Dumb Pro Gambler | Can This Be True?

Boris Johnson at Casino
Have you heard about this...

I was contacted by someone the other day via email with ''You really need to hear about this''. I thought, right!. 

Someone named James [H******] sent me an email with the subject line: Professional Gambler's Info...

Considering I run a website called Professional Gamblers I just imagined it related to that, wanting information etc. However, the email continued to explain how someone very well known within the racing media had contacted them with a get rich scheme about betting and winning big. I looked at this detailed summary which identified a way of manipulating the exchanges with a simple method. I thought this must be a lot of rubbish. You get these things forwarded all the time. 

It's interesting that on first review it was actually well worked. Like most of these approaches, it looks very simple when you see the formula. I was asked to look at this info for this bloke who was sceptical. Anyway, I'm restricted by what I can say because it's his info. I will, though, find a way of detailing a variant of this stuff for readers if it actually amounts to something worthy of your time. 

All of this ''keep it to yourself'' info made me remember a time I knew a trader on the exchanges. Someone who actually made very good money from their knowledge. I will not say any names because it wouldn't be fair. They used to work in an executive position and gave that up to work from home, more time with the family and making more money. I know for a fact, they made very good money. The interesting part, is that they were, perhaps, a touch greedy and wanted to get a bit of extra cash and considered they could afford to let a few people into their idea. They did seem pretty stern in noting that if they ever saw someone trying to sell this idea that they would sue them. I'm a man of my word, so I had/have no intention of undermining them or being untrustworthy. I paid a three-figure sum.  In fact, it was £250 for the equivalent of reading about 50 words.The cost put off a lot of people. Although there were only about 10 places being sold so it was on a first come first served basis. 

I received the info. It was pretty basic but logical. I could see how it could be used and appreciate that it worked. I use Betfair, but not the ladder trading. Take a look at this link if you want to read more about this style of betting on the exchanges. It was so alien to the way I work that I didn't even attempt to use it. This style of trading needs an ultra quick mind and reflexes as fast as arcade game player. It's like shooting space invaders but making money. It was just something that I could never get to grips with. It made my style of working look old and outdated. I didn't care if my way was old hat because it made me money as it still does to this day. 

I lost track with the bloke who I bought the info from so I don't know what he's up to these days or whether he went broke or sitting on a yacht in the Bahamas. The info he sold me still awaits the day I decide to do something with it. 

Even though it sounds expensive, it was worth every penny because I know something that most people will never know... 

I wonder what email I will get tomorrow? 

Race Horses, Trainers & Broken Dreams

So you thought you had it bad as a punter...

Give a moments thought to horse trainers big and small. It must be a tricky business to try and make a living. I can't say I have any great connections to the training world. I've helped a few promote their services on our website Horse Trainer Directory. The ones who need that little extra promotion are generally thankful, grateful and appreciative. We promote trainers for free because without them we don't have a website. I live by the mantra: in giving we receive. The ugliness of the self is never attractive even looking in a circus mirror. 

I have known a few trainers in passing. Unless I buy a share in a racehorse or dip my hand further into my pocket to buy a whole horse it is unlikely we will have any meaningful conversations. However, you never know who is interested in what you have to offer and I have been surprised by the generous nature of many people who I wouldn't really expect. I remember receiving a phone call from Peter Doyle, the bloodstock agent, who took the time to contact me about a horse he once purchased called Western Art, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, in the ownership of Matthew Green and Ben Sangster. This son of Hennesey won at Listed class but struggled with injury at three to a point he was purchased as a riding horse for a lovely lady who I later become friends. I researched Western Art's (Artie) life story: from foal to ''champion'' racehorse. His breeder, Nellie Cox, of Rose Retreat Lodge, in the United States, remembered him well and the two ladies, who both loved him most, had the opportunity to chat about horse and foal detailing those interim years with caring words. 

This story originated from my brother, Tony, a plasterer, who while working on a private job many moons ago got talking to the customer about horse racing. They had a livery business and low and behold ex-racehorse Western Art was stabled there by his owner. It's a small world. 

