Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Hard Times Gambling Tips to Make Money

Horse Betting
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, 4 January 2019

Converter Shows Class on Debut for Mick Channon

Converter win readily at Nottingham
What I enjoy about two-year-old horse racing is that it is full of surprises, potential, hope and dreams. 

I'm not saying that other age groups of horses don't have a similar feel because horses will always surprise. The handicapper which goes from a 50-rating to 100. From plating races to listed class. 

However, those who love two-year-old racing know that it is a fleeting time. I, personally, only work within this niche. When then next Flat turf season arrives it is a blank slate for me to write the names of new stars of the future. I follow this subject matter to the highest of standards. I managed to achieve a 2:1 degree in reading Psychology at the Open University. This racing knowledge far exceeds any academic endeavour I have followed. It is a battle of wits: HCE Vs Bookmakers (layers). Sometimes they win - sometimes they lose. Long term I bet myself to beat anyone else who tries to lay horses against me. Why am I confident? Because I work harder than most people, have vast experience and appreciate what it takes to do exactly what I do. 

I run Group Horse Daily, which details the best unraced and lightly raced two-year-old colts & fillies in training. If you have never seen this website before, then take a look by clicking the link. 

Today was very busy. A hell of a lot of juvenile races - 14 to be precise. Far too many. However, there were some very interesting horses. A number well regarded. 

The 1:30 Nottingham (caught my eye). 

Charlie Hills favourite Qutob ran well on debut when narrowly beaten. 

The 8/13f ran a decent race but finished second to Mick Channon's Converter. This son of Swiss Spirit is held in high regard. I detailed this point before the race. With such a short-priced favourite it can slightly skew the betting. Few of Channon's debutants win on debut when priced over 8/1. It's a fact. If you have the software to check these things you will see the strike rate is terribly low. Converter drifted to 16/1. It is intriguing to consider what trainers think. I am sure connections hold this bay colt in very high order. But did they think beating the favourite was too much? Well, Converter was held up out the back. The reason why he touched big odds in-running on the exchanges. Racing up the rail, he coasted to the lead and won by a length or so in ready fashion. 

Interesting that I state that very few of his debutantes win at double-figure prices. There have been a few. What have I learnt about these winners? When they win a big odds on debut it details a very talented horse which is likely to contest pattern class.

This won't be Converter's last win. 

Saturday, 29 December 2018

How Gambling Killed Kenny

Ken Uston, blackjack,
Ken Uston was a professional gambler with a love of blackjack. Born in New York in 1935, his mother a native of Austria and his father a Japanese migrant businessman.

Uston went to Yale University at the age of 16, then studies an MBA at Harvard. He had varied jobs including Senior Vice President at the Pacific Stock Exchange. 

He enjoyed playing blackjack at weekends and read Thorp's Beat the Dealer becoming a genius card-counter. 

In 1983 Blackjack Forum interviewed Uston. He said he became fascinated by blackjack and its strategies after meeting professional gambler Al Francesco in a poker game. Francesco had launched the first ''big player'' type of blackjack card counting team and recruited Uston to be his main team player. A team of card counters would wait until a table became extremely positive and the ''big player'' would place big bets. Uston was promoted as the ''big player''. He later co-authored a book called The Big Player which effectively barred Fracesco's team from playing in Las Vegas. 

In 1978, Uston started his own profitable blackjack team. He was soon barred from casinos in Atlantic City. In 1979 he filed a lawsuit claiming casinos did not have the right to bar skilled players.

''In Uston v. Resorts International Hotel Inc., 445 A.2d 370 (N.J. 1982), the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Atlantic City casinos did not have the authority to decide whether card counters could be barred absent a valid New Jersey Casino Commission regulation excluding card counters. To date, New Jersey casinos—by statute—are not allowed to bar them. In response to Uston's legal victory, Atlantic City casinos began adding decks, moving up shuffle points, and taking other measures to decrease a skilled player's potential advantage. ''      

Uston adopted a number of disguises to continue playing blackjack. He had an aggressive, flamboyant playing style. 

