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A Random Professional Gambler's Story

The first week of March last year I left work to go full time, and one year on, I’d like to put this thread up as perhaps some people may find it helpful. Being a gambler is not something I ever expected to become. The advent of the Internet, and the exchanges, have changed my life (for now) dramatically. I still can’t quite believe its been just twelve months, but I for one have a lot to thank Andrew Black and Ed Wray for.


The twelve months started fairly badly after nearly being killed in a car crash in Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote. That was a bit of a disappointment. However, on return to the UK, I had two or three very successful months, until suddenly I was hit by a double whammy. I had originally been winning on three different types of market, and suddenly overnight became a big loser on two of them. At the same time I had been guilty of expanding my own lifestyle and expectations (in a very human, but perhaps unwise way), and had also spent a third of my bank buying (music) recording studio equipment – the one thing which I’d always dreamed of having.

Losing half of my remaining bank in the space of a fortnight last June left me in deep trouble, and it looked like I was in danger of having made a massive mistake. There was one point where I had one final bet (not a huge one though) where I promised myself if it lost to stop and never bet ever again. It did end up winning. I asked Gamcare for advice, who were very helpful. When gambling messes up your sleeping, as well as your waking hours, it is a crushing realisation that you are in a mess.


There are no evening classes, A-levels, or MBAs in gambling. There are a small band of hardcore professional gamblers, nearly all of them at least partially on Betfair, who are literally some of the sharpest minds there are. Any amounts on any market above £100 are likely to be bets placed up there by one of them. They are equally as talented at gambling as a top barrister or doctor would be at their trade. Nobody walks into a courtroom and decides to be a top lawyer for the day, nor operate in theatre at the local hospital. The difference with betting is that everyone can (and most do) have a bet. What can be much simpler than having £10 on Manchester United to win a football match?


Last June (only three months after leaving work), I was in fairly heavy trouble. I had a certain level of my bank which I had set as a level I would try to never go below. When it reached that level, it looked like taking the gamble on becoming a gambler was one I was on the brink of losing.

At that point, the advice I received from another gambler changed everything. I was in contact with a number of people, mainly originally through Betfair’s forum, but one of them I hold my hat off to, and have an enormous gratitude to, and respect for (you know who you are guv'nor). I managed to cross over and adapt my skills across a wide range of markets/sports, so that I had degrees of success in new areas. A key part of remaining a pro is the ability to adapt to a constantly changing market. You literally have to run to stand still to be successful in as fiercely competitive an environment as Betfair.

Winning money through betting is paradoxically something I feel very uncomfortable with morally. Are there people on the other side of these bets who are risking more than they can afford to lose? All the money originally deposited into Betfair has at some stage been earned in an office, a factory, a checkout, forecourt or salon. Much of it has real blood sweat and tears behind it. It makes me incredibly sad to read the figures from the big 3 that they have around 200,000 customers a year losing an average of £3,000 a year into FOBT’s, as reported on a number of threads on the General Betting forum. One of my ex-girlfriends had only come to England with her mother many years ago, after her father’s gambling addiction took their family to financial and emotional ruin, and her parents separated. There are real human beings out there who become just further statistics to fall by the wayside in the current pro-gambling British culture.

There’s always the hope that if you do win, it’s off a rich city trader, who is punting silly money for fun. Betfair has a very small number of seriously big winners (of which I am not one), but very few if any big losers. It has a vast legion of small losers. A football match can be more fun with a bet having been placed on it. The people who gamble for entertainment (whether they win or lose), as an enjoyable hobby to complement an already balanced life are perhaps the real winners. Given to this group of its customers, it is the better value and accessibility to a product they enjoy, that is perhaps Betfair’s greatest success.


For every 100 winners in a calendar year, many of them will fall by the wayside the following year. One of the most famous posts on this forum has been ‘The Story of Ster’, who went from being a big winner to someone whose methods became horribly outmoded, and he found himself deceiving his family about his gambling problems. According to his last post he found happiness and support from his loved ones. For every passage of time, past present and future, there will be a number who are crushed through indiscipline/addiction/chasing/recklessness and/or greed.


