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, née Mary Grace Horn, was sprung from a family resident in India for four generations. John was the second, and very much the favourite son. Later he gave out that, at 26, he had discovered his true father was a soldier called George Bruce, and that he had been conceived under a tamarisk tree after a regimental ball.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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.

Thursday, 1 November 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

Sunday, 28 October 2018

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 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. 


  • Till 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 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 times, 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 a times horse racing involves the fatal end of the horses on the race course, 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 age 3 and 4 are made to risk their lives on tracks.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

The Gambler's Mindset: Luck

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

We can all think of lucky people who seem to be in the right place at the right time, meet the right people, win all the money at the gaming tables and go from one success to another. I recently read a news story on the internet highlighting that luck is indeed about being in the right place at the right time. The story concerned a waitress at a Las Vegas casino who won $362,259 during her lunch break. After playing for 15 minutes, she won the largest slot jackpot payout ever. However, only three months later, her car was hit by a drunk driver who had 17 previous arrests for drunk driving. She was seriously injured and her older sister was killed. This time she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.


McGambling’s golden arches


When applied to the world of gambling, our belief in luck has huge political and financial ramifications. Until 1978, Nevada was the only US state where gambling was legal. By 2005, almost all states had a lottery (although ironically not Nevada), and today, casinos have even sprung up on Indian reservations. This ‘domino effect’ phenomenon has been described by media commentators as the ‘McGambling’ and ‘Las Vegasing’ of the US. In short, politicians view legalised gambling and people’s belief in luck as a magic bullet to cure ailing state economies that are motivated by the ‘pathology of hope’. The UK doesn’t appear to be that far behind. Canada also now has a large number of casinos and not just confined to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver; with the business case often trumping the social or moral case when planning decisions arise. Unlike the U.S though there's a lax regulatory regime managing internet casinos with Canadians able to deposit and play quite easily at these types of offshore casino sites.

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


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


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


Luck is a mindset


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

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




Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The Concept of Value Betting

Concept of value in betting
It is one of the oldest arguments in betting: are you better off looking for value or looking for winners?

To me, it is a no-brainer. Value is king. I am amazed anyone considers it a matter of debate, yet many do. Their thinking goes like this: what is the point of backing something because you think it is a big price if it has little or no chance of winning?

They will hold up as an example a football team that is playing away to the opposition that is generally accepted to be superior. Fulham against Manchester United at Old Trafford, for example. Fulham may be 12-1 but if you dare suggest that is too big a price, you are liable to be shot down in flames by those who believe that because the Cottagers are such big outsiders there is no point even contemplating whether or not they actually represent a value wager.

There is no point backing a string of big-value losers, they will reason. Refrain from getting embroiled in a debate with people who think this way. They are irrational and cannot possibly be winning punters in the long run. In betting, and in football, in particular, the value lies more often than not in the bigger-priced contenders. This is largely because of the average punter's fixation with the very shortest prices on the weekend football coupon.

Bookmakers can usually tell whether they will have a winning weekend simply by looking at the results of the top teams in the English Premiership and Scottish Premier League.

In the autumn of 2003, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Celtic and Rangers all won on the same weekend eight times out of 11.

This caused a drop in bookmakers' profits as punters landed some significant accumulators. By the start of December, a blind £10 weekly five-timer on the quintet was showing a profit of £310. With their profits being dented, the layers reacted by strangling the match odds of the five teams that were hurting them.

Predictably, it did not prevent punters steaming into the so-called Big Five, even when they stopped winning so regularly. And with the hotpots shortening, their opponents were offered at even longer odds, leading to some decent paydays for those punters who took the rational view that the value lay with the long-shots.

The bottom line is that everything becomes good value if the price is right. You may head out of the house one day armed with £20,000 with the intention of buying a Mercedes. On the way to the showroom, you pass the Toyota dealership where the comparable car in their range is on offer at £14,000.

Your heart was set on the Merc but here is a car every bit as good for £6,000 less. You don't know why it is being offered so cheaply, but it is. You buy it and, whether you bank the six grand or use it to take the family to the Caribbean, you have made a value investment. So it is with betting. You intended to back Manchester United, but when you saw the prices and realised Fulham were so big, you backed them.

Many punters would, quite rightly, not dream of having a bet without searching for the best possible value, yet there are plenty who have no grasp of the concept of price-sensitivity and just back their fancies with the same bookmaker, be it on the phone, the net, or, more commonly, in the shop (internet punters tend to be more sophisticated and more aware of the basic premise that if you take the trouble to root out the best possible price you have a far greater chance of being successful over a long period).

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Great Yarmouth Casino Night

The luck of the devil. 

Tell's face it, to win at the casino you need a bit of luck. I have played the tables online and you can place one here if you fancy a flutter. 

I've not been to many brick and mortar casinos. Visited a few here and there: Great Yarmouth, Nottingham & Luton. I've won money at all bar Nottingham. I don't think I lost much there, perhaps forty or fifty pounds. 

