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 http://www.win2win.co.uk Free Horse Racing Tips

Wit and Wisdom of a Racecourse Gambler

This article was originally published on the superb Sippertoad website, which is well worth a visit.   

On the eve of St Valentine’s Day was held the February meeting of the Club, at the usual venue, Jury’s Kensington Hotel. The guest was sure to draw a big crowd, and he did. He was none other than the professional punter Dave Nevison who, once upon a time, was himself a member of London Racing Club. In the chair was Nick Luck, but the Dave was so fluent that Nick did not have to work very hard on this occasion; he simply made a provocative introduction (he and Dave seem to know each other well) and Nevison was off.

It was noticeable that many in the audience had equipped themselves with pen and paper to note all the money-making points to be learned; after which punting would be easy, but the reality is that nothing much changes. Most of those present probably know as much as Dave. The vital difference is in commitment, hard work and the taking of eye-watering risks with big sums of money; a pattern that is not good for family life, and though Dave has four children he no longer has a wife.

This is Dave’s 16th year as a pro gambler and all previous years have been profitable, though one soon realised they had to be. He vehemently rejected the suggestion that this is a golden ago for punters “Cobblers. We’re living at the end of punting.” Indeed he says that when he began as a full-time punter he just caught the tail end of a real golden age, the days of cards schools on trains and a veritable circus of ‘characters’ rolling uproariously around the country from racecourse to racecourse.

Dave Nevison is from Halifax, “Timeform country”. Like so many he picked up his love of horses and racing from his grandfather “an awful judge” who never had any money, so “no-one loved him”, though Dave probably did. Dave bet from an early age and had some startling successes. While at school his runner was his English teacher!

Computer screens are not for Dave. He is a racecourse bettor, but he did use computers when he was a foreign exchange dealer in the City. That was his “final port of call” in terms of conventional jobs before he went to the races full-time; he goes to the course practically every day. Dave’s employer in the City was a French bank (not named) and he had eight people to supervise. He must have been one of those ‘light touch’ regulators for he seemed to spend a lot of his time in a nearby betting shop, which narrowly took priority over time spent in the pub. That is still his approach to life, to have fun and “make it pay”. When Dave ‘hits town’ for one of the big summer race meetings it is party time but by September he is knackered.

Dave is not sure that if he had to begin all over again that he would become a racecourse bettor though he loves the ambience. He says that nowadays a would-be serious punter has to specialise in one area of racing; the whole scene has become too big. Dave hardly bets in cash any more and has several people who ‘put on’ for him, one in particular who scours the world markets through a computer screen looking for any ‘edge’ he can find. They make it pay.

As far as backing racehorses is concerned the most important point to come out of the meeting is that Dave makes up his own prices; that is the major part of his homework. He equips himself with all the aids and subscribes to Timeform but in the end he relies on his own judgement, nobody else’s. When he finds a horse priced at odds significantly greater than his estimate then that horse is potentially of great interest. That’s how he chooses his bets. A subsidiary point is that Dave expects to profit to the extent of 5% of his turnover (if things are going very well that can rise to 7%), so he is working to the same sort of margin as his opponents, the ones who stand on orange boxes and shout the odds.

When Dave decided to become a full-time punter he had enough money to last him four months and, as he said, “The one thing I have is the work ethic.” But those were not enough. Soon his new career was under threat; with no income to rely upon the need to bet bigger sums affected his choices. It looked as if he might have to go to work for a living. He has “never skated on thick ice”, though, and avoided having to slink back to the City when he realised in time that he had to change his methods, which he did.

Dave lived in London just “around the corner” from Eddie ‘The Shoe’ Fremantle who has so often obliged London Racing Club as a guest and who was to be on the panel for the Club’s meeting next after this one. Dave recalled days that Eddie and he bullshitted one another on the train to and from such faraway places as Newton Abbot but ‘The Shoe’ provided vital pieces of education for Dave, especially over compiling his own ‘tissues.’ Another great educator was the trainer Tom Kemp, with whom Dave had horses. His other trainers have included Norman Babbage and Philip Mitchell.

Soon Dave moved on to tales of coups landed with Teenage Scribbler and National Flag both of which were trained by Karl Burke and ran in the name of his wife, Elaine. It was the first of those victories that confirmed to Dave that he could ‘make it’ as a pro punter; but much better than that “It was the best plot ever”.

