The strange world of how to win at horse racing with hypnosis?

I originally went to the race-track not because I had any intention to gamble, but because a friend who was working at the racetrack wanted me to meet the horse he was grooming - "Totally Ruthless". 

I was fascinated with the atmosphere. My first visit there made me feel as if I just stepped into a fairy-tale - the lights, sounds, smell and the overall energy of excitement were unlike anything I have ever experienced before and as you may guess, the moment I'd step on the racetrack, I'd step into an altered state of mind.

I'd get a thrill just from hearing the names of the horses like "No Sex Please", "Overnight with You", "Cinnamon Toasted'. At first, I didn't bet. I merely went there to soak up the atmosphere, to experience the trance, to get high on all the excitement. I would get high on the sounds and even on the smell of the racetrack.

I was soaking in the atmosphere of the racetrack and I soon discovered that as I tuned into horses, I would intuitively and effortlessly pick up the winning horses. I was doing well enough that people took notice and they started asking me which horse to bet on.

For a while, the racetrack was like my second home, or an office. If anyone wanted to meet with me, he had to show up at the racetrack. I lived and breathed horse racing. A friend of mine who never went to any racetrack before, started to accompany me to the racetrack. We were betting triactors (trifecta) and the first dozen times we won every single race we bet. Then we lost one and he got rather disheartened. Well, I never said we would win every single race and considering the races we won, and the odds of winning, I think we did extremely well.

In the beginning, I didn't pay much attention to the stats and previous performances and frankly speaking I did better than when I attempted to rely on stats. And while I still recommend reading the stats, unless you actually have some insider tips, I consider it very important checking out the horses before the race. When you rely on stats, you are betting with your head, when you take the time to observe the horses and let your subconscious soak up the information, your intuition may guide you in ways that are far more accurate than any stats and past performances.

Stats can help you greatly in races where one or two horses have clearly much better past performance than the rest of them, but observing the horses can help you to get the information about the condition and the mood of the horse just before the race and even if you consciously do not know how to read the signals that horses are giving, your unconscious mind and supply an amazing amount of information and sometimes in very interesting ways.

The way this has worked for me is that sometimes just before the race, a song would begin playing in my mind which happened to have key words that related to a horse in the upcoming race. For example, I may hear an old song about a girl called "Cinnamon" in a race where the horse by the name "Cinnamon Toasted" was about to race - and win the race. To you, Intuitive information can come in many other way - you may have a gut feeling, or have an image of a winning horse, or someone may say something, but whatever happens, you'll just know which horse to bet on.

Win at Horse-Races CDs are designed to make you consciously aware of all that you need to know to pick the winning horses in the races you are betting on, to access intuitive knowledge as well as to program your subconscious for winning while betting either on standardbred or thoroughbred horses. Win at Horse Races hypnosis CD will condition your subconscious mind with winning by rehearsing your subjective experience.

Win at Horse Races subliminal, supraliminal and supraliminal plus CDs contain direct suggestion to help you access your intuition and pick the winning horses and while they can work perfectly well on their own, for best results I suggest you also work with Win at Horse Races hypnosis CD.

Wit and Wisdom of a Racecourse Gambler

wit and wisdom
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 age 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 the 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 bets 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 anymore 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 are 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 a potential 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 into 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 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 year's 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.

Is Matched Betting Risk Free, Can I do it?

matched-betting.jpgGambling is for losers, or is it? We hear so much about how gambling causes so many issues for many people around the world, but many are hooked, and consistently are down on their investment.

So what if I could tell you that is you step back, don't be so hasty, and plan your bets, you could then always be beating the bookies, sound good?

Well, there is a form of betting that will work for you, it's not necessary to win huge amounts of a short space of time, but to build small smalls that collective over time turn into big amounts each month.

So what is this, I hear you ask, well it something called match betting.

What is matched betting?