Western Art stuck in my mind because I follow two-year-old horse racing and, by all accounts, he was a class horse. In truth, racing did this beautiful gelding no favours. He suffered many racing-related injuries which sadly lingered for the rest of his life.

Serendipity. 

By this chance encounter, a story came to life and the opportunity to meet some lovely people who I am still in contact today. Friendship is a creation of coincidence based on shared interests.The love of a horse from a racing perspective and a beautiful thoroughbred who without question was loved most greatly by his last owner who paid the price for others hopes and dreams. 

The pursuit to win. 

I guess it is too easy to consider that every horse trainer is a millionaire. Perhaps money makes its own luck. When you consider leading trainers such as John Gosden, William Haggas et al it is undoubtedly true. They are very wealthy individuals with the luxury of hugely rich owners. For many, money is no object. Their success is an ingredient of money and talent. Others, it is blood, sweat and years (of unpaid work).  

Smaller trainers have to fight for each and every horse, owner and success. Many, I suspect, live a hand-to-mouth existence. The National Hunt has a big heart. The story of a farmer with a horse. Perhaps that is the truth of horse training. The story built on ambition, hopes and dreams. Whether rich, poor or vagrant on the street we can all see through those eyes.  

We have all seen new trainers come and go. Imagine the passion in each individual who follows their dream. Especially so those younger trainers who are reliant on someone backing them financially. Money only goes so far and, I guess rightly so, those paying the bills can be very critical of their performance. Time is never on anyone's side and so often these fledgeling trainers fall by the way. 

Psychology of Slot Machines

Online Slots
The old-style fruit machines. 

Just a bit of fun. I doubt too many addicts would agree. However, the mentality of gamblers varies from one extreme to the other. Some bet and walk away, while others simply cannot stop pulling that one-armed bandit or pressing a flashing button until they are broke. 

Interesting how people vary so much. People do their own thing. Some, I guess, are more likely to be addicted to gambling or a certain type of gamble. When over 50% of the population bet, it is a worry for those who realise too late that a ''seemingly'' innocent pastime has cost them their home, marriage and life. 

Fruit machines are one of the most addictive forms of gambling. 

As a child, I used to go to Caister-on-sea for our annual holiday. Every September, missing the first week of the new school year because dad loved his racing at Great Yarmouth. Holidays were cheaper. I didn't like school so I would have opted for one long holiday fifty-two weeks a year. Anyway, the arcade on the holiday camp was ideal for two brothers who liked the look of the fruit machines. It was in the 1970s so we were talking pretty basic stuff. They even had a few of those old, chromed numbers with the Indian head, the class one-armed bandits which these days are collector's items and go for a few grand a piece. We were in our element. A pocket of twopences and motivated by the lights, noise of coins paying out willingly. The smell of hot dogs drifting in the air. Mum and dad listening to the entertainment. Dad with his brown and mild. Happy times. We played those machines with spirit. Not sure, thinking back, what was going through my mind. I guess it was the thought of winning. When you have a pound's worth of change in your pocket anything seems possible! 

Win or lose it didn't make any great difference. Basically, it was fun. I don't regret betting or my parents suggesting it was okay or acceptable. Like father like son. I will be forever proud of my dad.    

In some respects, betting from such an early age may have been a good thing. It brought a realisation that to win at gambling you need to have intelligence and discipline. By the time I was a teenager I was bored to death with fruit machines. I realised they were fixed odds, so long term you simply couldn't win. 

I hadn't played a slot machine in years but thought I'd have a bit of fun on Saturday evening. I use Betfair for betting horses on the exchange but they have everything on the website including online slots. 

I thought I'd bet a tenner. 

Slot machines are very different from the good, old days. But one thing that came to mind was the amount of psychological research which must go into making these games big money makers from casinos, bookmakers or whoever sets these businesses up.

They are made to keep you betting and they have cracked that aspect of betting without question.  

I won £200, so good luck favours the brave. Stopped playing and very much doubt I will be playing for a good few months.  

Horse Trainers & Professional Gamblers?

Spirit Of Sharjah
Who knows the most about horse racing?

Trainer.

Bookmaker.

Form student.

Pro gambler?

It's an interesting question.