Teenage Scribbler must have been difficult to train, as they say, because his big day was only his second race in twenty-four months and he finished lame and never ran again after it. The scene was Catterick and the race was the Bridge Selling Hurdle; doing the steering was Guy Upton. The date was 13 February 1993 but nobody at the London Racing Club meeting, least of all the guest, seemed to realise that the tale was being fondly re-told on the 15th anniversary of the coup.

Teenage Scribbler was forecast “in the paper” to start at 14/1 but opened on course at only 6/1. The odds then drifted to the anticipated 14/1 but came in to 12/1, the SP. The money was placed in £20 bets at shops all over the country. At the course things became tense because the start of the race was delayed ten minutes due to fog. When they set off Teenage Scribbler was soon twenty lengths clear and disappeared into the murk. When they re-appeared he was still leading and won easily. The gross figure landed was about £100,000 and Dave’s share was something over £40,000. After that he was determined to carry on.

“We did it again with National Flag” in a juveniles’ selling hurdle at Worcester seventeen months later. But it was not quite so. Though the bets were supposed to be placed only with ‘independents’ the fact was that Ladbrokes knew. That was disastrous for the odds. National Flag “opened at 3/1 after 33/1 in places”. What’s more Dave thought National Flag was a lucky winner as a very dangerous opponent fell at the second-last flight, but National Flag was ridden by Rodi Greene and the faller had a 5lbs-claiming amateur up, at least until the second last. National Flag was bred by Darley and that ‘seller’ was the only race he ever won.

Dave gave some general advice. For instance he said that what sets punters apart from each other, divides them into the sheep and the goats, is the sort of mind that is betrayed by a punter who wants, say, 8/1 about a horse but cannot get that price and accepts 11/2.

Dave used to want to get every favourite beaten but is not so prejudiced against favourites these days. For instance that very afternoon he had fancied Charlie’s Double in the last at Leicester. The horse won at 25/1 but Dave did not back it because “the trainer put me off”. The trainer is his business partner John Best, with whom he has invested £1,000,000 in horses that are now two-year-olds. The idea is to campaign them in such a way as to increase their capital value as much as possible and to sell at the opportune moment. The horses will run under the name Kent Bloodstock. Dave described this as an exclusive syndicate because “no-one wants to join it”. Some details are given in a footnote to this piece.

To fool a bookie on course it can be useful to look a bit unkempt; the layer won’t take you seriously (they have never taken your correspondent seriously); the difficulty of ‘getting on’ was mentioned but not dwelt upon; Dave can quite often back three or four horses in the same race and, when he does, he tends to spread his patronage around different bookies; ante post betting can be dangerous but if one must indulge the races to concentrate on are the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks, as alternative races for good fillies are few so the selections are more likely to run.

His biggest wins have come when he has been “on the brink” and often have come over horses he has backed in the morning and whose odds drift out in the afternoon. When that happens he goes in again. It is logical. Dave says this is what one must do if there is not an apparent reason for the drift in the odds.

Other remarks included – “You pay to learn at this game”. “Goals must be high.” “If you stop learning ….” If you start getting comfortable ……..” The racecourse betting market has been badly weakened by the disappearance of the £100 punter while “the £500 boys from the City” bet by telephone. The Scottish bookie Freddie Williams got a favourable mention because he tends to have “a bit of an opinion”. Is the soul of racing dying? “Yes.”

The groundwork for his recently-published book, details below, which was on sale after the meeting with Dave signing each copy sold, was done in the Strand Palace Hotel. David Ashforth made the recordings. The two had regular sessions there. Staff wondered what they were up to and seemed, at least at first, to be quite dubious about them. Other sessions were held in the Maple Leaf pub nearby.

For the second half of the meeting Nick Luck reversed the order of play and threw the meeting open to questions from the floor.

There were no betting exchanges when Dave started as a pro but the information provided on the screen to people using exchanges represents the opinions of the “collective brains of the world.” That recalled an earlier remark by Dave about his days in the City where he described his abilities as being pretty good but by no means in the front rank, where the “best brains on earth” fill the places. So the real brainboxes must like money, too.

Some races are too good to bet on; many are too bad to bet on. On-course prices are effectively set by people using exchanges. “A minute before the off you won’t beat Betfair.” “In high-class races Betfair will be right.” He has met many of the racing journalists who were his heroes as a boy. They turn out to be flawed. One of the best-known soon tapped him in the racecourse press room for the loan of £20.