I’ve tried explaining the concept of matched betting to some people I know, but I it always a little difficult. Fundamentally, match betting is not that close to gambling in general; this is because it take advantages of the free bet offers that many booker makers make. The idea is you take advantage of the free bet offer by a bookmaker;

You then bet on all possible events of the outcome, with you free bets and any small deposit you made, so if it is a horse racing, you would bet on the horse or bet against it (Lay bet).

Now that's a loose explanation, but it gives you an idea in a nutshell. The main thing from this is that you really can't lose, as long you use a trusted matched betting tool, which will not only guide you to where to find your free bets, where to bet but will work out and store a history of all your matched betting bets & balances.

There is a article on the, which touches further on the subject.

Is matched betting for anyone?

In one word, yes. Anyone, whatever age or experience can make money from matched betting. Patients and having some spare time is the only ingredients you need, and of course a computer and an internet connection.

Students & matched betting

With students, are you one now reading this thinking, hmm, I could really make a quick buck here, I know I use my student loan!

Wait, there is always a risk, be it small of losing when matched betting, this is mainly down to a lack of understanding and rushing into it with a desperate need to make some extra cash for the weekend. If you put it to theory matched betting itself is risk-free!

I would recommend that, as mentions earlier on in this post, that you, find a matched betting service that offers free support & guidance, video tutorials, and allows you to find free bets easily plus monitor and track what you are doing.

Many of these matched betting service websites, offer free accounts, plus the option for more premium options, which cost around £15 per month.

So while matched betting is risk-free you do have to invest a small amount each month in making sure, one you are organised, have the best direction possible and have quick access to all the possible free bets open to you online.

You Won't Win

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

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

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

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

Among these articles were such gems as:

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

“Speaking of Streaking,” from Casino Player,

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

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

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

You won’t win.

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

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

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

You won’t win.

Nobody wants to hear it.

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

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

You won’t win.

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

You won’t win.

And the reason is fluctuations.

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

And they don’t win.

And they ask me why.

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

But it happened to you.

Your money.

Your hours.

Your months of dreaming.

And you didn’t win.

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

You won’t win.

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

But not you.

You won’t win.

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

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

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

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


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

Getting Bets On

Another fascinating article from the Horse Racing Pro.

Okay, the title is already somewhat misleading! We have covered many of the aspects of actually identifying the sort of horse that is liable to make you money. This time I am addressing a persistent problem for the successful or semi-successful punter: that of actually placing bets.

Before launching in to the rights and wrongs of the uneasy game of financial chess played between bookmakers and punters, a thorough grounding in debate, or arguing if I am truthful, dictates I ought to present both sides of the argument.

Perhaps we can look at the punter’s case first. He contends that bookmakers invite bets by pricing up horses and if they are incorrect, it is his prerogative to revise his betting accordingly. Therefore, when the bookmaker offers 8/1 about a horse he priced the night before and the going has altered, or there is a noticeable change in draw bias, the punter bemoans the fact he cannot avail himself of the price. After all, his argument will meander, the price did not stipulate, ‘only available if nothing has occurred that is likely to alter the chance of said runner since this price was framed.’ Refusing bets on this animal is tantamount to saying 8/1 is only available providing the horse is not three lengths clear with a hundred yards to cover. The bookmaker that assessed its chance as being 8/1 realises he may have got it wrong and is restricting how much is available. Surely, such behaviour is scandalous!

Okay, let us look at this from the bookmaker’s perspective. He has priced up the race in good faith, assuming that the prices reflect a rough betting pattern on the event in question. So in the case of the 8/1 chance, he would expect approximately eleven percent of all punters betting on the event to back that particular runner. When it is quite plain that, for whatever reason, instead of eleven percent of punters wishing to back it, something like twenty-five percent of punters wish to be on [making it a 3/1 chance in real terms], one of two things has occurred. Either the bookmakers have made a massive collective mistake, or something beyond their control has manifested itself making demand for the 8/1 chance radically increase. Possibly the horse is a Pricewise selection or, as earlier illustrated, circumstances have altered.

