Anthony Bloom | Tony Bloom | The Lizard

He named his sports betting consultancy Starlizard after his nickname The Lizard; he got that due to his ice cool poker face. One of his most interesting businesses Starlizard uses technology and mathematics to give better odds to its members. Starlizard is said to go to the nth degree in factoring in a predicted score. The weather, player morale among other influencing factors. 

Bloom also owner of Brighton & Hove Albion (his birthplace football team) and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium, he has a passion for football- for sure. 

Like some other pro gamblers Tony has made great success from combining maths and computers to help win at gambling. In further coincidence those same peers also were investors and businessmen. 


The start 

Tony was born on the south coast of the UK in a town called Brighton in 1970. His grandfather used to enjoy a bit of a flutter at the dogs (Greyhound racing) but nothing serious. He would take Tony when he was very young. Tony also spent a few quid at the arcades; he must have loved the thrill. 

It was at 15 that he started gambling himself at betting shops (known locally as bookies in the UK). 15 is and was an illegal age for gambling in the UK so he used a fake ID. 

He continued to diligently study maths realising the power of the subject from a young age. There is also clearly a love of it shown throughout his strategic life. He went on to Manchester and got a degree in maths. 

Following his student days he got his first job with Ernst and Young as an accountant. This alongside his betting wins built up a roll of some £20k a very nice respectable sum at the time. As an options trader though he lasted just 6 months, deciding to stop trading his time for money and moving into gambling as a profession

The Oriental Connection 

The next poignant moment was when Victor Chandlers (Bet Victor) the bookmakers noticed his talent for picking a winner. He had been winning from them no doubt! But he needed a big offer to make him give up being a pro. As head of a setup for Asian operations the position must have appealed to the entrepreneur in him too; as he took it. Now he was working for a bookmaker and learning Asian handicapping whilst living an international lifestyle. One notable win for The Lizard was instructing Victor Chandler to give France favourable odds to win the 1998 world cup final. Tony knows football, as the unfancied Frenchmen stormed to victory over Brazil 3-0. This is said to have made Chandlers a lot of money. But besides that it showed the world his talent for knowing the game of football. 


Ever the entrepreneur his first startup called Premier Bet was the first online to use the Asian Handicapping System. It was a great success and he sold the business later on. Hungry for more Tony saw the rise of the internet and being well placed was able to get in on online gambling websites. Part of the rise of online gambling was from the success of Chris Moneymaker - it was boom time. 


Taking his money from selling Premier Bet, Bloom saw the opportunity to reinvest and invigorate himself! Tony started two online poker sites, St Minver and Tribeca Tables. 

Poker 

Coming back to Chris M and Poker for a second Tony loves a game of poker. A true gambler at heart- “Poker gives you a good grounding in lots of things, including reading situations and reading people and making tough decisions. Those skills can be used in business and certainly in running a football club,” -Tony Bloom 

Starlizard 

The profits of this company are not known exactly but it’s huge numbers. It portrays itself as a betting consultancy agency. With 2 string services for those that can afford it. But if you can you may be in luck for the consultancy purportedly earns 100 million a year average. 14 million is made alone from the subscriptions to the information per year. If you visit the website of Starlizard you will see integrity is everywhere. Secrecy is very important when you consider that estimated annual wagered amounts can be a round 3 billion per year. 

Tony though remains a very likeable man and is a dad to his son, married to an Australian woman he lives a private life and looks after his businesses and employees well. After a long tenure they are allowed access to Starlizards services. He seldom flaunts his billions but is known to throw a wild party now and again.

Going From Gambler to Professional Gambler - Is It A Realistic Career Choice?

What is a professional gambler? 

A professional gambler is someone who makes a living from betting or playing to win money. They devote a decent portion of time to studying and working out where to bet and how. A proper professional makes their money from winning more than losing- and winning enough to live on. 

For myself I have visions of a professional gambler as being dressed casual with a sweater sporting sunglasses with a drink in hand. I think they also smoke. A very generalistic view that is totally incorrect for most! 

Gamblers also, I picture always being in a casino. Could this be due to the bond movies or other Hollywood portrayals. Also a falsehood. 

Today you can gamble from home or in a cafe or anywhere thanks to the smartphone! Being from the UK myself, the guy exiting the bookies is also a strong stereotype. 

The truth is we are all very individual, this doesn’t change for gamblers and in many cases they possibly don’t change their look after going professional.

Is turning pro a good idea? 

Please note that you need to take responsibility for your gambling and only bet that which you can afford to lose. This rule applies to everyone. If you break that rule you should not turn pro.

Being a professional gambler is afforded a few who have a very select set of skills. You can group these skills in two categories. Gambling skill and Admin and Life Skills

Admin and Life Skills Professional gamblers need the following skills as a basic set. 

The list is a starting minimum. 
  • Record keeping 
  • Money management 
  • Time management 
Gambling Skills 

Analytical skills- for your chosen type of game or sport you will need to be able to analyse results of the past and come to good solid conclusions. If you gamble on Horses you study the form guide and breeding among other metrics. 

Emotional control- Specific to Poker you need exceptional emotional control to not give away your hand. Emotional control also applies to the way you bet. How do you feel. Do you gamble when angry or to win back money? Surely not throwing out the game plan is better.

Bankroll- You will need to plan and have enough to ride out bad luck so that the fruits of your analysis can pay off. The bankroll is your cash flow and for a pro it is a vital value that needs careful attention more than any. It is possibly the thing preventing you from trying to Go Pro since you need a health stack to begin with. 

Pick your game wisely 

Picking and sticking to the best subject (for you) is important- A skill game is one in which there is an element of skill that can overpower luck. As an example of such games they may include Sports betting (Horse Racing, Motorsport, Football etc), Blackjack, Poker, Spades and Esports..the list is big. You may have a favourite sport and this is a good place to start. But don’t discount a sport that you do well in. Performance should be the overriding factor.

Blackjack is a skill game that has been the centre of many a win for those with the ability to play when the time is right and the odds favour you. 

