Unless you have the constitution of an ox, the thickened skull of Neanderthal man and psychiatrist on speed dial you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If you are a heavy hitter (big bettor) I'm pretty sure you have woken up in a muck sweat in those eerie hours of the night muttering like you've lost one of your marbles as the depressive darkness infiltrates your mind as you recall the time when a,b or c went desperately wrong.
It shouldn't be a lifestyle of choice unless you have climbed a mountain or two.
If you look in the bathroom cabinet of any professional gambler you will find a selection of jars, containers, vials and sachets, remedies for bunions to having the shits.
In the darkness you hear a low buzzing sound coming from the cabinet, neon lights of pinks and purples and a thin trail of smoke with an acrid chemical smell makes you wonder if you have awoken from a futuristic dream.
In fact, you will find everything and anything except a strawberry scented condom.
A few winners, the bathroom cabinet is locked up but a run of losers and the doors are off their hinges.
If things go sadly awry, and the anxiety level reach the point where you see witches and goblins out of the corner of your eye, you take the novel action of mixing a few ''substances'' together to clean out the pipes (so to speak).
Anyway, I think I've painted a picture of the forlorn gambler who is down on his/her luck and the mattress isn't quite so plump as it was a month or two back.
I remember reading a passage from Dave Nevison's Bloody Good Winner about a professional gambler who used to bet big odds on.
If anything is going to make you anxious it's betting big odds on, especially on the National Hunt.
Anyway, this character was known for betting at the end of his rope (in the style of Harry Findlay) the shorter the price the better. If this bloke saw a horse at 1/5f, he'd take 1/6 because he thought it increased his chances of winning.
The big odds on gambler had a permanent ashen face, bordering on albino.
He'd placed a bet of £10,000 to win £1,000.
I mean, you can do a lot with a grand.
The race had started in earnest...
Like these new toothpastes, his face, rather than his teeth, turned ten shades whiter. If he'd been standing in front of a white-washed wall he'd have been the invisible man. You would see ragged clothes hanging on a stick-like frame, a betting ticket in the hand and a trail of diarrhea.
The state of anxiety rose with every jump, stumble, yard, even breath of horse, jockey and punter with hopes and ambitions of taking money from the bookies' satchel.
This gambler couldn't even watch the race. If he didn't like what he was hearing, he'd stick his fingers in his ears and hope beyond hope that when the commentator uttered his next words it was good news.
When the race was over and it revealed a lovely winner, the blood rushed back to his cheeks and the pins and needles in his fingers and toes subsided enough to walk to the bookie and enjoy the sensation of folding on his palm.
If it was a loser, he literally looked like the grim reaper had entered the room and there wasn't an exit or a bathroom cabinet to find a much-needed fix.
God help us all.
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.
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. 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 it 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.
''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.
There are lots of would-be pro gamblers.
Good luck to each and everyone of you. I say that sincerely because if you don't have a plan or ambition you are unlikely to get to your final destination. So it is wise to have a plan. Or at least an idea.
So what are your chances of being a professional gambler?
It's not impossible.
When betting via skill you can be the best in the world. Remember, to make money gambling, you need to be better than most. You're facing competition but you're not trying to win an Olympic Gold Medal.
However, the better you can be the more money you can win.
Never bad news.
However, there is a problem. I am a person who believes from little acorns giant oaks may grow.
But here's the problem. Many professional gamblers make a return of just 1% on their investment.
£1 in every £100.
It doesn't seem a great deal of money, hey? In fact, it even makes some of these dodgy investment scheme look attractive. The incentive is to make your betting more profitable. If you are at the 1% level you will need to bet a lot of money and if you are selective you are going to run into problems.
It's not a problem but if you rely on your winnings to get by as your only source of earnings you will be feeling under pressure to earn more cash.
You cannot force bets.
It is the same as chasing losses.
So if you are considering becoming a professional gambler you will do well to make your profits as big as possible and that is down to skill.
Some professional gamblers have a return on their investment of 20%. There are some who have more.
It is something to think about.
Over the last few years professional gambler tattoos have become really popular. Everyone loves a bit of ink whether hand, wrist, arm, sleeve or somewhere more daring.
You don't need to be a gambling high roller with a private jet flying to Las Vegas to turn a few heads.
Personally, I am a blank canvas, a 51-year-old bloke - a tattoo virgin - waiting to get the nerve to get some ink. I guess, if you haven't had a tattoo by the age of fifty it may never happen. I wonder how many have opted for a tattoo while in a midlife crisis.
Have you got an ''everlasting jobstopper'' or you looking for a ''tough sticker''
It was the best thing they ever done.
I'm not against having a tattoo, it's more trying to work out which design would suit and finding the most talented tattooist who could create a design and work of art.
Take a look at Pinterest and you will see thousands of designs.
However, for the classic professional gambler tattoo, which iconic symbols are most popular?
Las Vegas Sign
I'm not sure what percentage of gambling tattoos feature the Las Vegas sign but it's one of the most iconic features of this gambling metropolis in Nevada, United States. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas. The sign was funded in 1959 and erected by Western Neon. If you didn't know, the sign was designed by Betty Willis. It's situated at the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip.
Nothing beats seeing a gambler playing a big-money game of poker flashing the ink.
This sleeve design is well represented with the sign, roulette wheel, dice and even the iconic route 66 (cropped out of photo).
A well-worked piece that captures the strip at its best. I'm revisiting Hunter S. Thompson's novel: ''Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas.''
If you love your poker then why not go for something dynamic and a real winning hand.
This is an absolutely cracking design and a real work of art. There must have been a lot of time and money put into this sleeve. The king is a executed with so much character.
I found this design on Pinterest which was uploaded by Robin Van Der Hulst. I'm not sure if he is the tattooist but I'll gladly add a link to the originator of this beautiful piece.
A royal flush is a straight from ten to ace and all cards are the same suit. It's also, the best hand in poker. In fact, it is an exceptionally rare hand.
As for being dealt a royal flush on the flop you're talking about one in four-hundred thousand hands. That's quote from a player as I don't even play poker.The Skull
It's a staple for the tattoo lover with a touch of angst.
Most gamblers are a hearty breed who aren't bothered by having, sometimes, the odds stacked against them. And the symbolic use of the skull is often used to represent death and the use of this design is to display that death doesn't frighten them. Also, it reminds people that death is inevitable so we should live life to its fullest.
Not only are three aces a pretty good hand in poker and brag but in tarot cards they represent multiple new beginnings, opportunities, or a new environment.
This is a particularly good design and the dice and snake eyes.
- They fear you will develop an addiction
- They fear you will lose relationships
- They will fear you will change as a person
- As they stigmatise you so will others