In an article in Blackjack ForumArnold Snyder describes playing with Ken Uston at Circus Circus Las Vegas near the end of Uston's life. He states that Uston was disguised as a worker from Hoover Dam and got away with spreading his bets from table minimum to table maximum on a single-deck game. Since this took place at a time when card counting was well understood by casino executives and managers, and since the primary clue by which casinos detect card counting is a card counter's "bet spread" pattern, most card counters would also consider Uston a genius of disguise, and/or "card counting camouflage".

Uston went on to write Million Dollar Blackjack detailing his winning techniques.

He was the subject of a 1981 segment on 60 Minutes, and in 2005, he was the subject of the History Channel documentary, "The Blackjack Man"

On the morning of September 19, 1987, Ken Uston, age 52, was found dead in his rented apartment in Paris. The cause of death was listed as heart failure.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Red Rum: The Life of a Grand National Winner

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

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

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

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

From galloping at Southport beach to winning the Grand National

Victorious in 1973, 1974 & 1977. 

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

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

Red Rum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In many ways, the rest is history. 

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

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

1975 & 1976 saw him finish runner-up.  


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

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

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

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

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

A three-time Champion of the Grand National. 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Horse Racing: Understanding the Basics of Betting

Welcome to the world of horse racing, one of the prestigious and most popular sport for betting on! Horse racing attracts a huge amount of wagers, especially on major event races such as the Kentucky Derby and the 2019 Pegasus Cup wherein the vast majority of the audience have their money bet on and is at stake to their chosen racehorses. 

If not for the love of the sport, the betting would what most appeal to the fans out there of horse races, and it actually is what makes it alive. Betting on their chosen horses is what makes the races interesting for them since their experience wouldn’t be the same if they don’t have a horse to cheer on. 

So, if you have found the brand-new world of horse racing and has come to love it, here are the things that you need to understand first before going out and cheer for your horse in betting. 

Understanding the Sport

A global sport— that’s what horse racing is perceived as, making it especially popular in regions such as United States, United Kingdom, and Australia and other countries where racing takes place on a daily basis. 

What you should know firsthand about this sport is that the differences of it in various parts of the world. Thus, there might be some minor changes in rules and regulations depending on the country the horse racing is taking place. 

To further understand this sport, you should know that there are several different types of horse racing. Which are mainly named as the following: flat racing, jump racing, endurance riding, steeplechasing, quarter horse racing, and harness racing. These are just some of the examples of horse races which you need not learn in detail but needs to learn as much as possible for you to plan what and how to bet on. 


Knowing Horse Race Betting

It is very easy to get started with horse racing betting, but you still need to know that even though it is not especially complicated, you have to learn more about the complex aspects as you go along. 

Fixed Odds Betting 

This type of betting is the most popular way in horse racing betting. Fixed odds betting is where you place wagers with a bookmaker at specified odds. Now, if your wage wins then you get paid out at those odds. However, if your wage loses then the bookmaker keeps your stake money. 

Exchange Betting 

This type of betting is where your wagers strike with other individuals rather than with the bookmaker. In this form of betting, your strike wagers with other individuals rather than the bookmaker. This type of betting offers a few advantages over the other two options. 

Tote or Parimutuel Betting

Parimutuel betting is different from other types of betting since there no odds involved. The payouts are mostly based on how much was wagered on a race in totality and how many people have picked the winning horse. 


Top Tips for Beginners on Betting

If you have joined in the world of horse racing because of the sport itself, not caring about betting, then that’s great! You wouldn’t be so anxious as to how much money you have gained from the horse racing since you shouldn’t be expecting to make money out of horse racing as a beginner. 


Thus, here are the tips that have been provided to help you in approaching things the right way, avoiding unnecessary mistakes. 

Starting with Small Stakes 

Although it’s true that the higher the stakes the bigger is the amount of money given back to you if you won, as a beginner it wouldn’t be a wise choice. Thus, start at small stakes first and observe horse races and learn more so that eventually you’ll get comfortable in betting on horses with big stakes at hand. 