No professional gambler plays purely a chance game such as roulette. However the odd pro has found the odd chance game with a flaw. Biased roulette wheel. Possibly only a very analytical mind would spot it. 

Conclusion: I am sure that after some small success many try to go pro. The betting highway is littered with the carcasses of dead wanna be pro gambler careers. Like many vocations it is best eased into. Some of the best Professional Gamblers show this through their lives and how they got there. If you are really serious then put in the time and gradually switch out from the day job. Like any professional you put in the time the same as an Olympic athlete.

8 Lies Sports Betting & Gambling Services Will Tell You

We live in an age where truth is ever hard to come by. However since a long time sports betting touts have been outright lying to you. Here are 8 that will help you spot the lies and many more besides. You may also find these lies crossover into other subjects. 

Some lies hold a truth to help validate the lie. Part of this whole deal however involves you. Make sure you do not get suckered and remember one thing: They work out what you want and pretty much tell you they can give you that. So ask yourself if it is too good to be true.

These lies are fully engineered to catch YOU! 

A list of lies 

1) They have a 75% winning percentage 

These claims are worthless because it’s misleading. Anyone can pick money line winners with a very high success rate. But it doesn’t equate to making money. 

For example in Football you could take Florida state and New York on the money line in any games they had a favour by over 15 the past several years and had a tremendous winning streak. 

The question you want answered is this one; What is the touts winning percentage against the spread over the last 6 years? 

The best sports gamblers on earth only win 55% against the spread. 

2) The Split Groups Scam 

Effectively a numbers game this one makes sure there are some winners through sheer probability. If you are among the lucky ‘winners’ you will be asked to fork out to continue to get the tips. And even if then you don’t win you will be sure it will ‘get back’ to being a winner soon. Your belief in the system will keep you on. 

How does it work? A scammer offers free tips betting each way to a total number of people such that half will win half will lose. This ensures some win. Then out of that pool again the next game the system puts you in half so effectively if there are enough in the group you might get through with 5 winning in a row. Their belief will be high. The system also offers the losers some offers and some will take it. If they had a couple of wins then a loss they may be into it enough. 

Let’s do some numbers. 

Game 1 and we start with 20,000 gamblers who signed up for FREE! After game 1 we have 10,000 with a win. Of those 10,000 the ‘group’ again is offered a pick 5,000 one side and 5,000 the other. So there will be now 5,000 winners with 2 in a row. We go again with game 3 and the 5,000 winners get split so 2,500 get 3 streak...and so on. 1,250 will get a 4 streak and 750 get a 5 streak. At this point these 750 get sold on a subscription service based on their wins and belief in the system. 

3) X Years Successfully Selling Picks 

This is no real interesting metric because it says nothing about how good they are. They are also likely to be very happy to lie about this too! 

4) You Don’t Pay Until You Win 

Very similar to the ‘Split Groups’ method, 50% of the subscribers will get a lucky win, so at least half end up paying the ‘service’. Those that don’t win will possibly stay in not seeing the scam thinking it’s free. Perhaps after they pay out of their winnings to the service when they eventually get a win and discover their folly. 

5) Guaranteed Winners 

Again similar to the split groups and You Don’t Pay Until You Win if you stay in the system you will eventually get a win. It’s using wordplay against you. 

6) You Don’t need To Do Anything Other Than Place Bets 

Appealing to the lazy of mind with the simplicity of this statement. If you said it involved a complicated form to fill out to enter then you would be too busy and just move on away from the advert. Only because you suspect the system is doing complex stats behind the curtain would you think this is not simply playing roulette. 

7) Lock Picks 

Using a key word such as ‘Lock’ suggests mostly to the uninitiated that something special is going on on. It’s no different to a regular pick. It is subterfuge. 

You yourself would be able to pick games that are looking more likely to be winners. 

8) Act Now To Get This Special Price 

Not just used in sports betting the headline is one to give you urgency and compel you to act instead of doing it tomorrow. When you would probably forget about it forever more. You may have seen the same thing shopping online with deal timers. Next time you see one of those test the timer- come back tomorrow and see if it was truthful! 

Conclusion: Most of these are playing on numbers or wording to make what they are saying truthful for ‘some’ of their victims. You might have got lucky and been in a split group down to the end. But likely you would have put your winnings straight back into your new sports tout’s system. The truth is that anyone who makes money consistently with their own methods makes far more than selling the information as picks. The age old adage remains and forever shall if it sounds too good to be true...then it probably isn’t.

A very insightful video worth watching about gambling addiction. 



5 Successful Professional Gamblers

5 Successful Professional Gamblers
If you talk to someone who doesn’t gamble about gambling they will likely tell you it’s for fools. After all, they don’t do it. You can find many sad tales around people that have lost everything. In extreme cases they sadly and too often take their own lives. So you can see why many people see gambling is for losers. But there are really successful gamblers all around the globe some more than others. I think it’s important to read this article realising that the following gamblers are extreme cases. Your future story is not likely to be like theirs so do not draw too much inspiration from them. 

Only bet that which you can afford to lose. 

We look at 5 successful gamblers. Success in gambling in this article means that the gambler involved won more than they lost to a significant gain. 

Stanford Wong 

Successful mostly at Blackjack Stanford Wong who’s real name is John Ferguson also created multiple businesses out of gambling, mostly book around Blackjack but he also created his own publishing house Pi Yee Press. One other notable creation was a computer program that helps beat the odds Blackjack Analyzer. 

  • Professional Blackjack 
  • Blackjack Secrets 
  • Basic Blackjack 
  • Professional Video Poker 
  • Optimal Strategy for Pai Gow Poker 
  • Casino Tournament Strategy
  • Betting Cheap Claimers 

If you have been into Blackjack for even a short time you will have heard of him or maybe ‘wonging’ which is when players use his techniques. 

A player who counts cards, waits for an opportunity to get into a ‘good’ game before playing is said to be engaged in wonging. Many casinos block this technique by simply having a rule against entering a game mid shoe. 