Dave is expanding into ownership of horses by accident, as he put it. He was referring to a new vehicle, Kent Bloodstock. He fancies himself as a buyer of bloodstock, though, oddly, he also says, “Don’t ask me what to deduce from horses in the paddock”. With the £1,000,000 invested he and John Best could only obtain seven horses of the type they wanted. Dave fears he may have overstretched himself financially (again). Is he on the brink?

This was where last year’s Group 1 winner Kingsgate Native got a mention but Dave did not say that he stood to win £100,000 on the colt when he started at 66/1 on his debut at Royal Ascot, where Kingsgate Native was beaten a head. What he did say about the colt was that half the trainers at Newmarket and most of those in the north of England now claim “We were going to buy that” when Kingsgate Native was offered at the St Leger Yearling Sales. But it was John Best who actually bought.

Dave was on Sizing Europe at 14/1 for the Champion Hurdle and that was his charity bet. Nuff said. Last year he had a terrible Cheltenham Festival but just about got out on Kauto Star.

About small-time professional punters Dave was scathing (he expresses himself sardonically, wittily and robustly) and described them as the sort of people you would rather did not sit next to you on a bus. They work one hundred hours a week for about £4 per hour “but they don’t pressure themselves to the point of wanting to jump out a window”.

Dave ran a half marathon on the Saturday before this meeting, the same day a race with his name in the title was run at Chepstow, the ‘Read Dave Nevison on wbx.com Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase’ (winner, Madam Harriet, 25/1). Dave was due to run in the London Marathon on Sunday, 13 April. His heroics can still be sponsored, proceeds to Racing Welfare. The sometime chairman of London Racing Club, Richard Hoiles, has contributed. You can, too. It’s an on-line thing; the address of the website is below.

Though a good deal of what Dave said sounded like an elegy for what were said to be the great days of racecourse punting – “It was just great fun” – summer beckons once again and he is gearing up for the Flat season. To cut out drossy racing he is going to confine himself to following the cameras of BBC and Channel 4 Racing around the country. So, ‘The world’s great age begins anew, the golden years return’. It is sure to be fun in the sun and lots of money will be turned over. Let’s hope Dave retains a fair bit of it and that the horses of Kent Bloodstock come good.



Pro Gambler Series: Paul Cooper

Paul Cooper had his own unique way of gambling for profit, and he used his knowledge of draw bias at British racecourses coupled with an unusual bet called the Tricast to win over £400,000 on a number of bets at Thirsk racecourse. Cooper noticed before virtually any one else that horses drawn high over the straight sprint course at Thirsk appeared to have a distinct advantage. There are a number of racecourses with distinct draw biases around the country. Chester and Beverley probably being the most prevalent but the difference at Thirsk was that the bias was just as marked on fast ground as it was on soft ground. The reason for this was that the watering system at Thirsk left a lot to be desired, and it left a strip of ground next to the stands rail which was unwatered and therefore significantly faster than the rest of the track.

Cooper would perm those 5 or 6 horses drawn highest in tricasts, and therefore the ones who would be running on the favoured fast ground these 5 or 6 often included several complete outsiders and when his bet came in which it did more often than not the return was massive.


Cooper is certainly not a £10,000 win single guy, and is fascinated by the returns which you can get from multiple bets. He believes that the Lucky 15 is a value bet. A Lucky 15 is a Yankee (6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator) plus 4 win singles. The major bookmakers normally often some form of concession with the bet. For instance if you only have one winner they will double the odds. So one 7/1 winner means that you will just about get your money back.




Here are Paul Coopers tips for successful betting on the horses:


1.Always stay cool, calm and collected when making a selection. Don't let your emotions affect your selection.


2.Only bet when you believe that you are getting good value.


3.Look to back horses with winning form, be very wary of maidens.


4.Concentrate on Sprint races the form is often more reliable than longer distance flat races.


5.Try and find a small competent yard to follow. You will get much better prices on their horses than those of the larger stables.


6.Don't back odds on favourites.

Probability Equals Horse Racing Betting Profit or Loss and a Way to Find Good Bets

What is the secret of making money betting on horse races? Like any other investment, it is the probability of a positive outcome. The probability of a horse winning a race and making a profit can be described as risk versus rewards. With any financial investment, the amount of risk should be weighed against the reward.

In plain English, if a horse will win often enough at the current odds to regain all money wagered along with a profit, then it is a positive bet. So as a handicapper you are really shopping for a good deal. That is the secret of making money at the horse races. It really is no secret, though how you can actually manage to reliably place a fair odds figure on each runner may seem incredibly difficult or even obscure.