Don’t Bet on Every Race 

Betting on every race isn’t that wise too since that results in splurging a considerable amount of money for horse racing. Thus, avoid betting on every race so as to save money and not putting your efforts in vain. 

Avoid Parlays 

Parlay is a type of sports bet wherein you combine multiple individual bets which are typically 2-10 bets into one bet or “card”. This gives you worse odds to win yet you will be rewarded with a larger amount of money, because apparently, the larger the amount of wagers that are included in your parley, the larger is the payout you’ll receive. To briefly tell you, avoid parlays in betting since it’s not even in a 50-50 chance win. 

Takeaway

Horse racing was a luxurious entertainment century ago, but it has been a local entertainment and sport for quite some time now. Thus, getting yourself being indulged with horse racing isn’t a surprising thing to do, you only need to know and be educated so that you will know the ins and outs of horse racing.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Mecca’s Angel Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) (Twice)

Mecca’s Angel Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) (Twice)
Foaled in Ireland on February 11, 2011, Mecca’s Angel is a daughter of Dark Angel, who won the Middle Park Stakes as a juvenile and has since proven himself as one of the best stallions in Europe, from whom she inherited her grey colour. Owned by David T. J. Metcalfe and trained by Michael Dods at Denton Hall Stables in Piercebridge, near Darlington, County Durham, Mecca’s Angel raced, almost exclusively, over 5 furlongs and was ridden, almost exclusively, by Yorkshire-based jockey Paul Mulrennan. All told, she won nine of her 19 races, including back-to-back renewals of the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, and earned nearly £680,000 in win and place prize money. 

Mecca’s Angel made her racecourse debut in a maiden fillies’ stakes race, over 5 furlongs, at Thirsk in May, 2013. Easy to back, at 10/1, on that occasion, she came off worst of all in a four-way photograph for first place, finishing fourth, beaten a nose, a nose and a nose. Nevertheless, the in-running comment in the Racing Post finished with the word ‘improve’ and thereafter, according to her trainer, that’s all she did.

After a fair, if unspectacular, two-year-old campaign, she won the first two starts as a three-year-old, in handicap company, by wide margins, before trying her luck in the Prix Texanita at Maisons-Laffite. In the latter contest, run over 5½ furlongs on very soft going, she was gradually left behind in the closing stages, eventually finishing fifth of 10, beaten 4 lengths. Even so, 2014 proved a breakthrough year because, on her return from a 121-day break, in September she opened her account at both Listed and Pattern level by winning the Scarborough Stakes at Doncaster and the World Trophy at Newbury. 

In 2015, Mecca’s Angel ran just three times, nut made her first foray into Group One company in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York. On the Knavesmire, she faced the two-year-old filly, Acapulco, trained in the United States by Wesley A. Ward and the winner of the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot on her previous start in June. Unusually described by Timeform as a ‘big, powerful filly’, Acapulco was arguably the biggest juvenile filly to ever set foot on a British racecourse yet, under the race conditions, received a 24lb weight age allowance. Unsurprisingly Acapulco started favourite, at 13/8, with Mecca’s Angel third favourite, at 15/2. Nevertheless, relishing the good to soft going, stayed on strongly in the closing stages to overhaul Acapulco, who had led on the far side from halfway, to win by 2 lengths in a lightning-fast time of 57.24 seconds.

In 2016, Mecca’s Angel returned to York for the Nunthorpe Stakes as defending champion, but again started second favourite, at 9/2, behind impressive July Cup winner, Limato, at 15/8. This time, on good going, Mecca’s Angel was close up as first Take Cover and then Thesme took the 19-strong field along, but led inside the final quarter of a mile and kept on strongly to beat Limato – who chased her, in vain, in the final furlong – by 2 lengths. Her winning time, of 56.24 seconds, was only fractionally slower than the course record, of 56.16 seconds, set by Dayjur in 1990.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Famous racehorse commentators

Famous Racehorse Commentator: Peter O’Sullevan
With billions of pounds generated each year, horse racing is one of the most lucrative sports around. Hundreds of races take place every year and the upcoming King George VI Chase is one of the major races coming up. The King George race odds suggest that last year’s winning Might Bite is the favourite to win the race for the second consecutive year, but all of the horses and their trainers will be aiming to cross the finish line first.

