40% or 50% in their favour.

3. Be an Each-Way thief. Do this by finding races with 8-10 runners which are not handicaps, and where there are only a few form horses in the race. Then oppose the favourite and combine the second and third favourites in each-way combination bets.

4. Look for up and coming apprentices. A good apprentice with a 7lb claim can be worth his weight in gold!

5. Never bet on the first show, you will find that the majority of runners increase in price. Taking second show prices will increase your winnings by 10% over a season.

6. Never bet in handicaps.

7. Never bet in 3year old maidens, particularly those only for fillies.



Harry Findlay, a flamboyant and highly successful gambler, gives the impression that he can hardly believe his luck in owning a horse as good as Denman, arguably one of the most talented novice chaser in its time. He said: "Denman had got that sort of thing about him, people either want to take him on or they like him, and that's the sort of person I am. There was no middle, grey area with Denman, there's no grey area with me. That's my type of character."

On gambling

"If you look up gambling in the dictionary, it doesn't say 'this means a sure way to make a steady profit over a period of time', it says 'gambling: a form of interest that can either ruin you or make you a fortune', and that's the way it is."

On Horse Race Betting he said: "There's no difference between getting 1-2 about a 1-4 chance and getting 4-1 about a 2-1 chance. People who say 'I won't bet odds-on', they're just idiots. When you want to bet an odds-on shot, you can get on - when you want to bet a big-priced one, you can't."

On why you shouldn't hedge

"When you pick a 20-1 shot to win the Grand National, don't have £200 at 20's and then go and lay £600 at 5-2 and, when it wins, get £2,500. If you believe that 20-1 shot, have £200 at 20's and then go and have another £300 at 14's and then £400 at 10's and then, when it goes off 5-2 or 11-4, don't hedge if you still fancy it."




Profitable Sports Gambling Begins With Discipline

An article I found from Ross Everett a freelance sports writer and respected authority on sports betting odds comparison. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and World Cup betting sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.


I get some of my best sports gambling concepts from non-sports gambling books. That’s not really surprising, since there are so few serious works addressing sports handicapping and gambling. Of all the various gambling related disciplines, sports gambling is perhaps the most complex. The paucity of written work on the subject is downright shameful in light of that fact. Since there’s so little specific literature available some of the best theoretical resources available to the serious sports gambler can be found in books written for the serious poker player.


Poker literature is especially applicable to the sports handicapper because both can be very profitable for a knowledgeable, experienced and skillful pro. Poker expert Bob Caro has noted that while there are a number of professional gamblers specializing in poker and sports wagering there’s not a single person who can honestly say they play roulette for a living.

The simple fact is that the house edge in roulette cannot be overcome by any combination of skill, experience and/or discipline. When you win, it is because you get lucky. When you lose, its because you didnt get lucky. To add another Caro concept to the equation, the decisions that the player makes when playing roulette simply dont matter”at least in terms of overcoming the theoretical edge enjoyed by the house. In the long term, it doesnt matter whether you choose red or black, odd or even, or certain numbers. You may get lucky with your choices or you may not, but these decisions do not impact the house edge one iota.

Caro stresses the paramount importance of discipline to a poker player’s long term success and profitability. It’s important to keep in mind that to succeed as a professional gambler that you need to approach a trip to the casino with a diametrically opposite mindset to that of the recreational gambler. A recreational gambler heads to the casino to *avoid* discipline and ‘unwind’. The professional uses discipline to his advantage.

Caro’s emphasis on discipline in poker is also true for the serious sports gambler. The foundation of a professional sports bettor’s long term success is to approach it with the same discipline, rigor and professionalism that he would any other job. If you continue to think about it in the same terms as the recreational gambler does, you’re in for a difficult road. The more seriousness that you bring to your sports betting, the higher the likelihood that you’ll be successful.

There’s nothing wrong with being a recreational sports gambler, or a recreational gambler of any sort. They’re vital to those of us who do this for a living since they’re what keeps casinos and sportsbooks in business. Ultimately, the best handicapping is pointless without a sportsbook to take the action.

If your goal is to bet recreationally, that’s great. Unless you have the dedication, desire and discipline to approach it at a profession a recreational approach to gambling is ultimately better for most people. You might benefit from some greater money management discipline, but at the end of the day as long as you don’t bet more than you can afford to lose it’s really no big deal.

Tips on making a profitable career from horse race betting

Win At The Races
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could follow your passion of only watching horses race and placing bets? After all, doing what you love is one of the secrets to a happy life.

Contrary to what most non-gamblers think, betting on horses is hard work. There’s the strain of the constant emotional ups and downs of victories and losses. There’s the nerve-wracking decision making process of which horse to back and how much to place on a bet, and much more. But what are the chances of turning this into a full-time job that’ll finance your mortgage and send your kids to college? With races such as the Kentucky Derby, and the 2017 Breeders Cup coming up perhaps you're tempted to try and follow suit.
Well the short and brutal answer is your chances are very low. Why? Because horses like people are very unpredictable and the likelihood of you winning as many bets as you need to remain financially stable is dependent far too much on the mercies of Lady Luck.
The most successful bettors and handicappers all support their passion for the races with a day job that pays the bills and provides them something to fall back on when things aren’t going too well on the track.