He created a newsletter in 1979 from his publishing house titled Current Blackjack news.



Edward O Thorp 

Born in 1932 Edward Oakley Thorp is still alive today managing his hedge funds. Thorp received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the university of California LA. His work and study into probability maths suggested you could beat the house advantage through counting cards. 

He applied his theories in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Vegas where he won 11,000 dollars over a single weekend. He is the author of the book Beat The Dealer. You can catch up with him on twitter @EdwardOThorp 

Publications include: A Man for all Markets



Nick Dandolos 

Nikolaos Andreas Dandolos commonly known as Nick the Greek was a professional gambler. He died on Christmas day in 1966. Like many professional gamblers Nick was a learned man, he studied Philosophy and gained a degree in it. 

Sent to the USA when he was 18 by his grandfather he started his new life in Chicago but moved up across the border to Montreal. It was here he had great success betting on horse racing. 

It could have been that coming from a wealthy family he had a leaning toward high stakes betting. The famous Montreal half million wins however were all turned into losses as he returned to Chicago where for some reason he switched to poker and craps. 

It was during this time that he achieved celebrity status for his gambling and character. It is estimated that he won and lost around 500 million in his life. Sadly he lived a much poorer life towards the end but he never stopped gambling. There are some lessons to be learned from Nick's life.

 

Don Johnson 

Don Johnson became known for a few wins in recent history. One time in 2011 in Atlantic City he won 15 million dollars playing blackjack. These are seriously high numbers by anyone’s books. Part of the reason he was able to do so well was the casinos desperation at the time to attract players. He was able to negotiate a 20% loss refund but some of the rules he asked for were granted such as staying on soft 17. This gave him a mathematical edge. 

The numbers that broke the bank 

Tropicana $6 million
Borgata $4 million 
Caesars $4 million 



Billy Walters 

Last on the list but certainly a man whose life deserves mention and further inspection.

William T Walters has been a prolific car salesman, a later life sports betting pro, astute businessman and investor. And then insider trading landed him in prison. His story is a true rags to riches one. He was raised by his grandmother in Munfordville Kentucky in America. He was instilled with a terrific work ethic working 80 hour weeks selling cars any way he could. He made a lot of money doing it and broke company records. 

He lost his first bet with a friend at 9 years old. It wasn’t something he got right until he found a biased roulette wheel he milked for 3.9 million some 20 years later. Until that time he had net losses of $50,000 before he was 25. Beyond the roulette wheel he is known for sports betting where he did very well in the 80’s. He created The Computer Group which has been incredibly consistent at predicting sports winners. Walters said in a good year he made 50 million dollars. The sport is basketball and football. Bookies will not take his bets so he has to have runners place bets for him. All this time he invested in various businesses and got involved in the markets. His current prison sentence is due to end in 2022 so it should be interesting to see what he decides to now do with the rest of his life. It certainly wasn’t boring.

Professional Gamblers: Freddie Williams vs. J.P. McManus

Professional Gamblers: Freddie Williams vs. J.P. McManus
The late 'Fearless' Freddie Williams, who died in June, 2008, at the age of 65, after suffering a major heart attack at his home in Skares, near Cumnock, Ayrshire, was once described as the 'immovable object' versus the 'irresistible force' of legendary punter John Partick 'J.P.' McManus. Indeed, at the time of his death, McManus said of his 'nemesis', 'We had some jousts over the years at the Cheltenham Festival. Racing has lost a colourful and loving character. The betting ring will be a much quieter place without him.' 

Although from humble beginnings, Williams became a millionaire when he sold his shares in his local soft drinks factory, Curries of Auchinleck, in 1991. However, fundamental changes to the allocation of bookmakers' pitches, introduced in October, 1998, allowed him to fulfil a lifelong ambition of obtaining a pitch at Cheltenham, although he did have to pay £90,000 at auction for the privilege. 

Having bought into the 'big time' as a bookmaker, Williams first met J.P. McManus on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham in January, 1999. After a brief introduction, McManus promptly asked for £90,000 to £40,000 about favourite Buckside in the opening novices' handicap hurdle. Buckside led most of the way, giving Williams just cause to question his judgement, but was headed on the run-in, eventually going down by 2½ lengths. Later that same afternoon, Williams laid McManus £150,000 to £50,000 about Commanche Court in the Cleeve Hurdle and £175,000 to £50,000 about Even Flow in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase; both horses lost, leaving Williams £140,000 ahead on the day. 

The following March, Williams laid McManus £700,000 to £100,000 each-way about his own horse, Shannon Gale, in the Stakis Casinos Final. The seven-year-old gelding held every chance at the final flight, but could only stay on at one pace in the closing stages to finish fourth, beaten 7¼ lengths; McManus nevertheless collected £175,000 for the place portion of his bet. 

Shannon Gale marked the start of prolonged series of skirmishes between Williams and McManus at the Cheltenham Festival, which would, at various times, leave both men bloodied, but unbowed. Williams once said of the McManus, who, nowadays, has a net worth of $2.2 million, 'I have a feeling John wants to be the first punter ever to have a million pounds on a horse at the festival. I love the guy to bits, don't get me wrong, but he's given me a lot of sore heads.' 

Thursday, March 16, 2006 – so-called 'St. Patrick's Thursday' at the Cheltenham Festival – proved a case in point for the bold, old-fashioned layer. In the opening Jewson Novices' Handicap Chase, Williams laid McManus £600,000 to £100,000 about Reveillez, who ran out a ready, 1¼-length winner under Sir Anthony McCoy. The closing Pertemps Network Final featured four McManus-owned runners, including the well-fancied, but ultimately ill-fated, Olaso, who was fatally injured during the race. McManus, though, backed the outsider of his quartet, Kadoun, to the tune of £250,000 to £5,000 each-way with Williams; the 50/1 chance stayed on well to win by 1½ lengths, netting his owner a further £325,000 at Williams' expense.


Professional Gamblers: The Best Ever Article About Sidney Harris

Professional Gamblers: The Best Ever Article About Sidney Harris
If you are a man of a certain age you may well remember professional gambler Sidney Harris.