Horse racing is an enjoyable sport to watch on its own, but the race day experience is even better thanks to the commentators. Although their primary aim is to inform the listeners or viewers, they also provide entertainment by going above and beyond what is expected by giving them a sensation racing experience. Here’s some of the most famous and memorable horseracing commentators of all time, which helped the sport grow into one of the biggest in the world.

Peter O’Sullevan 


The late Peter O’Sullevan was arguably one of the most famous horse racing commentators of his generation. For the entirety of his career, O’Sullevan became the ‘voice of racing’ due to his long-standing run as the BBC’s leading horse racing commentator. During the 50 years he was on the air (1947 – 1997), O’Sullevan commentated over some of the greatest moments in racing history. His most iconic moments came at the Grand National were he provided commentary for Foinavon’s outside win in 1967, and at the infamous 1993 Grand National race.


Peter Bromley 

Another famous horse racing commentator from the BBC was Peter Bromley. Whilst O’Sullevan was the voice of horse racing on the television channel, Bromley made his name as a horse racing commentator on the radio. His first broadcast came in May 1959 when he commentated at Newmarket. Later that year, Bromley officially became the BBC’s first racing correspondent. He would go on to remain in that role until 2001. The veteran commentator came up with many iconic lines such as “Atom Bomb has fallen!” in his first ever commentary. 

Bromley also commentated on TV briefly with ITV in the early 1950s, but quit this role after a few years in order to take up his role on BBC Radio. 

Michael O’Hehir 

Whilst O’Sullevan and Bromley were dominating the horse racing commentary team in Britain, Michael O’Hehir was the voice of racing in Ireland. However, the Irishman originally started out his commentary career by commentating over the Irish hurling and Irish football games. Sports broadcasting was fairly new in the country at the time, but listening O’Hehir’s commentary quickly became a common thing for many listeners. As a result, O’Hehir was considered the first ‘Voice of the Gaelic games’. 

He eventually ended up getting involved in horse racing in the mid-1940s as a sports sub-editor as well as continuing to provide commentary on the radio. His rise in Ireland led to him being awarded a job as a racing commentator on the BBC. His first commentary was for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but O’Hehir became famous for his annual coverage for the Grand National. He provided some memorable moments during his lengthy spell as Grand National commentator, including in 1967 where he was able to identify the unfavourable 100/1 outsider ‘Foinavon’ who eventually won the race.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Professional Gamblers: Jack Ramsden

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

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


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


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


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





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


More pro gambler tales:


Dave Nevison

Phill Bull
A Tale Of A Pro Gambler

Saturday, 1 December 2018

The Art of Winner Finding

The Art of Winner Finding
Another great article from the Horseracing Pro. Foreword by Bob. Here's another of Spy's inimitable views. When you read it take some of his modesty with a pinch of salt! He actually does very well with his betting and racing has provided him with a living for some 20 years now! But I absolutely agree with his fundamental point. One man on his own just hasn't the time or the ability to go through all the racing, form lines, videos and sift views from a stable of contacts in 24 hours.

You need help. Help from experts. Expert form advice, expert race readers, and expert contacts.


To do well in this business you would be well advised to do one of three things. Either

•Build a team


◦ ... of form experts, race experts and contacts whose opinion you trust implicitly. This does NOT mean you will always be right no matter how good the team is. Apart from the normal good luck/bad luck in racing from time to time team members will fall for "put-aways" and be put away by connections, just like anyone else. It's part of the game. But a good team will identify more fancied horses and spot more "moody" put away plays than most do.