Well, it should be if you have an interest in trying to win money gambling. The gold miner follows the seam hoping it will lead to rich pickings. 

A pot of gold. 

You could search for the end of the rainbow!

Gambling, successfully, is all about following the money. Surely. But what comes before the money? Knowledge. 

When you think about it, horse trainers must be in the best position to benefit from what they see on the gallops. If not, it is a very good starting point. You hear of horses being morning glories, brilliant on the gallops, but just never show that abundance at the race track. 

As far as knowledge goes, trainers are the source of information. A rich seam of gold, perhaps. It's like insider trading. In theory, if a horse trainer cannot make money with their wisdom it shouldn't give the rest of us much hope. 

However, is it that easy? Probably not for the simple reason that you never quite know who is in opposition. But trainers must have a huge edge. They may have to wait years for the ideal opportunity but they come with time.

I remember Julia Feilden, who trains at Newmarket. I have met her on a few occasions and she is a lovely lady. She runs Newmarket Equine Tours Racing Club. Exceptional value and a great way to taste the luxury of being a racehorse owner at an affordable price. She is a talented trainer. But, like so many, she is only as good as the horses she has in her care. I don't know if they are a gambling stable. I guess all have their day. 

On average, her horses are handicappers. However, she had one horse who really was class: Spirit Of Sharjah

This bay son of Invincible Spirit must have looked like a wonder horse when galloping at Exning. He must have been the nearest thing to poetry in motion. It may have been back in 2007, but that two-year-old season must have been one of the most amazing moments of her life. Finally, a horse that shines as brightly as they come. 

Back to a trainer and the opportunity to bet and win good money. 

Spirit Of Sharjah was a horse made for a gamble. 

Why? 

Because she doesn't train many top-class horses. 
Doesn't have a great strike rate on debut.
Not known for talented two-year-olds.

Never limit a person. Becuase they will show you how wrong you are. And every trainer, who trains long enough, has their day. 

Spirit Of Sharjah made his debut at Newmarket. 

What price do you think he started? 

50/1, 25/1, 16/1...

Opened 16/1 backed to 10s. Who did they book to ride? Mick Kinane! I suspect I haven't looked, that it was the only time he has ever ridden for the stable. I don't know if the stable bet, but I would be amazed if this wasn't one of those rare purple days.

Spirit Of Sharjah won a Conditions Stakes race by two-and-a-half lengths. Beating future top sire Dark Angel in the process. 

That must have been such a wonderful day. A day owners, trainers and punters wait a lifetime to enjoy. To hit the headlines. 

I bet Julia's purse was bulging ten minutes after that debut on April 18th, 2017. 

Good luck to her. 

Spirit Of Sharjah. A star horse. 

He won his first two races, taking a Listed race at Goodwood in ready fashion. 

In many respect, his third race was the pinnacle of his career. He finished third at Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes Group 2. Losing by just over two lengths behind Winker Watson and Art Advisor. In truth, he could have gone very close to winning, finishing well. 

As Sir Francis Bacon said: ''Knowledge is power''.

John Virgo: My Autobiography, Say Goodnight, J V

John Virgo - Say Goodnight, JV
I used to be a big fan of snooker. 

The good, old days of Steve Davis, Ray Reardon, Jimmy White, Alex Higgins et al. 

Plenty of characters in the game where snooker heralded a top position within the sports calendar, especially the Crucible. One of the more familiar names was John Virgo. He was as well known for his impersonation of other snooker stars, the TV programme Big Break, as well as his ability to play the baize to a high level. These days, he is a snooker commentator. 

Virgo's early professional career started in 1973 American Pool Tournament where he lost in the semi-final. 

He turned professional in 1976 in the days of Ray Reardon, John Spencer and Eddie Charlton (Steady Eddie). By modern standard, he was a late developer being 30-years-old. Strangely, he was one of the youngest pros in the game at that time. 

In 1977, he reaches the semi-finals losing to eventual winner Patsy Fagan. 

His professional ranking peaked in 1979 when reaching the semi-finals of the World Championships. He reached the top 10 rankings in 1980. 