This stockbroker turned professional gambler proves you can teach an old dog new tricks.

However, far from a misspent youth, Harris was always astute in understanding probability - it was his blood.

He defied the odds and the misconception that it's a young man's game.

His story, like many, is quite remarkable. 

Firstly, he didn't get into horse racing until his mid-40s.  

It's never too late.

However, he made most of his vast fortune trading in options on the stock market. 

We start the story back in 1987 when Black Tuesday brought dreaded news to investors across the globe. Shares went into free-fall and many investors lost their life saving in one day. An insightful Harris took a view the markets would continue to tumble and he wasn't afraid to put his money where his mouth was. 

He speculated £38,000 that the markets would plunge into massive losses.

Within 24-hours he had made a clear profit of £90,000. 

After retiring from the stock market game, he had the time, money and passion to invest in his new love of horse racing. 

In fact, it led to the publication of his book: Horse Racing: The Essential Guide to Backing Winners, published in 2000, by As-if publishing with a forward written by horse trainer Mark J. Polglase. 

Polish Peter said: '' At first this looks like the kind of slim pamphlet you expect from the usual snake oil tipster. But contained within is a total to racing from the ground. I have it by my bedside and each time I read a page I discover something new. A Bible for horse fans.''

When Harris put pen to paper, he had been gambling professionally for just over seven years. 

He said: ''No two years have been the same!''

Continuing, Harris said: ''Looking back at these seven years, I realise that I have been on both a roller-coaster ride and an acute learning curve," he says. "The objective of this book is to clarify, beyond doubt, that the best way to find winners is through constant and consistent study, and that only by taking a methodical approach is it possible to make sense of the chaos that is unleashed the moment the starting stalls open for a horse race."

He stated that most punters simply rely on luck to win. 

"Each punter's journey is quite different, travelling an uncertain route without the benefit of a signpost," says Harris. "Entrenched misguided ideas lead punters to repeat mistakes that eventually become debilitating and regularly indulged habits.''

Harris wished to instill in the everyday punter that without a strategy it is impossible to spot mistakes. 

One angle used by this consummate professional was to review races and look for horses treated leniently by their jockey and backing them when primed to win. 

He said: ''If you watch a race two or three times you will be surprised by how little you pick up.''

This was probably the reason he would watch a race up to a dozen times.

As seen with many professional gamblers, he has a set of rules that he never breaks:

1) Never back a horse on unproven ground 

2) Never a back a horse from a stable that's out of form

3) Never Never back a horse unsuited to the track 

4) Never back a horse ridden by a jockey who has a poor record at the course

5) The same applies to a trainer with a poor track record

In fact, one of his golden rules is to identify trainers and jockeys who have good records at given tracks. 

This is often something overlooked by punters. 

Of bookmakers he gives insight to help punters to be one step ahead of what he calls barrow-boy psychology to entice punters with what seem to be the illusion of fleeting value. 

Harris says: ''Most of the bookies prices are tantamount to a mirage.''

''Personally, I don't like to bet below 3/1. An exception may be a 11/4 shot.''    

Looking at the percentages, he states: 

"As we know, the difference between 2/1 ON and evens is approximately 16 per cent. The difference between a 9/1 chance and a 33 /1 chance is approximately 7 per cent. In this area, we have to play the bookmaker at his own game. "We have to, wherever possible, look for favourites to oppose. By the sheer fact that favourites are the worst value, they create value at the other end of the scale. The shorter the price of the favourite, the more value it creates in other horses."

Basically, anything priced below 3/1 is potentially lacking in value and the shorter the price it becomes more acute.

Harris is correct in stating that the majority of bets are struck at 3/1 and less and reason why there is value at looking for bigger price horses. 

He acknowledges that backing bigger priced horses can lead to longer losing runs. However, he states the best approach to coping with losing runs is to bet well within your means so you feel no emotion at losing. 

If you are struggling with emotions: ''You are staking too high.''

Harris sticks with a level stake approach. He details the bad habit of gamblers betting each-way and how it can be difficult to get out of this routine. 

However, he suggests punters use the 80 over 20 rule which seems punters place 80% o their stake on the win and just 20% on the place. 

He works from a 100-point betting bank. If starting with £1,000 you should be betting £10 a time. For example, if you are betting £50 your betting bank should be £5,000.

Using this method you are working from within your comfort zone and betting has a feel-good factor. Even a string of losers will not unbalance you and, more importantly, you won't be betting with your emotions. 

Harris wisely advises: ''If you are tempted to increase your stake to recoup previous losses don't consider doing this betting on a horse under 5/1. It will go straight into the bookmaker's satchel.'' 

One of his biggest wins at the races saw him collect over £400,000. 

If you want to take your betting seriously, then you need to understand these key pointers about assessing form.

''Form contains all the clues to finding winners.''

''The form book is like your map. And the basis to our understanding is what we consider to be irrefutable form. That means truly run races, and horses that make a sustained effort.''

Harris says: ''The future of any race is unknown but we can discern what happened in the past. We need to concentrate on horses which have shown their best. For example, if we have a ten-horse race and only three have made a race of it, we ignore the other seven.''

Sidney Harris' book doesn't answer every question but is does offer valuable advice. 

In conclusion he states: ''You're not going to get rich overnight. I've read many books and they often detail little bits of information which benefit my own game.''

And that is the truth of this book. 

Professional Gamblers: The Shadow

Professional Gamblers: The Shadow
Anonymous said: 

''I've known many great gamblers over the years. Some pro gamblers I've known casually while others have been personal friends.''

The biggest gambler I have met is J P McManus. I know him on nodding terms. I've seen him scaring the pants off bookmakers and he walks around the betting ring. 

One of my favourites was Alec Bird who loved place bets. Supposedly, his favourite bet was £200,000 place only on a red-hot favourite. He's be quite happy to bet 1/10, to get a nice return on his investment. 

