Thursday, 14 May 2020

Oh My! The Race is on for Royal Ascot 2020

I'd normally be excited about Royal Ascot. 

With Coronavirus delaying the return to Flat turf racing (all racing) we are at the mercy of both an invisible killer and the Government who are trying to make the best of a very difficult situation. 

The BHA is literally chomping at the bit for thoroughbred racing to be given the green light. Hopes of a return this month have been dashed and it now seems the earliest opportunity to resume is 1st of June. 

The racing industry is ready for the off. Horse trainers are reliant on the goodwill of their owners to continue to pay the bills which isn't a given in this economic time as many will be struggling with financial uncertainties if not burden. 

It is a truly difficult time. 

I'm seriously worried about the racing industry because the last thing anyone wants is this leading to irreparable damage. 

To be fair, I think many trainers are frustrated by the situation because horse racing, along with all sport, is being tarred with the same brush. Richard Hughes detailed his disappointment that racing hasn't resumed. Clearly, most stables are working as per usual normal withing the realms of safety and social distancing. There are many who would consider the return to racing no more dangerous than stable work on a daily basis. 

In a world of no sport, horse racing would be a welcome return and some release for the populous who are appreciative of all those things taken for granted. 

I have serious concerns about this delay and the difference between the resumption in mid-May to the 1st of June (if it happens) is a long two weeks with serious implications. 

The Racing Post report that the return could be spectacular with pattern races galore. 

I know all these things are provisional but I'm getting more and more uneasy with everything I read. 

The Provisional Pattern Plan 

This details a fast and furious return which in many respects is a good thing. However, with each delay, the number of high-profile races are waiting like black cabs outside a central station. It's understandable why racing is clinging onto these big-money races because they are the hopes and dreams of all within racing. Without these, the carrot that's dangled in front of the horse, owner, and trainer's eyes are stolen by Roger Rabbit. 

What should be a good thing is turning, potentially, bad as all these pattern races could be coming thick and fast.

June 3-4th 

Classic Trial 

June 5th

Lingfield Oaks Trial 
Lingfield Derby Trial 
Coronation Cup 

June 6th 

2000 Guineas

June 7th 

1000 Guineas

It looks like a bonanza of pattern races. This may be ok for older horses but it is far from ideal for other age groups.

As my niche is two-year-old racing, it is even more concerning if not bordering on illogical. 

This is no one's fault and a truly difficult position for all. But if the resumption of races starts on the 1st of June, there's talk of Royal Ascot on the 16th - 20th June. 

Don't get me wrong, I love the pomp and ceremony as much as anyone else, even if racing behind closed doors. 

But how is this all going to happen?

No two-year-olds will have any racecourse experience but in two weeks, give or take a day, trainers are meant to have their best juveniles penciled in for the following races:

Coventry Stakes (Group 2)
Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)
Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
Albany Stakes (Group 3)
Chesham Stakes (Listed)

Just over two weeks to get two-year-olds ready for racing at the highest level. 

I'm sure trainers are pulling their hair out because the start date keeps bouncing around like a rubber ball. 

How can a horse be trained to the day when no one really knows which day we are talking about!

We all know horses aren't machines so the chance of there being any structure to the two-year-old racing, in particular, is about five-furlongs up in the air. 

So what should we expect? 

I would say all we can expect is the unexpected. The two-year-olds more than any age group need time to learn the ropes and for trainers to take care in how they are prepared for those big days. 

The BHA says they will be scheduling plenty of two-year-old races in preparation for Royal Ascot. 

However, before the latest postponement of racing, they detailed 12 two-year-old races for the first week of racing. With a limited field size of 11 or 12 horses that means less than 300 horses will have race experience before Royal Ascot. How many of those two-year-olds will have more than one races? 

Very few. 

How with those entered for debut races be selected? I can imagine a huge number of trainers entering their juveniles for these limited number of races. And if these are balloted then we are dealing with a selection process of pure luck. So the opportunity for trainers to make any judgment call will be haphazard at best. 