However, in 1991 he dropped out of the top 16. 

In 1995 John Virgo retired from professional snooker. 

His best ranking was 10th in the world. Nicknamed Mr Perfection, his career winnings amounted to £293,472. His highest break 139 in the 1987 English Professional Championship. With 39-century breaks to his name. 

The main reason for buying this book is to detail a few stories about Virgo's gambling. Readers may remember his interest in horse racing and owner of a few thoroughbreds in his time.

I can't say I knew much about this side of him but by all accounts, it became a problem and a costly affair. Interestingly, he wanted this autobiography to be about gambling so we can guarantee he has a lot to say on the subject. I will write a few posts as I read this tome so look out for plenty of good reads.    

Betting Like it was 1966

Geoff Hurst
What a year. 

Like the battle of Hastings in 1066, football fans will never forget the year when England won the World Cup 1966. 

As the quote goes: ''They think its all over...'' Kenneth Wolstenholme's commentary on BBC when England beat Germany 4 - 2. 

He said: And here comes Hurst! He's got...

Some people are on the pitch! They think it's all over!

It is now, it's four!    

I get the feeling we will have to wait until 2066 to see another FIFA World Cup for our beloved football nation. 

Here is a quick summary of other sporting winners in this famous year.

Tennis: Wimbledon 20th June - 2nd July

Manuel Santana wins the men's final. While Billie Jean King wins the women's. 

Grand National 1966 - Aintree

Anlgo wins at odds of 50-1 for trainer Fred Winter, ridden by Tim Norman. A 20-length victory beating Freddie who was runner-up the year before. 

Gold Cup 1966 - Cheltenham 

Almost as well known as England winning the World Cup, equine star Arkle made this a historic Gold Cup winning for the third time in consecutive years. Tom Dreaper trained this amazing nine-year-old for the Dutchess Of Westminster, ridden by Pat Taaffe at odds of 1/10f. 

The Boat Race 1966

A long history of the battle of supremacy for Oxford and Cambridge University. The 112 boat race took place on the 26th  March 1966. A tight competition, Oxford won by three and quarter lengths. Cambridge won the women's race. 

1966 European Athletics Championship 

A couple of English victories of note:

Jim Hogan won the Marathon 2:20:04.06

Lynn Davies won the men's Long Jump 7.98 m  

The only two medals England achieved in these championships. 

More interesting articles:

Betting Likes It's 1984

The Perception of the Gamble

Mark Johnston wind ops 'tragedy for racing industry'

horse racing
Mark Johnston has slated the BHA's decision to make known horses that have had a wind operation since their last run. 

The qualified vet/trainer described it as a tragedy. 

He said: "I think it's a tragedy for the industry and the breed that the BHA has brought in this rule," he said. "I think it's based on bad science and we've got a further unlevelling of the international field, where we're going to be giving misinformation to punters and I fear there is a welfare issue.
"As is the case over jumps, or what we believe is the case, there are large numbers of horses having surgery unnecessarily because of this belief it will improve their performance. I fear this will push over to the Flat and we've seen there are a lot of misguided people out there who seem to believe these procedures make a horse run faster.
"So long as they believe that and so long as the breeders are concerned about it being known their horses have had wind surgery, we're now going to see the situation on the Flat with horses having surgery before they run, completely unnecessarily."
"In general I can say they're not successful. Whether they work at all, the jury is still out and has been a long time. The procedures have changed dramatically since I qualified as a vet and during the time I've been training; new procedures coming in and out of fashion and that's simply because there's no consensus whether they work.
"I asked my senior vet if they work, and he said, 'No'. I asked my wife Deirdre if they work, and she said, 'Sometimes'. So we went through the horses who had had them and we found five who had significantly improved. That's a ten percent success rate, but how many of mine improved who didn't have wind surgery? Probably ten percent, so it's bad science to look at these figures."
Johnston, speaking as a guest on Luck On Sunday, also thought the idea more information being available would help the sport was wrong.
He said: "It's only going to be documented that British-trained horses have had surgery since their last run. It's not going to be documented how many had surgery before they ever ran or those coming in from abroad, so we're just muddying the waters even more."
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