But there’s still hope

While I did say the chances of being a fulltime bettor were low, I didn’t say they were non-existent. If you insist on following your dream, below are just some of the things it would take to make a steady and dependable living from playing the races.
  • Finances
Well you can’t be a gambling man or woman if you don’t have the bankroll to finance your passion. The key to successfully gambling and not falling into debt is ensuring what you put into bets never exceeds what you currently have. But if you keep putting money into the races without winning, you’ll eventually be left penniless. Plenty pro gamblers often don’t earn profits of greater than 10% of what they’ve invested in races. Will that be enough to sustain you especially after you factor in your general life expenses?
  • Solid Handicapping
Handicapping is important because it points you in the direction of horses that are more likely to win. You could pay for handicapping services from a pro to help you place better bets, just make sure it’s giving you winning horses
  • Confidence and self-discipline
It’s very important you don’t let your emotions get the best of you while you are at the track. If you have a plan, stick with it and avoid being lured into playing with your prime bankroll at a race you have no genuine certainty on.
  • Money Management
There really isn’t one perfect way to manage your finances if you opt for gambling as your chosen line of profession, but you could try out the Kelly Criterion. This involves optimizing wager size on the perceived edge on a race based on fair odds assigned to your pick against the track odds.
Other management options you could pursue are the Percentage of Bankroll, and Fixed Wager Size.
  • Learn from your mistakes
There are rules to winning when betting but none of the rules are set in stone. If you try something today and it works, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work again tomorrow. So be prepared to be constantly learning and avoid making the same mistakes twice. This will save you from less regret and keep you ahead.
  • Hedging
If you are good at trifectas and exactas then hedging bets with a win bet can help you break even when other bets don’t work out like you expected.
  • Varying Exotic Wagers
Vary the amount staked in exotics depending on your expected payoffs. By doing this, you’ll be hedging your wagers for in case the favourites come in and make room for a reduced but profitable wager on longer shots.


Conclusion


Keep in mind that every successful gambler has their own winning formula which they update from time to time. If you have your own way of betting that works out perfectly for you and you are disciplined and smart with your money, I suppose you could head over to the Kentucky Derby and many more races to make a living. But just to be safe, don’t get too excited and quit your day job just yet.

How Do You Win at Slots?

Playing Slots - How To Win
Ask a casino owner where they make most of their revenue and you will hear them say: ''Slots'' In fact, most casinos make about 70% of their money from those technological one-armed bandits. 

True the arm has gone to be replaced by a button but basically, punters can't get enough of online slots. 

Take a look at Casumo's welcome bonus to get 200% up to £50 + £20 free spins.  

For all you slot players out there, you may have one question to ask.

How do you win at slots?

What strategy should your everyday punter use?

Is it possible to make a living from playing slots? To be fair, I haven't met anyone who makes a living but that doesn't mean to say people don't make betting on slots pay. 

Take a look at these secrets:

1# Bankroll management

It's an old adage, but bet what you can afford to lose. If betting £100, then you are wise to bet at a lower level unless you really want to chance your luck with high-priced spins. Basically, bet to your budget.

2# Connect play lines to... costs 

Whether playing live or online, play lines matter. 

Take  a look at what this expert had to say on the subject: 

''A common mistake slots beginners make is to consider pay lines relevant only when it gets on how to build a winning spin and calculate a number of coins won, while where pay lines matter the most – again – is the calculation of your slot machine’s actual cost. 


True, if you sit at a 25 pay lines slot and you bet only on 5 of them you can simply forget to hit one of those absurdly large payouts and see a six-figures jackpot coming to fatten your bankroll.

But try not to forget our first slots tip, as betting on all the 25 lines of trying to hit the jackpot will cost you considerably more than just going for a handful of those aiming to a more modest win. So, once again, what does your balance say? Can you really afford all those bets at once? ''


3# Don't be a slot player stalker

This isn't going to happen in your living room. However, if you go to a brick-and-mortar casino you will notice a lot of gamblers are playing. Like they have some kind of formula which means they win while you are like some newbie finding your feet. 

In actual fact, they are looking for what they term ''hot'' or ''cold'' slots. The hot slots being ones that haven't paid pay for a considerable amount of time, while the cold being those which have given someone a bundle of love (cash). 

Here's the thing you need to know. 


It's a lie

Modern-day slots don't work like that. It's all very random. If they pay out big, it doesn't mean the next spin will not go one better.   

4# Go for the maximum bet 

When you have loaded your slot with money you have to make a choice: 

The amount of money you will play on each bet. 

The point being that betting £1 four times is the same as one £4 bet. Although costing the same in total, they have different consequences. 