Without question, one of the shrewdest gamblers I ever met was Phil Bull. You may remember him as the founder of Timeform. Using his time rating system, he would be quite happy to bet on every race on the card while smoking a cigar, sipping a glass of champagne and have time for a chat. To Bull, it was simply about solving a puzzle. In fact, the money he won seemed to be of little interest to him. 

Barney Curley often gets a bad press but he is one of the nicest people I have ever met. These days, he is showing his age but he is approachable and friendly. Over the years he has landed some major betting coupes including Yellow Sam in 1975. 

Definitely the maddest gambler I ever met is my friend and once East End gangster ''H''. These days he is flat broke living in a housing association, passing the time looking after the gardens as he waits for a liver transplant. 

However, he has lost millions over the years betting on the dogs and horse racing. 

Professional Gamblers: Who Is Jack Ramsden?

Professional Gamblers: Who Is Jack Ramsden?
Professional gamblers come from varied backgrounds - including horse trainers. Considering this line of work, it would seem to be a very good way to make money. 

However, let's get back to the start of the story. Jack Ramsden was a stockbroker until 1980, then decided to turn his hand to being a professional gambler. He had thirteen consecutive winning years (probably many more). 

He said of stock brokering: ''I was working in the city, but the city wasn't working for me. I was a pretty useless stockbroker.'' 

Very much in the mold of Phil Bull, he based his success on speed figures. 

In fact he stated: ''I cannot stress too strongly the importance of the race times. They bind the whole approach together. A good horse can do a bad time, but a bad horse cannot do a good time.''

Ramsden detailed the good times on the national hunt are few and far between but everyone seems to know about them and the prices are too short to back. 

He said: ''Even cutting out the endless research of form, it takes me two  to three hours a day to work out my bets.''

Giving us an insight to his approach he continues: ''I'm constantly on the look out for the 3/1 chance that starts at 8/1. There are 30 - 40 such bets a year (there to be seen by all).''  

Clearly looking for value he says: ''At those odds, you don't need to be right all the time!''

What was even more intriguing with Ramsden is that he collaborated with ''his own bookmaker'' Colin Webster (pictured). In fact, the bookmaker (this must be a first) paid Ramsden £5,000 a year for his information. In addition, he had to place Ramsden's bets with other bookmakers. 

What struck me as being unusual with Ramsden was his liking for multibets (trebles, yankees, lucky 15). He liked to bet on big priced horses and if seemed to be a very lucrative addition because on four occasions he reported winning over £200,000 at time on multiple bets.  

However, he advised punters to forget about each-way bets This insight came from researching his bets that he would have made much more doubling his win bet rather opting for the ''safer'' method. 

He said: ''I think all punters would benefit from cutting out all each-way bets and sticking to singles.''

Jack met his wife, Lynda, when she works at the horse racing stables of John Sutcliffe Snr, where Jack, one of Barry Hills' first owners, had horses. The couple married in 1977. Originally, training horses in the Isle Of Man, they moved to North Yorkshire, England, where they trained for many years.

Professional Gamblers: Who is John Aspinall?

Professional Gamblers: Who is John Aspinall?
Professional gamblers are often extroverts. 

Welcome to the world of John Victor Aspinall.

Born 1926 in British Raj, India, he came from a wealthy middle class family.

Aspinall was very much an enigma. In fact, his whole life was dangerous if not controversial. He was a character of high society back in the 1960s and the press speculated he had helped aid the disappearance of Lord Lucan who was the 7th Earl of Lucan, who was not only a degenerate gambler but suspected murderer. 

Aspinall was well known for his escapades as the owner of a zoo. He was forward thinking and said animals shouldn't be treat as beasts to be exhibited but friends to be pampered. They should be given adequate space and similar group dynamics as in the wild and natural diet. 

Among the animals in the zoo included gorillas. Which, among being given berries, were given treats such as Sunday roast and chocolate. 

In fact, he used to have a hands-on relationship with tigers and gorillas. 

In 1976, he wrote a book: The Best of Friends, where he insisted the individuality of animals.

Aspinall was quoted as saying: 

"Animals should have as much right to happiness as we do and to coexist on this planet, which is far more important than we are."

Among his successes, he bred captive gorillas for the first time since 1956, and hundreds of tigers, including the first Siberian born in Britain. 

However, such liberal approach may have had repercussions with 5 zoo keepers being killed.

Getting on to Aspinall's talent for gambling. 

After a very privileged upbringing, he went to Jesus College, Oxford. Loving a gamble, he risked his terms grant of £70 on a horse called Palestine in the 2,000 Guineas. It won at very short odds. 

Oxford proved a great place to meet influential people who would later play an important part in his life, including Jimmy & Teddy Goldsmith, and fellow gambler Ian Maxwell-Scott. Aspinall set out his stall by going to the Ascot Gold Cup rather than his final exams.

He swiftly moved on to host gambling clubs which were illegal at the time attracting influential players such as the Duke of Devonshire and the Earl of Derby, enjoying the most lavish settings. With Aspinall taking a percentage of the stakes, he was becoming a very rich man. 

In 1957, the police raided a gambling party he had organised, the charges were dismissed and shortly after (1960) the Gaming Act was introduced opening the doors to casinos across the country. 

Not to miss out on new legislation, Aspinall opened his own club - The Claremont Club at 44 Berkeley Square. However, lack of finances saw his raise £200,000 in loan stock and the basement was turned into Annabel's Nightclub, run by Mark Birley. 

Membership to Aspinall's venture was limited to 600, very much figures of high society including five dukes, five marquesses and 20 earls. 

The success of the Clarmont Club and advice given by Jimmy Goldsmith to finance Howletts, a wildlife park, much to the annoyance of neighbours. 

However the stock market crash in 1973 left him more or less bust.

In 1987, financial struggles forced Aspinall to return to gambling. 

He set up a casino in Han's Place, and in four short years making 8 million per annum. Such was its success he moved to larger premises at Curzon Street, selling 20% on the stock market worth an estimated £20 million. 