It starts with realizing that all races are not the same. The age of the hroses, investment of the owner, quality of the stock, all play a part in determining how difficult it is to figure out what they're worth. The horse racing pools are an open market. Anyone can place a bet. You could say that a horse race is an example of democracy in action. It is therefore no wonder that political races are often described as, "A real Horse Race."


Once you determine which races are the easiest to figure out, the next step is to weigh each factor. In other words, let's say you have decided that claiming races for older horses are the easiest to handicap because all the runners have been tested at the distance and surface and have shown their recent form and ability. Your next step is to find out how important their average speed is compared to other factors.


How often does the horse with the highest average speed win the race? How often does the second fastest horse win, etc.? Once you've figured that out by keeping score over a hundred races or more, the next step is to check on class, jockey trainer teams, etc. Find the most important factor(s) and weight them. Then look at the runners in today's race and give each one a score.


Subtract the take out from 100%. For instance, if the takeout is 18%, round it up to 20% to cover the breakage and that leaves 80%. Now divide that 80% (the actual amount of the win pool that will be returned to the bettors) by the number of runners. Let's say there are 8 runners. That means that if all conditions and runners were the same and won an equal number of times, they would each have a chance to win 10% of the pool. That is the actual amount that would be returned to the winners.


Obviously, not all runners have equal ability. Look at the weighted factors and make adjustments to the 10% that each horse is assigned. You now have a morning line you can use to determine the fair odds of each horse. With practice you'll refine it even more and learn to make a profit from spotting good bets.



Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/horse-racing-articles/probability-equals-horse-racing-betting-profit-or-loss-and-a-way-to-find-good-bets-4302150.html



About the Author



If you want to learn how a horse owner and insider handicaps just go to http://williewins.homestead.com/truecb.html 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.



Author: Bill Peterson

Make a Living Betting the Games - Not Just Selling His Picks

It was surely the most successful financial portfolio that never graced the covers of those glossy money magazines touting "the year's hottest funds."

It achieved a phenomenal rate of growth, awarding its admittedly select clientele a return of 10 times the original investment in a year.

It ended without fanfare this month, officially dissolved during a meeting "at a tawdry, nondescript restaurant on West Sahara," according to its de facto junior partner.

Farewell, "Fezzdaq."

A year ago the one-name Las Vegas professional gambler Fezzik teamed up with Jeff Jones of Henderson, a part-time bettor and full-time skeptic, to form a small sports betting fund seeded with an initial bankroll of $1,000.

Loosely based on Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's proposal for a "gambling hedge fund," the Fezzdaq would be devoted to sports wagers made at the most advantageous point spreads - often called "rogue," or off-market, betting lines.

(Rogue lines are available at regular sports books to the public, but you have to be diligent enough to snap them up before they are adjusted.)

The goal, Fezzik said, was to demonstrate that it's possible to win money consistently betting sports - not necessarily by using some mystical, magical (and often fictional) handicapping wizardry, but by using footwork and betting savvy to grab the best numbers on the board.

Mission accomplished: After opening at $1,000 in early 2006, the Fezzdaq closed (with one wager pending) with a balance of $10,730 - in real money, not theoretical "terwilligers" or something. It was generated by a series of individual bets made daily ranging from $60 or so to the low three figures.

"There are still some people in the world who believe that gamblers don't or can't win every year," Fezzik said this weekend, sounding incredulous. "The truth is that the people who are the best at this do win, year after year. I think the Fezzdaq helped illustrate that nicely."

The danger in following the picks of a sports handicapper, even a successful one, is that any value in betting their selections disappears once the betting line moves a couple of points, Fezzik said.

"We ran around town playing soft numbers and incorporated some handicapping in our selections," Fezzik said. "The reason the best people win is not because they hit 55 percent of their picks against widely available lines, it's because they're hitting 52 1/2 to 53 percent of their own bets."

The primary reason for closing the Fezzdaq was that it was becoming more unwieldy as it grew, Fezzik said.

For example, if he was making a $1,000 bet from his own bankroll, Fezzik might devote $100 of it to the Fezzdaq. But with the index above $10,000, it began to demand wagers that were too large to justify, Fezzik said, especially considering sports books with off-market betting lines also offer relatively low betting limits.

This is also the major weakness of Cuban's original idea. It might work well on a small scale, but it rapidly turns cumbersome.