Our expert quote: 

''That is because online slots generally offer identical payouts whether you bet 1, 2 or more coins – changing only the multiplier you will have to multiply your winning by. Bet one coin and you will multiply your winning by 1x; bet two coins and the multiplier will be 2x; three coins and you will go for 3x and so on.''

Good luck. 

Penny Up: Childhood Gambling...

I noticed this article about child gambling. It is the kind of game children play, or did. In these modern times they probably play a tenner-a-time competing on Wii. 

Child gambling. It makes for an interesting debate. So what are your thoughts on how to approach the subject of gambling for your children or views on it in general? 

Are you anti gambling for wee nippers or can they learn a valuable lesson? 

I can remember as a child going to the amusement arcade with my tub of coppers. It was fun at the time and in ways it was a good thing because I can't stand fruit machines now. 

In a world of gambling temptation - for young and old - is it wise to allow children to gamble? Or does stopping them just make it all the more interesting? Life is one endless gamble, hey. I don't fancy your odds of walking on the moon. I am sure many of you can relate to Penny Up, which brings back memories from dare I say it school day fun. I can remember a teacher catching us playing at break time and instead of going mad had a game himself. Oh' the good old days...  


Lesser Known Casino Games: Penny Up


Call it “Penny Up”, “Penny in the Crack”, or “Penny Up the Wall” - it’s all the same game. Take a group of people and toss a penny toward a wall. Whoever gets their penny closest to the wall wins!

Penny Up is the first “real” gambling game most people encounter in their lives. Hey, let’s face it - we all know about poker, betting on sports, and other common gambling games growing up. However, knowing about something and being able to play are two different things. It’s easier to carry a pocketful of pennies for Penny up as opposed to a deck of cards and Poker chips. And we’re pretty sure not many ten year olds are able to place a bet on the horses at the track.

The rules are so easy that a child could understand. Two people will stand next to each other. Both people are the same distance from the wall. Two pennies are tossed and if your penny is the closest you win the loser’s penny. Sometimes the rare “Stander” (a penny on its side) wins double.

Despite the usage of “Penny” in Penny Up, the game can be played with any coin. Toss two dollar coins and the game is still the same. Get closest and you win the other persons coin. Keep in mind that other people besides children can play. It’s just most adults don’t gamble for pennies. In this case, they will bet dollars (pounds, euros, etc) and pitch pennies.

Normally only two people will play at a time since tracking more than two pennies is hard. The game has no set limits - players will play as long as they like (or until the school bell rings in some cases.)

Although many of us enjoyed Penny Up growing up, it has its critics. Many parents and anti-gambling groups see it as a way to groom children for a life of gambling. The arguments for each side are as follows.

The “Nay” group feels “Allowing children to gamble teaches them it’s alright to do so and even encourages them. These children will grow up to be problem gamblers."

The “Yea” group’s viewpoint is: “Teaching children about gambling in a responsible setting removes the mystery and allows parents to educate their children about the pros and cons of gambling.”

Both sides have valid viewpoints and we’re sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle. We don’t want our children running mini casinos in the playground but we also don’t want to make something so forbidden it becomes irresistible.

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.

Professional Gamblers: Jack Ramsden

OK, YOU GO FIRST...
Jack Ramsden quit his job as a stockbroker in 1980 and since then has had 13 consecutive winning years as a professional punter. His successful punting like so many other professional punters is based around speed figures and race times.

He recently stated I cannot stress too strongly the importance of race times. They bind my whole approach together. There are fewer good times recorded over jumps but everyone seems to know about those horses and they are too short to back. Join our professional gambler newsletter by clicking here



Even cutting out the endless looking up of form books, I still spend two or three hours every day working out my bets. Jack continues, I'm constantly on the look out for the 3/1 chance that starts at 8/1. There are 30 or 40 of them a year and they are there to be seen. At those prices, you don't have to be right all the time! His premise is that while a good horse is capable of doing a bad time, no bad horse is capable of doing a good time.


He is unusual in that he has his own bookmaker, Colin Webster. There relationship is indeed unique, Colin pays Ramsden £5,000 a year for his advice and also has the job of getting his bets on with other bookmakers. Another unusual trait of Jack Ramsden is his liking for the multiple bets. His reasoning is that they are an extension of his policy to go for large prices and he reckons that on 4 occasions he has won over £200,000 on multiple bets.


Another piece of advice from Ramsden is regarding each-way bets. His advice is to ditch them. He states: I analysed my betting a couple of years ago and found that if I had doubled my win stakes instead of having each way bets, I would have been much better off. I think all punters would benefit by cutting out all each-way bets and sticking to singles.





Jack met his wife Lynda Ramsden when she worked at the Epsom yard of John Sutcliffe Snr, where Jack, one of Barry Hills's first owners, had horses. Ramsden was working in the City, but the City wasn't working for him. "I was a pretty useless stockbroker," he admitted. The Couple married in 1977 and then started training racehorses in the Isle of Man. I few years later moving over to England and North Yorkshire where they  trained for many years.


More pro gambler tales:


Dave Nevison

Phill Bull
A Tale Of A Pro Gambler