Almost 80% of the business was owned by Aspinall and Goldsmith. A large amount of the money was kept for the upkeep of the zoos. 

Clearly, the worth of the casino declined over the years but still sold in 1987 for £23 million. 

However, in 1992 financial struggles after losing large sums of money when Goldsmith failed in his takeover of Rank Hovis McDougall. In response, he opened another casino in Curzon Steet in 1992. It was soon making good money. 

In his later years, Aspinall suffered from cancer and fought it bravely but passed away on the 29th June 2000 at Westminster, London aged 74.

The Aspinall Foundation 

Most Reckless, Mad, Wildest Professional Gambler 'H'

Professional gamblers come in all shapes and sizes.

That could be with regard to their stature, physical and mental, bets small or large or even reputation. 

In the melting pot of gamblers - from all walks of life - you hear some amazing stories. I love the extremes you see in people. Some bet big money and as disciplined as they come while others are mad, reckless, wild and destined to lose every last penny.

I guess it's simply part of their character. 

It's a certain type of personality, character trait, that captures the attention of the everyday punter.

Harry Findlay always reminded me of a gambler who was pretty much on the edge. 

I think he loved the thrill to push his skill and luck to the limit. 

Anyway, there are other gamblers who exemplify this thought.

You may have heard about an East End gangster called 'H'. 

He had a reputation as a hard man and reckless gambler. If you've been around London long enough you will know who I am talking about, said his friend. 

''H is a couple of years older than me. He's flat broke living on benefits in Loughton, waiting for a liver transplant. He looks after the gardens of the flat he lives.''

It's a sobering thought to think he lost millions on the horses and dogs.

One bet stuck in the mind. ''I placed £50,000 in one and two-thousand a time, the last few grand placed at a shop in Canning Town. I watched the race to see Admiral's Cup beaten by a short head.''

''He never turned a hair.''

''Another memorable story about H came when he and his wife and me and my wife went to Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. I looked posh in my mourning suit and top hat and the ladies looked gorgeous. However, H looking similarly formal wore his lucky black bootlace tie with its solid gold steer head fastener.'' 

One of the stewards on the Royal Enclosure spotted him and wouldn't let him in so he went berserk and stormed off to the Tattersall's betting ring.

He tried to wipe out every bookie in the enclosure with massive ''stupid'' bets. 

He must have been half a million pounds down by the last race. He managed to persuade one of the major bookmakers to take a bet of £250,000 on a horse called Kris, priced even money. 

This time, his horse won by a short head, after a 5-minute wait as they magnified the photo finish. 

Once again, he didn't turn a hair. There was no sign of emotion. 

Now he cuts the grass and prunes the rose bushes for the old ladies for a cup of tea and biscuit. 

Note: I have no evidence this story is true. 

Professional Gamblers: They're All The Same!

When you think about professional gamblers, what comes to mind? 

In truth, it could be anything: insightful, sinister, corrupt... The adjectives could go as long as you want. In truth people who make a living from gambling are, in general, one of two things: knowledgeable within their chosen niche or corrupt. 

I guess the latter does a disservice to the professional status of the true gamblers as the corrupt aren't really anything but criminals. 

From my point of view, I have read about many professional gamblers - the vast majority being interested and dedicated to horse racing. In this modern world of betting exchanges and laying horses and trading we have a new breed of gambler. 

However, my observation is more about the retro gamblers of past: Alec Bird, Phil Bull, Dave Nevison, Harry Findlay et al. 

I know some of you will be reading that list and think, 'He wasn't much of a gambler'. Or you have umpteen gamblers you would add to the list. Admittedly it is a short list. I often irritate people by adding Terry Ramsden to my list of professional gamblers just to get a response. Although he lost a lot of money betting on horses he did, don't forget, make millions as a stock broker which is still a professional gambler as far as I can see. 

Anyway, I don't want to get into all that. 

The one thing I noticed when reading about each of these aforementioned names is that they had very little in common. 

True, they bet on horses! 

I often ask people what does a tiger and a table have in common? 

Four legs.

For example, Phil Bull was all about the fastest horses with regard to the clock. 

All these professional gamblers had their own niche, a skill honed by years of trial and error to one day beat the odds. Not one, as far as I am aware, waved a magical horn from a defunct, hapless unicorn or recited a spell stolen from some old dear who lived round the corner from Rumpelstiltskin. 

It's funny to read how a given gambler would say never bet in this race type or price and there is one of their counterparts detailing how they make regular money doing exactly that. 

Any half wise gambler can appreciate that every winner is the answer to the question in that if you can understand what made it a winner could well be used to find more winners. Also, every loser is quietly whispering to you why you should have listened. 

The very truth of winning and losing is there before you - waiting like hieroglyphics to be understood. 

The problem is most gamblers never stop to think. It's all about the next race if not simply the buzz. 

Have you as a gambler ever stopped to question why your horse won or lost? You may be thinking that sounds a boring endevour. However, if you don't understand the reason you are missing the best part of the race. 

My niche is two-year-old horse racing. I don't pretend I understand any other age group. I enjoy saying I know nothing about the National Hunt or even three-year-old colts, geldings and fillies. 

I don't need to know about them. 

What makes you a winner or a loser when it comes to gambling is what makes you different from the crowd. 

If you are a favourite backer - the eternal favourite backer - you may as well give up. 

It's the same if you spread yourself too thin. 

''I follow all types of horse racing.''

I hope if that is your answer you have some very clever way of working because my day has just 24 hours. 

Ever wondered why those contestants have a specilised subject? Because if they didn't they'd be pretty much like you or me. 

Painfully average. 

If you want to be a successful gambler you need to know your subject better than your average bloke down the bookies. 

If you are not - give up. 

It will be a long road and painful experience to realise, if you ever do, that you literally backed the wrong horse. 