This is the nature of the beast but you can see the concerns. 

The general selection process which trainers work by has gone out of the window. 

We all look forward to the return of racing and protecting the racing industry is paramount and goes beyond a bet here and there. 

However, I am concerned that the hope and need for high-profile races and prize money will turn the two-year-old racing into an illogical stampede of hopes and dreams. 

I hope there can be a touch of sanity too in making the most of a difficult situation. 

Good luck to all. 

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Checking Your Email is Very Much like Gambling

I don't know about you, but I'd hate to think I was addicted to anything. 

In fact, I could write a list of all the things I'm not addicted: 

Smoking. 
Gambling. 
Alcohol. 

The list could go on forever. Well, at least, I hope it would else I may have a problem or two. I'm sure one addiction would be hard. Two it's getting complicated. Three or more and I'd be drinking scotch at the Betty Ford Clinic while flicking through porn on my phone.

I guess you could be addicted to something!

''Move on, Bozo, I'm not addicted to anything. Not even your amazing articles...''

The problem with addiction is that often we don't even realise we have a problem until it's too late. 

This ''addiction thingamabob'' doesn't even raise its ugly head until someone boxes us into a corner, steals our meds (Betty Ford) or we read an article, like this, and consider, for a moment, and say:

''What the hell, I'm dealing with a full-blown addiction. I'm struggling to stop doing A, B, or C (C doesn't stand for crack cocaine, well not for me, at least). 

I really don't know. What's your ''Pleasure?''

How many times do you check your email? 

I love reading, especially psychology because it is a tool for advantage. The publication Predictably Irrational is written by Dan Ariely (2009). 

Email addiction (as with all social media) does have a psychological principle behind it. In fact, behavioural psychologist B.F. Skinner called it ''schedules of reinforcement''. Unsurprisingly, this is all about the relationship between actions and associated rewards. You may have read about the Skinner Box which housed a hungry rat and lever the rodent pressed to get a pellet of food. 

Now here's the reason why you just love to keep checking your email like a hungry rat or a gambler playing the slots. 

Skinner's distinguished between fixed-ratio and variable-ratio schedules of reinforcement. 

Under the fixed-schedule, a rat would receive a pellet of food if pressing the lever a fixed number of times (say 20 lever presses and hey presto he gets some corn). It's like you playing the slots but guaranteed a win every 10 spins. 

The varied schedule sees the rat wondering which press of the lever will deliver his next meal. It could be the first press or the hundredth. It's random, so your guess is as good as mine (or the rats). 

I guess we can all associate with the unpredictable nature of variability. 

But here's the interesting question: ''Which of the two ''fixed-ratio'' or ''varied-ration'' is the most motivating? 

You might think the fixed ratio would be more motivating and rewarding because you can predict the outcome. 

However, the varied ratio is more motivating.  

The true details are appreciated when the motivation stops. With the fixed-ratio reinforcement, the rat stops pressing the lever pretty quickly when the reward isn't forthcoming. 

The problem with the varied-ratio reinforcement is that the rat kept pressing the lever in hope of a reward even if it was an unprecedented number of presses. The rat's thinking: ''I'd normally have some food by now after 100 presses but now I'm on 1000 I'd better continue.''

You may have guessed that rats aren't the only ones to struggle with the varied-ratio reinforcement - humans do too. It's a great way to motivate. 

From a gambling perspective, it's the dark magic that keeps you playing the slots (as it does with the lottery, roulette & even your premium bonds).

How much fun would it be to play a slot machine if it guaranteed a win every ten spins? At first, it seems a good idea but it would soon become boring. The joy of gambling is its unpredictable nature. You may wait for 101 spins but if you hit the jackpot who cares! Basically, it keeps you playing.

But what does this have to do with email?

Even though you may have never thought about it before, checking your email is very much like gambling. 

Most emails are junk. It's like pulling the lever of a one-armed bandit and losing. 