A year full time feels like a lifetime. Gambling is neither a hobby nor a job, it is a lifestyle. One thread on here has had a user called TETO setting a target of £50 a day, whilst another has a user called ‘Doubled’ seeking to make £25,000 a year. Everyone starts gambling with £1’s and £2’s, and if they are good, that progresses to fivers, tenners, fifties, and then hundreds. There are people who bet tens of thousands of pounds per football match, horse or rugby team on Betfair, without blinking an eyelid. If you have two gamblers, one of them 5% better than the other, one could realistically make £20,000 a year from it, the second one could make £70,000. The difference between earning £26,000 a year in the workplace, and £32,000 a year could be four or five years’ hard graft and promotion. A small difference in gambling skill can make an astronomical difference to the bottom line here though. The real shrewdies who use Betfair make about 10% profit on turnover, with a fairly astonishing turnover level by any layman’s standards.


There is no security in the future of any gambler, bar their own ability to stash away whatever they can for a rainy day. I am 26, and I know that when I do go back into the workplace (something I hope to do) it will be at the bottom rung again. Each year spent as a full timer doesn’t knock off a year of your real career at the bottom end of the ladder, it knocks off one of the best years at the end of it. It is quite a heavy burden for me, when most of my peers are doing well and forging ahead as consultants/analysts/bankers/lawyers/accountants/actuaries. Only hindsight will let me know if I did actually make the right decision at this stage in my life.


I’d like to put forward my own opinions of the kind of people who I think would make successful pro gamblers. Every school boy wants to be captain of the football team, or seeing the prettiest girl in the school. I was neither, just a quiet studious swot who probably annoyed people by continually beating everyone in the exams, as well as probably other various nerdy and equally nefarious activities. Pets don’t win prizes, geeks do. If you can remember the class genius/nerd, I don’t think you’re cut out to be a winner on Betfair. If you were the nerd, you have a chance. As I said before, nobody expects to turn up and be a brilliant doctor or lawyer, but everybody likes to have a punt, and most are happy to bet until they’ve done their cobblers.


I’ve personally written two specific programs/models which have proved invaluable on certain markets. One has half a million variables. The other I’m incredibly proud of, and wouldn’t sell for 30k. Winning at gambling is extraordinarily hard to do consistently, and it takes an armoury of graft, skill and discipline to succeed. The technical skill and wizardry behind some of the API programming is itself several steps up from a relatively small fish like me.

Nobody is ever a real winner from gambling until the day they cash in their chips, and leave the casino. There are gamblers throughout history who have won millions, and lost it all back. If somebody asked me if it can be done, could I truthfully say ‘yes’? I’m not sure that I could. I could easily be one of the hundred pros who whilst being successful for the last year, may fall by the wayside over the next. There is no tragedy in that – all that a man can ask for in life is the freedom to live by the sword, and you can only do that if it’s possible to die by the sword if you fail.


Starting out as a full timer is not something I would recommend to almost any other person (out of a sense of moral responsibility, not attempted protection of an imaginary part of some imaginary pot of gold). It has been the most astonishing learning curve, and in my first few months I experienced both sustained exhilaration and sustained depression. Gambling success is a fickle mistress, with incredible runs of both victories and defeats entwined illogically by fate. Value is all-important – not winners. That’s the first lesson to any gambler, and one which the majority don’t ever start to comprehend. The secret is not getting more heads than tails, its winning more when a coin comes up heads than you lose when it’s tails.




To be a real pro, gambling ends up becoming almost like a form of accountancy, with a good staking plan, and calculation of value as and when it arises. I no longer have any thrill whatsoever from winning or losing a bet.

It has been an amazing twelve months, and I am very fortunate to have been successful for now. I’m sorry if some of this thread comes across as arrogant – it’s all genuine from this side. Some people reading this will be thinking about going pro, and I’m sure other people will be reading too. If you do go pro, then try to remember how much of a rollercoaster emotionally it can be especially at first. Have a level of your bank which you will not go below, and promise yourself you won’t go below it. Then make sure you keep that promise. If I’ve learnt anything its how unimportant money is, and how precious the people around you are.


I hope some of this helps other people. There’ll be another geek out there like me who is at the stage I was at a year ago. I hope everyone finds fulfilment and happiness, which is much more than gambling in itself will ever have to offer.