Even so, the Fezzdaq experience does offer a lesson to sports bettors, whether their average bet is less than $100 or 10 times higher: Always insist on the best point spread, and never take the worst of the number.

It seems obvious, but how many bettors went to the window last week and took the Colts minus 7 or the Bears plus 6 1/2? Even in a business where there are no locks, it's a sure thing that some did.

Fezzik tracked the index's plays on his Web site (fezziksplace.com) and credited a small group of handicappers he meets each week for their assistance. And if nothing else, Fezzik said, he made a believer of Jeff Jones.

Jones, who did the accounting for the Fezzdaq, is known for his cynical views of the sports touting business. He was impressed that Fezzik's performance came without any "games of the year," "20-star plays," or similar hyperbole.

"Fez turned 1 into 10.73 in a year," Jones said. "And he wasn't selling anything. None of the crap that passes for Las Vegas sports gambling 'wisdom.' "

Saturday Tipping Competition - Long Week

It feels like a long week and I'm tired. So much for going to Huntington races on Thursday - been rushing around ever since. Permanent bad hair day. If I was a bear I'd go into hibernation. Never mind. Back to the Saturday Tipping Competition. Alan Winter found a couple of points to remain at the head of the pro ranks on 20.8pts. Betmanmike made an appearance with a nice winner and a fraction behind with 18pts. Gareth (11pts) and Racing Mama (7.25pts) are in third and fourth, respectively. Two weeks to go - so get your tipping caps on, phone a trainer for some juicy gossip or attempt a rain dance. Whatever, I suggest all those would-be winners do just that - WIN. 1PM Deadline. 

Cheltenham 2015 Top Race Previews

Of all of the fixtures featuring in 2015's racing calendar, there are few as well-anticipated or more enjoyed than the Cheltenham Festival, taking place between March the 10th and 13th at Cheltenham Racecourse. As with any big meeting, wagering will be top of the agenda for many excited attendees; last year some £600,000,000 of bets were taken in by bookmakers. The Festival certainly has a great number of top class races under it's belt, so what are they? Which horses have previous revelled in the events' previous glories?

Tuesday 10th

The race kicking off the festival is the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, a frantic two mile run featuring a truly big field, all engaging in a satisfying mix of hurdling and chasing that spectators find irresistible! Last year, five year-old Vautour, trained by W Mullins and jockeyed by R Walsh, came out on top of the Grade 1 race, although Irish banker Douvan could assume the title this March.

Fans wanting to bet on the biggest race of Tuesday will be looking forward to the Champion Hurdle, however. Deciding the champion of the hurdling division over a two mile slog, Jezki (trained by J Harrington and ridden by B Geraghty) was 2014's winner, and may yet rise back up to first place this year.

Wednesday 11th

Wednesday kicks off with the National Hunt Steeple Chase, a demanding novice horse and amateur jockey race that can truly put the strain on the contenders. With the prospect of injury an ever-present fear, punters should make sure they keep track of all the latest news via Coral's sports app; any slip-ups and one's picks could be in need for drastic last-minute alterations! Last year 9 year-old Midnight Prayer beat the odds and came out on top.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the top fixture of Wednesday though, a top class race that dictates who is the best chaser in the two mile division. Last year Sire De Grugy won a tense race, ridden excellently by J Moore.

Thursday 12th

Fans of chases will enjoy Thursday's Ryanair Chase, a two mile, five furlong race for five year old horses and older that are always the more lofty equines in the competition! Last year Dynaste, jockeyed by J Tizzard and traned by D Pipe, came first in the Grade 1 race, although this year's winner may well be a newcomer.

Feature event for Thursday is the Ladbrokes World Hurdle; three miles long, last year's winner was More Of That, ridden by B Geraghty, in what was an electrifying race! This year's picks include Zarkandar and Saphir Du Rheu, but it's likely to be a close one!

Friday 13th

Finally, the ultimate day of the festival sees the County Hurdle, one of the most difficult handicaps to solve at the festival. Quick, exciting and nail-biting in equal measure, last year's race saw Tiger Roll come first place.

Then it's the big one; the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Last year saw Lord Windermere (D Russel and J Culloty) come first at this most important event, although this year Holywell, Bobs Worth and Many Clouds are all strong contenders- this is going to be an excellent watch!