However, every so often you receive a message you really want. It may be a message from a friend, relate to a job, or some random casino offering 100 free spins. We are happy to receive an unexpected email. 

That's why we become addicted to checking, hoping for a surprise. 

We just keep pressing that lever, again and again, until we get our reward. 

So that is the reason you may well have an email addiction. 



Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Hard Times Gambling Tips to Make Money

As the economy worsens and many people find themselves in a downward financial spiral, many will consider trying to win money to solve their economic problems. I've owned and raced horses, handicapped horse races for profit, and counted cards at the blackjack tables in casinos. I've made money at those things, but never got rich and found it to be more work than a regular job. It isn't glamorous or sexy to sit at a blackjack table for hours with drunks trying to tell you how to play your cards and the pit boss eyeing you suspiciously.

There is also nothing fun about walking out of a race track with empty pockets. The truth of the matter is that if you are one of the consumers of gambling, that is, not the casino owner or owner of the race track, then the game is against you from the get-go. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to quit playing, but I hate to see people risking what little they have trying to get lucky.

If you really want to get lucky, work for the casino or at the race track. I've never worked for a casino but have worked at a race track and I got paid every day no matter who won the race. If none of this has discouraged you or convinced you to quit, here is a little advice that might help.

First and foremost, set limits and know when to quit, especially when you're ahead. At some time in their visit to the casino, almost every gambler has a time when he or she is ahead and yet, most leave a loser. How do you know when to quit? Gambling, like most things in life, is streaky, or cyclical. You will have times when you win a few bets at the horses or hit a jackpot at the slots or a big pot at the poker table.

Nine out of ten gamblers proceed to keep betting and playing and give it all back. The longer you play the more likely you are to lose due to something called churn. Casinos and race tracks love churn. It simply means that each time you bet, the house or track gets a piece of your bet. It may only be a few percentage points in the casino or 20% at the track, but it adds up.

One of the few successful gamblers that I know is a lady who plays trifectas at the horse races. She is one of the cheapest people I know, but she still takes $60 per week and plays the ponies. If she loses it, she goes home and waits until the next week. When she wins, and she does, she usually hits trifectas that pay well. She will take the money and put it in the bank and use it to pay her bills or buy things she couldn't usually afford.

The next week, no matter how much is in the bank account, she only takes $60 and goes back to the track. She loves to handicap and doesn't look at it as the only source of her income. She knows that if she loses, she hasn't lost everything. In other words, there is no big pressure on her to win. She simply does her best to pick good trifecta combinations and then she plays them.

Over the years she has spent quite a bit of money on good books about handicapping and money management, which brings up another important point. Invest in yourself first. An investment in good information that you can use or a good education is the best investment most of us can make. She doesn't gamble with scared money and can stay within her limits.

So when you get hot and find yourself ahead, be realistic and quit. Take whatever you have and call it a day. The race track or casino will be there next week. Use most of the money to pay down that credit card or mortgage and just save enough for your next trip to the track or casino. You will be amazed if you follow this simple gambling advice at how you cut your losses and maximize your profits.

Author: Bill Peterson



Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/online-gambling-articles/hard-times-gambling-tips-to-make-money-4131887.html
About the Author

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



Friday, 24 April 2020

In Search of the Outsider: The Significance of Trainers & Starting Price

From what we have learned so far, it becomes apparent that finding an outsider with a lively chance of winning on debut needs a certain caliber of a trainer. The problem with following the elite is that their juveniles are very much in the spotlight. As we have mentioned, their reputation precedes them to a point where many are underpriced.

Few trainers, however capable, feature a level stakes profit with their debutantes. In fact, most would make truly poor bets from a blanket approach. Even looking at the individual rather than the general? To a certain extent, this would be a pointless exercise. Why? Because it is a remote chance these two-year-old could win at speculative odds. It would simply dictate they have a slim chance of winning. For example, from just over 450 debutantes, how many two-year-old winners did Mick Channon train priced over 8/1? It was in single figures. Fair enough, a large number of his juveniles were fancied in the betting. But would that inspire you to wager? I wouldn’t be interested. It is surprising how difficult it is to win on debut – at any price. And don’t forget how many win against a field of debutantes. The statistics would no doubt plummet when racing against experienced horses primed to run for their lives.