They are all owned by Grosvenor who have many across the country. Readers will know I go to Great Yarmouth quite regular. This coastal town is like most - beyond the glitz of the Golden Mile is a community who are largely deprived. Seasonal work doesn't help but people live where they live. I love Yarmouth because I have fond memories of school holidays at Caister-on-sea. Who hasn't been to Regent Street for a wander? There is plenty of things to do. Sadly the old House Of Wax closed a few years back. It was featured in a few big publications as being something of a comedy show because the waxworks had melted a touch and they looked nothing like they were meant to. I went there a few times as a child and it was kind of funny if not spooky. 

Anyway, let's get back to the casino action.

I've been to Great Yarmouth Grosvenor Casino plenty of times. Believe it or not, I'm actually winning money.  

I love people watching. You see a diverse mix of punters. Some rich - some poor. Some, not being nasty, look and act as though they have crawled from under a rock. 

Take these examples:

Graham is a regular. He bets big money. In fact, he is the only person I have seen there with the illusive £1000 chips. They aren't chip-shaped, more of a rectangle, so not sure what they call them. Anyway, he likes to bet. Always on the roulette table. Scattering chips across the table. I've seen him winning many thousand - losing too! Makes me smile, as sometimes his wife sits close by drinking a cup of tea. How can you win money at fixed odds? The fact of the matter is that if you play long and hard you are guaranteed to lose. 

An example of someone who clearly has a gambling problem is a little Argentinian bloke who makes his living driving a taxi. He sits at the three-card poker table and vanishes every so often to take a fare before coming back to lose the fee. A cheery man with a smile. Someone who loves his football. But, sadly, someone who cannot stay away. 

I guess there have been a few big spenders at this venue. If you bet big and often you need a lot of money because you can easily burn through a £100,000 over a year by betting relatively small sums. 

The only time I went to Luton casino an Indian bloke was playing. He never took less than a £50 note out of his pocket. He must have had some money. His luck had gone for a burton. He lost £15,000 as I played at the roulette table. His £50+ bets sitting heavy next to my 50p chips. Like a skyscraper next to a bungalow! However, my money was lucky while he threw his wonga into a crock of shit. It seemed strange, but his face was expressionless. I wanted to see him win just to see if there was a light in his eyes. I very much doubt win, lose or draw it would have registered. I don't know what he did for a living but he wasn't short on money. Strangely, like Bryan, his wife sat nearby supping away at a cup of ''earl grey''. 

Later, I went to cash in my £75 winning chips. 

Low and behold, he was there at the counter cashing in more money. Clearly, the £50s had run dry and he used his card to get some chips. The whole counter was covered with £500 and £1000 rectangles. I really should have stayed longer just to conclude his story. 

My cousins Danny and Paul were there, along with other members of family and friends. Paul had a bad night made all the worse when he gave up the ghost and Danny took his seat and won the next hand. 

I'll be back at Great Yarmouth before Christmas. Let's hope lady luck is smiling. I wonder if I will see my familiar ''friends'' there?

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

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

Rambling...


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


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

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


So how did the season go?


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


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


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


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


I had a feeling of confidence.


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


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


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


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


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


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



Friday, 12 October 2018

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.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Wit and Wisdom of a Racecourse Gambler


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





Friday, 5 October 2018

He's Backed Every Favourite Since 1974

When you make a decision it seems natural to think you have weighed up all the factors. Let's say you considered a bet. You think the horse has winning form. It likes the ground. Good jockey. The price is better than you thought and looks value. Job done. Well, that's the logic, hey. However, research suggests there may be a problem. Our decision making is mostly unconscious. Now you may consider that is a load of old rubbish. ''I know what I think!'' But consider how these aspects may influence your ''decisions''. 

Are you influenced by what others say? The paper favourite? What does that bloke from the Racing Post have to say? You maverick doing your own thing. In an instant, you can appreciate how social validation plays its part.  The difficulty is that so much of our ''decision making'' is ingrained, habitual, implicit that even trying to make it conscious is no easy task. As Sigmund Freud would say: ''We are trying to make the unconscious conscious.''


Your past behaviour will affect how you behave in the future? It most likely will unless you can appreciate why you behave in such a way. Have you noticed the bloke in the bookies who only bets on the favourite? Every time it's a favourite. He may try and mix it up a little with a cross the card double (but it's still two favourites). But why? We like to stay true to ourselves and so we follow a personal commitment to do just that. Take a read of our post: I followed That Horse Off A Cliff


Boy, you will be waiting a long time for Uncle Harold to take out his mat and do some break dancing.


Back an outsider? Fu*k Off!!!!!



But what else? Do you follow a tipster even though he has been in terrible form of late because he had a good win last year? I owe him. Or your mate took your advice last week and he's really keen on this horse and would you believe it's in the same race as mine. That reciprocity can turn your mind. But so too can your ''decision'' never to trust anyone's advice but your own (talking to myself here).

However, this doesn't mean your thinking is faulty, irrational or bad. It's simply that our conscious mind cannot cope with all the data it tries to process. Our unconscious mind has evolved to do the job. For the most part, it does it well. It's not a tyrant trying to teach us a lesson for being a naughty child. It trusts it makes a decision in our interests. That's the ''gut feeling''. 



Probably the best way to appreciating how we make decisions is to keep a diary. Not so much about our selection or bets but how we got to that point. This is much more difficult than it sounds but it can be revealing especially if you notice a pattern of behaviour keeps cropping up. 

What do you think, Sigmund?