The Gambler's Mindset: Luck

Successful pros like Joe Hachem may seem to have more to smile about, but it's a chicken-and-egg situation. You might not be able to magic up a lottery win, but you can certainly increase your chances of being one of life’s winners. Lucky people smile twice as often as the unlucky, and engage in more eye contact. In our everyday experience it can seem that some people ‘have all the luck’ and others appear to be jinxed.

We can all think of lucky people who seem to be in the right place at the right time, meet the right people, win all the money at the gaming tables and go from one success to another. I recently read a news story on the internet highlighting that luck is indeed about being in the right place at the right time. The story concerned a waitress at a Las Vegas casino who won $35 million (£20m) during her lunch break. After playing for 15 minutes, she won the largest slot jackpot payout ever. However, only three months later, her car was hit by a drunk driver who had 17 previous arrests for drunk driving. She was seriously injured and her older sister was killed. This time she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.


McGambling’s golden arches


When applied to the world of gambling, our belief in luck has huge political and financial ramifications. Until 1978, Nevada was the only US state where gambling was legal. By 2005, almost all states had a lottery (although ironically not Nevada), and today, casinos have even sprung up on Indian reservations. This ‘domino effect’ phenomenon has been described by media commentators as the ‘McGambling’ and ‘Las Vegasing’ of the US. In short, politicians view legalised gambling and people’s belief in luck as a magic bullet to cure ailing state economies that are motivated by the ‘pathology of hope’. The UK doesn’t appear to be that far behind.


Given people’s widespread beliefs about luck, there’s been relatively little psychological research on the subject. Professor Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire has spent many years studying luck and believes he’s discovered four principles of luck and knows how to help people improve their good fortune. The results of this work reveal that people aren’t born lucky. Instead, lucky people are unconsciously using four basic principles to create good fortune in their lives. These could also be applied to gambling situations. Wiseman’s research has involved him being with those who define themselves as either lucky or unlucky, and examining the reasons why. Wiseman started by asking randomly chosen UK shoppers whether they had been lucky or unlucky in several different areas of their lives, including their careers, relationships, home life, health and financial matters. Of those adults he surveyed, 50% considered themselves lucky and 16% unlucky. Those lucky or unlucky in one area were more likely to report the same in other areas. Most experienced either consistent good or bad fortune. Professor Wiseman therefore concluded that luck could not simply be the outcome of chance events.


So what do lucky people do that is different from unlucky people? Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities by networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences. Also, lucky people listen to lucky hunches. They make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. For example, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts. Thirdly, lucky people expect good fortune. They are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way. Finally, lucky people turn bad luck into good. They employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on the ill fortune, and take control of the situation.


So can ‘lucky’ people win at gambling without trying? Professor Wiseman tested this proposition by getting 700 people to gamble on the National Lottery. The ‘lucky’ participants were twice as confident of winning as the ‘unlucky’ ones. However, results showed that only 36 participants actually won any money, and these were split evenly between the two groups. The study showed that being lucky doesn’t change the laws of probability!


Luck is a mindset


Research has also shown lucky people use body language and facial expressions that other people find attractive, smiling twice as often as the unlucky and engaging in more eye contact. Also, they’re more likely to have a broad network of friends and take advantage of favourable opportunities. Lucky people view misfortune as shortlived and overcome it quickly. Those who expect to fail may not even try. Lucky people try to achieve their goals even when the odds are against them. Luck isn’t a magical ability or a gift from the gods. It is a mind-set, a way of perceiving and dealing with life. This is something gamblers should know and try to apply to their daily gambling activity.




The Highs & Lows Of Terry Ramsden

A story written by Jason Bennetto, originally published in The Independent on Thursday, 7th May, 1998, charting the highs and lows of Terry Ramsden. He was the archetypal Thatcherite success story. The son of a postal worker from Romford, Essex, he rose to become one of the country's richest men and most powerful racehorse owners. His millionaire lifestyle, built in the early 1980s on trading in Japanese bonds, included the obligatory executive jet, Rolls-Royces, homes around the world, and the ownership of a football club. His gambling record was the envy of every trackside punter - a regular winner both on the racecourse and at the bookies.

He was a true Eighties self-made man with his cockney vowels and shoulder length hair. Yet Terry Ramsden, 46, looked anything but a high-flying, city whizz- kid yesterday as he stood in the dock at the Old Bailey. A bankrupt with debts of more than 100m pounds, he was jailed for 21 months for trying to conceal about £300,000 from his creditors.