What we are searching for is this: not the biggest stables and certainly not the smallest who rarely train a two-year-old let alone a juvenile winner. What we need is that trainer who has plenty of ammunition but somehow slips under the radar. There are a number of interesting candidates.

One of the best candidates is Michael Dods. In my opinion, he is a talented trainer of two-year-old, especially on debut. He has excellent statistics with his debutantes, which, strangely, seem to have more chance of winning at speculative odds than when strongly fancied. However, the icing on the cake for his debutantes is when running on the soft or heavy ground. I’m not sure if he goes for the type of horse with hooves the size of dinner plates but they often love testing conditions. If you see one of his juveniles priced 40/1, 50/1 or even 66/1 on debut, racing in the terrible ground they make outstanding each-way bets.

Now, I’m not saying all of them are going to win. Who would imagine they could! This article is simply to highlight which trainers can go well at speculative odds in the knowledge that you have a fighting chance.

My brother bets on many horses just because he likes their physical stature. In fact, he goes to the extreme of not really caring who trains them. He's had so many big priced winners it is quite astonishing. What I want to highlight from his success is that gigantic-priced horses fall into a niche area to prove victorious. It is all about looking in the right direction. That is the reason why some gamblers win and others lose. They have the skills to know that rich seam of gold is within reach while others are searching for unforgiving grounds. 

Make sure you read Part 3 (coming soon)




Thursday, 9 April 2020

The Highs & Lows Of Terry Ramsden

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

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




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


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


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


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


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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

An early look at the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders

An early look at the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders

Al Boum Photo etched his place in the history of Cheltenham Festival by joining a select company of horses win the Gold Cup in back-to-back years. Willie Mullins’ charge produced a fine performance to surge down the stretch in the prestigious race, edging a duel with Santini to claim the victory by a neck ahead of his rival. 

The eight-year-old will now aim to become the first horse since the legendary Best Mate to win the crown three times on the bounce. Al Boum Photo is the leading contender at 5/1 in the early horse racing betting odds to triumph in the Gold Cup in 2021. Mullins’ charge seems to have the measure of the race and Cheltenham, although there will be competition once again from a talented field. 

We’ll now take a look at if he can pull off the feat once again next year and see who could end his reign at the top, in arguably the ultimate prize in jumps horse racing. 

Al Boum Photo

After his triumph of the 2019 Gold Cup where he beat out Anibale Fly for the crown, Mullins’ charge was beaten in his next appearance. His stable-mate Kemboy bested him at the Punchestown Gold Cup, ending his campaign on a low note. The French thoroughbred was rested for seven months before he returned to action for the Savills New Year's Day Chase at Tramore.


Al Boum Photo was the odds-on favourite for the race and delivered with an emphatic victory, finishing six lengths ahead of his nearest rival. The eight-year-old arrived for the Gold Cup in prime form and Paul Townend at the reins put forward another brilliant ride. He timed the surge to perfection, with the bay gelding possessing just enough speed to see out the win by a fine margin. Whether he can maintain that form for next season remains to be seen. 

Santini

Nicky Henderson’s charge almost beat out Al Boum Photo down the stretch, but just lacked the pace when it mattered the most. Had the race been a fraction longer Santini may have been able to snatch the victory away from the French thoroughbred. It was still a fine performance from the bay gelding and Nico de Boinville, who will be optimistic about another run in the event next year.

It was the second season in a row that Santini finished second in a meet at the Festival, having been beaten out by Topofthegame in the RSA Novices’ Chase in 2019. He bounced back this term, notching impressive victories in the Future Stars Intermediate Chase and the Cotswold Chase. The eight-year-old put in a fine effort at the Gold Cup, and may be richer for the experience next season to dethrone Al Boum Photo. 