Professional Gamblers: Who Is Eddie 'The Shoe' Fremantle

Professional Gamblers: Who Is Eddie 'The Shoe' Fremantle

Eddie 'The Shoe' Fremantle is a freelance journalist, horse racing analyst and professional punter, probably best known, nowadays, for his punditry on the 'Racing TV' television channel. Fremantle developed an interest in horse racing at an early age and, in an interview with Star Sports in 2018, recalled backing Balliol in the King's Stand Stakes and Lassalle in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 1973 although, by his own admission, he could not 'really remember much about it'. 

Nevertheless, his interest in the 'Sport of Kings' developed throughout his teenage years. He was offered his first job in journalism largely as the result of a chance meeting with Ian Davies, who was, at the time, deputy editor of the 'Racing & Football Outlook', whom he met on a train journey to Ludlow. Some months later, Davies, who was by now editor of the aforementioned publication, contacted Fremantle and offered him a position as a sports tipster. Fremantle subsequently spent four years as a youthful 'Man on the Spot' in the now-defunct 'Sporting Life' newspaper, before devoting his time solely to backing horses for a living. However, after eight years he did return to journalism, as racing correspondent to 'The Observer', a position that allowed him access to the press facilities at racecourses.

Fremantle remains one of a dying breed of professional punters, insofar as he still goes racing four or five days a week. He is a modest punter, by professional standards, but he believes that, by keeping his turnover high – or, in other words, by betting as often as possible – but keeping his stakes relatively low, he eliminates long losing runs, at least in terms of time. As he put it, 'If you only bet rarely, but have a big bet when you do, you really have to get it right.'He also has an interesting take on chasing losses; of course, he does not advocate poor decision-making based on desperation, frustration or any other negative emotion but, by the same token, he does not view losing money as a reason to give up betting altogether. After all, he says, if you never chase your losses you'll never get them back.

Fremantle takes a entirely pragmatic approach to horse racing and subscribes to the unfashionable philosophy that there is no substitute for hard work. In the absence of any 'golden goose', he relies on studying form, on video and in print, as much as possible. As a matter of personal preference, he specialises in Flat racing, including all-weather racing during the winter months, but his best advice to anyone looking to make horse racing pay is to do something 'different'. Of course, horse racing form is in the public domain but, by examining the performance of every horse in every race, keen-eyed punters may spot something that has been overlooked by the rank and file of the betting public.

Instead of looking for the winner of each race, Fremantle recommends preparing your own betting forecast, or 'tissue', for each race and comparing your estimated odds with those commercially available to identify which horses, if any, are under- or over-priced. His own tissue prices factor in elements such as luck in running, or lack of it, which is a common cause of over-reaction by bookmakers.




Professional Gamblers: Telly Savalas Poker Player

Born in Garden City, New York in 1924, Aristoteles 'Telly' Savalas will always be best remembered – at least, by readers of a certain age – for his portrayal of the bald, lollipop sucking title character in the television series 'Kojak', which aired on CBS during the Seventies. However, it is somehow fitting that 'Kojak' is used, nowadays, to describe a starting hand of king-jack in Texas Hold'em poker because Savalas was, in his time, a highly accomplished exponent of the game. 

By his own admission, Savalas 'gambled from day one on the streets of New York.' In 1969, while filming 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' – in which he played villain Ernst Blofeld – he incurred the wrath of producer Harry Saltzman when he fleeced Bond star George Lazenby of his daily living expenses during a late-night poker game that he had organised for the cast and crew. Saltzman gatecrashed the game, won back the money and warned Savalas against any further exploitation of the Australian actor. 

Savalas made his first appearance in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 1985, at the age of 61, purportedly to research an upcoming film role as professional gambler Nick 'The Greek' Dandolos. Whatever his motivation, Savalas enjoyed early success, finishing third of 149 entrants in a $1,000 Limit Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event at Binion's, Las Vegas and cashing for $14,900. Suitably inspired, he stumped up the ante for the $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold'em World Championship at the same venue two weeks later. He did not last long, though; after just an hour or two of the four-day-long tournament, Savalas bet the last $3,500 of his dwindling stack all-in on a jack-high straight and lost to a queen-high straight.

Undeterred, Savalas continued to play in WSOP tournaments from time to time. In 1987, he finished fifth in a $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split event, again at Binion's, and cashed for $11,650. In 1992, he enjoyed a much better run at the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship, finishing 21st of 201 entrants and cashing for $8,080. With total live earnings of $40,630, Savalas hardly set the poker world on fire, but once confessed, 'My excitement is seeing the characters around this poker game.You wouldn't believe who they are.'

Savalas' fondness for gambling was not lost on the admen from Player's Club International, who had him reprise his 'Kojak' catchphrase 'Who loves ya, baby?' after a fashion, by pitching the phrase 'It's bonus time, baby' in a series of late-night television advertisements during the Eighties. Savalas also witnessed the Las Vegas debut of a youthful Phil Hellmuth Jr. – who, in 1989, became the youngest ever winner of the WSOP Main Event – when the 'Poker Brat' took a seat next to him at a $30/$60 Seven-Card Stud 8 table in the Dunes poker room for the first time.

Professional Gamblers: Who is Dave ''Devilfish'' Ulliott?

The late Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott, who died from bowel and liver cancer, at the age of 61, in 2015, was one of the most distinctive and influential British poker players in history. Born in Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire in 1954, Ulliott left school at 15 and drifted into a life of petty crime. Indeed, he was twice detained at Her Majesty's pleasure in his twenties, before turning to poker as a more 'legitimate' means of making a living. That said, he spent the formative years of his new career travelling around seedy, often illegal, back rooms in the Midlands and the North of England, where he cultivated the aggressive, egotistical image that would become his trademark. 

His path inevitably led to London and, later, to Las Vegas where, in April 1997, he became just the third Englishman to win a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet – not to mention $180,310 in prize money – in the $2,000 Hold'em Pot Limit event at Binion's. Other notable paydays in his professional career, which spanned four decades, included $589,175 for winning the World Poker Tour (WPT) $10,000 + 100 No-Limit Hold'em Championship at Horseshoe Casino & Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi in January 2003 and $674,500 for a third-place finish in the WPT $15,000 + 400 Doyle Brunson Classic – No-Limit Hold'em at Bellagio, Las Vegas in December 2007. Indeed, Ulliott accrued $6,235,521 in total live earnings, at a time when poker prize money was a fraction of what it is today and was, for many years, the highest-earning British poker player ever. 