◦This is the most satisfying as you will enjoy the camaraderie of your team (albeit mostly by telephone as generally they are widespread geographically and incredibly hardworking because they love racing and they love the challenge of solving the racing puzzle)


◦ It will also be very expensive because your overheads will be enormous and the only income is generated by betting. The more successful you're betting the harder it will be to get bets on (in your own name) It's a wonderful "Catch 22" and yet we all love the buzz of this business so much we are hooked for life!


•Bet for a Professional Gambler


◦ ... Find a Professional Punter or group of Professional Gamblers and bet alongside them. You wouldn't ask a road sweeper to perform brain surgery so surely it's smart to take advice from someone who already has proven he can win and not someone who just claims he can.


◦The best way is to place bets on them but you will need an enormous float if you do and you must be VERY sure you are dealing with a Genuine Professional Punter who really can't get bets on or you could be ripped off - too many con artists use this sort of story as a scam. To handle a Professional's business you will probably need to be able to guarantee getting bets of £1,000-£5,000 on at a time, secure prices and be on call 24/7 as well as the ability to move large sums of money in seconds. If you've ever bet live horses you will know how hard that can be! I have many clients who have already had their accounts limted for betting "live" horses in hundreds let alone thousands!



◦PS If you can get £1,000's on, can secure the odds and will guarantee to pay me when I win then please email me right away!


•Work with a Genuine Professional Gambler


◦ ... and share the burden of expenses or getting money on. This is the method I offer as it makes it possible for a part time Trader to enjoy access to genuine information without a huge financial committement.

I OFTEN START my pieces with anecdotes and see no reason to break that precedent today. The story that precedes this offering concerns a boxer faced with the doctor during a bout at Madison Square Garden. It had been a bad night thus far for the pugilist, who was slumped in the corner between rounds whilst his seconds frantically worked on his cut face. As was his job, having witnessed a punishing round, the doctor needed to establish the battered fighter was Compos Mentis. Correct with the number of fingers held before him: next the question if the fighter knew where he was. ‘Sure I know where I am,’ he replied, spitting blood as he spoke, ‘I am in Madison Square getting the shit kicked out of me!’


Told he could continue for the next round, the boxer then had to listen to all the advice from his corner. ‘If you’re so god-damned clever, you get in there and finish it off for me!’ he replied before the clang of the bell.

Boxing is a tough game – it is a tough as they come. It requires a team of experts to groom the boxer to give his best in the ring. And the paradox is that, as with sportsmen of all types and performers in general, those dispensing said advice are theorists as opposed to operators. That is to say - they tell those that can do what they cannot - how to do it! That is the job of a coach and is no reflection on either party.


The same applies to horseracing and betting where there is no shortage of advice proffered to would-be professional punters. Not all the theory in the universe will make you into something you are not. If you are not cut out to be a professional punter, it is important you cotton on to such a fact sooner rather than a few grand later.

We have looked at some of the finer points of punting for a living but one of the most important components in this business is your make-up or personality. For the purposes of the point I wish to make, I will take myself as the role model for this article. I will analyse my qualities and lack of – warts and all.


First, my strong points: I am pretty good at dissected races and quick to jump on a betting opportunity, which often means I can identify a race that presents a distinct advantage. This is where you doubt the credentials of a leading player for whatever reason and feel it is ripe to be opposed. Often I find that, for all the time one can invest, the true good thing jumps out of the paper even before you have waded through the business of deciding whether the formbook suggests it can win. This is something of a contradiction to many of the other scraps of formulae I have passed on. I keep hammering several points home; one of them being there is no actual blueprint for this business. Like the bout of boxing, such a movable feast requires constant adjustment so those who succeed have to think on their feet.


Therefore, technically I know what I am doing. Now to the part that cannot be quantified – the ability to transfer theory into practice. In the case of being a professional punter that is the bit that involves actual betting – the decision as to whether to bet or not and how much to stake. Here, we are talking my weakness. Most successful punters I know have at least one grey area. They identify it and use others to plug up the gap or gaps. Surprisingly, most successful punters know little about actual form, less about horses. But they are good at betting. They are the equivalent of the city traders who can be fearless. Their sixth sense does not come in evaluation of cards and races but in knowing when to lay down their cash.