Understandably, the bookmaker needs and wants to take evasive action. That means from his point of view two things must happen: he has to restrict the bets he takes on the horse and, at the earliest opportunity, the price must be altered to a more realistic one.
At the risk of stating the obvious, I will state it anyway as it seems to be overlooked by many a disgruntled punter. Bookmakers are not there to provide a service. They are in business to make money. They are not obliged to accommodate punters at all costs. In their defence, they do try to cater for regular smaller-stake clients, those they perceive as comprising their core business. But the first sort of customer to receive a knock-back is the one they do not really want – the one that plays for high stakes.

Allow me to deviate for just a paragraph here and cite the current situation facing banks. On the face of it, their reluctance to pass on the interest rate decrease appears shameful. But is it? Despite what would be protestations to the contrary, Government has engineered this change in interest rates. By reacting in a prescribed manner by the Bank of England, banks and building societies are running the risk of exacerbating present financial problems. Government is attempting to refloat the economy by stimulating borrowing. In part, that is how we find ourselves in our current situation. As commercial businesses, banks are unprepared to be Government-managed, making them reluctant to lend money at disadvantageous rates and to people or companies that are likely to be poor risks. I am afraid under the present crisis that means all of us have to be including in this category. (However, the passing of the borrowing rate to existing mortgage holders would be a reasonable compromise.) So a present stand-off exists between commercial companies of great strength and influence, and a Government whose policies are crumbling but that holds enormous power. The fact banks are resisting, demonstrates the strength of the free market. Money does not lie; not in world economy or on the racecourse. Unless we live in a police State, enterprise and a free market will always face up to the might of Government when it suspects it is in its interest to do so.

Know thy enemy! As punters, it is important for us to understand the way bookmakers operate, just as they know how we tick. In the example given, I can sympathise to an extent with the bookmaker’s plight.

Another popular complaint from punters is that they cannot get on. Half-hearted punters will tell you they are constantly knocked back. The inference is that they are too warm for the bookmakers to handle. The truth is that often they are taking the piss. Ask to back the second favourite each-way for serious money when the favourite is odds-on and the bookmaker will not want to know. Would you? It is a snide bet. No wonder this request is refused; such a punter is nothing short of a nuisance and is prejudicing his future chances. Try asking your local greengrocer if he will sell you 3 kilos of apples (or apples’s as greengrocers spell them), at cost, and he will soon tell you where to go. The principle is the same! Give a decent bookmaker a chance of winning from you and he will reciprocate by giving you a chance of winning from him. Ask the punter that tells you he is holding his own, breaking even, or beating his bookmaker one question: ‘Did your bookmaker send you a diary this year?’ If the answer is yes, the punter is a loser! Bookmakers do not send free diaries to customers that cost them money!

In some cases, heavy-hitters or very shrewd or well-informed punters cannot get on pure and simple. To put the bookmaker’s case, their bets can be so large they tip the scales of what is supposed to be a balanced book wildly out of kilter. No bookmaker wants a field book that contains ten £20 bets and one of £3,000. The clue is in the title. He is attempting to make a book and clearly cannot do that if it is top-heavy. What the £3,000 bettor is forcing the bookmaker to do is to gamble, and bookmakers are not in that business; after all that is supposed to be our province. To restore some equilibrium to the argument, bookmakers should know by now that no book is balanced. Most races only provide three or four runners that attract significant support. But there are occasions when all those for money get beaten, meaning the layer has the luxury of a clear book. It comes and goes. I do sympathise with punters known to be warm that open accounts with bookmakers. They phone to place a bet in the region of £800 (only part of their overall bet but a reasonable request for an individual firm) only to be told they can have £25. That is a disgrace! Bookmakers should refuse to either conduct business with select punters lock stock and barrel, or accept their wagers without too much question. The problem with the present system as far as hot punters are concerned is that, rather like the betting in-running players on the exchanges, they only get accommodated on potential losers. This means the bookmaker is dictating the extent of their business, which is bad news. The money belongs to the punter and if denied the chance to back horses identified as potential winners by the bookmaker, his chance of winning overall is greatly reduced. I have known many a big-hitter that has subsequently backed only short-priced horses, safe in the knowledge he will be accommodated. Now, they are in potential trouble. The reason they get on is that they are backing horses whose chances are there for all to see. They are firing into the Master Mindeds or Kauto Stars of this world. Bookmakers will soak up that sort of business all day. After all, the chance of such horses is common knowledge. Some win, some lose. Some whip round at the start, some unseat, some break legs. But not enough of them win to give the punter an advantage; and as I reiterate, without an edge, you will not win in the long run.