Ulliott was originally christened 'Devilfish' by fellow poker player Stephen Au-Yeung, who likened him to the potentially deadly Japanese delicacy, otherwise known as 'blowfish' or 'pufferfish', during a private game at his home. However, the moniker was resurrected during a rowdy, heads-up contest against Men 'The Master' Nguyen at Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas in January 1997; Ulliott won and the following day the local newspaper celebrated his first major tournament win under the headline 'Devilfish Devours The Master!'

Domestically, Ulliott participated in and won, the inaugural series of 'Late Night Poker' – the pioneering television programme that introduced the hole card camera – on Channel 4 in 1999. Aside from his extraordinary skill as a poker player, his slicked-back hair, sharp, pin-striped suit and tie, orange-tinted glasses and two enormous gold rings, bearing the legends 'Devil' and 'Fish', respectively, made Ulliott the star of the show and a household name in Britain. Many years later, reflecting on his career, he said, 'I’ve realised that no matter what happens, nobody can break me inside. A good player can’t have nerves. I lost mine a long time ago.' 

Ulliott last cashed in a live poker tournament in the WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em – Monster Stack event at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas in June 2014, less than a year before his death. On that occasion, he collected $6,368 for finishing 265th of 7,862 entries. However, during the WSOP Main Event, at the same venue, in July 2017, it was announced that Ulliott had been posthumously inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame for 'his role in growing the game in England'.

If you want to learn more about Dave Devilfish Ulliott I have read and would recommend his publication: Devilfish: The Life & Times of a Poker Legend (2010)

Review: 
 
Being from Hull and an avid poker player/fan this book was a must. It has always been on my list of books to buy, but after learning of Mr Ulliots untimely death it jumped straight to the front of the queue. It's well known that people from Hull are a little rough around the edges (not William Wilberforce, I'm talking about Dean Windass & John Prescott). The devilfish was raised on a run-down council estate with little chance of success, somehow amassing a fortune of £30 million, and all through playing cards. One of pokers greatest ever characters and a true talent. His story is full of jaw-dropping anecdotes that will leave you amazed. R.I.P Mr.Devilfish, you bloody legend!

Rober Hemingway.

The Devilfish | Poker Documentary | Full Length


The Trials & Tribulations of Owning a Racehorse

I'm reading Freud On Course: The Racing Lives of Clement Freud. Originally published in 2009, shortly after he passed away.

I've stormed through the first three or four chapters. It's a decent read full of wit and wisdom from the multi-talented grandson of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. 

It's interesting to read how Clement considered having a horse in training would give him an advantage to privileged information meaning he would win a few quid gambling. Over the years, he had a number of horses in training, often in partnership with friends and acquaintances. In fact, he even owned a horse with Uri Geller, called Spoonbender. Unfortunately, that didn't result in a winner.

In fact, Freud seemed to often struggle with horse trainers, swiftly moving them to pastures new if the handler didn't quite live up to expectation. One reason given was that when you are paying considerable fees that you want to be able to phone the trainer at any time. It's interesting that when a horse was moved from a stable the trainer was rarely mentioned by name.

Anyway, it seems along the way that Clement had a number of horses in training starting with one he bought after winning a selling race. 

That didn't turn out to be the best move as it seemed to be permanently lame. 

Writing his column in the Racing Post, he gave a warts-and-all narrative of his hopes for his horse(s) and their chance of winning. 

Many times they won unexpectedly or when fancied failed to shine. From reading his prose, it seems that the likelihood of making a return on just about any equine investment is a very unlikely happening. 

However, he did have one or two bets that put a smile on his face. 

In 2006, he purchased a son of Cadeaux Genereaux, at a cost,  by the time it got to the trainer in North Yorkshire, of £40,000. 

The horse was in training with Mark Johnston and finished second on debut at Haydock over 6f on heavy going when an 8/1 shot. 

The respected owner said: ''He had two more runs, one at Ayr, the other at York and was placed at short prices each time, the short prices not wholly unconnected with my investments.''  

''After the third non-win, which nearly wiped me out, I moved him to a trainer in East Anglia who charged less than half the last man's training fees.  

Michael Chapman, the new trainer, sealed a win at Wolverhampton with an easy six-length victory. The horse was pretty consistent racing six times with Chapman, however, Freud fell out with the trainer and moved Eau Good to Brendan Powell, in the West Country.   

Eau Good proved a memorable day when winning at Windsor at odds of 28/1. Freud went in for the kill with a hefty £300 each-way (the win part of the bet alone worth £8,400). 

Now three years old, he ran twice over hurdles at Kempton and Folkestone.

''Nothing, or to put it another way, pulled up in one contest and tailed off in the other.''  

Eau Good was swiftly moved back to Michael Chapman's stable because of a 'lack of success as well as a failure in communication'. 

Freud said: ''For the £20,000 a year you pay to train, shoe, vet, enter and transport a racehorse, I want to be able to contact his minder when I feel like it.'' 

However, all didn't go well when Darryll Holland was booked to ride Eau Good at Windsor. The horse went to the start in a crab-like fashion. 

The experienced jockey told the vet he wasn't happy with the mobility of the horse and they 'withdrew him not under starter's orders'. 

Freud wasn't best happy to hear that the jockey had been told whatever it felt and looked like, once out of the stalls, the horse would run like a stag. 

The jockey denied being told this and allegedly said: ''It felt as if the horse had broken its back.'' 

Hearing this news Freud sent the horse to a good friend to give him an opinion. 

There was a catalogue of problems:

Sore back. 

Deeply unhappy. 

Bit anyone who came near him. 

''A wind-sucking, weaving brute.''

Clement made up his own mind to sell Eau Good. 

He went to Ascot sales (Lot 41) and sold for just 950 guineas and went to a good home in the Midlands.