People who are good at winner-spotting would also make good detectives as there is a fair degree of sifting of facts required. They achieve much of the work on instinct and intuition.


Successful backers take all the advice on offer, have a knack of deciphering the difference between a message or opinion that reflects hope as opposed to confidence, and act accordingly. And when they bet, they bet. They pull up serious money and make it count.

One of my biggest weaknesses is timidity. I have to admit I am not a fearless punter. I keep my head above the roaring ocean waves without going under but am never on the prow of the ship. And I like to make my mind up on the day’s proceedings in advance, hating to be at the whim of messages that may trickle through during course of a day, particularly in races in which I have no view. I do my work either the day or night before, finish it in the morning and that is it as far as I am concerned! This is a failing but one I cannot address. I am not intolerably opinionated, but I dislike putting myself in the hands of others. I will always listen, in some cases bet solely on messages – some of which are top class – but I dislike striking a bet that has not been properly thought out – at least by me. That is my approach and it means I miss backing plenty of winners. Subconsciously, I feel I have done the work on the day and that there should be no need for further reference to the formbook. Instantly unfathomable messages are largely ignored. I repeat – this is a failing.


My best course of action would be to employ someone to listen to what I say, to my evaluation of races and then who, in a dispassionate manner, places the wagers. There would surely be no shortage of applicants for such a position; but I am equally sure such a relationship would not work. The reason is I like to maintain control and am reluctant to delegate when it comes to money. Therefore, as a result, my business suffers, as it would be far more effective if I worked in tandem with someone else.


However, importantly, I know and recognise this weakness and work round it. Personally, I will never be a Bob Rothman, Harry Findlay, or a Patrick Veitch. That is not solely because they are richer than I am, but that they have the temperament to take enormous risks when the time is right. They will increase stakes when winning, whereas I tend to protect profit and throttle back, playing it safe. That means I jog along, not getting into too much trouble but not roaring round London in a Ferrari either.

If you are tempted to try this business, then it is important you give yourself a reality check. Even if you fail to become a big-hitter in the ring, it should prove beneficial. Eventually, betting on anything – be it cards, roulette, horses or football – will expose your weaknesses from which there is no hiding place. Kid yourself you are right when all around can see you are not and you will pay the price. Punting does not allow a margin for error. But consistency can make up for deficiencies. I am not advocating being consistently wrong, but so long your actions are consistent, to a degree you can work round your shortcomings.

Being a professional punter is akin to being a professional in anything. You are effectively in the same position as writers, actors and sportsmen. There is no one paying your National Insurance stamp, no one shelling out sick and holiday pay, no guarantee that you will be insured by the trappings those conventionally employed enjoy.


As I said at the beginning, some are better doing the fighting others saying how it should be done. So long as the mixture is correct, it can work. The problem comes when the fighters are doing the directing and the corner men the fighting!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Professional Gamblers: John Aspinall

Aspinall's whole life was dangerous and controversial, and in the popular press there was much speculation that he had aided the disappearance of his gambling crony Lord Lucan. But by far the most important part of his career was his work with animals. He insisted on treating them not as beasts to be exhibited, but as friends to be pampered. He ensured that they should have adequate space to live in the same kind of groupings as in the wild, and took the greatest trouble to reproduce the variety of their natural diet. 


His gorillas, for example, were given all kinds of berries, and treats such as roast meat on Sundays and chocolate bars.


"Aspers" himself, determined to annihilate the gulf between the species, delighted to romp with tigers and gorillas. His keepers, usually chosen without reference to qualifications, were encouraged to behave in a similar manner. In his book The Best of Friends (1976), Aspinall insisted on the individuality of animals:

 "There are bold tigers and timid ones, honest tigers and treacherous ones, predictable and unpredictable, noisy and silent, hot-tempered and good-natured."

