Sunday 27 February 2011

Professional Gamblers: Clive Holt

Clive Holt is a legendary punter. He talks so much sense that his word should be written in gold. He goes racing at least four times a week and prefers midweek to a Saturday. Clive bets on the racecourse only, not in the shops. Like many of the successful punters, William Hill closed Holts account in 1978. Coral soon followed suit closing his account as well. He admits it is difficult these days for him to place a bet.

Clive Holt has come a long way since the day in the past when a friend of his told him The Holt was running at Ally Pally. His friend suggested that he back him. In the more than 30 years that have past since that first day, Clive has made a comfortable living. Holt attributes his interest in betting back to his father. His father kept a couple greyhounds in the 1960's and showed his son that there was money to make in betting on them. The first business principle Clive Holt learned about punting was that betting in singles was a fairly easy way for him to make a profit.

By March of 1975 Clive had realized he was ready to punt full time. No need to work anymore just bet. He mainly was betting in doubles, trebles, and the likes of those. Clive himself will tell you his approach was haphazard at best. His pockets dictated what he could and couldn't bet on.

When Holt was starting out, he did not keep proper records of the bets he made. He only worked on a week to week basis. He usually was only able to keep the same amount coming in as he had going out. Thus he was left with the same amount to bet weekly. He really had no way to track the percentage of return he was making. This did bother him so he decided to finally do a thorough job and track all bets. This was the first time he treated his hobby of betting as a business venture.

Thinking back Clive said, "It probably had the greatest influence on my future success. As the figures and the percentages built up before me, it was clear that I was becoming more and more analytical." With the figures in front of his face he could see he was clearing almost 50% profit on an outlay. Had he bet on singles, he would have cleared a bit over 60%. With this fact, and the fact that there were fewer singles available he figured he should increase the outlay on single bets. Importantly, he had shorter losing streaks and was more in control of his money.

His second business venture that he applied to make a difference and net a better profit was setting up his betting bank. It took Clive seven years from the first day he stepped into Haydock Park to feel confident enough to bet full time and quit his day job. Clive recalls, "I set off for Chester on the 6th May 1975 in a new Ford Ghia Capri, in a new suit and in a new job. My first bet was £67 to £30 on Western Jewel with Roy Christie on the rails down to a ticket number. The horse won by two lengths and was never in any danger."

That was the beginning of a streak that Holt himself was surprised with. In the following six weeks he would make more money than he did in a year working with the Electricity Board. Betting has been a very rewarding career for Clive. He claims he's never been a big time hitter. Holt usually does not hit more than £1,000 at a time but with the rather modest start he had, it is clear he has grown greatly as a skilled punter.

Clive himself will admit that he has enjoyed the success of betting he has become accustomed to and his tangible belongings can show anyone that. He has such items as, Lotus, Jaguar, De Tomaso, Pantera, BMW's, and many other luxury cars. Winter holidays in the Caribbean, Africa, Australia, America, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Canaries - plus the Mediterranean of course. It has provided his wife and four children with a Listed Georgian Country House complete with Coach House and Stables, set in acres of parkland, close to the norths major training centre.

Clive will be the first person to admit he knows that had he not quit his job jointing electricity cables to bet full time, most of his worldly possessions would not have been obtainable. His life would have been woven on a much different cloth. Surprisingly, Holt has never had the desire to bet purely to have an interest in a race per say. He claims that he would not have a problem not placing another bet ever if he could find another, equally rewarding and challenging career.

When asked what advice he would give to the new professional's apprentices he said, "One vital ingredient for successful punting is that you've got to be confident that your selection can win. Horses with good recent form, preferably winning form, running against limited opposition within their class, when at their peak, progressing or improving - do win the majority of races, all year round. They are a constant source of winners for anyone to exploit. Almost every winner worth backing falls into this category which is broadened even further by the four Pros: PROVEN, PROGRESSIVE, PROMISING and PROFITABLE