Being able to back what you wish to back is imperative for the professional punter. Depending on the individual concerned and the type of his business, to place his bets successfully, he has to be prepared to adjust his approach. Some very big players have a network of people who place bets for them. Bookmakers categorise punters’ business. Good customers, (that is to say habitual losers) are A Grade and their system slides down according to the win-to-lose ratio of the client. Placers of bets on behalf of others normally hold losing accounts, so bookmakers are reluctant to refuse their bets even if they know they are backing a warm horse. At first they will surmise such a bet could be a coincidence and will accept it on the assumption that even if it wins, they will get the money back. But the intelligence of bookmakers is sharp. Please note, by intelligence I am not necessarily talking about their IQ factor. No, I am referring to their ability to isolate what is happening, their MI5-type capacity if you like. Once they know you are placing bets for one of the big ten or twelve players in the business, you are tagged and reoccurrence of such business means refusal. As a result, the really big players are always on the lookout for new agents to handle part of their business, which, if mixed in with everyday stuff, has a chance of slipping under the wire.

Some of the bigger players open deposit accounts on behalf of ordinary people and run the business as if they were the individuals concerned. The bank details are all correct, cash is withdrawn and deposited at the behest of the punter and the real person, who is impersonated when the punter makes his phone calls, paid a commission. Some of the most successful and biggest players have to go to such lengths in order to place bets.

You may wonder what sort of punter is forced into taking such action. Firstly, there is the big hitter – the man betting in unquantifiable sums. His instructions can often be to ‘Get on as much as you can.’ No limit; no strings attached: £100,000, half-a-million, a million. He will accept whatever is returned. As you can imagine very few such punters exist. Even with the guarantee that such business guarantees the procurement of inside information, possibly of the highest calibre, I would dissuade involvement. Anyone dealing with this type of player is liable to sleepless nights. Being owed half a million by the King of Zongo Zongo is all very well, but should he be mauled to death by a rampant lion in his sleep, obtaining it is a different matter. Apart from the obvious drawback of getting paid (everyone dies – ever thought of how difficult it might be to persuade Mrs Zongo Zongo that you are owed the money – particularly if she ushered the lion into his bedroom?), your personal betting, if you are counting on King Zongo Zongo’s connections, will always involve you taking under the odds. By definition, your function is to ensure the king receives the best odds available. You are merely receiving the crumbs left on the table, or in this case, possibly the bones. No one, other than a close ally, blood relative, or someone you owe money to, should be granted credit. Some rules in life are incontrovertible. This I suggest is one.  

So if you are successful in this business and bet in reasonable sums, just how do you get on? I shall use myself as an example because that way I shall not offend anyone and I am addressing a subject I know something about. As far as I am concerned, the fewer people privy to my business the better. But it is an unfortunate fact that the bigger the player you are, the more likely it is that you are compelled to recruit helpers. Personally, I am not big enough to resort to these tactics. And although I often use commission agents, I have a fair relationship with one firm that allows me to do business on advantageous terms because my stakes are not so big that I knock them over, and they respect my opinion. I realise some of you may accuse me of consorting with the enemy but mine is a one-off case, which, without going into detail, I can justify. Putting it bluntly, I used to work for the firm concerned. I play the game with them; in return, they play it with me. But I am under no illusion, they will do me no favours and the bigger my stake, the less likely they are to be obliging.

I have been in the business a while and built up useful contacts along the way. The same will happen to any aspiring punter who makes the grade but, as with all matters, it takes time.