Ramsden's roller-coaster career began in the City at the age of 16 as an insurance clerk. He quickly realised he could make more money by working for himself and set up his own business, making £25,000 in the first month. 


But the vehicle for Ramsden's career was a company in Edinburgh called Glen International which he bought in 1984, when it had a turnover of £18,000. By 1987, the figure had risen to 3.5billion and Ramsden was said to be the nation's 57th richest man. The venture was based on his knowledge of the specialised and volatile market in Japanese warrants. These were options to buy shares in Japanese companies. He gambled on a rising market and got it right.


After hitting the jackpot, he was quick to adopt a suitably flamboyant and high-flying lifestyle to go with the new-found wealth. Along with his Porsche, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces, he was interested in racehorses - lots of them. At one stage he owned 75.


One of his biggest successes on the racecourse was when his horse Not So Silly won the Ayr Gold Cup in 1987. Small of stature, but invariably accompanied by minder, he was a regular visitor to the winner's enclosure.


"I'm a stockbroker from Enfield. I've got long hair and I like a bet," he once said. He also owned a Georgian mansion on a luxury estate in Blackheath, south- east London, where he could relax in a swimming pool with hologram shark fins beamed on to the water, before flying by helicopter to Walsall Football Club, of which he was both owner and chairman. He lived with his wife, Lisa, and their son, Jake. They also had homes in Scotland, Bermuda and Portugal. 



But in 1986 the market and Ramsden's luck changed. The 1987 crash knocked hundreds of millions of pounds off the value of his securities. He started to run out of cash to keep the huge and complex portfolio of securities afloat and his marriage was on the rocks. Added to this, he was estimated to have lost 58m at the racetrack - there were even stories of him parting with 2m in a single day. Within a year, Glen International crashed, owing 98m, and he moved to the United States.

In September 1991, a warrant for his arrest was issued on fraud charges and he was detained in a jail in Los Angeles until his return to Britain in February 1992. 


The next month, Ramsden was declared bankrupt - with the Inland Revenue demanding 21.5m and other creditors bringing the total debt to near 100m. Ramsden escaped with a two-year suspended sentence in November 1993 after he pleaded guilty to offences of recklessly inducing fresh investment in his empire. 


As a bankrupt, Ramsden was required to disclose all his assets and income but failed to reveal the existence of a hidden trust and concealed his ownership of three million shares in the Silversword Corporation, a Canadian company in which he had a controlling interest. Thousands of pounds was paid from the trust fund to Ramsden's mother, Florence, a former cleaner, which she passed on to her son. He also failed to mention winnings of £77,000 in 1992, from an accumulator bet involving five horses and a dog.


Last year, the Serious Fraud Office announced that Ramsden was to be prosecuted for failing to disclose assets.


At his trial, Ramsden admitted failing to disclose about £300,000. It was also revealed that the fund had also helped pay for a house worth £323,800 for his wife and son.


Jailing Ramsden for 21 months, Judge Peter Beaumont QC also ordered him to pay £10,000 towards prosecution costs. He told Ramsden: "You broke the law and must now be punished." The judge said he would serve at least half the sentence in prison.


Ramsden, of Fulham, south-west London, pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching the Insolvency Act by failing to disclose all his assets. Anthony Arlidge QC, for the defence, said: "He was motivated by a desire to win back his wife and restart his family life. He accepts now that is no longer possible." He added: "He is a man of considerable talent, who for a long time was extremely successful. Rightly or wrongly, he felt his failure was not his fault but due to the misguided views of others."

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.

My Adventure Into Lay Betting: Trying To Miss The Giraffe...

One of my favourite quotes is that even a broken watch is correct twice a day. As a gambler I think most of us would like to have a better strike rate! Damn Watch.

Rambling...


Nothing changes, hey. I'm either quiet or you suffer from unending prose. The blog timeline details: spam, nothing, more spam, broken watch and My Adventure Into Lay Betting: Trying To Miss The Giraffe. [written 2013]


That latter topic sounds much more interesting. This adventure related to my laying horses to lose. That's two-year-old horses. I don't  understand anything else. Now, I'm not going to talk too much about my approach or the philosophy behind my laying tactics because it is a work in progress and rather boring in its written form. 


I must admit I don't find any form of gambling particularly pleasurable. My reasoning is that I have the odds in my favour. As every speculator will appreciate, that betting slip (in mind if not in hand) often morphs into a stick of dynamite.  The fuse burning too damn quick. Lay betting can feel rather daunting. When you've laid the rag and it's travelling with the zeal of a six-to-four jolly it makes the eyes bulge, the heart race, and your pocket has a kind of lost empty feel. Not very jovial. Well, that's the nature of the beast. Equine. You know, those things the commentator keeps talking about. 