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 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).

Grand National 2016 - Ante Post Racing Tips

It's getting to that time of year when we take a view on a few big meetings. The Grand National has 126 declarations at this time but it's a race we always take an interest and Karl ''The National Man'' Wales is a tipster who knows this race better than most. He has been looking for a few ante-post positions so I would advise readers to take note. (Pictured, Many Clouds, Grand National 2015 Winner)



9th April 2016 - Ante-post tips


The Druid's Nephew (Neil Mulholland) 25/1 
Goonyella          (J T R Dreaper)   33/1 Skybet
Soll               (David Pipe)      40/1 
Night In Milan     (Keith Reveley)   66/1 Paddy Power
Ballycassey        (W P Mullins)     100/1 Paddy Power 
Mon Parrain        (Paul Nicholls)   100/1 Paddy Power

Good luck to all 

Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1) Fillies: Possible Entries

With the conclusion of the Flat turf season, it's time to assess the very best fillies in training. For leading horse trainers, the 203rd running of the 1000 Guineas brings warm comfort on many a cold winter morn.

On 1st May 2016, Newmarket will crown a superstar filly.

What better time to consider the possible entrants for this historic race. This Group 1 Flat horse race is open to three-year-old fillies run on the Rowley Mile over the distance of one mile. This second of five Classic races was first run in 1814 taking its name from the prize money afforded to its winner (1,000 Guineas). The inaugural winner – Charlotte – was trained by Tom Perren, ridden by Bill Clift.

Take a moment to review these outstanding record holders which – for the most part – display a very historic flavour:

The leading jockey with seven winners is George Fordham: Mayonaise (1859) – Hauteur (1883).

The leading trainer with nine wins, Robert Robson: Connie (1818) – Arab (1827).

The 4th Duke of Grafton is the leading owner with eight wins: Catgut (1819) – Arab (1827).

Other points of interest:

  • Fastest winning time – Ghanaati (2009) 1m 34:22s
  • Widest winning margin – Mayonaise (1859), 20-lengths
  • Longest winning odds – Ferry (1918) 50/1
  • Shortest winning odds – Crucifix (1840) 1/10
  • Most runners – 29 (1926)
  • Fewest runners – 1 (walkover) 1825

Last year saw Legatissoimo prove victorious, trained by David Watchman, ridden by Ryan Moore for Messrs Magnier, Tabor & Smith.

At present we are talking possible entrants of this 2016 contest, detailed via the Racing Post:


Alice Springs – A P O'Brien
Ballydoyle - A P O'Brien
Beautiful Morning – L uca Cumani
Besharah - William Haggas
Blue Bayou - Brian Meehan
Coolmore - A P O'Brien
Fireglow - Mark Johnston
Hawksmoor - Hugo Palmer
How High The Moon – A P O'Brien
Illuminate - Richard Hannon
Katie's Diamond - K R Burke
Lumiere - Mark Johnston
Minding - A P O'Brien
Most Beautiful - David Watchman
Now Or Never - M D O'Callaghan
Tanaza - D K Weld


BetVictor anti post betting: 11/4 Minding, 4/1 Ballydoyle, 7/1 Lumiere, 16 Besharah, 20/1 Illuminate, 20/1 Alice Springs, 25/1 Tanaza. For a full list of prices take a moment to visit BetVitcor.

It will be interesting to see which horses go straight for this race, making their three-year-old debut or contest the Nell Gwyn Stakes or Fred Darling Stakes trials.

A fascinating race. Anti-post betting can give an equal measure of value and disappointment but for many punters. However, this is often a great time to place bets if you hold a strong opinion.

£10 FREE BET - BE LUCKY


Professional Gamblers Sign UpVisit http://www.professionalgamblers.co.uk/ #horseracing (must have 10 shares+ to qualify. Ends 15th Feb. Winner detailed on this post. Good luck to all.)
Posted by High Class Equine on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Horse Racing Systems and Handicapping Basics

If you've been handicapping horse races and trying to make a profit for a while, you realize just how difficult that might be. You also have probably figured out that you need a method or system that works and that you can repeat. When you're betting on horses and don't have any regular steps that lead to good winners, every bet is a shot in the dark.