I have two additional pieces of advice for those wishing to make a living backing horses. We have established it can be done but is very difficult. Unless you are Michael Tabor, in which case I suspect I lost you a long time ago; as expressed in my last piece, expenses make life hard. If an opportunity presents itself to make money from a sideline allied to your racing prowess, then take it. Most professionals do have regular incomes of some sort. It takes pressure away from those losing runs and means you have a specified amount coming in each month, even if sometimes more goes out. My situation is a perfect example. Bob Rothman (a man I have known for a long time) pays me to write up my racing notes and compile articles for this site. He underpays me of course, but because he is a  pleasure to work for, trustworthy and does not encroach on my lifestyle, I do it. As I write, it is an arrangement that suits us both admirably. In truth, I am paid to do something I enjoy and most of the input to the site is the result of work I would be doing in any case. The only downside is that I am allowing private thoughts and opinions to enter the public domain. However, such is the nature of the beast – the price those of us in search of a regular wage must pay. Many of the horses I nominate on Bush Telegraph shorten up in the market. Now, there are two reasons for this. Firstly, if I back them then I am in-part responsible. This is not because I smash horses up as my employer might do, but because those who handle my business respect my opinion and they are liable to follow me, often for higher stakes.

Secondly, most of the time what I say is correct. Therefore, because I have hit on the right horse, others are waiting in the wings to invest their cash, which will affect the betting market. If that sounds conceited, that is not my intention. I have already explained that I spend a great deal of time watching and analysing races. This work pays dividends and often means I know more than the opposition. It does not guarantee success but means most of the time I know what I am doing.

As I write, I have narrowly failed to receive a payday on Whistledownwind, a horse foolishly campaigned over an incorrect trip before going to Jeremy Noseda and inched out today over a more suitable distance. Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag and Whistledownwind will not be available at all prices from 10/1 to 7’s next time. But it is an example of how, when you feel you know what is not obvious to all and sundry, you can mop up while those who were on their third pint as you worked are left scratching their heads.  

The Lost Art of Tic-Tac

Tic-Tac sign language is a lost art amongst bookmakers in the UK. Very few bookies still use the signals previously popular on racing courses across the United Kingdom.

The signals varied by region but all communicated odds. Some are shouted verbally as well in cockney rhyming slang.

For many punters now involved in horse race betting they are unlikely to encounter Tic-Tac but it can be a fun way to communicate with friends and colleagues while at the races.

Becoming a Professional Gambler

I found this article on Slipperytoad website, originally published by Punt.Com blog, and it makes fascinating if not a little pessimistic reading.

Forums, blogs, bookies and betting websites are full of people dreaming of becoming professional gamblers. Being your own boss, working when you feel like it, making loads of money and watching sports for a living is certainly appealing to most people. Let this post (and the rest of this blog) be a reality check.

I see a lot of people giving up jobs to do this after a short time trading. They think it’s easy and straight forward, they think it will last forever… They haven’t thought it through.

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I’ve been a professional gambler now for over 3 1/2 years. Before that I gambled for 2 years before I took the decision to do it. It was the biggest decision of my life, certainly not one I took lightly. Giving up a guaranteed income and job prospects to gamble with my own money was extremely risky to say the least.

When you give up your job, you’re not only going to be risking your money gambling, but your entire future job prospects. Let me tell you, gamblers are not viewed in the same way as someone who works in a normal job. Compare the reaction you get when you tell someone you are a gambler to when you tell them you work in a bank. Even if you compare it to being a “day trader”, the reaction is a mixture of contempt, fascination and disbelief.

Most people will flatly not believe you. Gamblers are the vagrants of society. The losers that hang around bookies, wasting their family income on an addiction. No one believes it is possible to win, and if you have – it’s just luck. Like it or not, this is how you will be viewed. Some will feel sorry for you, others will not give you the time of day. You are going to be one of society’s outsiders.

Family relationships can be strained and tested. It takes a lot of understanding from family and friends and this can weigh on your mind whilst you are gambling. A stable family life is important, it spills over into your work – few jobs are affected as much by this. You need stability and space to work well. And vice versa, a bad day at the office should not affect the way you treat those closest to you, can you really say that you won’t be in a terrible mood when you lose £xxxxx on some tennis player that gave up?