So how did the season go?


Well, I was amazed. I know what you are thinking? Is that a good or bad amazing? I just took a double-take to see if my hand had been blown off. 


For the most part it was amazingly good - with a slight disaster at the finish.


I started small laying juveniles to win five pounds a time. That may seem a pittance but it can be a costly affair if a 20/1 shot has an exceptionally long neck. I'm pretty sure I laid a couple of giraffe this year.Last time I go to the bloody zoo and say what lovely creatures. I'm not against laying a good few horses in the same field. Races would come and go. I'd be winning ten, twenty, fifty pound a race. Everything was going well. Amazingly so. After winning several hundred pounds I considered it was time to lay each horse for twenty pounds. I knew it was a risk but time is money and all that. It made me a little nervous. The  bets ranged from laying favourites to huge outsiders. It can be slightly unnerving to lay a horse which could cost a couple of thousand. I always hope they fall out of the stalls and as fat as a pig. In that moment my potential terror of what could be turns to joy. Righteousness. Being right rather than religious. Obviously, there is good reason why I lay such horses. There is understanding, reason, professionalism. I'm not pinning the tail on the donkey - just trying to find it. However, that doesn't mean any horse cannot win. They do. The beasts. Those chestnut giraffe can be killers. 


To be fair I laid an incredible run of losers. In a matter of months I had turned my five pounds to four thousand. In a sizable field of maidens I would win up to two hundred a race. However, this approach doesn't allow you to just take any old race and wave my stick of dynamite. For starters, on many days there would be a limited number of two-year-old races. Certain race types were ignored.


I had a feeling of confidence.


For a moment I considered however fast that fuse burned if I filled my lungs with joyous - winning - air I could blow away that hellish spark.


On occasions I got my fingers burned. You have to remember that although I follow a professional approach there is something very different about working in practice to paper trailing. Thankfully I wasn't hit by a 100/1 shot. That would have been hard to swallow. But if you lay a bet you should never be surprised if it wins. It is probably sensible to imagine it will blow your socks off. I laid a couple of horses which won at 20/1. Not good. Although from my understanding I wasn't wrong in my approach. Horses win, horses lose, that's how it works. I must admit that in those early months of laying what must have been a hundred plus losers on the trot it all seemed ''amazingly'' straight forward. At the back of my mind (often at the front...and certainly in my pocket) I didn't believe it would last. I didn't expect it to follow a scenic path. I've watched  The Wizard of Oz. You have to meet a scarecrow, tin man, lion and a couple of flying monkeys before you get a chance to melt a green-faced witch and steal her bloody shoes. Although - thinking about it -hadn't she already lost them? 


I hit another couple of winners. A few bets cost a good few hundred. Financially it wasn't a problem but psychologically it was tougher. The next few lay bets made me really need them to lose. With a few winning days under my belt I shrugged off the loss and by a week or two I was back to an all-time high. 


However, little by little I hit a plateau. The four thousand pound mark became a wall. Each time I would climb the ladder to look over the other side I would be beaten to it by a giraffe who stuck out an incredibly long tongue. Sure the thing blew a raspberry before it came into view. I went from four thousand. Three thousand. Back to four thousand. Kicked in the nuts by wilder beast. It was a struggle. I didn't feel the approach was wrong. A few of the decisions come down to a photo finish. Prolonged agony. I realised that I needed a tweak here and there. Knock a few trainers on the head because they had done my brain in. That learning curve felt as though it was tying me up in knots. I'm sure that watch stopped when I wasn't looking.


The end of the two-year-old season was on the horizon and I was looking forward to a rest. One of the last bets was a killer blow. It didn't finish me off but it dampened my spirits which were already low. Of all days. I had been to the funeral of my aunt and switched on the races to see a Luca Cumani debutant which I laid for twenty pounds. The favourite struggled. In turn I had an uneasy feeling...which continued to cause concern. The beast travelled like a gazelle. I gave up trying to work out whether its neck was long or short. Its legs moved fast. It hit the front, cruising Kempton's final bend and lengthened clear into the straight. The loss I had expected materialised costing nearly eight hundred pounds. It wasn't the best of feelings. 


I'll be back next year with my tranquilizer dart.