He himself was an excellent judge of his charges. A Passion to Protect, a film about his work, showed him having his eyelids delicately picked by the gorilla Djoun; receiving newly-born tiger cubs dumped in his lap by the mother; and being surrounded by an affectionate wolf pack. Of his 30 best friends, he once remarked, more than half were animals. In 1993 he was perfectly happy that his grand-daughter should play with gorillas; indeed, he remarked, "I'd rather leave them with gorillas than with a social worker."


While experts were initially sceptical of his approach, they were eventually obliged to admire his remarkable run of breeding successes. Until 1956, no gorilla had ever been born in captivity, and not many more were added in ensuing years. Yet after 1975, gorilla births were common events at Howletts, and eventually passed the half-century mark.


Aspinall also bred hundreds of tigers, including the first Siberian tiger born in Britain. More than 50 other species profited, including the first snow leopard born in captivity; the first honey badger to be bred in a zoo; the first fishing cats in Britain; the first Przwalski's horses for 30 years.


But these triumphs were overshadowed by the deaths of five keepers: two killed by the same tigress in 1980; one crushed by an elephant in 1984; another savaged by a tiger in 1994; and the last trampled by an elephant earlier this year. There were also occasional maulings: of the 12-year-old Robin Birley in 1970; of the model Merilyn Lamb in 1969; of a volunteer at Port Lympne in 1994.


Though Aspinall succeeded in warding off attempts by the Canterbury Council to enforce more orthodox methods of husbandry at Howletts, these accidents evoked criticism which portrayed him as a playboy living out his fantasies. Such attacks were the more virulent because of the provocative manner in which Apsinall set forth his own views. In his mind there had once been a golden age in which animals and humans had been equal. Mankind, though, had launched a vicious campaign against the beasts and Aspinall saw it as a duty to fight for the victims.


He castigated the human race as a species of vermin, and positively welcomed natural disasters as a means of reducing the plague of homo sapiens. He would gladly end his own life, he declared, if he could take another 250 million with him. There was something to be said, he felt, for Hitler's ideas about eugenics. "Broadly speaking," he said, "the high income groups tend to have a better genetic inheritance."


Aspinall's special antipathy was clever women of Left-wing views; they made him fume. His quasi-fascist views earned him obloquy, and tended to obscure the extraordinary nature of his achievement. By 1996 his two zoos contained 1,100 animals, and cost £4 million a year to keep, of which the public contributed a mere £330,000. The task of providing the remaining funds left Aspinall quite undaunted. His panache and self-belief always allowed him to live entirely on his own terms.


John Victor Aspinall was born in Delhi on June 11 1926. His father, supposedly, was Robert Aspinall, a surgeon; his mother, nÊe Mary Grace Horn, was sprung from a family resident in India for four generations. John was the second, and very much the favourite son. Later he gave out that, at 26, he had discovered his true father was a soldier called George Bruce, and that he had been conceived under a tamarisk tree after a regimental ball.


John was largely brought up by an ayah, and in early years was more fluent in Hindustani than in English. At six, he was sent back to prep school near Eastbourne. In 1938, Aspinall's mother, now divorced, married George Osborne (later Sir George, 16th Bt), who paid for John to go to Rugby. There he made the rugger XV, but his boisterous bolshiness caused the school to suggest in 1943 that he might not want to return for the next term. The most influential event of this period was his reading of Rider Haggard's Nada the Lily, which sparked a lifelong obsession with the Zulus and tribalism.


After Rugby, he spent three years in the ranks of the Marines. Afterwards he went up to Jesus College, Oxford, where he soon discovered that he had a talent for gambling. He risked his entire term's grant (£70) on a horse called Palestine in the 2,000 Guineas; it won, albeit at very short odds.


At Oxford he made friends who would prove vital to his later life, notably the Goldsmith brothers, Jimmy and Teddy, and a fellow gambler, Ian Maxwell-Scott. When his final exams beckoned, Aspinall preferred to attend the Gold Cup at Ascot.


At that time it was not permitted to hold games of chance regularly at the same place. Aspinall therefore began to set up games of chemin-de-fer at a variety of addresses. His charm, admitted even by his enemies, attracted such players as the Duke of Devonshire and the Earl of Derby, while his entertaining was conducted in the most lavish style. With his percentage of the stakes guaranteed, he was soon becoming rich.