Champ 

The Irish thoroughbred put in one of the performances of the week to win the RSA Novices’ Chase. It looked as though Minella Indo and Allaho were destined for a tense duel on the line for the win, but Champ exploded out of nowhere to surge between the two horses to close out the victory by a length. Henderson’s charge will now have the challenge of taking the next step to compete for the Gold Cup against the elite horses of the National Hunt.


He recorded solid victories in the Berkshire Novices' Chase and the KKA-Highpoint Beginners' Chase at Newbury. However, the only proof of his Gold Cup credentials will come in the new season and perhaps the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Champ is one to monitor as, like his victory in the RSA Novices’ Chase, he could burst on to the elite scene next term.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Weird and Amazing Facts about Horse Racing

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

How it started and a few records?

For the successful horses, the owners would pledge their lives. Yes, they can earn more on stud than on the racecourse, and $100 million is involved in horse racing every year. It all started with the chariot races of Rome, and they are the organized form of horse races, from where today’s horse races are derived. These races trace back to 4500 BC in Central Asia. 


  • To date, there is no record that a horse more than 18 years of age has won the race. 
  • A racehorse on an average weighs 1000 pounds, and the recorded that is lowest for a jockey is 49 pounds. 
  • The highest aged jockey was Levi Barlingume, who raced till 80 years of age, which was until 1932. 
  • Humorist was the winner of the Epsom Derby in 1921 that ran with only one lung.


Big-hearted horses have more chance to win 

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

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

Slow or fast? 

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

Facts about different breeds

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

Dangers associated with horse racing

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




Sunday, 8 March 2020

Brocklesby Stakes Stars - Mind Games

JACK BERRY
For many, the emphasis of Doncaster's William Hill Lincoln meeting will be the handicap mile, while HCE will focus on the Brocklesby Conditions Stakes, which heralds the start of our two-year-old season. To celebrate the Flat season, we remember a number of talented two-year-olds who have not only won the Brocklesby but gone on to mark themselves as truly talented individuals. Read this year's analysis on 28th March 2015, 1:25 Doncaster. High-Class Equine - the home of two-year-old racing. 


Mind Games


Puissance (6.4f) — Aryaf (CAN) (Vice Regent (CAN) (8.8f)

Trainer J Berry
OWNER: Robert Hughes (Shropshire)


2nd foal, half-brother to Able Fun, 1m winner at 2, Prince Ary, 10f winner at 3, & Quiz Show, 1m winner at 3, later dam of smart sprint 2yo Right Answer; dam unplaced at 2-3, half-sister to quite a useful miler Peartree House

 
On the 24th March 1994, Mind Games won the Brocklesby Conditions Stakes by a neck from Jobran, trained by Gay Kelleway, at 4/1 joint-favorite. Jack Berry - the renowned trainer often noted for his red shirts - had unveiled one of the most talented horses from the vast string. Berry was well known for his early-season dominance of two-year-old races. This son of Puissance ran seven times at two, winning his first three races with a ready success taking the Norfolk Stakes (Group 3) at Royal Ascot over 5f. He suffered his first loss (5th) when competing at Leopardstown (IRE) in the Heinze 57 Phoenix Stakes (Group 1). Mind Games continued to mark himself as a top-class two-year-old racing at Group level and narrowly losing by a short head in the Flying Childers (Group 2).
 
A successful career at 3 & 4 saw him race from Listed to Group 1 level, winning a further four races, with the Temple Stakes (Group 2) at Sandown being a notable success. Mind Games raced at Group 1 level on nine occasions but never won at this level albeit finishing 4th in the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) at York, beaten by two lengths behind Pivotal. 
 
Berry's star raced once as a five-year-old before being retired to stud.
 
In his career, Mind Games raced 20 times, winning 7 races and won total prize money of over a quarter of a million pounds and an official rating of 112.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

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.



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. 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 livelihood 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 extraordinary 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.



Monday, 24 February 2020

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:

YOU WON'T WIN

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