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Bill Peterson




Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/horse-racing-articles/horse-racing-systems-and-handicapping-basics-4105775.html
About the Author

If you want to learn how a horse owner and insider handicaps just go to http://williewins.homestead.com/sharpshooter2.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.

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.

Kid Delicious: Pool Hustler

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

That is exactly what Danny Basavich was - a creative hustler who used improvisation and quick thinking to hustle. Basavich is a legend known in billiards circuits as Kid Delicious - a man who traveled the U.S. and parts of Canada, sharking the local talent - including an alleged $5,000 take right here in Myrtle Beach - for a half a million dollars in a little more than 5 years.
Free Horse Racing Tips, Click Here!
On Saturday, Kid Delicious was scheduled to display his table talents at new pool hall Shore Thing Billiards on Lake Arrowhead Road, but the event was postponed in light of the threat of Hurricane Irene. He was scheduled to give individual lessons, do a demonstration of his billiards prowess, followed by challenge games with attendees - if there were to be any takers after his demo. But organizers have tentatively rescheduled the event for Oct. 8 at Shore Thing.

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

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


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


What's In a Name?

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

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

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


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


The High Run with Bristol Bob, 007 and a Broomstick


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

The Push-Out


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


The Leave

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


Source

Strange Horse Laws


If you are thinking of buying a horse - then BEWARE you have just entered the crazy world of horse laws. Take care not to violate these barmy sanctions because you will look rather foolish telling the old lags you have been put behind bars for any of these offences.

In New York City, it is illegal to open or close an umbrella in the presence of a horse.


It is illegal to fish from horseback in Washington D.C, Colorado, and Utah.


Tennessee prohibits riders from lassoing fish.


A British law states that an Englishman must not sell a horse to a Scotsman.


Horses are required to wear hats in hot weather in Rasario, Argentina.


A fine of $25 can be levied for flirting. This old law specifically prohibits men from turning around on any city street and looking "at a woman in that way." A second conviction for a crime of this magnitude calls for the violating male to be forced to wear a "pair of horse-blinders" wherever and whenever he goes outside for a stroll.


In Guernee, Illinois, it is illegal for women weighing more than 200 pounds to ride horses in shorts.


In Kentucky, it is illegal for a woman to appear in a bathing suit on a highway unless she is: escorted by at least two police officers; armed with a club; or lighter than 90 pounds or heavier than 200 pounds. The ordinance also specifically exempts female horses from such restrictions.


In London, England, law required taxi drivers to carry a bale of hay on top of their caps to feed their horses. The law was in force until 1976.


In Arizona, it is illegal for cowboys to walk through a hotel lobby wearing their spurs.


In Raton, New Mexico, it is illegal for a woman to ride horseback down a public street with a kimono on.


In South Carolina, it is legal for adult males to discharge firearms when approaching an intersection in a non-horse vehicle to warn oncoming horse traffic.

A misworded ordinance in Wolf Point, Montana: "No horse shall be allowed in public without its owner wearing a halter."


In South Carolina, no horses are allowed into Fountain Inn unless they are wearing pants.


In Omega, New Mexico, every woman must "be found to be wearing a corset" when riding a horse in public! A doctor is required to inspect each woman to make sure that she is complying with the law.


Pennsylvania law states: ``Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. If the horses appear skittish, the motorist must take his car apart, piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes.''

In Hartsville, Illinois, you can be arrested for riding an ugly horse.


In the state of Queensland, Australia, it is still constitutional law that all pubs (hotel/bar) must have a railing outside for patrons to tie up their horse.


Pattonsburg, Missouri, Revised Ordinances, 1884: "No person shall hallo, shout, bawl, scream, use profane language, dance, sing, whoop, quarrel, or make any unusual noise or sound in such manner as to disturb a horse."


Abilene, Kansas, City Ordinance 349 declares: "Any person who shall in the city of Abilene shoot at a horse with any concealed or unconcealed bean snapper or like article, shall upon conviction, be fined."


Marshalltown, Iowa, it is against the law for a horse to eat a fire hydrant.

You Won't Win

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


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...