Your financial future is now uncertain. You are no longer contributing to society, you are not paying tax – an advantage to the gambler sure, but it doesn’t improve your self esteem and further enhances the feeling of being an outsider.

Try to borrow money from the bank? It’s easier said than done. This is why you need to try to secure your future financially as far in advance as you can before you make it your sole income

What about future job prospects? If you need to work again, do you really think future employers are going to be happy with you spending a year or two gambling for a living when they read your cv.

How much have you won before you turn pro? It’s hardly ever enough. You need to make many times your current income before you do it. Make sure you have savings that are stashed away, preferably making you a reasonable amount of interest. I might have turned professional a year before I did, but I had to make sure I was safe financially before I did so. Not only for my lively hood, but so that I could work confidently and without pressure. You cannot perform in this game if you are too worried about losing your hard earned cash. Pressure on your profit and loss is deadly.

What about when you do take the plunge, your day to day life is going to change dramatically in ways you may not have imagined. Interaction with other people becomes scarce. You will be spending long periods of time alone, clicking away staring at a screen all day. The temptation to live up to the stereotype is obvious. Why bother making an effort when you can get up, do some work and go back to bed again.. Discipline. Working alone throws up serious challenges. Your health and fitness can suffer drastically. The way you interact with other people can take a tumble. Prepare for this in advance.

It’s not all excitement and glamour. It can be downright boring doing the same things day in day out. Boredom for some gamblers can be their most dangerous adversary. You can end up working on things you don’t need to be. Betting too much and over trading for the sake of it.

Gambling certainly doesn’t owe you a living. A normal job pays you for turning up, no one’s going to do that here – they are going to try to take money off you for turning up. It’s you against a world of other people, all of whom have opinions, some of them most definitely better informed than you. Just how professional are you when it comes to the crunch, are you certain you are at the top of the tree? How consistent is your performance going to be to combat everyone else and stay ahead of the game. There are some brilliant brains out there trying to beat you at every turn – be wise to the available strategies and the people you are up against and give them respect – it’s your money and therefore livelihood they are after.

There are very few real professional gamblers, the reasons above outline why. It’s incredibly tough to do. You are going to be tested mentally every day and you will need to guard against developing bad psychological habits. There are reasons why gambling can cause problems for most people. There is a fine line between problem gambling, pathological gambling and professional gambling. Many professionals develop problems, be aware of the risks. Here’s a site about different types of gamblers. It suggests there are fewer than 50 gamblers in the US that make over $100,000 a year. With all the negative problems you can face as a professional gambler, you better make sure you are being compensated. Ask yourself what a fair amount is for enduring these problems, if you aren’t already making that then is it really worthwhile.

Think about your life situation and your family life. You are risking your money and theirs. I was fortunate when I began that I was young, single and in a job that didn’t pay that much and I was able to spend as much time as I liked pursuing it, without overheads and relationship damaging consequences. It’s extraordinarily time consuming to begin with, especially as you are going to have to work hard to increase from little to a sum of money suitable to work from. Don’t underestimate the time this takes, and the time you will be spending away from family chasing something that might not even work out.

I know this post is quite pessimistic. I think it’s supposed to be. I’ve heard it said before that professional gamblers are pessimists, I’m not sure I agree completely, but in this post I certainly think it’s a good idea to be. No matter how much you think you are ready, wait a while longer. Wait until you are sure you aren’t just lucky, then wait some more… Know why you aren’t plain lucky, and be big enough to admit defeat if you have been.

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 $362,259 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. Canada also now has a large number of casinos and not just confined to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver; with the business case often trumping the social or moral case when planning decisions arise. Unlike the U.S though there's a lax regulatory regime managing internet casinos with Canadians able to deposit and play quite easily at these types of offshore casino sites.

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.

Read more fascinating gambler psychology stories here: Bet You Buy The Red Car