He married in 1956, and went to live in a flat in Eaton Place, in which, quite suddenly, he began to instal various animals. There was a Capuchin monkey, then a nine-week-old tigress called Tara, who slept in his bed for 18 months, and two Himalayan bears. Inevitably, the neighbours were disturbed. Seeking for alternative accommodation, he put down a deposit of £600 on Howletts, a neo-Palladian house with 38 acres. A successful bet on the Cesarewitch enabled him to pay off the remaining £5,400.


At the end of 1957 the police raided a gambling party he had organised. The subsequent dismissal of the charges was a virtual admission that private gambling would be sanctioned, and indeed the Gaming Act of 1960 opened the door to casinos. In 1962, Aspinall opened the Clermont Club at 44 Berkeley Square. Though he was in a parlous financial state at the time - and thus allowed Mark Birley to establish the nightclub Annabel's in the basement - he raised £200,000 in loan stock. Membership, limited to 600, included five dukes, five marquesses and 20 earls.


The success of the Clermont Club, and investment advice from Jimmy Goldsmith, enabled him to finance Howletts, and to see off the complaints of angry neighbours. "You are slipshod and impatient," Lord Zuckerman, the doyen of zoologists, told him. But Aspinall was also irrepressible.


In 1972 he sold the Clermont Club to Victor Lownes for £500,000 in order to devote himself to Howletts. By now he was employing six gardeners and 12 keepers; the weekly bill for food amounted to £3,000. The stockmarket crash of 1973 left Aspinall more or less bust, forced to sell pictures and jewellery so that his animals could eat. Yet he still managed to pay out £360,000 for Port Lympne and its 275 acres, neglected since the death of Sir Philip Sassoon in 1939.


These were turbulent times for Aspinall. On November 8 1974, the day after Lord Lucan's disappearance, Aspinall's friends - but not, to Private Eye's cost, Jimmy Goldsmith - gathered for lunch at his house in Lyall Street to discuss what should be done. The tabloids suggested, without a shred of evidence, that they were all privy to dark secrets, and that Lucan might have turned up at Howletts and implored Aspinall to feed him to his tigers.


Aspinall declared on television that if Lucan showed up he would embrace him, but this was no more than the tribal loyalty which he demanded from his friends. Those, like Dominic Elwes, who were thought to have broken the code, were ostracised. Elwes made the mistake of selling a sketch of the interior of the Clermont to the Sunday Times, and when he found himself cut off from the company that he adored, committed suicide. At his funeral Aspinall, while praising Elwes's gifts, referred to "a genetic flaw" - and found himself punched on the jaw after the service.

In 1978 the need for cash forced Aspinall to return to gambling. Within four years the casino he set up in Hans Place was making £8 million a year. He decided to move to larger premises in Curzon Street, and to offer 20 per cent of the shares on the stockmarket. In 1983, he netted £20 million from their sale.

Aspinall and Goldsmith still owned the remaining 76 per cent of the company, though Aspinall's share was made over for the upkeep of his zoos. When the company was sold in 1987, he realised £23 million. But by 1992 he was in financial difficulties again, having lost large sums in Goldsmith's failed attempt to take over Rank Hovis McDougall. In consequence he opened another new casino in Curzon Street in 1992. Within a year it was flourishing.



In recent years he was dogged by cancer. His courage, doubted by none, was exemplified last year by the manner in which he shrugged off a vicious mugging near his home in Belgravia. John Aspinall married first, in 1956 (dissolved 1966), Jane Hastings, a Scottish model; they had a son and a daughter. He married secondly, in 1966 (dissolved 1972), Belinda "Min" Musker, a grand-daughter of the 2nd Viscount Daventry; they had a daughter who died in infancy. He married thirdly, in 1972, Lady Sarah ("Sally") Courage, widow of the racing driver Piers Courage and daughter of the 5th Earl Howe; they had a son.